The event “Cities and Climate Crisis – let’s participate” took place on January 25, 2024, at the environmental organization Global 2000. Participants were briefed on the European and national legal framework for climate adaptation and subsequently discussed necessary adaptation measures and participation opportunities.
The event was organized in collaboration with the European network Justice and Environment and funded by the European Union as part of the DACE project – Discussions and Actions on Climate and Environment, aiming to raise awareness of climate rights in the population.
Mag. Thomas Alge, CEO of ÖKOBÜRO – Alliance of the Environmental Movement, opened the event, emphasizing the increasing impact of the climate crisis on cities and the urgent need for action. He highlighted the importance of public involvement in developing effective measures and introduced the DACE project. Moderator Nadine Schneiderbauer facilitated the morning session.
Dr. Maria Balas, biologist at Umweltbundesamt, emphasized the importance of effective climate protection measures in reducing the need for adaptation measures. She discussed the increasing number of heat days, tropical nights, and extreme weather events in urban areas, underscoring the necessity of adaptation strategies. Balas provided an overview of international and European legal instruments for climate adaptation, including the Paris Agreement and the European Climate Law. She elaborated that concerning adaptation measures.
Sarah Kofler, BA, environmental law expert at ÖKOBÜRO, discussed the legal aspects of climate crisis adaptation. She highlighted the absence of specific adaptation laws in Austria and the limited reference to adaptation measures in existing legislation. Kofler explored the concept of “climate rights” developed in the DACE project, emphasizing the use of legal mechanisms, including human rights and the Aarhus Convention, to demand adaptation measures.
A fishbowl discussion, moderated by Nadine Schneiderbauer, allowed participants to share practical experiences and discuss necessary adaptation measures and participation opportunities. The discussion revealed limited public awareness of Austrian adaptation strategies and the importance of engaging the public in adaptation processes.
Participants voiced demands for enhanced public participation, consideration of vulnerable groups, addressing administrative shortcomings, financial support for participation, and tangible implementation of participation results. They stressed the need for social considerations in adaptation measures, financial support for private adaptation efforts, and measures in urban spaces such as surface desegregation, green space enhancement, and the integration of adaptation into urban planning.
In conclusion, the event highlighted the urgency of comprehensive measures to address the climate crisis in urban areas and the importance of public involvement in adaptation processes.
A total of 36 people participated, including civil society representatives, representatives of municipalities and experts.
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