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Co-designing climate services to support adaptation to natural hazards: two case studies from Sweden

Drawing on two Swedish case studies, this brief aims to understand how the co-design of climate services can support adaptation planning and decision-making.
Multiple Authors


Despite a strong increase in climate change adaptation research over more than a decade, climate information is seldom used to its full potential in adaptation planning and decision-making. This gap between research and action signals that there is a lack of actionable knowledge to support adaptation decision-making. One of the ways forward is the use of more bottom-up and inclusive approaches that challenge providers to tailor information to users’ specific institutional and decision contexts.

This brief builds upon work carried out within the project HazardSupport, which ran from 2015 to 2020. The project was to develop a new, collaborative method for tailoring information about the impacts of climate change on natural hazards to inform adaptation decisions.

Drawing on two Swedish case studies of Karlstad municipality and City of Stockholm where the Tandem framework has been applied, the overall aim of this brief is to understand how the co-design of climate services can support adaptation planning and decision-making.

It focuses specifically on the following:

  • What are the adaptation challenges, institutional contexts, information needs and possible adaptation measures decision makers face?
  • How can a co-designed climate service help support adaptation processes?
  • What lessons can be learned to improve adaptation processes and the co-design of climate services in general, and, specifically, the Tandem framework?

*For more information on the two case studies, refer to the publications on supporting adaptation to multiple water hazards in the municipality of Karlstad and supporting adaptation to heat waves in the City of Stockholm.

*Download the full brief from the right hand column. The key messages from the publication are provided below. See the full text for much more detail.

The Tandem Framework

Whilst the steps below and the application of them in this case study remain important and relevant, the overall Tandem framework has been further updated (based on lessons learned here and in other Tandem case studies). The Tandem framework has been developed to guide providers and intermediaries of climate information through seven iterative steps that are intended to produce relevant, actionable and sustainable climate services that meet the needs of the users of the climate information:

  • Step 1 consists of identifying and defining an adaptation challenge that would benefit from the use of a climate service.
  • Step 2 focuses on identifying and engaging with potential users of a climate service.
  • Step 3 involves co-defining the desired objectives of a climate service, and reviewing advantages and shortcomings of existing services.
  • Step 4 entails gaining an understanding of the institutional and decision contexts in which the climate service will be embedded.
  • Step 5 guides providers and users of the climate service in co-exploring data and information needs, including their sources, formats and modes of dissemination.
  • Step 6 consists of appraising adaptation measures, in which decision-support methods may be used to identify, evaluate, prioritize and sequence interventions.
  • Step 7 ensures that the climate service is used in practice by embedding it in existing institutions, and ensuring that mechanisms are in place for maintaining, evaluating and upgrading the service as appropriate.

Key messages

  • The types of climate services needed depend on context, including users’ prior experience, and the stage of the adaptation learning cycle.
  • To deliver climate services that address stakeholder-specific needs and intended uses, providers and intermediaries must understand institutional and decision contexts.
  • The co-design of climate services should better address the tendency for stakeholders to select and assess adaptation options one at a time, rather than considering multiple options.
  • Co-design approaches should better reflect the need for decision-makers to address both climate- and non-climate-related concerns and priorities.
  • Co-design processes may overcome common barriers (such as uncertainty in climate projections, and policy priorities that compete with climate adaptation) to the use of climate research in practice.

Suggested citation

André, K., Järnberg, L. and Gerger Swartling, A. (2020). Co-Designing Climate Services to Support Adaptation to Natural Hazards: Two Case Studies from Sweden. DOI:10.13140/RG.2.2.22687.30882.

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