Organization of climate adaptation network
Networks are an important way of creating change of attitudes and affecting concrete measures and strategies for climate adaptation. Many small municipalities in Norway have never been part of any climate network and is therefore an important group
to reach. Some larger cities are participating in many different networks, maybe too many for some. It is important that the municipalities consider and evaluate what networks to participate in, and how many, to avoid less capacity for daily work tasks in the organization. The aim is that the networks that are established are well planned and to the point. To exploit the advantages of networks, the way the networks are established, organized and operated means a lot. The network should focus on concrete plans on how to implement and anchor new knowledge in the participants' organizations.
Practical guidelines for the organizing and establishment of networks between municipalities for learning climate adaptation is given in Klima 2050 Report 9 (in Norwegian).
How to organize and operate networks?
A network with climate adaptation as the main focus, gives enough time for introduction in climate adaptation with ca 4 seminars (with homework) over a year. Experiences show that this scope may contribute to climate adaptation being implemented in municipality plans and lead to concrete measures.
The time aspect is seen as important. Time for maturation between the seminars, the homework and the climate adaptation work between the seminars, have a considerable learning effect.
In two of the networks that are evaluated, the following topics have been valued as a first introduction to what climate adaptation is, and how to plan for it:
How to get climate adaptation into vulnerability analyses and municipality plans, with concrete examples of texts that may be shared.
Climate history (historic climate/ nature events in the participating municipalities)
Laws and regulations for climate adaptation, the responsibility of the municipality.
Use of maps/ GIS for planning and visualization of climate scenarios.
Interdisciplinary/ inter departmental work: How to work with climate adaptation in the municipality across departments and units.
Review of guidance documents and web pages on climate adaptation.
Social science theory on why it is challenging to obtain climate adaptation, and advantages with learning in networks.
How to take the acquired knowledge back to the organization/ municipality: concrete measures for implementation.
Examples of technical storm water run-off solutions for climate adaptation.
Examples on homework, presented on the seminars:
Choose and present guidance documents or web pages relevant and useful for other employees in your organization.
Go through the climate history in your municipality and present it to other employees it is useful for.
Examine if climate adaptation is a topic in the general vulnerability analysis, municipality plans in your municipality, and share potential texts in the network. Report to the responsible persons in your municipality where climate adaptation should be considered in the plans.
A suggestion from the participants was to bring about the network in two steps: A first year with overall planning, and a second year with information on technical measures.
The participants also pointed to the fact that they wanted to be included in the detailing of the network program.
The network should be a multilevel-network, with participants from more than one level of public governance (for example: municipalities, county municipality, county governor). This gives legitimacy to the network, and important learning both ways in the system. It is also important for good anchoring of participation, both political and administratively.
It should be (at least) 2 participants from each municipality/ organization (but not too many), and these persons should be from different departments. More than one participant from each municipality makes it easier to implement the knowledge in their own organization. It also creates a focus on climate adaptation across departments in the organization, which can be a basis for an internal group working with climate adaptation.
The participants should be from different special fields and departments to secure interdisciplinarity, especially relevant are department for planning, building application, environment and climate, property, agriculture, water supply and sewage. Both administration and management are important participants. A group of participants from different disciplines contributes to the understanding of the complexity and the need for an overall view on the climate adaptation work.
The participants must be carefully chosen in the municipality/ organization. They need roles in the organization that makes them able to influence and implement new knowledge (leader or coordinator). The personality of the participants should be characterized by the ability to inspire others and contribute to the spreading of knowledge.
The leader of the network must create confidence for cooperation and sharing. It is important that the members are equalized, and that each participant's experiences, both success stories and challenges with climate adaptation, are valued.
Homework between the seminars should be given priority and involve other persons in the home organization.
Presentations from experts may be needed on some subjects, however, listening to experiences on climate adaptation and challenges from the other municipalities is appreciated the most. This should be given focus both in group work and plenum presentations.
If practical, the meeting place for the network meetings may be done by turns. The advantage of this is the equalizing of the members. It also opens for employees from the local municipalities to attend the local meeting. This contributes to the implementation of knowledge.
Parallel sessions with diverse topics can be relevant if the members have very different professional interests.
Invitation to join the network should go to political leadership for signing and selection of participants from the municipality. This will secure that the leadership has knowledge of the network and knows who the representatives from their municipality are.
The invitation should include information on how to select the representatives, and information on key factors for implementation of the network knowledge.
Political leadership should be invited to the start-up meeting/ a part of the first seminar. This secures that they are aware of the topic, and increases the chance that the participants are given arenas to teach or use the knowledge.
The municipality must be encouraged to provide their network participants arenas to teach and train employees in their home organization, including the politicians.
Time for homework from the network must be prioritized and involve other employees in the local municipality. This increases the chance for implementation of new knowledge.
Hauge, Å.H, Hanssen, G.S & Flyen, C: Multilevel networks for climate change adaptation – what Works? International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management 2018, ISSN 1756-8692