The practical challenges and lessons learned from designing and operationalising web-based cimate adaptation platforms

Together with some of its international partners, CAS hosted a session at the Adaptation Futures conference in Rotterdam (10 - 13 May 2016). The session was about climate adaptation platforms in action and networks: the practical challenges and lessons learned from designing and operationalising web-based platforms.


Program session:

Welcome and introduction
Kim van Nieuwaal, Climate Adaptation Services (CAS), the Netherlands


Kim van Nieuwaal welcomes everybody in the room and sets out the ambition and the program of this session. The room is full. People in the back are sitting on the floor. "By platforms we mean web-based areas of information, basically", Kim explains. The terms 'platforms', 'portals', and 'websites' might be used interchangeably in this session, he adds. Why are climate adaptation portals relevant? The need for climate adaptation is now undisputed. And also, there's already a lot of knowledge and experience available. One of the main challenges now is to get that knowledge and experience across, but more importantly, to involve users in the co-creation of useable knowledge. Portals are among the promising means for that matter. In this session, the opportunities and challenges of such web-based portals for climate adaptation will be explored. "The session is organised by parties that have the ambition push the boundaries in that respect", says Kim. 

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Overview of EEA activities including recent reports and Climate-ADAPT

Kati Mattern, European Environment Agency (EEA), Denmark


Kati Mattern gives an update on the features of the European Climate Adaptation Platform (Climate-ADAPT) which is a complementary activity of the European Commission to the Member states and one of the key elements of the EU Adaptation Strategy (2013). The platform aims to share the growing knowledge on climate change adaptation across Europe. This is done by offering official governmental reporting on national adaptation policies, the results of European research, adaptation support tools, inspiring case studies, and easy accessible knowledge in a database. The presentation highlights how the European Environment Agency is developing the platform in response to user´s needs within the limits of the given budget. 

In the discussion someone asks how they integrate user feedback? Users feel that there is enough information in the portal. Most requests are for better functionalities and not for more content. With limited resources they try to do the best they can. It would be interesting to know more about the user groups. And which part of the site is most popular among the 3300 users per month? Most popular are the country pages and the case studies but it is definitely worth it to look further into the website statistics.

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Challenges for adaptation platforms
Roger Street, 
UK Climate Impacts Programme (UKCIP), United Kingdom


Roger Street observes that traditional means of communicating climate adaptation related information are insufficient in meeting the needs of end-users. Web-based climate change adaptation platforms are considered an effective means to address the issue. Realising the potential benefits of web-based knowledge exchange, however, is not without challenges. EEA published a technical report with an overview of climate change adaptation platforms in Europe. This report is really worthwhile reading. It identifies and explores challenges, reflections and lessons learnt grouped around seven issues. There is a keen interest in working together as a community to address challenges and share experiences and lessons learnt.

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Climate Ireland: A case study on facilitating local authority planning for climate change
Barry O’Dwyer, Center for Marine and Renewable Energy (MaREI), Ireland

  Barry O’Dwyer shows the tool they developed to help the local authorities planning for climate change: Ireland’s Climate Information Platform. Its aim is to design and develop a one-stop web-based resource of climatic and adaptation information to facilitate climate adaptation decision making while also acting as a source of climatic and adaptation information for the general public. One conclusion Barry makes is that an understanding of decision-making context is critical to success.

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The Australian adaptation strategy and practical experience in adaptation support products
Robert Webb, 
Australian National University (ANU), Australia
David Rissik, National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF), Australia



David Rissik tells us that lessons from recent Australian experience, illustrate how understanding the needs of users, can help to deliver tools that support best practice. One approach does not suit all, both in the guidance, information and data that are provided, but also in the level of detail within products. David emphasises the need for providing multiple entry points to tools and information, to support users to obtain information suited to their needs.

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The Dutch national climate adaptation portal and the real time use of the touch table
Hasse Goosen, 
Climate Adaptation Services (CAS), the Netherlands


Hasse Goosen presents the national platform for Spatial Adaptation in the Netherlands. The Knowledge portal for spatial adaptation has been developed 1 ½ years ago by the Dutch Delta Programme (Spatial Adaptation programme) and the research programme Knowledge for Climate. The portal has been created to facilitate cities and regions in their adaptation efforts. Hasse takes us through the steps of Analysis, Ambition and Action and shows us the most important tools of the platform. One of the lessons learned in building and developing this portal is that portals are a matter of continuous co-creation and innovation. It is all about working together with all kind of parties.

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This session is organised in collaboration with