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From droughts to floods, rising seas to extreme weathers, communities around the world are already experiencing increased climate impacts. These pose threats to life, property, economic well-being and to ecosystems. New guidance from ISO will help local governments and communities to prepare for such threats and the associated risks. 

The new ISO technical specification ISO/TS 14092:2020, Adaptation to climate change – Requirements and guidance on adaptation planning for local governments and communities, will help local governments and communities in taking initial action to create a safe, socially and economically secure and sustainable society that is resilient to current and future impacts of climate change.

All of the top five risks facing the world are now linked to the climate crisis, according to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Risks Report 2020. Extreme weather events, major biodiversity loss and a failure to halt global warming are the biggest threats concerning hundreds of key decision makers, a poll by the WEF found.

The new ISO/TS 14092 recognizes that the impacts posed by climate change vary widely from region to region and directly affect local governments, including the public services they offer, as well as the safety and security of individuals within their jurisdiction. It supports them in adapting to climate change based on vulnerability, impacts and risk assessments. It also supports the setting of priorities for tackling the deep-rooted risks.  

A bridge destroyed by hurricane Katrina in Mississippi, USA.

“Preparing for risks posed by climate change and planning for adaptation at local government and community levels is essential,” explains Sara Jane Snook, Chair of the group of experts that developed the new guidance. “The step-by-step process presented in ISO/TS 14092 enables tailoring of the local adaptation plan to suit the climate, environmental and societal conditions in each case. It will lead to developing a robust, effective adaptation plan that can be implemented, promoting appropriate climate action today and in the future.”

This new ISO specification also describes how to develop an adaptation plan at the local government and community levels. It outlines why and how to establish an appropriate (well-structured and collaborative) governance structure and the elements of the adaptation planning and implementation processes. These details include establishing a facilitation team, assessing risks and developing an effective plan, monitoring the progress of adaptation implementation and evaluating its achievement with the aim of continually improving the plan.

ISO/TS 14092 was developed by ISO technical committee ISO/TC 207, Environmental management, subcommittee SC 7, Greenhouse gas management and related activities, the secretariat of which is held by SCC, ISO’s member for Canada. It is available from your national ISO member or through the ISO Store.

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