The polish adaptation policy


National Adaptation Policy

All adaptation activities are connected with the great costs. Taking into account the global perspective we see that the biggest costs should be spent by the developing countries, where the (possible) expenditures will be able to reach 100 billions USD per year. The forecasts of costs in Europe mentioned by the European Environment Agency concern the amounts of a few billions euro in the short-term perspective and tens of billions of euro in the long-term perspective.

That is why all activities that are undertaken – public and private as well – must minimize the failure risk. The climate change should be seen as the potential risk which should be taken into account while the regulation mechanisms and investment plans are prepared, just as macroeconomic and political risks are (usually) taken into consideration. The important element is to make people aware of the necessity of adaptation to the climate change not only on the society level but on the house-holds level, as well.

It should be underlined that on  the UNFCCC forum governments of over 190 countries debate over GHG emission limitation and adaptation to climate change, recognizing that these activities should be conducted parallel to elaboration of the adaptation programmes and that the Conference of Parties tasks  result from the article 4 of the upper mentioned convention and from the adopted on its forum “The Nairobi Work Programme on impacts, vulnerability and adaptation to climate change” (NWP) of 2006 which provides that, among other things, countries must necessarily include in climate change possible impact on different sphere of life assessment and establishment of the strategy which limits this impact through the adaptation to the climate change.

The answer in the form of SPA 2020

Having the aim to implement the Nairobi Programme the European Commission (EC) published “White Paper: Adapting to climate change: Towards a European framework for action” (on the 1st April 2009) and defined the scope of activities for the 2009-2012 years concerning, among others, preparation for the adaptation to climate change, which was finally published by EC in April 2013 [COM(2013)216]. The Polish Government adopted the statement on the “White Paper” on 19th March 2010 including the decision that the adaptation strategy to vulnerable sectors and areas should be elaborated. Decision on elaboration of the Strategic Adaptation Plan until 2020 (SPA 2020) and its acceleration arose from the fact that it was necessary to prepare the set of the guiding adaptation activities until 2020 for the sectors and areas vulnerable to climate change with reference to national integrated development strategies in order to achieve the economy and the society improvement on resilience to climate change and reducing the losses connected with the climate change.  SPA 2020 is the element of the wider research project named “KLIMADA” which covers the period until 2070 and is the basis for the conclusions  presented by the SPA 2020 project.

The SPA 2020 elaboration is inserting itself into a set of activities in support to achieve the primary aim of  “White Paper” and the EU adaptation strategy to climate change  which is improvement of  the EU Member States resilience of  the current and expected climate changes including better adjustment to the extreme climate and weather occurrences and  reduction of socio-economic costs connected with them. The system of implementation of the strategic plan which included the identification of the entities responsible for monitoring indicators and  implementation of the purposes assessment – was proposed. The balance of  expenses and losses that were born as the result of the extreme climate and weather occurrences in Poland during 2001 – 2011 years was prepared and the costs of adaptation activities relinquishment in two periods – until 2020 and until 2030 – were estimated. The financial framework for implementation of such activities in the prospect of 2020 were presented taking into account the possibilities that are created by the new EU funds planned to be spent during 2014-2020. It should be underlined that the registered losses connected with the climate changes during 2001 – 2010 years had amount of 54 billions Polish new zlotys. In case of doing-nothing the possible in future costs of losses are estimated on about 86 billions Polish new zlotys until 2020 and additional 119 billions Polish new zlotys during 2021-2030. In the process of the SPA 2020 activities formulation it was decided that the document should have to include different kinds of adaptation activities covering as well technical undertakings (for example – the establishment of the necessary flood control and coast protection infrastructure) as the changes of the legal acts (for example – changes in the legal system of town-and-country planning limiting the possibility to build on the sites endangered by floods, partial floods and landslides and system of more flexible procedures for quick response to environmental disasters), implementation of the monitoring systems referring to the specific domains and areas and – at last  – wide dissemination of the knowledge on the necessary change of the way of conduct in economy and business. At the same time the following general rules were taken into account:

  • the tractability for risk connected with climate change should be minimized and – among others – this aspect should be taken into account during planning of an investment,
  • it is necessary to elaborate the quick response plans in case of the climate disasters (such as floods, droughts, heat-waves) in order to have the public institutions  prepared to help victims immediately,
  • the activities that from the point of view of cost efficiency ought be implemented first and foremost  – should be assigned,
  • first of all the preparations connected with counteractions to the endangered health and life of the people and to the losses that results could be irreversible (for example in a way of  a loss of  rare culture assets or ecosystems) – should be done.

Implementation and financing

The supervision over the SPA 2020 implementation will be conducted by the Ministry of the Environment on the grounds of  monitoring indicators and of assessment of the goals achievement extent. At the same time because of the fact that the adaptation activities were indicated in other governmental strategic documents – their performance will be subject of the monitoring within frameworks of these strategies. Ministry of the Environment will be conducted only the “soft” co-ordination of the legal entities implementing SPA 2020 and the Ministry will solely monitor and point the process directions in order to have the legal entities had been the main authors of projects connected with the adaptation as their needs will be arising.

 The implementation of the activities mentioned in SPA 20202 will  be the process which needs involvement of many legal entities and institutions on the national, regional and local levels. According to the multi-governance principle  and because of the horizontal character of the adaptation process and existing institutional frameworks of the development policy in Poland it is not predicted  to establish new institutions or other type of bodies responsible for their co-ordination. The SPA 2020 implementation process will be conducted with the specific pressure on the communication and co-operation in the area of functioning  collaboration platforms within the system of development management (for example Co-ordination Committee regarding the Development Policy and units and working groups existing within the framework of the specific development strategies). The SPA 2020 implementation will engage especially as follows:

  • central level administration,
  • self-governments of the voivodships,
  • local self-governments,
  • businessmen.

 The activities that are particularly important to be implemented in the voivodships were proposed in the SPA 2020. The actions like – for example floods control or creation of the early warning systems for  the floods threats – concern the majority of  voivodships.

The financing

Because of the horizontal and interdisciplinary character of the adaptation process it is not possible to valuate precisely the costs of adaptation activities for the whole country in reliable manner. The SPA 2020 delimits the frameworks for the adaptation policy in Poland while the implementation of the specific enterprises will have  – especially –  regional and local dimensions. That is why currently it is not possible to mention the adaptation activities costs that will be planned in future – for example basing on the specific territory analysis of tractability (town/community).

 The potential financing of the adaptation activities within the framework of national budget will be taken into account in the state budget elaboration process for the next budgetary year in the expenditures limit which will be fixed in the appropriate part of the budgetary act.

 The adaptation activities will be financed from different sources – domestic and foreign (especially EU) as well and from the private sources (table 1). In the context of the EU New Financial Perspective 2014 – 2020 it should be underlined that in the general order for the funds within so called Multiannual Financial Framework for years 2014 – 2020 – MFF (project) the thematic objective 5 was mentioned which is dedicated to the adaptation activities that is “Promoting climate change adaptation, risk prevention and management”.  The detailed scope of financing adaptation within the MFF framework, including financial allocations, will be delimited in the operational programmes on the national and regional levels.  The second main source of financing for adaptation process will be system of environmental protection funds, especially the National Fund of Environmental Protection and Water Management in which the financing of adaptation activities was planned in the strategies of the [voivodship] funds  and in the specific priority programs as well.

Table. 1 The sources of financing  for the scope of adaptation activities during the years 2014 – 2020.

The sources of financing  for the scope of adaptation activities during the years 2014 – 2020

The national public financial  sources


EU financial  sources within the New Financial Perspective 2014 – 2020


International financial  sources

Private – national and foreign financial  sources


financial  sources

National Fund of Environmental Protection and Water Management

Multiannual Financial Framework and

Common Agricultural Policy;

national and regional operation


The World Bank

Businessmen including those from Small/Medium Enterprises

Commercial banks

voivodship funds of environmental protection and water management

LIFE+ instrument


International Monetary




self-governments units (JST) budgets

the Green Investment Scheme

(returns form AAU units auctions)


instruments for the sustainable development of towns

The other

investment funds including venture capital and private equity

The State Budget


The frameworks and mechanisms that serve for better adjustment of Poland to the current and future climate changes were designated in the SPA 2020. This objective is to be achieved by support for and stimulation of activities of the regions, communities and voivodships, by establishment of the grounds for better prepared decision making process in the area of adjustment [to the climate change] in the forthcoming years and  by the making the most important economic sectors resilient for the effects of climate changes.

Link1 Instytu Ochrony Środowiska Ministerstwo Ochrony Środowiska