At the conference "Adapting to survive", held at the Assemblée Nationale (Paris) on 26 February, Comité 21 presented 12 proposals to help the territories adapt to climate change. Aimed at public and private decision-makers, this report, entitled "Adapting to climate change: proposals for accelerating the transformation of territories and organizations", explains the societal revolution required for adaptation: it involves inventing new ways of producing, consuming and planning with local tailor-made solutions. Veolia helped prepare the report. Its Sustainable Development Director, Pierre Victoria, took part in the round table discussion: "Why are we taking so long to adapt?
Adaptation is a complex issue, not only in relation to the climate itself but also to society, among the many other urgent issues at the beginning of this century. Bettina Laville, President of Comité 21, explained that in order to move forward, it is crucial to act together and incorporate the social dimension into adaptation strategies. The local setting is the right socio-economic and geographic scale:
"As of 2017, Veolia's strategy has included an "adaptation" component"
"With the question of adaptation, we have to take a forward-looking view of cities: it's not just a question of thinking in terms of risk management, but of building tomorrow's world. Through its three businesses (Water, Waste, and Energy), Veolia is committed to creating circular economy circuits, with one challenge: to be an economic player in the preservation of resources. And in order to combine "mitigation" and "adaptation" to climate change, in 2017 the Group incorporated an "adaptation" component.”
PIERRE VICTORIA, VEOLIA'S SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
Veolia's approach to resilience consists of understanding a region's vulnerabilities, then managing them to better - and more quickly - safeguard its ecosystem and thus develop a favourable social and economic fabric. The challenges involved in strengthening the resilience of cities go beyond technical and technological issues to form part of a global urban development process. They lead to the creation of new partnerships and strengthened cooperation between actors at the territorial level.
"After Hurricane Katrina in August 2005 in New Orleans (United States), Veolia signed a partnership agreement with the city and Swiss Re to help the local government build its resilience strategy. It is based on a holistic approach and on the city's ability to work as an ecosystem, breaking down barriers: thinking not just about a particular risk, but thinking about the city's resilience more comprehensively. In the long run, this benefits all stakeholders. Furthermore, investors and extra-financial rating agencies are pushing companies to adapt by asking them how they are anticipating climate change. The CDP also asks companies to assess the impact of their strategy on water resources." PIERRE VICTORIA
Comité 21’s 12 recommendations
The report entitled “Adapting to climate change: proposals for accelerated transformation of territories and organisations” is committed to understanding what adaptation entails in terms of radically transforming our lifestyles and reorganizing our societies. It puts forward 12 recommendations to speed up the introduction of adaptation by communities, citizens and businesses:
- A framework law on adaptation, in France ;
- Offer all elected officials training on climate issues and adaptation;
- Review territorial planning documents by the same deadlines in order to improve coordination and coherence between them and include adaptation to climate change;
- Rely on citizen expertise to find the best adaptation solutions;
- Make it mandatory to map the risks that businesses may suffer as a result of the consequences of climate disruption and the collapse of biodiversity;
- Include climate change adaptation in corporate reporting;
- Better measure the costs avoided and the benefits obtained through adaptation actions;
- Identify adaptation strategies by sectors by cross-reference the challenges of the territories.
- Strengthen the national observatory focusing on the effects of global warming, the regional directorates for the environment, development and housing, and create a department at the Ministry;
- Create a research fund to study the obstacles and levers to introducing climate change adaptation actions;
- Mobilize all scientific and technical tools and artificial intelligence to support adaptation plans;
- Integrate cognitive sciences into sustainable development training.
Both a think tank and a do tank, Comité 21 is a platform created in 1995 that engineers synergies between non-state and state stakeholders for the international deployment of SDOs by the French at the international level, for France at the national level, and at the level of each of its territories.