Climate change adaptation: A matter of security

24.04.23 | News
Guðlaugur Thór Thórdarson, Iceland

Islands minister for klima, energi og miljø, Guðlaugur Thór Thórdarson, på scenen under klimatilpasningskonferencen NOCCA i april 2023.


Iceland’s Minister for the Environment, Energy and Climate, Guðlaugur Thór Thórdarson, spoke at the climate change adaptation conference NOCCA in April 2023.

The Nordic Conference on Climate Change Adaptation, NOCCA, which took place last week in Reykjavík, focused on adaptation in cities and municipalities in the Nordic countries through the presentation of experiences from across the region.

Floods, landslides and uncertainty in our production and supply of food are just a few examples of the consequences of climate change that we’re already experiencing and which will intensify in the future. That’s why it’s crucial that we adapt to the new situation and that we do so quickly.

“Human experience and history is one of adaptation. However, right now we’re experiencing rapid changes on a global scale. We must learn about local risk factors. Part of that is about understanding how global and regional risks can affect our day-to-day lives,” says Iceland’s Minister for the Environment, Energy and Climate, Guðlaugur Thór Thórdarson.

A matter of security

A rather gloomy picture was drawn when leading researchers from across the Nordic Region presented their work on the first day of the conference.

“Climate adaptation is also a matter of public security,” said the Leader of the Secretariat to the Swedish Expert Council on Climate Adaptation, Therese Sjöberg, from the stage at the Grand Hotel in Reykjavík. She referred to the Expert Council’s report from 2022, which linked climate adaptation to the security of the civilian population. Food security, water security and the spread of disease are just a few of the areas that transboundary climate risk has an impact on.

The importance of Nordic co-operation

Much of the work relating to climate adaptation has to be done at the municipal level.

“NOCCA is an important platform for the development of Nordic co-operation with the aim of achieving the global goals of adaptation and creating a more resilient future for all,” says Anna Hulda Ólafsdóttir, Director of the Icelandic Climate Services and Adaptation Centre at the Icelandic Met Office. This is because the solutions already exist. Several projects that are funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers presented their research at the conference. The Nordic gene bank Nordgen presented its work on the wild relatives of crops, while the four-year project on nature-based solutions in the Nordic Region shared results from its mapping of best practices in the Nordics.

Increased co-operation and better sharing of knowledge across borders can help to ensure that the measures taken in municipalities and regions in all of the Nordic countries have a greater impact. At the same time, it’s helpful to ensure a mainstreaming of the climate adaptation solutions being implemented at the municipal level.

A number of workshops also took place at the conference. The results from those will be recorded in a policy paper that will be used in ongoing Nordic work on climate adaptation at both ECCA23 and during UNFCCC COP28.