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Norway - Bergen

1. Pre- foresight

The City of Berge is located at the west coast of Norway, directly facing the North Sea. Bergen is Norway’s second largest city, with about 250.000 inhabitants. The city region consists of 14 municipalities with about 360 000 inhabitants. Bergen is governed by a locally elected City council. The city Department of Climate, Environment and Urban development is responsible for urban development, environmental affairs, climate, cultural heritage, roads and transport, water and sewerage and social housing. Bergen is the only city in Norway with its own Head of Climate section.

Climatically, Bergen has a very exposed position, and the Bergen population is used to continuous as well as heavy downpour, strong wind, river flooding, landslides and high waves. With future climate changes, these challenges are predicted to intensify, and in addition, Bergen will have to cope with en estimated sea level rise of about 1 meter over the next 100 years.

In recent years incidences of extreme weather have resulted in loss of human life and material assets. A risk and vulnerability analysis (RAV) has therefore been carried out in connection with the land-use part of the municipal master plan. Different types of risk maps have been drawn up, mapping, for example, local precipitation, floods, water levels and land-slide risk areas in the whole of the City. These maps will be used in planning processes and developments to reduce the risk of unforeseen incidents.

Future climate changes are expected to lead to sea level rise and more extreme weather events. This will in turn increase the risk of floods and landslides. Bergen participates in several climate change projects in order to build knowledge about local climate models, registration of climate vulnerability and drawing up forecasts and scenarios to help identify what adaptation measures will be necessary in the Bergen area. This work is linked to national and international research communities.

Water supply and sewerage are regarded as critical parts of the infrastructure. High quality water provision and secure and reliable wastewater management is a top priority for the city authorities. Priority is also given to the use of water as a structure in the urban environment by opening closed water conduits and installing systems for separating the surface water from wastewater.
In the municipal planning work, an overarching risk and vulnerability analysis has been carried out for land use following the principles defined by the Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection and Emergency Planning. The main principles of the analysis have been incorporated into the municipal master plan. Special risk and vulnerability maps have been drawn up for landslides, floods, wind and waves. These thematic maps are linked to the municipal master plan, and the provisions and guidelines in the land-use part of the plan are based on the thematic maps.

Bergen is also actively supporting the climate change plan for Hordaland County which focuses on land use and transport, agriculture, aquaculture and waste and economic business development. Bergen is also carrying out a project on climate change and human rights.
Bergen has initiated and participates in a wide range of climate change adaptation projects. Among Norwegian cities, Bergen is in front regarding climate change adaptation. Bergen is also partaking in a network called Future Cities, in which climate change adaptation is one important area.

BaltCica’s task has been to help Bergen integrate the various climate change adaptation projects into one overarching adaptation strategy and to develop a structure for information flow between the projects and between each project and the city, in order to enhance mutual learning. Moreover, the BaltCica team has in cooperation with Bergen City identified blind spots in Bergen’s climate adaptation strategy.


2. Data and inputs

In order to get an overview of the different projects Bergen participated in, a series of meetings with core staff in the municipal administration was arranged, between January 2009 and October 2010. They provided us with information of the projects they were involved in, their plans for future projects and what additional competence they were in need of. In these meetings, we also discussed how the BaltCica project could be connected with and feed into other projects, especially another INTERREG project, MARE. The dates of the meetings were 12.2.09, 17.6.09, 19.11.09, 20.4.10 and 18.10.10.

Through a number of interviews (spring 2010) with different stakeholders in urban planning and development (land owners, developers, house owner organizations, residents’ associations, insurance companies, municipal staff etc), two unaddressed topics of high concern were identified: these were the questions of responsibility and cooperation, and it was decided that a workshop should be organised addressing these issues. However, the awareness of the need for climate change adaptation was not very high among all stakeholders. It was a challenge to make them think about what consequences climate change might have for their organization.

As a preparation for the workshop, a number of documents, such as research reports on Bergen City’s climate adaptation projects, municipal plans, VAR-analysis etc were reviewed. Additional input was provided through meetings with municipal staff and interviews with stakeholders representing different sectors and interests in urban development. Based on these different sources, we developed a set of questions for reflection and discussion, to use at the workshop.

3. Information transmission

Data from interviews were used as input when making questions for the workshop groups. The overarching question was: How will climate change affect the activities of your organisation? The respondents were asked to assess the consequences of climate change with regard to the following aspects: legal, economic, knowledge, competence, capacity, resources, cooperation, coordination and responsibility. Finally, they were incited to come up with ideas for measures and solutions to the perceived problems.

The participants were presented with the questions at the workshop. No additional information, except for the workshop description, was given on beforehand.

The results and outcomes of the workshop were communicated to the participants at the workshop, and to the City as a written report.

4. Interaction

A workshop on economic responsibility, risk and cost sharing and cooperation was organised in October 2010. Stakeholders from the business community, urban development actors, municipal staff, representatives from the County, insurance companies and other interested parties were invited.
A one day workshop 25 participants was held in Bergen City. There were four expert introductions followed by group and plenary discussions. The participants alternately pondered questions prepared by the BaltCica team individually discussed these questions in groups of 8-10 people and presented and discuss the group conclusions in plenary sessions (IGP method).

5. Output

The project has had several aims. One aim has been to coordinate and establish routines for knowledge sharing and learning across municipal sectors and between the municipality and other stakeholders. A second aim has been to identify areas that were not yet covered by Bergen City’s vast adaptation strategy. Two uncovered areas turned out to be cost and responsibility issues and cooperation between municipality and developers. The workshop was hence designed to address these questions. The specific aim of the workshop was therefore to raise awareness about these issues and expand the scope of existing networks in climate change adaptation, to include the business community more efficiently and motivate developers and business community to initiate actions and cooperate more closely with the municipality. Another aim was to encourage preventive actions with the developers and the municipality.

The outcomes of the workshop were presented to Bergen City as a written note. These are meant to feed into the adaptation policy of Bergen City. The BaltCica team will continue to co-operate with Bergen and preparing the nest BaltCICA project meeting and BaltCICA conference in May 2011.

Bergen Climate Change Impact Scenarios – Sea Level Rise

Involved persons: 

NIBR: Dr. Ove Langeland, Dr. Jan Erling Clausen, Marte Winsvold

Partner is Bergen City, represented by city Department of Climate, Environment and Urban development

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