Cascais is a Portuguese city on the Atlantic coast and 30 km west of Lisbon. Within the project BASE, researcher supported the participatory ICZM approach to develop a Climate Adaptation Action Plan.
Based on: Ng, K., Campos, I., & Penha-Lopes, g. (Eds.) (2016): BASE adaptation inspiration book: 23 European cases of climate change adaptation to inspire European decision-makers, practitioners and citizens. Lisbon: Faculty of Sciences, University of Lisbon.
Cascais is a Portuguese city on the Atlantic coast and 30 km west of Lisbon. Flash flooding is of especially high concern due to extensive urbanization in areas with strong economic and touristic activity and concentrated physical capital, namely historical buildings. In the period between 2000 and 2011, there was just over EUR 1 million in private claims to insurance companies, with 40% of that value occurring in a single event in 2008 in two parishes. In the same year, annual private costs due to flooding in Cascais exceeded EUR 400,000.
The Adaptation Response
In 2010 the municipality developed its Strategic Plan for Climate Change Adaptation (PECAC). In 2013-15 under the FP7 BASE project, a comprehensive participatory revision of the Plan was made together with the Agenda 21 of Cascais in order to reassess and reprioritize the implemented adaptation measures, taking into consideration all major stakeholders as well as all key affected sectors. Cascais is moving towards the updated Climate Adaptation Action Plan in 2017. The measures included :
- green spaces and corridors in urban areas;
- beach and shoreface nourishment;
- the rehabilitation and restoration of rivers;
- the establishment and restoration of riparian buffers; and
- awareness campaigns for behavioural change.
The People and Institutions involved
Participatory methodologies have been extensively used in the Cascais adaptation strategy. BASE research work in Cascais began in October 2012 with preliminary/exploratory meetings with representatives from the municipality. Through nine participatory workshops, one population-wide inquiry (n=1885), one inquiry to the technical body of the municipality (n=99) and several field visits, PECAC 2.0 was completed in 2015. This makes Cascais BASE’s case study icon in the use of participatory methodologies.
Outcome of action
In terms of concrete measures, green corridors, rainwater gardens and rainwater catchments are to be implemented. Green corridors and the re-naturing of Cascais streams is an ongoing adaptation measure that enjoys wide stakeholder consensus and yields positive externalities and socio-political support with relatively low levels of investment needed. Yet its effectiveness in flood risk reduction in this specific case study is still uncertain and a detailed action plan is needed for further analysis.
Climate change adaptation has to do with political choices and is not only a matter of finding the right technical solutions. Participatory experiences such as those developed in, Cascais or Timmendorfer Strand, show that adaptation decisions are political in nature, because they affect different stakeholders and citizens in different ways.
A number of regulatory frameworks and policies can either hinder or promote local action. One important strategy is to involve a wide range of stakeholders and citizens at the early stages of making decisions about measures. Practitioners and decision-makers need to be well informed on local, national and supranational policies, taking stock of potential synergies and addressing potential bottlenecks and constraints posed by public policies.