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Local Government Climate Change Adaptation Toolkit

Adaptation is not just about the risks to be endured due to climate variability. As the climate is changing so too is the operating environment for councils.

Council decision-making processes need to support and strengthen the capacity of staff to identify inherent opportunities that arise from change, as well as the risks.

ICLEI Oceania has been working with councils to build such capacity through the delivery of its CCP Adaptation Initiative, which benefits from the learnings of the CCP Program and the Australian Government's risk management work.

The result of the first year's work on the Adaptation Initiative is the Local Government Climate Change Adaptation Toolkit. This toolkit has been developed with funding from the Australian Government Department of Climate Change and has been piloted with five local Councils from around Australia.


Using the toolkit

The adaptive management process that is presented in this toolkit merges the Australian Government’s risk management framework with the capacity building frameworks that ICLEI Oceania has developed over the years of supporting CCP councils.

This toolkit, which should be used alongside the Climate Change Impacts & Risk Management guide from the Australian Government Department of Climate Change, outlines an adaptive management process and provides a set of tools and exercises meant to assist councils as they work through the process.

This toolkit is organised according to the adaptive management process. It outlines how and when to use each of the included tools as a complement to the adaptive management process. As the tools are voluntary components of the adaptive management process and each tool is designed for specific needs, individual councils will need to determine which of the tools are appropriate for their particular use.

The tools range from simple and self-directed templates to more complex exercises that are best delivered by an experienced facilitator, whether within or external to council.

The Toolkit

Download the Local Government Climate Change Adaptation Toolkit [PDF document, 1.5MB]

Tool 1: Council Questionnaire

The Council Questionnaire is designed as a preliminary examination of council’s context in relation to the impacts of climate change. The questionnaire includes sections on council expectations, an initial identification of potential local impacts and an examination of those impacts and the council’s internal planning and decision-making processes.

Download the Council Questionnaire [Word document, 60KB]

Tool 2: Planning Workshop Template

The Planning Workshop Template is a PDF version of a presentation to be used as an introduction to the adaptive management process. It provides background on the approach and scope for conducting an adaptive management process, as well as several activities to get council started.

Download the Planning Workshop Template [PDF document, 1.7MB]

Tool 3: Tools Worksheet

The Tools Worksheet is designed to identify existing and potential tools that can be used during the adaptive management process. It takes council through the process of identifying barriers to progress and potential strategies to overcome those through the use of resources.

Download the Tools Worksheet [Word document, 35KB]

Tool 4: Stakeholder Identification Worksheet

The Stakeholder Identification Worksheet is designed to help council identify who to engage both throughout the adaptive management process and during the implementation of the adaptation action plan. The Worksheet uses a ‘sphere of influence’ diagram to lead council through establishing tiers of stakeholders and assigning each a level of influence and impact. Questions are posed to encourage council to think creatively about who could be possible stakeholders and to identify existing relationships that can be leveraged.

Download the Stakeholder Identification Worksheet [PDF document, 535KB]

Tool 5: Adaptive Management Scoping Worksheet

The Adaptive Management Scoping Worksheet is designed to help council identify the scope of its adaptive management process. It was initially used to design the scope for the pilot project, but can be adapted by council for internal use.

This worksheet is best used at an internal workshop in which council staff can be split into teams to consider the various phases of an adaptive management process. The questions in the worksheet are designed to prompt council to think about the most effective design for the adaptive management process, given its particular context.

Download the Adaptive Management Scoping Worksheet [Word document, 40KB]

Tool 6: Social Contract Worksheet

The Social Contract Worksheet is relevant to a council that will be undertaking a multi-stakeholder process to conduct its adaptive management process, and could be adapted to develop the terms of reference for regional approaches or cross-council teams. The worksheet is separated into sections that mirror the components of a social contract (or a community of practice): vision, goal, core values, benefits and obligations, decision-making criteria and intellectual property considerations. This is especially useful in cases where there will be significant regional or community interaction throughout the adaptive management process.

Download the Social Contract Worksheet [Word document, 75KB]

Tool 7: Issue Brief

The Issue Brief is designed to guide council through the examination (assessment) of issues (e.g. sea-level rise and drought) identified as being of significance for its municipality. The brief includes sections on background information, a listing of impacts, relevant departments, considerations and responsibilities for each impact and leverage points.

Download the Issue Brief [Word document, 195KB]

Tool 8: Conceptual Modelling Exercise and Example

The Conceptual Modelling Exercise is designed to assist council with setting the context for various climate change impacts and issues in its municipality. Conceptual Modelling is an exercise used by many people who practise adaptive management to help them understand their particular context as it relates to what they wish to manage. The tool provides a brief background to the idea of conceptual modelling and then outlines each stage in developing a conceptual model. An example of a partially completed conceptual model has been provided as a reference.

Download the Conceptual Modelling Exercise [PDF document, 170KB]

Download the Conceptual Modelling Example [PDF document, 45KB]

Tool 9: Support Letter Template

The Support Letter Template is designed to use for securing high-level support for conducting an adaptive management process. The letter includes a brief introduction to adaptation projects and adaptive management frameworks, a note on the outputs that are available to council/will result from this process, a list of the roles and responsibilities of the various stakeholders, a note on the governance structure used to oversee the adaptive management process, a list of the immediate next steps for action, and contact details for the individual running the process.

Download the Support Letter Template [Word document, 60KB]

Tool 10: Barriers Document

The Barriers Document presents a series of some of the most common barriers (questions, critiques, attitudes, etc.) to progressing through the adaptive management process, addressing each with either a simple response or suggestions for materials that could be used to formulate a more specific response. The barriers covered in the document include: availability and commitment of resources; legal liability; information availability and management; costs and benefits of adaptation actions; identification of relevant treatment options; internal council procedural shortcomings; and the drivers for action.

Download the Barriers Document [PDF document, 210KB]

Tool 11: Risk Assessment Scenario Worksheet

The Risk Assessment Scenario Worksheet is designed to help council assess and prioritise the climate change impacts it is facing. The worksheet provides a standard likelihood–consequence scale for determining priorities, as well as two standard success criteria charts for establishing the likelihood and consequences of particular risks/opportunities. These materials are taken from the Climate Change Impacts & Risk Management guide.

Download the Risk Assessment Scenario Worksheet [PDF document, 110KB]

Tool 12: Action Planning Workshop Template

The Action Planning Workshop Template is the PDF version of a presentation to be used as an introduction to the development of assumptions and adaptation action plans. It provides exercises for developing assumptions, as well as a ‘Results Chain’ activity to use when designing actions.

Download the Action Planning Workshop Template [PDF document, 725KB]

Tool 13: Assumptions Worksheet

The Assumptions Worksheet is designed to develop assumptions related to the information and scenarios used to understand various risks/opportunities and the decision-making processes that enable council to appropriately consider those risks/opportunities when determining appropriate treatment actions. The Worksheet poses questions to the workshop participants that are best addressed in a group setting to ensure a deep, thorough discussion.

Download the Assumptions Worksheet [PDF document, 75KB]

Tool 14: Action Plan Template

The Action Plan Template is designed to assist council to develop a set of actions to treat its priority risks and harness its priority opportunities. The template includes the following sections: CEO/Mayor Commitment, Executive Summary, Glossary, Introduction (Vision, Goals, and Context), Impacts & Issues, Assumptions, Action Plan and Monitoring & Review Plan.

Download the Action Plan Template [Word document, 310KB]

This toolkit has been prepared with funding from the Australian Government Department of Climate Change.

The views and opinions expressed in this document do not necessarily reflect those of the Australian Government, the Department of Climate Change or the international organisation ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability. Neither ICLEI Oceania nor the Australian Government accept liability in respect to any information or advice given in relation to, or as a consequence of, anything contained herein.

Photos: Brian Yap, Paulo Otavio and Katherine Wynne. Sourced from Flickr Creative Commons.