2nd International Climate Change Adaptation Platform Meeting: Bridging the Gap between User Requirements and Climate Adaptation Services
Following the first International Climate Change Adaptation Platform Meeting (ICCAP), held in Tokyo on December 3rd 2018, the 2nd ICCAP was convened in Dublin, Ireland, on the 10th and 11th of October 2019. The 2nd ICCAP focused on Climate Adaptation Platforms (CAPs) supporting decision-making for climate change adaptation and an exploration of the co-benefits of these approaches for service providers and users. The workshop set out to develop an understanding of best practice in user engagement and capacity building, to gather and distil lessons learned and suggest future directions. Importantly, the meeting provided the opportunity to learn from perspectives of both climate service providers and users, which is invaluable in determining the future evolution of climate adaptation services in meeting current and potential future user requirements.
The meeting was held over two days and attended by a wide range of CAP providers (provided in Tables 1-3 – see the full text). The first day focused on assessing the range of engagement approaches employed by those operating climate adaptation platforms (Figure 1). The second day of the meeting comprised of a user workshop, where user expectations of climate change adaptation services were identified and assessed against the existing landscape of climate adaptation services.
The 2nd ICCAP was organised as part of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE) funded Climate Ireland Programme in collaboration with Climate Adaptation Services (CAS, Netherlands), the UK Climate Impacts Partnership (UKCIP) and SEI.
Key messages from the meeting are provided below. See the full text (download from the right-hand column) for much more detail.
Key challenges and key expectations
Process of identification: Following presentations from each of the platforms represented at this meeting (provided in Tables 1-3 – see the full text), delegates agreed some of the key challenges.
The key challenges identified by adaptation service providers in engaging users were as follows:
- Defining Adaptation Platforms – CAPs deliver information in many different ways. This makes defining adaptation platforms difficult and the wide ranging landscape of adaptation platforms and associated climate services can be confusing for users.
- Landscape of climate change adaptation – the landscape of climate change adaptation is constantly changing. Ensuring CAPs cover emerging and evolving issues as well as existing ones is a challenge.
- Common language, datasets and interoperability – there is a need to develop a “climate services supply chain” that meets the wide range of users’ needs, employ standards for language use and quality-assurance of datasets, and develop a network of adaptation platforms that support users in finding the ‘right’ platform to address their requirements.
- Co-design, co-development and co-production – most CAPs adopt a co-design, co-development and co-evaluation approach to produce user focused services and gain user buy-in. This is resource intensive and requires well planned and targeted user engagement that captures the evolving requirements of users.
- Maintaining users and user interest – requires continuous engagement of users and other stakeholders using a range of engagement techniques. It is essential that users’ input is clearly recognised in the development of the platform and on the platform itself, and that CAPs meet the needs of both existing and new users.
- Measuring the value of adaptation platforms/evaluation – Evaluating the added value of CAPs in delivering adaptation action is key for providing a quality service and for developing a business case for the continuity, further development and evolution of CAPs. A major challenge is that there is no agreed metric or method for assessing this added value.
- Resources, continuity and evolution – Ensuring service sustainability, validity and longevity remains a challenge. The capacity of CAPs to meet user needs and demonstrate their added value is key to their sucess.
Having identified the above as key challenges, each of the challenges were further explored and articulated (Table 5 in the full text).
Process of identification: A workshop was held to assess the expectations of users against the existing landscape of climate adaptation services. It firstly aimed to identify user expectations of climate adaptation services in terms of content and functionality. Following from this, it asked the climate adaptation service providers to demonstrate how their adaptation service met the identified expectations of the user groups.
Results: The key expectations identified by workshop delegates were associated with the look-and feel of CAPs, the delivery of tailored and responsive CAPs, and the provision of cross sectoral coherence, in particular spatially and temporally explicit climate, vulnerability and risk information to support planning. The user expectations were summarised as follows:
Users expected CAPs to provide multiple and tailored access points to information of specific relevance to the user type. In addition users, expected CAPs to provide information in a wide range of formats with a particular focus on multimedia and graphics. Moreover, users expected CAPs to be Interactive and in terms of the accounting for user suggestions in CAP development and through provision of user support services, including discussion forums and help desks
Users expected CAPS to provide all relevant information for adaptation planning and highlighted the importance of CAPs providing a wide range of data (infrastructure, demographic and landuse) to support this. This highlights the requirement of CAPs to integrate a wide range of datasets beyond climate observation and projection information which has traditionally been the key area of information provision. Users also expected CAPs to provide climate and vulnerability information within a risk mapping framework that accounts for and provides information on uncertainties pertaining to these data. This builds upon user expectations in terms of the provision of additional and non-climate information and is essential when supporting the development of spatial plans by users.
In terms of climate projection data, it is clear that CAPs are providing climate projection information at a range of spatial scales but users cited the need to further tailor this information to make this information more meaningful and usable. Users suggested that this could be achieved through the provision of tailored climate projection information that identified threshold values on the basis of specific user requirements.
An analysis of the participating platforms against these criteria can be found in Figure 3 of the full text.
The initial findings developed as part of this workshop provides a basis on which to further develop CAPs to address the challenges of meeting current and potential future user expectations:
- CAPs adopt a wide range of user engagement approaches from passive to active with the primary aim to ensure that information contained on CAPs is of relevance to the relevant user groups and to increase the reach of the CAPs.
- CAPs have generally adopted a co-design, co-development and co-evaluation approach to ensure platforms are user focussed. Furthermore, continuous engagement with users and other stakeholders is considered imperative.
- The evaluation of adaptation platforms is also seen as essential in order to demonstrate the value added by CAP and to develop a business case for the continuity, further development and evolution of CAPs.
- When users requirements are considered, it is essential that CAPs are tailored according to the specific needs of individual user groups.
- Users also expect CAPs to provide all the relevant climate and non-climate information for adaptation planning and highlight the importance of hosting a wide range of datasets to support this.