14th RAMSES newsletter

Table of contents

Welcome to the fourteenth RAMSES Newsletter!

In this edition of the RAMSES Newsletter, we would like to inform you about the last RAMSES training event, which will take place in Bonn (Germany).

 I) Cities and Climate Conference 2017

II) RAMSES results for cities – the RAMSES Toolbox

III) RAMSES events for cities

VI) RAMSES at the Open European Day at Bonn Resilient Cities 2017

 

I) Cities and Climate Conference 2017

September 19th-21st 2017, Potsdam, Germany  

The registration for the Cities and Climate Conference 2017, 19-21 September 2017 in Potsdam, Germany, is still open until 15 August. We invite you to register.

Have a look at the preliminary programme.

The Cities and Climate Conference 2017 will explore the latest advances in research and practice addressing climate change in cities, including issues of risk management, economics of adaptation, infrastructure, planning, governance, and their possible trade-offs and synergies with mitigation and sustainability objectives. It is the concluding event of the RAMSES project.

Detailed information can be found at: ccc.ramses-cities.eu

 

II) RAMSES Research

RAMSES results for cities – the RAMSES Toolbox

RAMSES focuses on transitions and on the importance of creating a process around adaptation with a well-defined goal. To support this, we have produced the RAMSES toolbox. This toolbox condenses the knowledge that the project has produced in reports and scientific papers into practical and useable resources for municipal workers and practitioners working directly on climate change adaptation. This toolbox is comprised of the RAMSES audio-visual guidance on-urban-resilience.eu, which is an interactive online resource with short video clips introducing different topics related to resilience, the RAMSES slide deck, which practitioners can use as a handy template to introduce colleagues to climate change issues, and the comprehensive transition handbook.

This handbook incorporates embeds some of the project’s key findings into a process for adaptive management. This follows the widely-regarded Urban Adaptation Support Tool, which was developed specifically for use by cities and is also used by the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy. For each step of the UAST cycle, the handbook presents supporting findings and case studies. This provides cities with a step-by-step process that they can use to structure their climate change adaptation action.

 

The handbook is complimented by an accompanying training package, which is included in the same document. This package follows the steps laid out in the handbook and suggests some practical hands-on activities for each step that city administrations can use to operationalise climate change adaptation, for example guidance on how to involve stakeholders, collect understanding of risks, or organize targeted planning meetings specifically related to adaptation.

The handbook and training package are available at http://ramses-cities.eu/toolbox/.

 

III) RAMSES events for cities

RAMSES organised two training events for cities. Their aim was to train cities on the use of the resources and tools created by the RAMSES project for adaptation policy-making, with a particular focus on the RAMSES Toolbox. The first Training event took place in Athens (Greece) on 15th February 2017 and specifically targeted cities from Southern and Eastern Europe. The second Training event took place in Bonn on the 3rd-4th April 2017 and targeted cities from Central and Northern Europe. At the Training events, cities took part in interactive exercises, thus learning on the use of RAMSES tools and resources first-hand.

The topics addressed included:

  • Calculating the impacts of climate change on public health and the costs connected to them, as well as identifying adaptation measures to counteract them;
  • Assessing climate risks and vulnerabilities and drawing impact chains that reveal not only direct but also indirect climate impacts;
  • Selecting between different adaptation options, also in light of their cost efficiency;
  • Elaborating a vision to a more climate resilient future.

 

The RAMSES Handbook was used during the event to provide the training and got unanimous consensus on the part of the cities as a key decision-making support tool.

Participating cities include Athens (Greece), Barcelona (Spain), Belgrade (Serbia), Bologna (Italy), Bratislava (Slovakia), Edimburgh (Scotland), Ghent (Belgium), Lahti (Finland), Malmö (Sweden), amongst others.

The first of three RAMSES Training Webinars took place on the 22nd June 2017 and shows effectiveness of green infrastructure for urban cooling. While many cities in Europe were suffering from heat waves, RAMSES Partners Hans Hooyberghs from VITO and Annemie Wyckmans from NTNU presented their findings on how nature-based solutions can contribute to urban cooling and gave advice on the design of green infrastructure. Furthermore, different infrastructural measures, such as heat-resistant building materials were discussed during the webinar. If you missed it, you can find the recording of the webinar here.

The second RAMSES Training Webinar took place on 13th of July 2017 and focused on “High-level climatic vulnerability assessments and pathway design for adaptation planning”. There, experts from the University of Newcastle and London School of Economics shared how they mapped out the highest risks in Europe and how cities can act in order to counteract those risks by designing a pathway to a more resilient future, as well as discussing the economic costs of climate change and how to plan financially beneficial climate change adaptation. The recording will be available soon on the RAMSES website.

 

IV) RAMSES at the Open European Day at Bonn Resilient Cities 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RAMSES was a supporter of the 4th Open European Day at Bonn Resilient Cities, which took place on 3rd May 2017 with over 100 participants. Deputy Mayor of Bonn, Reinhard Limbach, took to the podium with an opening sentiment on climate reality to which the cities in the audience applauded in agreement: “What used to happen once in 100 years now happens once a year.”

Cities need support in adapting to climate change

Sirpa Hertell (Committee of the Regions) stressed that cities and regions should be helped to find the right combination of public and private funding for adapting to climate change, and called on researchers and universities to support cities in assessing their climate risks and vulnerability. A lot of data and technical tools for climate change adaptation in cities have been gathered and produced, but the crucial step is making scientific results useable. This kind of transfer depends on exchange and co-creation between researchers and cities, like the work undertaken in the RAMSES project. 

Politicians need to commit to climate change adaptation

Climate hazards and extreme climate events often function as a trigger for adaptation policies to be implemented. While there can be many different reasons why cities decide to implement climate change adaptation measures, including reactions to hazards and disasters, recreational or aesthetic improvements or for city planning logistics, Peter Massini (City of London) reminded his colleagues from around Europe that these moments are crucial opportunities for practitioners with more knowledge and awareness of the co-benefits of adaptation. Once funding and permission for an adaptation measure has been approved through political commitment, policy officers in municipalities and city councils are the ones who can capitalise on the many co-benefits: from health, biodiversity, flood risk management, air quality and reducing the urban heat island effect to areas as diverse as social cohesion and economic advantages.

Cities have common climate challenges

Communication on climate is a challenge common to European cities. In London’s case, Peter Massini addressed the difficulty of motivating citizens to engage with climate issues, which they can find abstract or irrelevant. For example, in London, it is easy to communicate air quality issues, but flooding London has been transforming: it has a climate adaptation strategy and is now developing a London environment strategy.

Making progress on climate action

“Cities have been doing adaptation without calling it so,” noted Sandro Nieto Silleras (European Commission DG Clima). Guimarães has been able to save money and work towards the Sustainable Development Goals by working with local researchers. A flood management project in the historical city centre helped the city eliminate floods in the area and by extension, all flood-related losses in the area, since the measures were implemented in 2015. The city of Bilbao, a partner of the RAMSES project and RESIN project, which were supporters and co-organisers of the event respectively, showed how the city has made great leaps recently in its work on climate change by including a chapter on climate change in its master plan and elaborating a sustainable urban mobility plan.

Insider tips: how cities can finance adaptation

One question on many cities’ lips and a barrier brought up on every edition on Open European Day is how to access financing to fund climate adaptation projects. Stefanie Lindenberg (European Investment Bank) gave specific advice for cities on how to write successful applications to the EIB’s Natural Capital Financing Facility, which provides loans and investments between €1m-€50m to cities for https://twitter.com/hashtag/climate?src=hash climate change adaptation projects. How can cities have their applications approved? Favourable factors are: well-defined projects, well-defined stakeholders and realistic capacity expectations, and the presence of a city adaptation strategy. Innovation as it relates to nature-based solutions can be useful, but innovation is not necessarily the most important criteria overall.

The event also hosted a successful ‘OED Marketplace’ including stands by ICLEI, the EEA, RESIN, RAMSES, PLACARD, the EIB, DG CLIMA and DG RESEARCH.

V) Latest RAMSES results

The latest research findings of RAMES are published on the RAMSES homepage. We invite you to have a look!

Europe The work leading to these results has received funding from the European Community's Seventh Framework Programme under Grant Agreement No. 308497
Project RAMSES - Reconciling Adaptation, Mitigation and Sustainable Development for Cities.