I propose to take Questions Nos. 516 to 518, inclusive, together.
Ireland’s first statutory National Adaptation Framework (NAF), published in January 2018, sets out the context to ensure local authorities, regions and key sectors can assess the main risks and vulnerabilities of climate change, implement climate resilience actions and ensure climate adaptation considerations are mainstreamed into policy making.
Under the National Adaptation Framework, each local authority is required to develop a local adaptation strategy in line with “Local Authority Adaptation Strategy Development Guidelines” which were launched by Minister of State Canney on 3 December 2018 and are available on www.dccae.gov.ie. Local authorities have been set a deadline for the completion of local strategies by 30 September 2019.
In January 2018, my Department also entered into a funding commitment of €10m over 5 years to establish four Climate Action Regional Offices. This recognises the significant obligation which has been placed on local government to develop and implement its own climate action measures – both in terms of mitigation and adaptation.
A key priority for the Climate Action Regional Offices in 2019 will be to support the local authorities within their region to develop their local adaptation strategies and ensure they align with national adaptation policy and sectoral priorities. Work is under way across all local authorities on the preparation of local adaptation strategies in line with the five step methodology set out in the Guidelines. The development and approval of the strategies themselves will, however, be the responsibility of each individual local authority.
My Department is working closely with local government in supporting the adaptation planning process and will monitor overall progress on the development of local adaptation strategies at local authority level via the National Adaptation Steering Committee, the Climate Action High Level Steering Group, as well as through the various governance structures established for the Climate Action Regional Offices.