Jointly developing a transboundary climate change impact assessment in the Rhine
The 1999 Rhine Convention, together with existing European Union (EU) and national legislation and policies and a strong political commitment in all countries in the Rhine catchment, provides a sound basis for developing and implementing an adaptation strategy on the impacts of climate change. Activities regarding adaptation to climate change have started with an assessment of the state of knowledge on climate change and its expected impact on the water regime in the Rhine, published in 2009. However, already in the 1990s, important measures were being taken regarding flood risk management, increasing the basin’s adaptive capacity to respond to future expected climate changes.
Following the severe flooding in the Rhine in 1993 and 1995, the International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine (ICPR) developed and adopted a comprehensive “1998 Action Plan on Floods” covering the period up to 2020. In the context of the implementation of the 1998 Flood Action Plan, the flood damage risk (defined as the product of damage potential (€) and the probability of flooding (1 per year)) has been assessed. In addition, possibilities for reducing flood levels by implementing measures in the catchments’ area have been identified. The resulting information was published in the “Rhine Atlas 2001” as one of the elements aiming at increasing peoples’ “flood awareness”. The flood forecasting system has also been improved, in particular by improved cooperation between water management administrations and weather services.
The Action Plan aims at improving the protection of people and property against floods and at the same time at improving the floodplains of the Rhine. Great efforts have been made towards implementing the Action Plan and almost all measures due to be implemented by 2005 have in fact been undertaken. Their positive effect is demonstrable. In 2007, Rhine ministers confirmed the need to develop adaptation strategies for water management in order to be able to address the effects of climate change, which are clearly discernible.
The implementation of the 1998 Flood Action Plan over the period 1995–2005 was evaluated in 2007. The assessments will be repeated once every five years, the next time covering the period 1995–2010.
Adaptation strategy for climate change impacts
To assess the impacts of the modification of the climate on the hydrological processes and the regime of the Rhine, the Conference of Rhine Ministers charged the ICPR in 2007 to draft a scenario study for the flow regime of the Rhine. This was the starting point for the discussion on adaptation to climate change.
Mr. Ben van de Wetering, International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine
News And Events
Consultations and seventh meeting of Dniestr project, Chisinau, 9-10 July 2013
Fourth Workshop on Adaptation to Climate Change in Transboundary Basins (Geneva, 25–26 June 2013)
Final workshop on Flood Risk Management planning and Climate Change assessment in the Sava River Basin, Zagreb, 5-6 June 2013.
Workshop on Flood Communication in the Dniester River Basin May 27-28, 2013 Lviv, Ukraine
Workshop on climate change adaptation in the Neman river basin. Vilnius, Lithuania, 16 May 2013
Workshop and expert meetingRiver basin management and climate change adaptation in the Neman river basin. Minsk, Republic of Belarus, 19 March 2013
First meeting of the global network of basins working on adaptation to climate change and third meeting of the core group of pilot projects (Geneva, 20 - 21 February 2013)