ADAPTATION STRATEGY 6

Prepare an Adaptation Action Plan

Develop a set of adaptation actions to be implemented. Actions should be prioritized based on criteria that reflect community values as well as urgency, cost, feasibility, and the level of co-benefits that each action can achieve. Some communities embark upon a public engagement strategy once they have prioritized their climate risks, to establish levels of community understanding and support for potential actions.
Adaptation options include a wide range of actions or activities and will likely involve some combination of the following:

  • Modifying policies, plans, practices and procedures
  • Strategic timing, for instance, positioning planning proposals and actions to coincide with policy refresh periods or growth strategy updates
  • Building new or upgrading existing infrastructure
  • Including consideration of ecosystem services being provided by ecosystem components
  • Improving community awareness and public education
  • Varying and/or diversifying options (e.g. developing “safeguards” against climate change impacts to can increase the preparedness of the community)
  • Ensuring that all aspects of community services are considered and included
  • Consideration of regional and public sector infrastructure, planning processes, regional growth strategies, cross-boundary ecosystem health, and other systemic interdependencies

Developing the plan necessitates a clear understanding of the value associated with adoption and implementation, including asset protection, avoided health, economic, environmental, and social impacts, as well as how the plan will integrate with existing corporate and community plans and policies. With respect to administration of the plan and its associated actions, establishing a governance model with appropriate oversight and dedicated staff to carry out the actions is crucial as well. A sample model is shown below:

Based on the prioritized set of climate risks resulting from the risk and vulnerability assessment, and the community’s objectives, the adaptation team can now begin the process of developing adaptation options for how to overcome the impacts of climate change.

These options should be broken down into short- and long-term time frames, and should reflect the community’s vision and the objectives that you have identified previously.

Plan Options

  • Modifying policies, plans, practices and procedures: Existing by-laws, codes, regulations, policies, development plans, and operating practices may have to be modified in order to adapt for climate change impacts
  • Strategic timing, for instance, positioning planning proposals and actions to coincide with policy refresh periods or growth strategy updates
  • Building new or upgrading existing infrastructure: Examples of this include protecting natural assets, expanding storm water collection systems, expanding wastewater treatment capacity, increasing bridge heights or strengthening levees
  • Including consideration of ecosystem services being provided by ecosystem components such as forests, foreshores and aquifers that both reduce climate risk and reduce emissions, with co-benefits for property values, health, and biodiversity
  • Improving community awareness and public education: To generate support for adaptation efforts the municipality will likely need to use outreach and education actions. These can also be useful to effect voluntary change at the individual level, such as water or energy conservation
  • Varying and/or diversifying the options: By developing “safeguards” against climate change impacts you can increase the preparedness of the municipality. Examples can include: diversifying the municipality’s economic base to move away from sources that will be negatively affected by climate change (i.e. coastal recreation); developing new groundwater sources to expand water supply; or reducing demand from the electric grid during heat waves
  • Ensuring that all aspects of municipality services are considered and included, such as social services, mental and physical health, low income and ESL residents and other vulnerable populations, emergency preparedness, economic development and small business
  • Consideration of regional and public sector infrastructure, planning processes, regional growth strategies, cross-boundary ecosystem health, and other systemic interdependencies

Case Studies

Case Study

Metro Vancouver Leadership

Metro Vancouver demonstrates bold leadership in responding to climate change by ensuring that infrastructure, ecosystems, and communities are resilient to the impacts of climate change. In addition, it is pursuing achievement of carbon neutrality for the region by 2050. In 2018, the first iteration of the Climate 2050 Strategic Framework document was published. Further content, resources, a history of current and past climate actions, and the next stages to develop the actions and supporting policies can be found below:

See the City of Vancouver’s 2012 Adaptation Strategy, which was the first official municipal adaptation strategy launched in Canada (refresh approved unanimously by Council in 2018)