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Workshop - Consideration of physical climate change risks in transport planning and operational processes

26 March 2021 13:00 - 17:00
Geneva Switzerland

Please register before 5 March 2021

 

The UNECE Group of Experts on assessment of climate change impacts and adaptation for inland transport seeks to develop guidance which would respond to the needs of transport professionals and are thus demand-driven. It wishes to consult transport professionals on their needs via this consultation workshop. Read the background information here.

 

Workshop’s objective and focus

The workshop will be organized with the objective of consulting transport professionals on their needs for support and guidance in integrating climate change considerations into transport planning and operational processes.

At the workshop organized by the Group of Experts with the support of the UNECE Secretariat, transport professionals will be encouraged to discuss about the following issues:

  • Policies, regulations and/or standards in place or planned that support the integration of adaptation considerations in planning and operational processes in transport. These may address among others impact modelling, stress tests, assessment of cause-effects relationships, socio-economic objectives, risk-assessment;
  • Obstacles, if any, to integrating adaptation considerations in planning and operational processes in transport. Such may relate to lack of awareness; a lack of budget for work on climate change impacts and adaptation needs for transport, or any regulatory obstacles;
  • Intermodal and sectoral interaction, or collaboration crucial for integrating climate change adaptation considerations in transport; and
  • Areas in which guidance or assistance is required to help effective integration of climate change consideration in planning and operational processes in transport; including policies, regulations and/or standards; finance; data needs; collaboration etc.

 

Workshop’s preparatory work

Transport professionals are invited to send their short inputs or reflections on the issues listed above to the UNECE secretariat by 1 March 2021 (contact us here). Specific reflections will be selected for presentation, discussion and analysis during the workshop.

If interest is confirmed, a second workshop will be held in the second half of June 2021 in Russian for transport professionals speaking Russian. Please inform the secretariat about your interest to participate in the workshop in Russian.

 

Target audience

The workshop is targeting transport professionals, both policy makers as well as representatives of industry associations, and infrastructure owners/managers who are responsible for transport assets and/or systems’ planning and operations for all modes of transport.

 

Draft programme

I. Opening and introduction to the workshop
  • Opening statements      
  • Expert presentation
II. Policies, regulations and standards in support of climate change considerations in transport
  • Presentations/statements from transport professionals
  • Moderated discussion
III. Obstacles including lack of awareness, knowledge and budget for integration of climate change considerations in transport
  • Presentations/statements from transport professionals
  • Moderated discussion
IV. Areas in which guidance or assistance is required to help effective integration of climate change consideration in planning and operational processes in transport
  • Presentations/statements from transport professionals
  • Moderated discussion
V. Conclusions and closure

 

Background

Transport infrastructure (roads, railways, waterways, terminals, airports and ports) and operations are instrumental to safe, efficient and reliable movements of people to their destinations and goods to markets. Due to its function, transport plays a significant role in supporting local, regional or national development. If transport cannot provide its function, adverse economic and social effects can be experienced.

Authorities, together with infrastructure owners and managers, play an important role through planning, investment, operational, as well as legislative processes in ensuring current and future seamless movement of people and goods. They work on, for example, infrastructure and its connectivity, interoperability standards, corridors management, harmonization and simplification of border-crossing formalities and administrative formalities and application of new technologies and digitalization.

The task of ensuring seamless current and future transport is a challenging one. There is a huge range of components or influences that need to be assessed and addressed, especially in the planning phase, and in particular for infrastructure, whose lifespan may reach 30 to 50 years, or longer, and during this time it should continue to serve its planned function.

There is a growing need to consider the physical risks arising from climate change in infrastructure planning and operations. Experience shows that extreme weather events due to climate change, slower onset climate changes (such as sea level rise or permafrost thaw) and cumulative effects may cause transport infrastructure damage and premature degradation, disruption to operations and pressure on supply chain capacity and efficiency. In the light of latest projections on climate change and given the planning horizons and lifespans of transport infrastructure, the need for adaptation and resilience-building is becoming increasingly urgent. Moreover, consideration of the impacts of climate change on planned infrastructure projects may also be required under applicable law on environmental impacts assessment (such as under the amended EIA Directive (Directive 2014/52/EU).

At the same time, to be effective in integrating climate change adaptation in transport planning and operations, authorities, infrastructure managers and owners need to have in place policies, regulations and standards that enable, guide and support their work. Conversely, inappropriate policies, standards, or regulations but also lack of guidance may prevent the authorities and infrastructure owners/managers from effectively integrating climate change adaptation considerations in their investment or operational processes in transport; and/or inadvertently lead to maladaptation.

The UNECE Group of Experts on assessment of climate change impacts and adaptation for inland transport recognises the challenging role of authorities, infrastructure owners/managers, and more generally transport professionals, in integrating various considerations, and in particular the climate change adaptation considerations, in transport assets and systems’ planning and operational processes. The Group of Experts wishes to support transport professionals in the effective integration of climate change adaptation considerations in their work. To this end, the Group of Experts under its current 2020-2025 mandate is working on elaboration of guidance for integrating climate change adaptation considerations in planning and operational processes in transport.

The recommendation to develop this guidance was formulated by the Group of Experts on climate change impacts and adaptation for transport network and nodes (former Group of Experts) under its 2015-2019 mandate. The results of work of the former Group of Experts, including elements for consideration of climate change adaptation in transport systems, are published in the Group’s report available here.   

The objective for the current Group of Experts is to develop guidance which would respond to the needs of transport professionals and are thus demand-driven. It is for this purpose that the Group of Experts wishes to consult transport professionals on their needs via a consultation workshop.