Strategic Planning for Climate Adaptation - a case study of Åre municipality

University essay from Lunds universitet/Miljövetenskaplig utbildning

Abstract: Åre municipality, a well-known skiing resort in Sweden, has been classified as a primary risk area for landslides, due to a combination of global warming and increased pressure from expansion. The purpose of this study is to explore options to strengthen climate adaptation planning and reduce vulnerability in Åre. This thesis is a qualitative single-case study with results relevant for sensitive mountain regions. The method is based on (1) empirical material, consisting of two municipal overarching policy documents, five planning decisions relevant to climate adaptation and interviews with municipal officials, (2) an analytical framework to evaluate climate adaptation planning, and (3) a literature review, in which adaptation options for developed mountain regions are explored. Out of 19 adaptation processes, listed in the analytical framework, 9 could not be identified in any of the empirical material. Additionally, the results suggest that there are no consistent links between climate adaptation plans in Åre municipality. While the overarching policy documents consider goals, implementation and evaluation factors, the analysed planning decisions focus on knowledge acquisition and ´low-risk´ capacity-building. Adaptation to landslide risk is managed by means of risk assessments, based on historical climate trends and expert investigations. Several blind spots in Åre’s adaptation strategy can be identified, such as the lack of success criteria, assessment of human capital, options appraisal, and communication. Adaptation options that could be relevant to strengthen adaptation planning processes in Åre municipality include, but are not limited to, goal-clarification, improving knowledge base, collaboration, and stakeholder engagement.

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