Adaptation requires effective policies at multiple levels of administration


Successful climate change adaptation requires political guidance and integration of climate policy across various levels of administration. Finland has been a forerunner in adaptation to climate change by being the first EU country to publish a National Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change in 2005. UN and EU climate policies provide a framework for adaptation policy in Finland. Ultimately, the success of Finland's adaptation policies depends on the implementation of policies and adaptation actions at regional and local level.

Adaptation is part of climate policy

Climate policy consists of decisions and actions aimed at maintaining the stability of the global climate system in order to avoid dangerous disturbances in it [1]. In addition to mitigation actions, political decisions on adaptation are required in response to changes in the climate that are already underway and expected to intensify in the future [2], [3].

International objectives also influence Finland’s adaptation policy

Both mitigation and adaptation policies are globally steered through the United Nations (UN) international climate agreement. In addition, the EU guides its’ Member States in climate policy through, for example, the 2020 climate and energy package and the EU Adaptation Strategy. [4], [5], [6]

The Climate Act and national adaptation plan are key adaptation policies

The Finnish Climate Act was adopted in 2015. Through the Act, adaptation has been integrated into climate policy. The Climate Act obliges the Government to adopt a national adaptation plan for climate change at least once every ten years. The national adaptation plan steers adaptation policies and is coordinated by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. In addition to governmental steering, municipalities play an important role in adapting to climate change. They are in charge of land use planning and responsible for emergency response to natural disasters. In addition, research and development related to adaptation is a key part in supporting adaptation policies in Finland. [7], [3], [8]

  • United Nations. 2015. Paris Agreement. Adopted on 12 December 2015 in Paris, France.
  • IPCC. 2014. Summary for policymakers. In: Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Part A: Global and Sectoral Aspects. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Field, C.B., V.R. Barros, D.J. Dokken, K.J. Mach, M.D. Mastrandrea, T.E. Bilir, M. Chatterjee, K.L. Ebi, Y.O. Estrada, R.C. Genova, B. Girma, E.S. Kissel, A.N. Levy, S. MacCracken, P.R. Mastrandrea, and L.L. White (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA, pp. 1-32.
  • Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. 2014. Finland’s National Climate Change Adaptation Plan 2022. Government Resolution 20 November 2014. Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Helsinki. Publications of Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry 5b/2014. 40 p.
  • European Commission. 2013. An EU Strategy on adaptation to climate change. Communication from the commission to the European parliament, the council, the European economic and social committee and the committee of the regions. Bryssel 16.4.2013. COM(2013) 216 final. 11 p.
  • European Commission. Adaptation to Climate Change. [Referred 18.7.2018.]
  • European Commission. EU Climate Action [Referred 18.7.2018]
  • Ilmastolaki 609/2015. Annettu Helsingissä 22.5.2015. [Referred 18.7.2018] (Act on Climate Change, available in Finnish)
  • Ministry of the Environment & Statistics Finland. 2017. Finland’s Seventh National Communication under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Ministry of the Environment and Statistics Finland, Helsinki. 314 p. (Suomen 7. Maaraportti YK:n ilmastosopimukselle)