Press Releases

    For information only - not an official document

    UNIS/OUS/101
    8 September 2011

    Climate Change Adaptation by Spatial Planning in the Alpine Space

    VIENNA, 8 September (UN Information Service) - One hundred participants from the Alpine States have gathered today at the Vienna International Centre to discuss the main results and outcomes achieved under the Adaptation to Climate Change by Spatial Planning in the Alpine Space Project (CLISP). Organized by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Federal Environment Agency Austria, the CLISP Final Conference was opened with a video-message from UNEP Executive Director, Achim Steiner.

    Climate change is expected to affect spatial development in the Alpine Space, including land use, socio-economic activities and life-sustaining ecosystems services more severely than in other European regions. Temperature increase, decreasing snow cover and more severe weather extremes could cause a variety of adverse climate change impacts. Growing risks from water scarcity, heat waves and natural hazards might threaten settlements, physical infrastructure, utilities, material assets and human lives.

    Vulnerability assessment

    Funded under the EU Alpine Space Programme, the CLISP Project in its three years focused on the challenges to spatial planning in the face of climate change. The 16 CLISP partner organizations have analyzed ten Alpine model regions according to their vulnerability to climate change. Results have shown that regions, which are already sensitive to the climate extremes, are expected to be the most vulnerable regions also in the future. Even though technical measures are mostly well implemented "soft" adaptation strategies like a proper "climate-proof" spatial planning, better coordination of actions within institutions, and better risk-communication are often missing.

    Climate change fitness of spatial planning systems analyzed

    The investigation of the "climate change fitness" of spatial planning systems has shown that there are already strong formal planning instruments and important informal practices at hand that could be used to respond to climate change and to coordinate cross-sectoral adaptation activities. Nevertheless, climate adaptation needs to be addressed more directly and defined as an objective of spatial planning in legislation and other frameworks.

    Transnational Planning Strategy

    One of the main outcomes of the CLISP project is the Transnational Planning Strategy (TPS) that is mainly aimed at policymakers, decision-makers and political actors in spatial planning in the Alpine space as a decision-making tool for the development of suitable adaptation strategies and actions in response to climate change.

    Strategic project in the field of climate change adaptation and spatial planning

    The findings of the CLISP project as well as the pan-European perspectives of climate change adaptation have been discussed with representatives from the European Commission - Directorate General for Regional Policy, Directorate General for Climate Action, the Alpine Convention, the European Environment Agency as well as with participants from other international institutions attending the CLISP final conference.

    CLISP Project is a pioneering project in the field of climate change adaptation and spatial planning. Its outcomes are not only of strategic relevance for the coordinated development of climate change adaptation policies in the Alpine region, but with the support of the United Nations Environment Programme the CLISP results and experience can also be shared with other mountain regions, such as the Carpathians, Balkans and the Himalaya region.

    The CLISP project can be found at www.clisp.eu

    * *** *

    For more information please contact:

    Giulia Sechi
    UNEP Vienna - Interim Secretariat of the Carpathian Convention
    Telephone: (+43-1) 26060 - 4454
    Email: giulia.sechi[at]unvienna.org