Mediation - Methodology for Effective Decision-making on Impacts and Adaptation (Main Project Page)

Submitted by Sabrina Lambat 14th July 2011 14:08

Key outputs


Until recently, climate change policy in Europe focused on reduction of greenhouse gases. After the turn of the century, decision makers at the international, national, regional and local level in Europe increasingly recognized their own vulnerability to climate change impacts. To reduce this vulnerability in the most cost-effective way, they need scientific and technical information about  climate change impacts, vulnerability and adaptation options. Currently, the availability of such information in Europe is fragmented and incomplete.

MEDIATION addressed this challenge through six activities. You can view them below:

1. Decision-making context for assessment of vulnerability, impacts and related adaptation

By analysing the decision-making context you can define climate change adaptation policy needs and decision domains, map the institutional context and knowledge networks, review the outcomes of existing impacts, vulnerability and adaptation policy and implementation, and review the methods that would provide the appropriate level of decision screening for that outcome. This should also provide practical guidance to the user (decision-maker choosing a method in a particular policy context).

Visualisation of institutional networks and the flows of information used for making adaptation decisions in a range of policy contexts

This report provides guidance for the case study teams in Mediation on a socio-institutional network mapping (SNM) approach that is a useful method of rapid visualisation of the institutional context in which adaptation decision-making is taking place. The guidance includes a literature review and a summary of research that has been done using this approach. There is discussion on the characteristics of networks produced using this approach, their use for adaptation planning, whether their topology can tell us anything about decision framing and uncertainty and if there are any corresponding links to choices of tools. In addition, two methods for measuring adaptive capacity and diagnosing barriers to adaptation will be outlined as useful follow-up methods using results from SNM, which could also be useful next steps in the case studies. Finally, the SNM methodology is explained in detail by applications in 2 case studies – Spain and the UK.

2. Methods and metrics for assessing impacts and vulnerability

The main objective of this workpackage is to develop and apply a toolbox, defined as a set of models, methods and metrics for the assessment of impacts and vulnerability and adaptation options. We will apply the toolbox to salient adaptation problems identified in the MEDIATION case studies. The remit of this workpackage is to provide (mostly) quantitative impact and vulnerability assessment tools and models for the specific case studies in close collaboration with the contextualisation, user interfacing, design and evaluation of adaptation options.  To the iterative development of the integrated methodology, WP 2 has two key contributions: (i) a toolbox in terms of a set of models, methods and metrics for the assessment of impacts, vulnerability and adaptation, (ii) Critical reflection on the suitability and limitations of the toolbox to the given adaptation problems. The contribution of WP 2 to the MEDIATION Adaptation Pathfinder logically emerges from these two contributions in terms of providing and documenting the tools, models and databases.

3. Methods and metrics for socio-economic evaluation of adaptation strategies including cost-effectiveness

The key objective of this Work Package is to review existing methods and tools to assess the socio-economic aspects of climate change impacts, vulnerability, and particularly adaptation options, and apply these to the case studies. It has strong linkages with WP1 and WP2 but WP3 intends to have a larger emphasis on developing and testing methods. 

4. The MEDIATION Integrated Methodology

WP4 of MEDIATION aims to develop an “integrated methodology” (IM) for climate change adaptation consisting of a collection of typical problems encountered in this domain associated with  methods suitable for addressing them. A more specific terminology will be developed that goes beyond the currently used abstract terms and does justice to the wide variety of problems addressed. The IM will be developed in three steps: 

  1. First, we will empirically analyse the climate change adaptation problems stakeholders are confronted with in the context of several adaptation domains from the local to the European scale.
  2. Second, we will systematically order the available methods and tools.
  3. Finally we will link the problems to the methods and tools. 

The resulting IM will enable its users to identify the type of adaptation problem she is confronted with as well as to select methods/tools appropriate for addressing these.

5. MEDIATION Adaptation Pathfinder

The focus of WP5 is the development of a decision support framework (the Adaptation Pathfinder) as a tool capable of the evaluation and strategic planning of adaptation measures and strategies with regard to hydro-meteorological and climate changes and extremes. The Adaptation Pathfinder will provide integrated web-enabled access to the MEDIATION toolbox, as well as to literature hints, spatially resolved climate impact and vulnerability maps, knowledge about regional adaptation, and guidelines how to use the information, taking due account of uncertainties.

6. Dissemination, Training and Stakeholders Dialogues

Dissemination activities are crucial for exploiting project results and for achieving the practical implementation of project outcomes. Participation of relevant actors in early stages of the research process is also crucial to fit the research and dissemination plan to their needs and capabilities. These include policy advisors, governmental and other decision makers responsible for risk mitigation and adaptation. Beyond that, standard scientific communication channels (publications and conferences) and web-based provision of results to the public are elements of the dissemination strategy. Finally, it is planned to come up with training and decision-support material towards the end of the project.

Training Modules and Technical Briefing Notes

As part of the MEDIATION project, weADAPT was tasked with collating and hosting training modules which link into the MEDIATION Adaptation Pathfinder. The modules include background to the method, how the method is applied, strengths and weaknesses of each method, the added value of the method for the field of climate adaptation, example applications, tools or available software to apply the method and any further resources or reading material. 

In addition, MEDIATION produced a series of technical policy briefing notes on decision support methods for climate change adaptation. You can download these briefing notes individually below, or as one file here (~6MB).

Information on the following case studies is already available:

This project ended on 30 June 2013.

The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Community's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement no. 244012