The Climate Ready Biosphere Vision and Action Plan have been launched by Climate Change Minister, Aileen McLeod MSP. Aileen said, “No single organisation, business or community will be able to adapt to climate change in isolation, which is why this work is so important. The Climate Ready Biosphere Vision, produced by Biosphere and Adaptation Scotland, sets out how this project will provide valuable insight and leadership on climate change adaptation in the coming years and months”.
Severe weather impacts are not new to the region covered by the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere, and the expected impacts of climate change will affect all areas of life in the area.
The Biosphere is a Learning Laboratory testing and demonstrating new and good practices of managing the land and influencing human activities. To succeed it is essential to bring together people and organisations across a geographical area to work together. Taking a partnership approach was crucial to developing a shared vision and identifying possible actions for the Biosphere.
Working with Adaptation Scotland the Biosphere has taken a role in raising awareness, engaging with the community and gaining stakeholder buy-in to pioneer more sustainable ways of living alongside a changing climate.
A series of three workshops were held to help participants to recognise and understand climate change and the need for adaptation, discovering positive action and identifying opportunities. The Biosphere Partnership provided important leadership and endorsement of the project and played a crucial role in involving a wide range of organisations, businesses and communities in the workshops. Participants included public sector organisations, local community groups, businesses and academics.
Adaptation Scotland provided support throughout the project, working with the Biosphere to design the workshops and build momentum through creating a Climate Ready Biosphere Vision and setting up a Task Group to develop an Action Plan.
Partnership working is crucial to a climate ready future for the Biosphere. This project demonstrates that partners with diverse backgrounds and interests can work together to identify shared challenges and opportunities and make progress by taking action. The importance of this topic is reflected in a proposal to add a fourth Biosphere objective to tackle climate change which will be considered at the World Congress of Biospheres to take place in Lima in 2016.
The impacts of climate change in the Biosphere are now more widely understood with challenges and opportunities identified, and a positive vision of a climate ready future is established. An action plan has been developed to go alongside the vision. Whilst there is still a long way to go in resourcing and implementing actions, a strong start has been made which would not have been possible without the engagement and buy-in developed through the project.
1. Involve a broad cross section of organisations and individuals to help identify adaptation challenges and opportunities, and establish a clear vision for the future.
2. Use recent experiences of the impacts of severe weather events on the region to recognise that climate change will affect all areas of life in the Biosphere.
3. Acknowledge good work that’s already happening, for example, the workshops included lots of examples of how partners are contributing towards increased climate resilience, such as the success of community resilience in Dumfries and Galloway.
4. Adaptation Scotland’s input was valuable, their expert facilitation helped to keep the process moving forward, looking for positive solutions and not dwelling on the negatives.
Now the Vision for a Climate Ready Biosphere and accompanying Action Plan have been launched one of the first priorities will be to establish a baseline from which to measure progress. Information about this project will be shared with Biospheres worldwide, demonstrating Scotland’s leadership in adapting to climate change and, inspiring others to do the same.