Development of Urban Adaptation Plans for cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants in Poland

44 Polish cities, in cooperation with the Ministry of the Environment, participate in the project aimed at adapting them to the observed and prognosed climate changes.

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Let’s feel the climate – summarizing conference

On 9 January 2019, a conference summarizing the implementation of the project of the Ministry of the Environment "Development of plans for adaptation to climate change in cities of over 100,000 inhabitants" took place in Warsaw. The event was attended by the President of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Duda, Andrzej Dera - Secretary of State in the Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Poland, Paweł Sałek - advisor to the President of the Republic of Poland for environmental protection, Henryk Kowalczyk - Minister of Environment, Sławomir Mazurek - Undersecretary of State in the Ministry of Environment, as well as experts involved in the preparation of adaptation plans to climate change for 44 Polish cities.

44MPA 040 892x356 - Let's feel the climate - summarizing conference

The conference ended two years of work on the preparation of adaptation plans for 44 Polish cities – Białystok, Bielsko Biała, Bydgoszcz, Bytom, Chorzów, Czeladz, Częstochowa, Dąbrowa Górnicza, Elbląg, Gdańsk, Gdynia, Gliwice, Gorzów Wielkopolski, Grudziądz, Jaworzno, Kalisz, Katowice, Kielce, Kraków, Legnica, Lublin, Łódź, Mysłowice, Olsztyn, Opole, Płock, Poznań, Radom, Ruda Śląska, Rybnik, Rzeszów, Siemianowice Śląskie, Słupsk, Sopot, Sosnowica, Szczecin, Tarnów, Toruń, Tychy, Wałbrzych, Włocławek, Wrocław, Zabrze and Zielona Góra.

Thank you for the fact that in our country for two years there has been a programme being implemented and summed up today, which is unique on a European scale – said the President of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Duda. He emphasized that the opportunity to talk about adaptation to climate change in the largest urban centres in the country, looking at the country as a whole, is undoubtedly our great success. This shows that we think that we are a step forward, that we are aware that threats are growing and that we not only look at whether or not we pretend that nothing is happening, but we go forward and want to look for ways to solve possible future problems – he added.

Preparation of urban adaptation plans was based on an innovative approach aimed at determining the most effective measures to adapt and protect against the effects of already existing and forecasted threats – extreme temperatures, heat waves, heavy rainfall, storms and storms, urban floods, from the rivers and sea.

A high level of urbanisation means that climate change will have an impact on the dynamics of urban development and thus on the quality of life of their inhabitants. Therefore, increasing the ability to adapt to the negative effects of climate change and supporting resilience to climate change are one of the most important elements of global and Polish climate policy – emphasized Henryk Kowalczyk, Minister of the Environment.

Together with city authorities, whose inhabitants make up over 30% of the country’s population, strategic solutions have been developed to increase the cities’ adaptation potential to the effects of climate change and to increase the level of inhabitants’ awareness in this respect. Social and economic benefits, an increase in the level of safety and the improvement of the quality of life in the city are the objectives which, thanks to the implementation of the adaptation plans, will be achieved by 2030.

44 MPA is a flagship project of the Ministry of the Environment in the area of adaptation to climate change and an example of practical and fruitful cooperation between the government and local governments of the largest Polish cities. It results in the development of strategic solutions that will allow cities to increase their adaptation potential to the effects of climate change,” said Sławomir Mazurek, Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of the Environment.

Climate change is not only a global problem, but it is also becoming an increasingly important local problem. Adaptation to climate change in cities requires not only actions implemented by local governments, but also the involvement of residents. Awareness of climate change, threats and their effects (social, environmental, economic and health) as well as knowledge about the possibilities and effectiveness of climate change mitigation and adaptation measures is the basis for the involvement of local communities in adaptation measures, Wanda Jarosz from the Institute for Ecology of Industrial Areas stressed during the presentation of the results of awareness research.

Dr. Krystian Szczepański, Director of the Institute of Environmental Protection (IOŚ-PIB – project leader) and Barbara Rajkowska, project manager, presented summary results of analyses conducted in 44 cities participating in the project.

It is necessary to look for activities that solve many problems and bring results in many areas – emphasized Barbara Rajkowska, IOŚ-PIB. – There is a need for investments which serve to minimize the risk and protect the climate, while at the same time providing the residents with conditions conducive to health and strengthening social bonds.

During the discussion, aspects related primarily to partnership building, generation of synergies, use of good practices, as well as benefits from the use of innovative technologies and solutions in the field of blue-green infrastructure were discussed.

We are joining the world’s leading countries that are responsibly and comprehensively involved in adaptation to climate change.

Currently, cities are facing new challenges resulting from the observed climate changes – said Dr. Justyna Gorgoń from the Institute of Ecology of Industrial Areas during the panel “The future of adaptation activities in cities in Poland”. – Moreover, the specificity of modern urban centres, their size and density of the spatial structure and accompanying technical infrastructure, as well as the dynamically growing urban population create new threats resulting from weather phenomena and factors resulting from the specificity of urbanised areas.

Simon Bedford, partner in Deloitte UK, described climate change adaptation measures in three aspects. When it comes to financing these measures, funding should be sought at all three levels – from the administration, through the citizens themselves, to the private sector, which is increasingly open to the fight against and adaptation to climate change.

Experts stressed that adaptation serves to improve the quality of life in the city, of which the state of the environment is an increasingly important element. Adaptation measures undertaken in cities require, on the one hand, strong organisational and legal support at the national level, and on the other hand, conscious society and entities responsible for their implementation at the local level.

During the conference, the winners of the competition for primary and junior high school students “Let’s feel the climate – adaptation to climate change around us” were announced. GRAND PRIX Awards were presented by President Andrzej Duda.

In the Poster category, the winner was Zuzanna Łukaszewska from the Primary School No. 16 in Gdynia, the author of the work titled “The climate change”. See the need to adapt to the changing climate around us”; in the Photography category – Krystyna Szuszkiewicz from the Public Primary School No. 1 in Chorzele, the author of the work entitled “Posters of the Year”, the winner was Zuzanna Łukaszewska from the Primary School No. 16 in Gdynia, the author of the work “Poster”. “Hope”.

 

Photo gallery from the conference:

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