Friday, 6 March 2015

WP7 Kickoff - Or: how to analyse the EU adaptation policy?

Last week, on Tuesday 24 February (2015), we had the kick-off meeting to start Work Package 7 (abbreviated as WP7).

– What is a Work Package? These large international research projects (like the FP7 funded BASE project) are divided up into several pockets of work focused on a specific task, i.e. a ‘Work Package’. In BASE, there in total 8 Work Packages. –

In WP7, we will look at climate change adaptation policy at the level of the European Union (EU). We will look, first, at several EU legislation and official directives, and analyse in which way climate change adaptation is included (or not) in the formulation of the text of those. Second, we will dive into a couple of sectoral EU policies (likely to be water management, coastal management, public health management, agriculture management and biodiversity conservation). We will analyse why (or why not), and if so, in which way, climate change adaptation is adopted or taken into account in these sectoral policies. Third, the aim is to synthesise all findings from the BASE project, and translate these into a guidance for policy makers at EU level, and possibly also for other policy-making audiences.

There are in total 10 institutions from 8 member-states involved in this Work Package (i.e. Aarhus University and DBT from Denmark; ISPRA and CMCC from Italy; UFZ from Germany; FFCUL from Portugal; SYKE from Finland; CVGZ from Czech Republic; BC3 from Spain; and University of Exeter from the UK). We were with an international group of 10 persons on Tuesday, with delegates from Denmark, Germany, Finland, Italy, Portugal, Czech Republic, and the UK (and we had one more delegate via Skype).

In the morning Alessio Capriolo (from ISPRA in Rome) updated us about their work on the analysis of the EU legislation (whether there are references to climate change adaptation in the formulation of the text), for WP7.1. And we discussed the next steps for this task. We considered to use the case studies already being conducted for the BASE project (for WP5). And to analyse in which way national level polices affect these case studies, and how these national level polices relate to the EU policies.

In the afternoon, we split up into two groups. One group discussed how to start the analysis for the deeper understanding of why climate change adaptation is adopted or not in relevant EU policies (for WP7.2). This task will also include empirical data collection (i.e. interviewing policy-makers from the European Commission in Brussels, and collecting and reviewing relevant documentation), which is expected to take place in May/June. And the other group discussed how to start the synthesis, and how to translate that into relevant guidance for EU policymakers (for WP7.3). This last task is not due very soon, but we considered that is important that other relevant project members (i.e. leaders of the deliverables) are aware (asap) that an extraction will be needed of the deliverables, to enable the synthesis and translation to the guidance document.

Below some pictures of the meeting:

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Session for ECCA rejected...

I received news from the ECCA organisers that the proposal I had submitted for a session to the ECCA conference (in May in Copenhagen), has been rejected. The proposal was to talk about real-world experiences with public participation. To be able to put some nuances and empirically-informed reflections to the participation-enthusiasm that seems to be become increasingly dominant in the climate change adaptation world. For example, what if some actor groups or individuals do not want to participate in a process about climate change adaptation? Perhaps it is in their interest to pursue other avenues than joining a participation process. What if the public is so heterogeneous it does not fit in the envisaged participation process, and the facilitators decide to intervene in the invitation policy? What if some actors have conflicting interests, and do not wish to participate in a joint process with each other? What if some actors or individuals have more resources available than others, and can pull the process towards their own interest?

There were also a couple of other participation-sessions proposed for the ECCA conference. I wonder whether these types of questions will be covered in the other participation-sessions? I wonder also why my session got rejected. The reason the ECCA organisers provided was: “Due to the high volume of submissions, the Programme Committee was obliged to make a strict selection in order to ensure coherence and variety in the programme.” … Would that imply that either this idea was not coherent enough with the rest of the programme? Or that there was already another session covering this idea? Looking at the proposed sessions, I would have thought my idea was both fitting with the rest of the programme, as well as providing a refreshing angle. I can speculate about another reason for the ECCA to exclude this idea. And that is that my session included 4 abstracts, and I had the impression that the organisers were very keen on sessions with 6 abstracts (Why? Well, probably to be able to collect more administration fees). I was very happy with those 4 abstracts, as it fitted with my proposal for a session which was not back-to-back full with speakers, and which provided sufficient time for questions, discussion, and sharing experiences. Sessions which are full with a one-way information flow tend to be over-saturating for the audience. Moreover, it would be rather paradoxal to prefer one-way traffic sessions about public participation above participatory sessions about public participation. (And would this be an example of how a facilitator can influence the agenda?) But, we don’t know the exact selection criteria of the ECCA organisers, for their conference programme. I’m curious how the final programme will look like, and which topics will covered and which not.