On Tuesday, the Executive Council approved the new Strategic Reference Framework for Adaptation to Climate Change up to the year 2030 (ESCACC30), the roadmap for preparing Catalonia for the effects of climate change. This framework complies with Law 16/2017, of 1 August 2017, which set out the strategic directives that public sector policies must follow to reduce our vulnerability to this phenomenon. With the approval of ESCACC30, which replaces the Catalan Strategy for Adapting to Climate Change 2013-2020 (ESCACC20), the Generalitat de Catalunya will have to integrate into its sectoral planning the goals to reduce vulnerability outlined in the document, in the form of 312 specific measures that have been established to facilitate the adaptation of natural environments, socioeconomic activities and the territory as a whole to new environmental scenarios.
The new framework consists of 76 measures for natural systems, 187 measures for socioeconomic areas, and 49 measures for territories. The natural systems referred to include biodiversity, water, woodlands and forestry, and marine ecosystems and fisheries. The socioeconomic areas affected are agriculture and livestock farming; energy, industry, services and retail; transport infrastructures; research and education; health; tourism, urban development and housing, insurance and the financial sector, plus natural risks and civil protection. Lastly, the territorial aspect includes impacts on the mountains, inland areas and the coast. Social and territorial vulnerability have been included so they can be taken into account when it comes to prioritising the roll-out of the measures and the sector adaptation actions.
ESCACC30 takes on board the close connection between the current environmental and climate crises, as evidenced by the leading international institutions in the field of nature conservation, such as the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Secretariat, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). These institutions have stated that the conservation and improvement of biodiversity must become one of the most effective tools at our disposal to help cushion the effects of climate change of anthropogenic origin, the impacts and risks of which can push the adaptation limits of both society and ecosystems to their breaking point. It is the improvement of biodiversity that must underpin the reduction of impacts and risks, as well as the transformation to a more resilient world.
For this reason, the structural approach of ESCACC30 towards achieving the goals of reducing vulnerability at the socioeconomic and territorial levels is that these are determined by the prevalence and achievement of the operational goals for natural systems (biodiversity, water, forests and marine ecosystems). This dependence is fully in tune with what the United Nations defined when proposing the hierarchy of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).