Adaptation for the regions

Regions of Russia will begin to adapt to climate change. The first territory to approve a regional climate adaptation plan was the Kursk region, followed by the Nizhny Novgorod region. Representatives of public environmental organizations believe that the need to adapt regions to climate change is becoming more urgent every day, but point to the lack of development of documents and plans.



The framework for regional adaptation documents is defined in the National Plan, which was approved by a decree of the Russian government in late 2019. The federal document provides for organizational and regulatory measures to respond to the risks posed by climate change, as well as “a wide range of actions for information and scientific support of the work”.

The national plan defines the procedure for the development of sectoral and regional plans: it is recommended that the executive bodies of state power of the subjects of the Russian Federation organize work on adaptation to climate change and approve regional plans. It is recommended to use the “Report on the scientific and methodological bases for the development of strategies for adaptation to climate change in the Russian Federation”.

Initially Russian regions had to prepare plans for adaptation by September 30, 2021. Then the term was prolonged till May 10, 2022. At the end of December of the previous year at the meeting of the Expert Council at the Committee of the Federation Council on Agrarian and Food Policy it was reported that 42% of the regions did not start the work and did not provide information about the preparation of the plans.

The Kursk region was the first to prepare and approve a regional adaptation plan for climate change. “The region is characterized by a significant increase in the number of dangerous meteorological phenomena, as well as an increase in the seasonal number of days with elevated temperatures and cases of soil drought,” Konstantin Polyakov, Chairman of the Committee of Natural Resources of Kursk region, explained the need for the plan.

In order to adapt to the changing climate, the region is planning to create a fund of seeds, adapted to the soil and climatic conditions of the region, insure crops against risks of death due to natural hazards, create a reserve of food, fuel and medicines, the rehabilitation of water bodies.

Representatives of public environmental organizations consider the Kursk regional authorities’ plans to introduce renewable energy sources, introduce new requirements to construction materials and technologies, and a number of other measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to be progressive intentions. There are also other advantages of the document: availability of measures on waste management, refusal from incineration and energy efficiency programs.

However, as noted by environmentalists, the shortcoming of the Kursk region adaptation plan is that the list of climate risks does not coincide with the list of measures. It does not provide “answers” to such climate “challenges” as glaciation, loss of biodiversity, and fires in natural areas, which are mentioned in the plan.

The recently prepared regional document of Nizhny Novgorod region is more modest in terms of both volume and ambition. It as well as the Kursk Region plan includes activities related to agriculture and forestry, transport and energy, but, as noted by experts, there is a feeling of “non-sufficiency” of the document: it includes only those activities that appear in other “non-climatic” programs of the region.

The adaptation plan for Nizhny Novgorod Region still looks rather “incomplete”: risks are superficially assessed, and simple adaptation measures related to waterlogging and heat waves are not provided for, although these risks are specified in the regional plan.

Public experts also note that both documents do not fully comply with the Model Passport for Climate Safety, which was approved a year ago at the national level “to ensure a unified approach to the justification and development of regional adaptation plans to climate change in order to implement the National Action Plan for the first phase of adaptation to climate change for the period up to 2022”.

For example, the “model passport” requires a serious economic assessment of damage from weather events, and the creation of a list of the most important economic and social objects subject to weather and climate impacts. The first two approved regional adaptation plans do not contain this.

It was also assumed that the regions would assess in detail the main climate-forming factors, conduct climatic and landscape zoning, and assess risks for the population (including certain groups of people). However, so far the creators of the regional plans have not gotten to this point. The documents contain virtually no measures concerning the health of the population.

In their Statement to the UNFCCC Climate Change Conference COP26 representatives of public environmental organizations recommend that regional authorities accelerate regulatory and legal activities in terms of adaptation to climate change. They also believe that the best option is to use benefit-oriented approaches that ensure both adaptation and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. For example - photovoltaics (installation of photovoltaic panels generating electricity) on the roofs of large cities, exposed to heat waves, agro photovoltaics in arid regions in agricultural areas - in addition to energy production such devices reflect sunlight, create shade and reduce the impact of heat on buildings and farmland.