Climate Change Resilience in Small Communities in the Nordic Countries

Often there are areas on the outskirts of a country where emergency response is rudimentary, located far from major cities and where critical infrastructure is vulnerable to these types of events. This is first and foremost untenable/indefensible for the citizens; however, authorities with emergency management responsibility need new methods in order to support the communities in their own efforts to build capacity, since the fire and rescue services do not necessarily have the capacity to carry out search and rescue operations as they are expected to in the future. One of the many challenges, besides the violent and devastating events themselves, is that the areas can also be threatened with relocation if the locals are unable to cope with the rising threats of climate change – this is critical for the Nordic societies in general.

The Climate Change Resilience in Small Communities in the Nordic Countries project (CliCNord) will examine how the small rural communities in the selected areas understand their own situation, how they handle adverse events and build capacity, and under what circumstances they need help from the established system and civil society organisations. Against this background, a framework will be developed that can be disseminated to other vulnerable communities and authorities with responsibility for ensuring safety and adequate capacity for climate change resilience. The framework will enable both the small communities and the authorities to work together on tasks concerning prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery – all phases needed to secure communities against hazardous events.

CliCNord will include several very different hazards affecting local communities across the Nordic countries. The hazards, which are regarded as a direct consequence of climate change, are coastal flooding due to storm surge, cloudbursts, wildfires, temperature extremes, landslides, slush avalanches, flash floods, and storms. There are in total eight cases in five countries (Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, and the Faroe Islands). The project takes its point of departure in disaster cycle management, and includes all the four phases), and the methodologies are predominantly qualitative and inspired by social science.