In the past few decades, flooding events linked to climate change have been increasing, raising the costs borne by communities, in terms of human life and damage to environmental, social-cultural andeconomic assets. Local communities are now being called upon to be more active in developing adaptation strategies and implementing effective early warning systems to help build their own resilience.
The LIFE PRIMES project aimed to build resilient communities by engaging them in early warning and flood risk prevention measures. The project planned to meet the European challenge of adaptation management by:
The LIFE PRIMES project drew up integrated baseline scenarios up to 2050 using data from 1961 to 2015, achieving a common baseline climate scenario for three Italian Regions. Based on this outcome, the warning systems in the regions could be harmonised, including practices for data management and risk assessment and procedures to alert the population in case of extreme events. A common communication strategy was proposed along with tools to raise the awareness of citizens of hydro-geological and meteorological risks.
Furthermore, the project created a toolkit for resilient communities, which included tutorials, guidelines for the development of local adaption action plans, best practices, guidelines for the compilation of local civic adapt action plans and reports on climate scenarios. A web-portal, with an interactive map, for sharing information from the three regions was also created. Weather alerts valid at the national level for three types of events (floods, landslides and storms) could be shared.
Using these tools, more than 2 500 local adaption action plans were developed. A participatory approach was adopted, engaging around 2 800 people through workshops, alert simulations and demonstration actions. The plans proposed 108 adaptation actions, 27 of which were implemented.
Notably, the perception of risk and the resilience of communities was evaluated before and after the project activities and the positive impact of the project was highlighted. For instance, the more influential macro-indicators for the improvement in social resilience have been (i) trust in institutions, (ii) awareness about territorial critical issues and climate related hazards and (iii) knowledge of alert systems and emergency procedures.
Finally, the beneficiary has drawn up a memorandum of understanding approved by the beneficiaries and the municipalities involved in the project to continue the technical activities after the project end, including the proper management and update of the warning platform. Moreover, the beneficiaries have expressed interest in extending the PRIMES system to the whole territory of the three target regions as well as other Italian areas. The team established contacts with the regions Calabria, Piedmont and Umbria, while also promoting its outcomes at international events.
All in all, the project strongly supported the implementation of the Floods Directive and reaching the targets defined by EU Adaptation Strategy and the European Climate Adaptation Platform.
Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report and After-LIFE Communication Plan (see "Read more" section).