On Tuesday 7th of May, 2024, an exclusive session was held with the RegionsAdapt Community of Practice and the MAIA project partners to address how to strengthen the policy-science exchanges for building more robust adaptation strategies, looking at the practical example and inputs to the draft third Scottish National Adaptation Plan (2024-2029).

In the face of escalating climate change impacts, effective adaptation planning at the regional level is critical. As communities grapple with increasingly frequent and severe climate-related challenges, bridging the gap between knowledge and policy becomes imperative. This event aimed to bring together decision-makers with practitioners and researchers to discuss and exchange on how to strengthen adaptation plans and strategies by looking at concrete ongoing projects and plans under elaboration such as the draft Scottish National Adaptation Plan 2024-2029 and other regional strategies.

In January 2024, the Scottish Government unveiled the draft National Adaptation Plan 2024-2029, marking a significant step in its climate change strategy. This document aims to align with the EU Mission on Adaptation to Climate Change and reflects Scotland’s moral obligation to address climate challenges.

The draft plan, now open for public consultation, seeks to enhance resilience across various sectors. It underscores the importance of public input and international collaboration to create robust adaptation strategies. Kay White, Senior Policy Adviser in Climate Change Adaptation at the Scottish Government, detailed the plan’s key priorities: nature connectivity, community empowerment, and infrastructure resilience, with nature playing a central role in adaptation strategies.

Governance for the plan involves the Global Climate Emergency Board, ensuring policy development and implementation. The plan is grounded in the Climate Change Scotland Act, which mandates periodic publication of adaptation plans and integration of UK Climate Change Risk Assessment findings.

The consultation process includes expert-led technical tracks, place-based engagements, and public feedback. The final plan, expected in September, will refine policies based on this input, focusing on implementation and monitoring.

Jemima Gordon-Duff, Deputy Director for International Climate Change at the Scottish Government, emphasised, “The draft Scottish National Adaptation plan is rooted in climate justice and acknowledges our moral duty to mitigate emissions and support others. With our trajectory nearing halfway to net zero by 2025, the plan seeks to engage the public and foster a collective understanding of solutions to climate challenges.” 

Consult the draft Scottish National Adaptation Plan 2024-2029 here.

We invite you to read the draft third Scottish National Adaptation Plan (2024-2029) here.

A panel discussion with experts like Leo Bejarano, Head of the Catalan Climate Change Office; Griet Verstraeten, Policy Officer for Climate Adaptation at the Department of Environment and Spatial Development of Flanders; and Kit England, Senior Climate Adaptation Specialist at Paul Watkiss Associates and partner of the Pathways2Resilience Project, explored adaptation strategies, financing, and governance. They emphasised integrating economic planning, investing in resilient infrastructure, and fostering collaboration across sectors.

In another panel, María José Sanz, Scientific Director at the Basque Centre for Climate Change (BC3) and Lead Partner in the MAIA Project and Marina Balestero, Coordinator on Environmental Planning at the Sao Paulo State Government, discussed integrating mitigation and adaptation, monitoring progress, and stakeholder engagement. They highlighted innovative approaches, such as data sharing and public-private partnerships.

Ian Freeman, Head of Adaptation Policy at the Scottish Government, emphasised the complexity of adaptation planning, the need for collective action, and learning from global best practices. He stressed prioritizing adaptation measures and ensuring alignment with long-term goals.

Jordan Harris, Executive Director of Regions4, highlighted the continuous nature of adaptation and Scotland’s commitment to climate justice, focusing on equity and fairness in addressing climate change challenges.

  • Insights highlighted the interconnectedness of adaptation planning, economic development, and innovative financing and the need to plan looking at the different aspects of adaptation.
  • Regional governments were urged to take proactive steps in emissions mitigation and adaptation support.
  • Public participation and diverse perspectives were deemed essential for effective adaptation planning, notably in the planning and implementation phase.
  • Collaboration among governmental entities, private sectors, and civil society was identified as crucial for successful implementation.
  • Innovative approaches to adaptation finance, including climate funds, innovative climate taxes and risk transfer mechanisms, were discussed as options for building the case for investing at the subnational level and developing viable adaptation projects.
  • Clear governance structures, stakeholder engagement, and transparent monitoring mechanisms were emphasised for moving from planning to implementation.
  • Successful adaptation planning examples from regions like Catalonia, Flanders, and Sao Paulo showcased the importance of cross-sectoral collaboration.
  • The dialogue provided valuable insights into Scotland’s adaptation planning efforts, highlighting collaboration, innovation, and equitable approaches.

The event was organized by Regions4 through the RegionsAdapt initiative, in partnership with the Scottish Government and the MAIA project.

Attendees included Regions4 members and RegionsAdapt practitioners, regional government representatives and experts, the MAIA consortium partners, and Scottish partners.

We invite you to read the Brief for Action report here.

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