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Enabling Regional Adaptation

Enabling Regional Adaptation

Key points

  • Climate change will have different impacts across the regions of NSW
  • The NSW Government is helping regions prepare for climate change through its Enabling Regional Adaptation work.
  • Enabling Regional Adaptation work has been done for each region of NSW using a series of stakeholder workshops. It uses a systems approach that considers the relationship among the climate, community, economy and environment.
  • The process takes a regional method, so adapting to climate change could be tailored for local conditions.
  • Enabling Regional Adaptation reports draw on local knowledge from each region and summarise the key climate risks and opportunities for action.

Enabling Regional Adaptation process

NSW encompasses a large area, with different climates, topography and communities so climate change will affect each NSW region differently.

The Enabling Regional Adaptation work is guiding the NSW Government’s response to climate change in each region. The process has been completed for all regions of NSW. A different process has been used for the ACT and Metropolitan Sydney.

The Enabling Regional Adaptation work considers the relationship among the climate, social, economic and environmental factors in a particular region. This is called a systems approach. A systems approach allows us to consider all aspects of a system, rather than just one part of it. It also allows us to respond to climate change on a large, collaborative scale. This will ensure that each region responds to climate change in a way that suits it.

Workshops for Enabling Regional Adaptation

The Enabling Regional Adaptation work involved a series of stakeholder workshops in each region. More than 1700 stakeholders were involved across NSW. The workshop discussions considered the human, social, natural, physical and financial factors that will affect the region’s ability to cope with climate change.

The workshops helped to identify the major systems of each region that are particularly vulnerable to climate change and need change. Some of the systems apply to the whole region, and others apply to parts of the region.

Examples of identified systems include:

  • extensive grazing
  • coastal tourism
  • emergency management
  • water supply
  • regional towns
  • transport and infrastructure.

The stakeholders identified the parts of each system that are resilient to climate change, and which parts will need to change to be resilient in the future.

It’s important to recognise that the systems described are not the only ones operating in the region, but are the ones the stakeholders identified as in most need of adaptation to meet the challenges of climate change.

Results of the Enabling Regional Adaptation workshops

A report was developed for each region, which includes:

  • a vision for a climate-resilient future (transformation)
  • opportunities for action towards that future (transition).

The workshops helped to understand community behaviour. This can help decision makers identify pathways, comprising smaller step-by-step actions that can be taken, which will lead to larger system changes that help achieve the vision. By understanding the behaviour of a community and using local knowledge, the steps proposed can be tailored for that community. This makes achieving the vision more likely.

Developing pathways and opportunities for action helps people at all levels – from state agencies to individuals – identify things they can do to transition to a more resilient future. Transformation of these systems is necessary to ensure effective ongoing government service planning and delivery in the region.