Climate-adapted community building increasingly important for Sweden's municipalities

On December 30, 2020, an extensive landslide occurred in Norway's Gjerdrum. This had a great impact in the media reporting and became a wake-up call for many municipalities to intensify their preventive work, and ability to handle crisis situations as a result of landslides and landslides. Through assignments for both municipalities and authorities in the area, Ekan Management has a detailed overview of how the work is organized and how to make collaboration work.

Climate change means that climate adaptation and geotechnical stability are increasing in importance for Sweden's municipalities. Authorities such as MSB, SGI and SMHI emphasize that Sweden needs to be better equipped for a changing climate. In a research overview from MSB shows the importance of climate adaptation. Here it is stated, among other things, that:

"Society's vulnerability and need for adaptation to a changing climate depends on how well local people have adapted to various changes, that is, what consideration has been taken in the physical planning and in the design of infrastructure and buildings."

In 2019, SMHI made a compilation of the municipalities' climate adaptation work, which shows, among other things, that 90 % of the municipalities have identified a need for climate adaptation, but that they are lagging behind with the measures. By law, the municipalities must now carry out climate analyzes and assess the risk of damage to the built environment. Ekan Management works both with municipalities and several authorities to organize this work.

Municipalities are central actors in preventive work and crisis management.

Several authorities are tasked with supporting the municipalities' work with climate adaptation and dealing with landslide and landslide risks in various ways. The municipalities can receive both advice and grants from MSB and the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (SGI). SGI and the municipalities along the Göta River work particularly closely together, given that the Göta River Valley is a high-risk area. Where SGI pays grants to the municipalities concerned to investigate and implement avalanche and landslide prevention measures. Ekan has been involved in the work of developing and refining SGI's processes and routines. Per Bolin, head of the Delegation for Göta river, says this about Ekan's mission:

This work has created a consensus internally and also made it easier for us to communicate with the municipalities about application processes for grants for geotechnical investigations, projects and measures along the Göta river. It is about preventing landslides and landslides that risk having serious consequences for people's safety, large costs and a negative impact on the environment."

Ekan Management has also supported SGI in developing processes and routines for the agency's work in the event of emergency incidents involving landslides and landslides. Tobias Thorén is the coordinator for Officer in Emergency which assists emergency services, authorities and municipalities with expert knowledge to eliminate threats and reduce damage.

"Clearly defining our process for On-Call Officer will help us to be even more confident in our assessments and be able to support municipalities and other authorities in the emergency situation in the event of serious landslide and avalanche incidents."

On the municipal side, Ekan currently has an assignment for the municipality of Lerum where we together create a structure for the work in the areas of climate adaptation and geotechnics. Per-Ola Johannesson, operations manager Myndighet says this about the work:

"This helps us to sort out the issues and create a clear structure for our work with geoengineering and climate adaptation. In everything from quick handling of acute events such as landslides in the Säveån or floods, to strategic work where risks and long-term measures are carried out preventively and in a coordinated manner. The effect is expected to be reduced risks, reduced costs and faster processes – in building permit management, detailed planning and construction projects.” 

Examples of what Ekan can help municipalities with in the area: 

  • Governance and processes - Create a common picture of the work with climate adaptation and geotechnics by developing and refining processes, routines and governing documents
  • Effective cooperation between authorities - Streamline cooperation with authorities, for example in handling application processes for state grants for stability-enhancing measures and climate adaptation measures
  • Continuity management - Create structure and action plans for handling emergency situations, ongoing assessments and preventive investigations and measures