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Bespoke training for local authority councillors

SSN spent the morning at a training session aimed at Scottish elected members and councillors. Held at Glasgow’s City Chambers, the packed agenda featured experts from the EU and closer to home.

Over 70 people registered for this first-of-its-kind event with councillors travelling from as far as the Highlands to attend. SSN helped to promote the event to our local authority members – the invitation was to elected members and they could be accompanied by an officer from their council. We had inquiries from right across Scotland with interest in attending and requests to access the training materials.

Scottish-European collaboration

The training event was developed and delivered by Glasgow City Council (GCC) and COSLA and was Chaired by GCC Convener for Sustainability & Carbon Reduction Cllr Anna Richardson. SSN Steering Group member Duncan Booker and SSN member Sonia Milne were instrumental in organising the day.

The day’s programme for example was developed and delivered by COSLA and Glasgow City Council and the session supported by the EU Urban Agenda Partnership. COSLA Brussels Office facilitated international representation from CEMR (Council of European Municipalities and Regions), their European umbrella body, Covenant of Mayors and UNDRR (United Nations office of Disaster Risk Reduction).

The day’s programme was was supported by a session from EU Urban Agenda Partnership for Climate Adaptation, a platform supported by the European Commission to bring cities together with partners to address key issues. Glasgow City Council is a member of this partnership.

Access to adaptation expertise

The session aimed to help elected members gain knowledge in order to communicate and lead local responses to climate adaptation. It included short contributions from Scottish and international stakeholders and an overview of policy guidance and tools. There was space for discussion and networking with key actors in this field. The date had been set to coincide with the World Forum on Climate Justice being held in the city June 19-22.

The presentations and talks were filmed and will be made available to a wider audience. SSN will share the recording with members as soon as it is available.

Speakers and experts

Adaptation Scotland – a programme funded by the Scottish Government and delivered by the sustainability charity Sniffer. Programme Director Anna Beswick facilitated the day.

Anne-Marte Bergseng from ClimateXChange – who provide independent advice, research and analysis to support the Scottish Government as it develops and implements policies on adapting to the changing climate and the transition to a low carbon society. Anne-Marte spoke about what science can tell us about the changing Scottish climate. Increasing extremes, flooding, new diseases – but opportunities too. With our biggest opportunity being to take action now.

Kathryn Brown, Head of Adaptation, UK Committee on Climate Change – the independent, statutory body established under the Climate Change Act 2008. The Committee advises the UK Government and Devolved Administrations on emissions targets and reports to Parliament on progress made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preparing for climate change. The Committee recently published the Final Assessment of Scotland’s First Climate Change Adaption Programme. Kathryn gave examples of the behaviour change and better awareness needed to respond to new climate pressures on a range of areas including water use.

Andrew Mackey Bower, United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), presented an overview of how global and European frameworks contribute to adaption and resilience planning at local level. Andrew explained to members that the Making Cities Resilient campaign is open to all regions not just large cities. Any of Scotland’s local authorities can sign up to this process. https://www.unisdr.org/campaign/resilientcities/

Eugenia Mansutti, Covenant of Mayors and Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) talked to delegates about the wealth of support available at EU level for local cities and regions. Highlighting a range of tools and frameworks that can be accessed online and used by local planners, councils and leaders to develop resilient, climate ready towns and cities. Tools include guidance and frameworks for assessment, planning, strategy, solutions and funding.

Delegates heard from local programme lead Kit England, manager of Climate Ready Clyde. Climate Ready Clyde is a cross-sector initiative funded by the Scottish Government and 12 member organisations to create a shared vision, strategy and action plan for an adapting Glasgow City Region. Kit highlighted the critical relationship between climate resilience and inclusive economic development for cities and regions.

From the Scottish Government’s Climate Change Directorate, Susie Townsend explained our own adaptation policies and the work the Government has done with stakeholders. Susie highlighted the Public Bodies Climate Change Duties and role of the public sector to address adaptation under the current Climate Change Plan.

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