Climate change

Wengen 2006 Workshop - Adaptation to the Impacts of Climate Change in the European Alps


Impacts of climate change are now being felt across the European Alps and future scenarios predict even greater changes, which will include a reduction in snow cover at lower altitudes, receding glaciers and melting permafrost, and changes in temperature and precipitation extremes. These changes have potential implications for critical aspects of Alpine economies, including winter tourism; exposure of human settlements and infrastructure to natural hazards; agriculture and ecosystems; and water resources. Adaptation to these observed and projected impacts is therefore becoming increasingly important – both to limit near and medium term damages and also to avoid decisions that might exacerbate vulnerability to climate changes over the longer term.

The Wengen 2006 workshop took place from October 4-6, 2006, and brought together experts from the climate science, policy, and economics communities together with decision-makers from countries within the Alpine Arc to examine the vulnerability of particular sectors and systems to climate change impacts, and more importantly to assess progress on the formulation and implementation of adaptation responses at local, regional, and national levels.

A particular focus was placed on:

  • the role of government and private actors;
  • comparative experiences between the Alpine countries; and
  • synergies and conflicts between adaptation responses and other priorities.


Introductory remarks

  • Martin Beniston, University of Geneva, Switzerland
  • Shardul Agrawala, OECD Paris
  • Chris Hewitt, EU ENSEMBLES Project and Hadley Center, UK Met Office, UK

Keynotes - Chair: Marc Gillet, ONERC, France

Session 1A: Winter Tourism / National Perspectives - Chair: Marc Gillet, ONERC, France

Session 1B: Winter Tourism / Local and Private Sector Perspectives - Chair: Ellen Wiegandt, Graduate Institute of International Studies

Session 1C: Winter Tourism / Looking Forwards - Chair: Greg Greenwood, DECANAT

Session 2: Agriculture and Ecosystems - Chair: Chris Hewitt, Ensembles Project/Hadley Center

Session 3A: Natural Hazards / Scientific Basis

Session 3B: Natural Hazards / National and Local Responses - Chair: Markus Stoffel, University of Fribourg

Session 3C: Natural Hazards / Insurance - Chair: J.M. Vengeon, Pôle Grenoblois Risques Naturels

Session 4: Water Resource Management - Chair: M. Beniston, University of Geneva

Special Keynote

 Wrap-up Session - Chair: S. Agrawala, OECD Paris

  • Marc Gillet, ONERC, France
  • Greg Greeenwood, Mountain Research Initiative, Décanat, Switzerland

Closing Remarks, Shardul Agrawala, OECD Paris and Martin Beniston, University of Geneva, Switzerland




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