Norwegian county first at trying Impact Chain Analysis


For the first time in Norway, the method Impact Chain Analysis has been tested in practice. The pioneering workshop was organised by Rogaland County Municipality, one of many regional bodies faced with the task of tackling climate change.

The scene may appear rather ordinary: a group of people gathered in front of a flip-over board with markers and post-it notes. The method Impact Chain Analysis, in brief, is about considering four conditions in inter-connection: risk, hazard, exposure, and vulnerability. Workshops often involve at least a handful of participants and the main input is creative dialogue. 

Anyone can take part

Participants seek answers to four rather simple questions related to climate change: What may affect a location or entity; what may be affected; what may trigger undesirable events, and what is the worst-case outcome? Workshop participants ask themselves these questions with a given geographical area and theme in mind, for instance “the centre of Stavanger” and “extreme precipitation”.
“As participation requires little preparation and previous knowledge, the method is highly suitable for inter-disciplinary as well as inter-professional cooperation”, says Marta Jansen at Western Norway Research Institute, the lead partner in the international research project Unchain (Full project title: Unpacking climate impact chains. A new generation of action- and user-oriented climate change risk assessments).

First trial in Norway

Rogaland County Municipality has been first in testing the method in Norway because of the county’s role as a case in Unchain.
This autumn, the Rogaland County Municipality was given a first introduction to the method by Marc Zebisch from Eurac Research in Bolzano, Italy. In December 2019, Rogaland County Municipality organised a regional workshop, testing the method together with representatives of the County Governor of Rogaland. Researchers from Western Norland Research Institute, Cicero Center for International Climate Research, and Norce also contributed to the session. 

Adaptive measures

The workshop included discussions of six themes for the entire County of Rogaland: storm water, riverine flooding, drought, ocean level rise, landslides, ecosystems. It helped the participants appreciate how climate change, along with societal changes going on at the same time, may cause risk and vulnerability in various realms. Now the research partners will aim to suggest relevant adaptive measures that may help reduce the various types of risk identified by the workshop participants, says Marta Jansen at Western Norway Research Institute.

The next step for Rogaland will be to design measures pertaining to the County Municipality’s own assignments, drawing on the expertise of the scientific partners in Unchain. Moreover, a county-wide climate change adaptation plan is underway in 2020, covering the time period 2020–2050. Here, the insights from Unchain will come to use.

Local level is next

In the Norwegian approach to climate adaptation, the main agents of climate change adaptation are the municipalities. The 23 municipalities in Rogaland are to receive a short introduction to the Impact Chain Analysis method, in preparation for local workshops to shed light on vulnerability and identify suitable adaptative measures.
Feedback from the local and regional workshops in Rogaland will allow the researchers involved in Unchain to adjust the existing method of analysis as to better suit the needs of local and regional municipalities.
– So far, we see this as a very good approach. The Impact Chain Analysis simplifies the task of identifying adaptive measures that may help society prepare for climate change, says project leader Carlo Aall at Western Norway Research Institute.

Caption 1: Regional-level officials from Rogaland present their findings at a workshop in Stavanger.
Caption 2: Mark Zebisch from Eurac Research in Italy provided an introduction to the Impact Chain Analysis method in Norway in October 2019.

JPI Climate Central Secretariat, Wednesday 11 December 2019