'NI Adapts' Planning Toolkit

Submitted by Robin Hocquet | published 7th Dec 2020 | last updated 9th Jul 2021
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Platform summary

The NI Adapts Planning Toolkit aims to support local authorities and other interested organisations to undertake a 5-step cycle of workshops, exercise and climate information to develop an adaptation plan, and build resilience to the potential negative impacts of climate change. This is complemented by the Local Government Climate Action Network (LGCAN) which offers a forum for peer-to-peer learning and training to support the use of the platform.

The core idea of the platform was to gain the maximum traction for the least amount of effort, due to resource constraints both at Climate NI and also in the local authorities. NI Adapts is extremely practical, and brings the user from having no knowledge of climate action whatsoever, to being able to lead an adaptation planning process in their organisation.

This direct approach means that work can get underway with time saved on administrative burdens like agenda creation and presentation development for council staff. Climate NI guidance and the wide variety of other online resources can then supplement this learning when required, rather than undertaking that education task entirely in person for every new organisation.

Host Organisation: NI Adapts was developed by Climate Northern Ireland.

Launch date: September 2020.

Update status: First major update Summer 2021.

Funding: The platform was funded by central government (Dept for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs) from a small pot of money provided in addition to Climate NI's core contract. It was launched in September 2020 so this is still the original version, but it will be continually updated as LGCAN makes its way through the steps.

Team: The platform is managed by Stephen, the Climate NI Resilience Coordinator, who co-ordinated the project and developed materials, as well as undertaking the communications and outreach with each local authority using the site. Additional support was provided on design, content, research and creation of the Service Area Factsheets from 3 other team members, and an external contract to a local web development team.

Main functions:

  • Raising awareness on the need for climate change adaptation
  • Providing guidance on how to undertake adaptation
  • Providing decision-support tools for adaptation decision-making
  • Sharing adaptation solutions and case studies

Intended audiences:

  • City and regional-level decision-makers / local government
  • National-level decision makers / national government
  • Civil society (NGO / charities / academia)

Focus sectors for the platform:

This was initially developed for local authorities, and the service area factsheets cover a wide variety of sectors in local authorities, from waste to tourism and fleet management. However this could be used by any interested organisations from the public sector or civil society.

Why the platform was established

As part of the INTERREG 'CLIMATE' project, which enabled the creation of the first adaptation plan in NI in Derry City and Stabane District Council, Climate NI had agreed to share learning with other councils.

The focus of the CLIMATE project covered a diverse range of geographical areas and therefore the project outputs were in need of some specific tailoring to Northern Ireland's particular context.

It is also clear for a variety of reasons, not least because NI does not have its own climate act, that local government has a critical role to play in terms of its regional expertise, community connections, planning powers and role in emergency response.

The Local Government Climate Action Network (LGCAN) is a newly created grouping of local authorities, government departments, NGOs and other relevant agencies. The aim of this group is to develop shared learning and also to provide fact to face training on adaptation planning. The NI Adapts platform provides the structure for this group to follow.

The sharing of learning from CLIMATE, the gap in guidance for local authorities, and the need for that guidance to be met with an efficient online structure (especially as a result of COVID) in general were the key motivating factors behind NI Adapts.