The Norwegian exchange
The AwK – Adaptation with Knowledge, Climate Change project is funded by the Multiannual Financial Mechanism known as the EEA Grants, whose donor countries are Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. The project’s promoter is the Algarve Intermunicipal Community (AMAL), comprising the 16 Algarvian municipalities; and there are two partners: the Algarve Regional Tourism Board (RTA) and KS – the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities.
KS is, therefore, the partner from one of the donor countries. It is the only local government association in Norway. Membership is voluntary and open to all local and regional governments. Currently all 356 municipalities and all 11 county councils in the country are members. KS advocates on behalf of members, voices their interests, provides support to members and acts as employer association for local and regional governments.
Norway held local elections in September 2019. All KS’ statutory bodies were subsequently renewed in its February 2020 Congress. A new medium term policy platform 2020 – 2024 structured on the Sustainable Development Goals was also adopted. Climate mitigation and local adaptation remains for KS an important policy direction.
The synergies with KS within the AwK project are particularly important within Axis 2 (Exchange and consolidation of knowledge based on practical cases of climate change adaptation, through interactions with entities similar to AMAL or Norwegian municipalities). Thus, KS has a crucial role in the project, contributing to the compilation and transmission of knowledge and the exchange of experiences regarding climate change adaptation in Norway, working as benchmarking* for adaptation in the Algarve.
In Portugal, benchmarking is already recommended regarding adaptation. According to the Adaptation Options Identification Manual for the ClimAdaPT.Local project, it is important to “analyse and consider if other countries’ or organisations’ experiences might be applicable regarding the events and impacts identified in the municipality. Consulting this information will allow us to reflect about similar experiences in other countries, municipalities, organisations or communities that are facing similar climate risks. and thus assess if the adaptation options might be applied in the specific context of the municipality.”
The Portuguese National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy (ENAAC 2020) also mentions the significance of benchmarking, highlighting the importance of promoting participation mechanisms that can be helpful for decision making, for example through the compilation of good examples at national and international levels.
Even though the Norwegian and Algarvian climatic realities and future projections are very different from one another, there are also some common points and concerns: temperature increases in all seasons and a higher risk of forest fires, intense precipitation and flooding, drought (even though the total precipitation volume is increasing in Norway, the south of the country faces risk of drought during the Summer months), acidification and temperature rise in the oceans, and landslides. Sharing experiences between countries on how to deal with climate vulnerabilities is one of the main pillars of the AwK project.