Resilience and adaptation to climate change: a strategy to improve the role of Civil Protection in Italy
Climate change is presenting human societies with new challenges, and despite being a global phenomenon, the required mitigation and adaptive strategies must be tailored to local effects and vulnerabilities. Thus, beyond the study of climate patterns and extreme weather events forecast, it is pivotal understanding climate risk perception of citizens, decision makers and local emergency managers. The perception of climate change impacts on local territory will help decision makers to develop effective communication strategies and enhance adaptation strategies. This is based on the assumption that risk reduction behaviors are undertaken as part of a dynamic and adaptive process by which individuals and social factors interact. Reviewing the concepts of resilience, adaptive capacity and collective actions, and analyzing their declination at different scales, the emergency management systems have been identified having a pivotal role in reducing climate change risk. Being an organization at the interface among science, policy and practice and a link among all three, Civil Protection agencies, could perform a sort of “brokerage” function fostering mitigation and adaptive policies. Following are some specific actions required to enhance the “boundary” role of Civil Protection to strengthen the links and communication among various stakeholders involved in risk reduction and adaptation: (i) identify a focal figure to sustain information networks, and translate and reverberate climate change knowledge; (ii) foster a direct involvement of civil protection system in local planning; (iii) create and manage a dedicated data repository; (iv) foster a new culture of disaster prevention through children education programs and training.