South Australia: leading on climate change adaptation

Reading time: 4 minutes
24 August 2016

Sandy Pitcher, Chief Executive of South Australia’s Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, reflects on the achievements of Australia’s preeminent climate change forum, the Climate Adaptation 2016 conference, which took place in Adelaide in July. 

The Climate Adaptation 2016 conference provided an unprecedented opportunity for South Australia to highlight the important progress being made on climate change adaptation in our state, and learn from others in Australia and around the world.

The conference was presented by the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, with the South Australian Government - a member of The Climate Group’s States & Regions Alliance, the platinum sponsor. It attracted around 490 policy makers, researchers and practitioners and the debate focused on the challenges and opportunities presented by climate change adaptation.

The innovation that we’re seeing mainly happens at the local level, and can be shared at conferences like this. It is a crucial way, for us in South Australia and beyond, to share ideas, catalyze local action, and bring key influencers together.

National Climate Adaptation Conference 2016, Day Two - Sandy Pitcher

Sandy Pitcher, Chief Executive of the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources

More than 250 presenters featured at the event, including Australian adventurer Tim Jarvis, Dr Xianfu Lu from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change secretariat, and Sean Kidney, Co-founder and CEO of the Climate Bonds Initiative.

National Climate Adaptation Conference 2016, Day Three - Tim Jarvis AM

Tim Jarvis, Australian adventurer
Adaptation is a very key tenant to any future strategy – there are many people who are going to be impacted by a changing climate
Tim Jarvis, Australian adventurer

Adaptation central to climate efforts

South Australia has long been recognized as a global leader on climate action, and our work in climate change adaptation is central to our efforts.

Our award-winning adaptation framework is based on a collaborative, regional approach involving partnerships between local government, regional development committees and natural resources management boards, who are working together to develop well-informed adaptation solutions for their communities.

Currently, in each of the State’s regions, five climate adaptation plans have been completed with the remainder due to be finalized by the end of the year.

National Climate Adaptation Conference 2016, Day Two - Anne Moroney

Anne Moroney, CEO Regional Development (Australia) Barossa

Contributing on the global stage

South Australia’s leadership on climate action is evident in The Climate Group’s States & Regions Alliance, of which South Australia is a founding member and co-chair.

The Alliance is an important way of bringing together leaders from all levels of government, from around the world, to share best practices and expertise, and to influence the international dialogue on climate action

We know that more than 50% of the actions necessary to tackle climate change occur at the sub-national (state) or local level of governance, so it is vitally important to be able to access a network of sub-national leaders who can share how they’re working with their communities.

South Australia is also a proud leader of The Climate Group’s Adaptation Peer Forum, where we are working with other governments from around the world to accelerate global learning, build strong relationships, and identify emerging adaptation policies to boost climate resiliency across participating states and regions.

We are also a founding member of the RegionsAdapt initiative, that helps to support and report on adaptation efforts at the sub-national level.

Contributing to the global adaptation network provides us with a fantastic opportunity to share and learn from our global counterparts on adaptation approaches.

  • Learn more about South Australia's low carbon solutions to the climate challenge
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