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A framework for mainstreaming climate change adaptation within Local Government operations

Zaman, M. and Jennings, P. (2011) A framework for mainstreaming climate change adaptation within Local Government operations. The International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses, 3 (3). pp. 31-46.

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Adapting to the impacts of climate change is a crucial challenge for Local Government Authorities (LGAs). LGAs provide essential services to the community including land use planning, infrastructure delivery and maintenance, public health and safety and disaster management. They therefore, have a vital role to play in identifying, planning and implementing effective and timely adaptation actions. However, little is being done by LGAs in Australia in regard to climate change adaptation planning and implementation of adaptation measures, despite the potentially severe consequences of procrastination.

The issues that inhibit the local governments from taking action on climate change adaptation include lack of awareness about climate change risks and vulnerability, lack of sufficient resources, absence of a mechanism to facilitate cross-departmental planning and lack of ability to recognize climate change risks as corporate risks. Mainstreaming climate change risk assessment and adaptation planning within city planning and operation would help address many of these issues.

This paper aims to provide an understanding of the issues that need to be considered in developing a framework to assist mainstreaming of climate change adaptation within local government operation and planning and increasing the resilience of the cities to climate change. Information from local governments across Australia has been collected through a survey questionnaire and face-to-face meetings. Responses from the local governments indicate that a general awareness about climate change exists but the capacity to estimate the severity of local impacts is absent. Climate change impacts often cross local government boundaries and become regional issues. Regional collaborations can help to build capacity to address climate risks and adaptation planning. The paper summarizes the responses and discusses the key elements of the design of an adaptation framework for local governments to help them mainstream climate change adaptation into their operations.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Engineering and Energy
Publisher: Common Ground Publishing
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