31 August 2021

Local authorities on the journey to COP26:
It’s time to prioritise adaptation 


After another summer of extreme weather across the world the inescapable fact is that some elements of climate change are now, in the words of the IPCC, both inevitable and irreversible. With this in mind there has never been such a pressing time to consider the importance of adaptation.
Local governments are both leaders and key stakeholders in conversations around adaptation not only in their role as service providers but also as representatives of local democracy. The pandemic has demonstrated the importance of place-based action and the capacity of councils to collaborate across boundaries, act swiftly, adapt to change and deliver vital services in challenging times.  

Now, with COP26 just a couple of months away, this is an important opportunity to demonstrate to the world the importance of local places in catalysing a green recovery from Covid and a just transition to net zero.

To find out more about our Global Local service, please visit our website and if you would like to share a story on our blog or a strategy from your council to be featured on LGIU’s platform, fill in this simple form.

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Weathering the storm:
Local government's key role in climate adaptation

By Alice Creasy, LGIU

Watch: Our 65-second video brings you up to speed with climate adaptation issues faced by local governments globally and how you can help.

Read: This insightful briefing clearly sets out the visible impacts of a changing climate on the UK and Ireland and why prioritising adaptation is so important.

The briefing showcases inspiring place-based case studies, from using porous surfaces to manage flooding in Dublin to creating a 'Climate Change and Resilience' cabinet post at a West Yorkshire council.

Find out what you can do
More from LGIU
Bundle: Adaptation to climate change
This bundle brings together our recent briefings and publications on how councils are responding to and leading the adaptation agenda. We highlight global case studies from urban heat benchmarking studies in Western Sydney, Australia, to community engagement strategies when facing severe weather in Scotland. Read our content here.
Floods of the future: What can we learn from recent responses to flooding? 
Earlier this year, parts of Germany, ​​the Netherlands and Belgium experienced catastrophic flooding after record rainfall levels. Questions arose around how this flooding led to such devastating outcomes and how governments can prevent similar events from happening elsewhere. Read the publication here.
So you’ve declared a climate emergency.
What next?

The briefing focuses on case studies of two councils in Victoria, Australia, to better understand how local governments can lead change in response to global warming. The results are applicable across Australia – and globally – for anyone interested in building a local government response to mitigating climate change impacts on local communities. Read this member-only briefing here.
Innovation and Inspiration

SPAIN: Barcelona school yards adapted to become climate shelters
Water fountains, trees and plants and shade structures have transformed 11 exposed school yards into “cool islands” for community use in the City of Barcelona area. The adapted school yards are publicly accessible outside school hours to offer a naturally cool heat shelter for people in the congested urban area. More than 2,200 square metres of new shade and 1,000 square metres of natural space were created through the pilot project. The City plans to create another 19 climate shelters in school yards over the next two years. A parallel ‘OASIS’ project sought to cool 10 school yards in the City of Paris.
/ Urban Innovative Actions / Constantinos Cartalis /
Related: Mist gardens adopted as accessible and safer cooling options for hot US cities / Bloomberg CityLab / Alexandra Lange /

More: Data-driven irrigation system trialled to water urban greenery efficiently in Germany / TheMayor.EU / Denis Balgaranov /

US: Study calls for investing in climate-resilient and equitable public transport
Protecting train stations and transit systems from flooding, sea level rise and other climate threats should be the investment priority over expansion efforts, argues a new research study into Boston’s Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority. The study calls for pandemic relief awarded to transit agencies to be used to future-proof public transport systems against climate change. The study highlights that many of the areas most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change are also home to the most marginalised communities, who are strongly reliant on using public transit systems for work and childcare.
/ Bloomberg / Leslie Kaufman and Laura Bliss /
Related: Indian cities have opportunity to use blue-green infrastructure to manage urbanisation climate risks, report finds / Observer Research Foundation / Sayli Udas-Mankikar and Berjis Driver /
GLOBAL: Data projects map climate vulnerability in low-income countries
Low-cost data tools are being used to identify climate adaptation priorities in low-income countries, with World Bank support. Bangladesh Government departments used a publicly-accessible platform, GeoDASH, to assess cyclone risk levels in rural and urban areas and evaluate thousands of schools’ natural disaster capacity. Young people mapped urban trees in Tanzania using mobile phones at the start of the pandemic, in a “micro-tasking” approach to a wider climate resilience project. On the low-lying Marshall Islands, existing and projected data is helping to visualise the future impacts of sea level rise and inform decision-making to keep residents safe. / The World Bank /
Related: Older residents invited to share local climate change experiences in digital project by Irish council / Donegal Daily / Rachel McLaughlin /
More: ‘Living shorelines’ used as natural stabiliser against beach erosion on the US East Coast / Connecticut Mirror / Ben Crnic /
Resources: Climate Adaptation
To help you develop your own adaptation strategy, we’ve brought together a selection of useful policies and tools from across the globe.

Publications and events

Adaptation Scotland has a wealth of tools and resources including information on climate risks in the workplace, monitoring and evaluation, lesson plans, a Capability Framework for a Climate Ready Public Sector, case studies, videos and much more.

The Australian Government has collated a range of climate adaptation publications and resources. This database includes books, reports and national vulnerability assessments, plus national and regional climate adaptation reports from across the Pacific Region.

The Climate Adaptation Summit was held back in January 2021. This international event brought together experts, practitioners and global leaders to discuss the importance of adaptation. Many of the sessions can be found on the Summit’s YouTube channel.

Inspirational case studies

Climate-ADAPT is home to a range of adaptation case studies from across Europe. These case studies showcase measures that are being carried out across Europe to increase resilience to extreme weather and slow-onset events.

The U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit has published a plethora of adaptation case studies from across Central and North America, as well as examples from the Pacific Region. These case studies include examples of cross-border co-operation, work of First Nations groups to increase resilience, community engagement and tackling the spread of invasive species.
Interested in other LGIU Global content?
Global Local Think Tank Review
We have just published our first Global Local Think Tank Review - our roundup of new locally-focused analysis and guidance from research institutes and think tanks around the world.

This month’s edition features a number of reports on climate adaptation and resilience, including better ways to track, account and monitor the impact and equity of adaptation efforts. But that’s not all - the review also has links to research reports on place, children and young people, the ways different countries are trying to individualise adult social care and new ways to drive local public service improvement, as just some of the learning to share. Read the briefing here.
Outer Hebrides Climate Beacon
‘Climate Beacons for COP26’ is a Scotland-wide collaborative project which draws together climate change and environmental organisations alongside arts, heritage and cultural groups to stimulate long-term public engagement in the lead-up to and following COP26. This blog explores how this project is being realised in the Outer Hebrides. Read the blog here.
Thanks for reading!

Our next monthly COP26 newsletter will focus on cutting emissions from waste. We'll explore how local authorities can support and enable sustainable waste management, highlighting best practice examples regarding this important power from across the globe. We'll particularly focus on ways to build a circular economy.

Make sure you’re signed up to our 'Climate action and sustainable development' topic or the 'Global Local Recap' in your preferences to get the next edition at the end of September.

Next week's edition of the Global Local Recap explores planning with children and young people. With many children in the Northern Hemisphere returning to school, we share approaches and methods to creating 'child-friendly' cities.

If you would like to share a story on our blog or a strategy from your council, fill in this simple form or drop me a line at Please forward this free newsletter to a colleague or share it on social media to help us reach even more people who value local government globally. We tweet from @GlobalLocalLGIU.

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Image credits:

Thanks to Kelly Sikkema, Karsten Würth and Alessandro Fazari on Unsplash, Outer Hebrides Climate Beacon, and Pexels and StockSnap on Pixabay.
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