The Czech Government is planning to implement a National Strategy for Adaption to Climate Change within the Conditions in the Czech Republic. However, certain essential prerequisites for a successful implementation of this strategy are currently missing.
The project “Support of information exchanging about impact of the climate change and adaptation on national and regional level” focuses primarily on addressing the following two prerequisites: 1) adequate awareness of the general public and 2) adequate awareness as well as preparedness of the public administration in regards to implementing meaningful adaptation measures.
Due to the specific context of this issue in the Czech Republic, the project devotes special attention to the setting of the various communication tools and types of content. The communication campaign that will be developed as part of this project will be based not only on supplying the information that is currently missing, but will also consider the potential barriers that may be present among the Czech people in relation to the issue of adapting to climate change. These barriers have not been investigated to date and, if not addressed, could interfere with the successful implementation of the campaign. Thus the project includes a campaign consisting of the creation of a central web interface, collection and dissemination of examples of effectively implementing the adaptation measures at the regional level, a contest for the adaptation measure of the year, regional round tables for different interest groups to discuss the adaptation possibilities within the given region, and the development and distribution of educational videos. The campaign will be complemented by conducting a preliminary survey of the attitudes of the general public in respect to this issue, composing a formal recommendation for how to communicate about this issue in accessible and encouraging ways, and disseminating the project’s results in social media, press releases, and press conferences as well as at a concluding project conference.
In addition, the project addresses the lack of information required for the planning and subsequent implementation of the adaptation measures at the regional level, which is to come after the National Strategy in 2016. In order to increase the awareness and preparedness of public administration officers, the project will propose a list of environmental vulnerability indicators that can then be used by regional districts in their planning, and it will include a survey of the degree to which different types of adaptation measures are perceived as acceptable by the general public in individual regions.
As part of this awareness-raising stream within the project, a methodology for the development of regional adaptation strategies will be designed, as well as a set of recommendations for the identification, prioritization, and resource allocation regarding the adaptation measures at the national level. The proposed list of indicators, the newly designed methodology, and the recommendations for the national strategy will all be presented to the general public and the public administration officers at the regional roundtables and also at the concluding project conference.
Due to the complexity of these matters, two universities are cooperating on the project. Masaryk University specializes in environmentally, sociologically, and psychologically oriented research topics, and the Environment Center at Charles University specializes in indicators of environmental sustainability. Further, the project participants include the Integra Consulting Company which focuses on developing assessment methodologies, and the non-government organization Green Circle and the Center for Transport and Energy, which both have extensive experience with conducting information campaigns.
The overarching goal and projected outcomes of the project
The overarching goal of the project is to supply the missing prerequisites for the optimal implementation of climate change adaptation measures in the Czech Republic.
The goals of the proposed project are as follows:
1. To create suitable conditions for conducting an effective communication campaign about climate change and the opportunities for adaptation. This will be achieved by investigating the attitudes of the target groups toward this issue and by testing the effect of the selected communication tools and types of messages.
2. To create an information base for the communication campaign as well as for the preparation of the Action Plan at the national level. This will be achieved by collecting examples of effective implementation at the regional level, testing the acceptability (including social and financial) of various kinds of adaptation measures as perceived by the target groups, and outlining practical recommendations for the planning of the adaptation measures and for financing their implementation.
3. To conduct a communication campaign that will overcome the potential barriers that the target groups may have in regards to this issue, point out the benefits of the appropriately-chosen adaptation measures, and increase the awareness, preparedness and motivation among public administration officers at the regional as well as national levels so as to develop and subsequently implement effective adaptation plans.
Therefore, in addition to the communication campaign, the project will bring numerous new outcomes that will be publicly accessible and freely available for public administration officers as well as the general public. Mainly, these outcomes will include a survey of the barriers and benefits for the target groups (organized according to age, sex, economic class, etc.), a survey of the preparedness of the Czech population to accept or financially support the selected types of adaptation measures and adaptation behaviors, a survey of the influence of the communication tools used in this and other similar campaigns that focus partly or completely on the general public, a methodology that will outline a recommendation for the identification, selection, and prioritization of adaptation measures and their financing (for the purposes of the Action Plan at the national level or the regional adaptation plans that are to be developed starting in 2016), and a central web interface where all these outcomes will be posted and freely available also after the project is finished.
The final beneficiary of the project
Department of Environmental Studies, Faculty of Social Studies, Masaryk University
The project has been proposed and is being carried out by members of the Department of Environmental Studies, Faculty of Social Studies, Masaryk University, in cooperation with four partner institutions. Sociology has been taught at this university since 1921, and since 1997 it has been taught at the Faculty of Social Studies.
The teaching and research at Department of Environmental Studies (http://humenv.fss.muni.cz) focus on the relationships among human society and nature, the landscape, and the environment, interconnecting the natural and social sciences. The members of the Department participate in numerous investigative projects and cooperate with many regional, national, as well as international partners. These projects deal with, for instance, the contexts of the individualization of lifestyle, ecological economics, conservation psychology, and environmental sociology. The Department has long-term cooperation agreements with Lillehammer University College in Norway, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, and Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai. The Department also has extensive experience with inter-sector cooperation, regularly hosting external lecturers from non-profit organizations and businesses as well as conducting joint projects in applied research.