The European Union has detected the urgent need of aligning agendas and visions on climate change. This need is the basis of the Adaptation of European Landscapes to Climate Change project (AELCLIC) funded by the EU’s Climate-KIC programme. The project focuses on promoting the dialogue and cooperation between the different types of stakeholders involved in the management and transformation of European landscapes.
The project has identified 16 pilot landscapes across Europe, three of which are in Finland: Malmi district in Helsinki, Hyyppä valley and Tornio-Haparanda. These pilots have been selected to cover the climatic, socio-economic, cultural and biogeographical diversity of Europe - from big cities to rural areas and from Boreal to Mediterranean countries - and in order to produce highly transferable and scalable models for the creation of local networks.
During the AELCLIC project, these local networks are working together to find joint visions and agendas on what needs to be done. ‘We need a real effort and involvement of all the partners to make this happen’, says the leader of the project, Associate Professor at Aalto University Juanjo Galan.
‘These landscapes - and the way in which we live or produce in them - are going to be severely affected by climate change and that is why we need to work together to plan their adaptation. This, in the end, is the adaptation of our own societies to a new environment’, says Galan.
Adaptation plans to connect to broader visions
According to the European Environmental Agency, the Nordic and Baltic region will experience a temperature rise much larger than global average, a decrease in snow, lake and river ice cover, an increase in river flows, a northward movement of species and an increasing damage risk from winter storms. At the same time, the area will witness an increase in crop yields, a decrease in energy demand for heating, an increase in hydropower potential and an increase in summer tourism.
The AELCLIC project is looking for local solutions - from the social, financial, administrative and technical point of view - to the effects of climate change and stimulating local debate and networking. The locals have the best comprehension of how climate change might affect different aspects of their daily life and how they interact with the landscape.
During the project it was detected, that it is important to connect the ideas produced by local networks with other plans affecting each pilot area. For example, the work developed by the AELCLIC Malmi network is expected to contribute to the current definition of the Malmi Vision by the City of Helsinki or to concretize the general ideas of the Helsinki Programme for Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation - Carbon-neutral Helsinki 2035.
‘In this way, AELCLIC works as a multiplier and local network activator: as a tool to let local people internalize what climate change can mean for them, and to start being active partners in the development of solutions’, says Galan.