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Stakeholders consultations results for the Integrated case study: Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia, Northern Adriatic Sea, Italy

Valentina Giannini, CMCC, Italy

The consulted stakeholders expressed high interest in climate services. They indicated the need of climate change scenarios to include climate information in their planning activity.  An improved communication system together with an integration of climate information has been considered essential for a better decision making process.  At this end, impact and risk assessment tools, such as GIS-maps, and geospatial indicators have been considered very useful. The uncertainty in model outcomes, generally an excuse for inaction, should rather be interpreted as a range of possibilities of what the future might be. Decision Support Systems (DSSs) have been indicated as important tools to allow a spatial visualisation of the potential consequences of climate change in different natural and human systems and sectors.





Main objectives of this Work Package “Workshop report: context and objectives, comparison of data supply and demand, simulation results, feedback and discussion. Integrated case study: Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia, Northern Adriatic Sea, Italy” is to analyse the need of climate information and the effectiveness of climate services for the integrated assessment of climate change impacts on coastal zones at the regional to local scale.  To achieve this objective end-users of climate information and risk assessments, named stakeholders in this research, have been consulted.  Specifically, stakeholders considered here are representative of those public institutions which have a mandate for Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM).  The geographical area taken into account is the coastline of the two Italian regions of Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia (North Adriatic Sea).


This article describes the results of the first workshop, held in Venice on 13 September 2011, and of the questionnaire, which was filled in online in the weeks following the workshop.  Further consultations are scheduled according to the agreement reached at the end of the workshop, they enable continuous exchange between the CLIM-RUN researchers and the stakeholders.  A final workshop is scheduled for February 2013.


The CLIMRUN workshop


Twenty key stakeholders, representatives of the following key institutions, operating at supranational, national, and local levels, participated in the workshop.


Table 1. List of participants






Euroregione Adriatica







Civil Protection, regional office FVG



Veneto Region

Genio Civile di Rovigo



Difesa del suolo



Sistema idrico integrato



ARPAV Centro meteo Teolo



Independent Authorities

Magistrato alle acque di Venezia



Consorzio Venezia Nuova



Consorzio di Bonifica Delta Po



Consorzio di Bonifica Veneto Orientale



Port Authoritiy of Venice




Venezia: Servizio geologico e difesa del suolo







Venezia: Istituzione Centro Previsioni e Segnalazioni Maree



Friuli Venezia Giulia Region

Servizio geologico










Area Marina Protetta di Miramare






Researchers from the CLIM-RUN project partners, namely Filippo Giorgi (ICTP), Silvio Gualdi, Valentina Giannini, Silvia Torresan and Valentina Gallina (CMCC) facilitated the workshop.  At the beginning of the morning session Valentina Giannini, who organized the workshop, illustrated the agenda, the workshop objectives, the process for the stakeholder selection, and how the involvement of stakeholders will be carried out both in this workshop and in future collaborations.  Following this, Silvio Gualdi presented the CLIM-RUN project and defined what is meant by climate services, focusing on the need for a collaboration between researchers (i.e. “producers” of information) and stakeholders (i.e. “users” of information).  Primary objective of CLIM-RUN is, in fact, to establish a protocol to enable this collaboration, to strengthen the scientific base and produce data which is tailored to stakeholders needs, to test this protocol in selected case studies in the Mediterranean basin.  Then the participants were asked to present themselves by stating not only where they work, but also what kind of climate and meteorological information they already use.


The morning session then entered its informative phase: three half hour long presentations.  The first two were given by Filippo Giorgi.  The first was more general in scope giving information on climate change, talking about definitions, observations, models and future scenarios.  The second was specifically designed to give relevant information on scenarios of climate change in the Mediterranean.  Filippo Giorgi showed the results of many combined models, which all show similar trends, some of which are already confirmed by observations:



The last presentation was given by Silvia Torresan, in it she talked about tools and services to define impacts from climate change in coastal areas. Specifically, she pointed out that climate services can provide two main streams of information: (1) basic climate parameters (e.g. precipitation, temperature, extreme event frequency) given by climate experts, and (2) derived parameters (e.g. impact and risk assessment on natural and human systems) supplied by environmental risk experts. She also expressed the importance of Decision Support Systems (DSSs) that facilitate climate change impact and risk assessment in order to support decision making processes for the implementation of adaptation strategies and presented the DEcision support SYstem for COastal climate change impact assessment (DESYCO) as an innovative tool to bridge the gap between climate data and user’s needs.


The discussion session, summarized below, then took the afternoon, and it was concluded by agreeing to a road map which will guide and organize future consultations.


Main results of workshop


Generally speaking all the stakeholders who came to the workshop showed interest in the theme of climate services, willingness to learn, and contribute opinions.  The statements of the participants are presented below in the following paragraphs of this section.


  1. Interests and themes


  1.  Use of information


  1.  Expectations


  1.  Meteorological condition monitoring and weather forecasts


  1.  Future climate change scenarios


The CLIM-RUN questionnaire


A questionnaire was developed within the WP4 in English, and then translated into Italian and made available to stakeholders online.  The questionnaire has been divided into 5 sections: (1) your institution/organization, (2) risk perception and current use, (3) your perspectives on climate services, (4) data requirements, (5) handling uncertainties.  Thirteen out of the twenty stakeholders who participated to the workshop answered the questionnaire, all typologies of stakeholders were represented (consultants, experts, stakeholders, NGO, government officials, media, local community).


Main results of questionnaire


Here we report some examples of the most relevant information which was obtained from the questionnaire.  The second section of the questionnaire is about Risk perception and current use.  The majority of stakeholders perceive their organizations as potentially risk prone, however, probably because of the diversity of institutions represented, risk perception varies from high to low.  The highest risks perceived are: coastal flooding (11/13), coastal erosion (8/13), drought, salinisation and water quality (7/13), hydrogeological disturbance (6/13).


As for the main result of the third section “Your perspectives on climate services” most stakeholders (8/13) rate “Provision of observed climate and weather data”, “Tools for analyzing climate data” as essential.  Generally, however, all of the possible answers have shown a high degree of interest by stakeholders.  Stakeholders have expressed slightly lower interest towards “Training in using climate data/tools” and “Conceptual frameworks to enable cause/effect relationships”.


Following this a series of questions were asked relative to specifications of climate data needs: regions, spatial scale, temporal resolution, timescale, and projections.  Looking into what types of parameters are requested four parameters have been selected the most “Temperature”, “Rainfall”, “Extreme events”, and “Sea level”; a fifth parameter is also judged of relevance “Wave height”.  Other parameters of interest not listed among the questions, which have been added by stakeholders, are: forest fires, spatial distribution of rain events, and drought.


Next steps and conclusive comments


The very last part of the discussion during the workshop was focused on identifying a method to continue the information exchange started with this workshop.  In the lively discussion the participants, as well as the CLIM-RUN researchers, have been proactive in suggesting effective ways and methods to enable collaboration.  In the end three thematic groups have been created as a result of the discussion: (1) hydroclimatic regime, (2) management of coastal and marine environment, and (3) agriculture.  The issues arisen from the workshop (listed above) have been compiled in a spreadsheet where each issue was assigned to one thematic group, and the climate experts added information regarding what kind of data could be delivered by the CLIM-RUN project to address each issue.  Stakeholders were then asked to specify information needs in relation to this information.  The final spreadsheet was then shared with the CLIM-RUN project consortium and constitutes the basis for Work Packages 2 and 3.


This ends the first phase of the stakeholders’ consultations.  However, we will keep interacting with stakeholders when necessary, e.g. to ask specific questions such as weather data availability, when these will come from the other CLIM-RUN partners.  We will also update them with general information when it becomes available and organize a final meeting hopefully for March 2013.


Some additional conclusive remarks should be made.  These bring into the question issues which, even if outside the scope of the meeting, could be addressed by the CLIM-RUN project.  Firstly, the need for a “strong” document on climate change scenarios so that climate information will be considered in planning.  In fact, not only data is needed to understand change and design adaptation measures to cope with it, but also attention has to be paid to improve data communication: it must be clear that there is no possibility of ignoring climate change.  Proof of this is that more than lack of information the problem is, nowadays, lack of integration of climate information into the decision making process, and lack of impact and risk assessment tools, such as GIS-maps, and geospatial indicators.  One issue directly related to this is the communication of uncertainty in model outcomes, which is generally an excuse for inaction, but it should rather be interpreted as a range of possibilities of what the future might be.  Finally, in order to support the use of climate scenarios in urban planning and facilitate decision making processes in uncertain situations, the environmental risk experts are significant scientific figures and the Decision Support Systems (DSSs) are important tools that allow to spatially visualise the potential consequences of climate change in different natural and human systems and sectors.