The latest news and developments on the implications of climate change for waterborne transport infrastructure. News is added by partners of the the Navigating a Changing Climate Partnership. You can also let us know about the latest developments by emailing us, or by using #navclimate on twitter.

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#NavClimate Focal Point

Monday, 22 June 2020 17:53

COVID-19 and climate change

COVID-19 or climate change?*

Take a look at the list below ... Could it be that the bullet points represent some of the lessons the ports and navigation sector has already learned from the current COVID-19 crisis?

  • Maximise operational resilience; improve adaptive capacity
  • Invest in redundancy, temporary infrastructure or other physical back-up provisions
  • Increase storage capacity
  • Nominate or provide physical sanctuaries
  • Incorporate flexibility to allow for modification as conditions change
  • Install or develop new, responsive or demountable infrastructure or equipment
  • Prepare and raise awareness of contingency, emergency or disaster response plans
  • Develop information-sharing protocols
  • Educate workforce, stakeholders, local communities
  • Develop revised operational procedures; modify working practices as conditions change
  • Introduce and implement adaptive management procedures
  • Allow for flexibility and responsiveness in programming
  • Ensure availability of transport and accommodation for personnel during an incident
  • Nominate safe routes and areas, identify diversions
  • Identify and exploit interconnectivity and intermodal options to maintain business continuity
  • Prepare strategic level adaptation strategies
  • Review and revise relevant codes of practice, standards, specifications or guidelines to accommodate changing conditions
  • Review and revise health and safety requirements
  • Require zoning of assets, operations or activities based on risk Identify, secure and coordinate alternative transport routes or modes
  • Promote reduced insurance premiums if improved resilience is demonstrated
  • Set up contingency or disaster response fund
  • Facilitate diversification in facilities and employment as conditions change
  • Research and develop novel tools and methods

In fact, the list is taken from Table 19 in PIANC’s recent WG 178 technical publication on Climate change adaptation planning for ports and inland waterways [1] and reflected in PIANC’s Declaration on Climate Change [2]. The generic but practical measures on the list are amongst those recommended to help the navigation sector accommodate changing climatic conditions and the anticipated increase in the frequency and severity of extreme events.

Resilience, flexibility, adaptive capacity, redundancy ... COVID-19 has focussed our attention on the vital importance of these characteristics. They are also crucial for climate change adaptation.

Let’s not forget about them when the current public health crisis is over.


Jan Brooke, Chair, PIANC Permanent Task Group on Climate Change (PTGCC)


*Article taken from the April 2020 PIANC e-newsletter 'Sailing Ahead'



Monday, 18 May 2020 16:36

EU climate change adaptation strategy

Readers in the EU may be interested to know that the European Commission is consulting on the proposed new EU climate change adaptation strategy, to be launched as part of the Green Deal.  The strategy will focus on encouraging investment in eco-friendly solutions; climate-proofing the economy; making key infrastructure more resilient; adding climate factors to risk management practice; and stepping up prevention & preparedness.

You can comment on the Road Map and/or respond to the consultation at

+   +   +   +  SUBMISSION DEADLINE EXTENDED TO 30 JUNE 2020 +   +   +   +

The European Federation of Inland Ports and thinkport VIENNA have extended the deadline to answer the Open Innovation Challenge.

With your idea we will achieve Europe’s transport, environmental and climate targets for 2030 and 2050! You have the competence for sustainable solutions when it comes to strategies and approaches to achieve the climate goals! Support the European inland ports in making a sustainable and active contribution to achieve the climate targets!

Together with you, we will collect ideas on how European inland ports, in their role as multimodal transport hubs, can contribute to achieve the European climate targets.

For more please visit:

Resilience refers to the capacity to anticipate and plan for disruptions, resist loss in operations and/or absorb their impacts, rapidly recover afterwards, and adapt to changing conditions and constraints. The properties of resilient systems are not new, but in the last decade increases in the disruptions and constraints affecting the Maritime and Inland Waterborne Transport System (MIWTS) have prompted further investigation into how to incorporate them into research, management, and operations.

The global spread of a novel coronavirus in 2019 (COVID-19) highlights the critical importance of making sure that the MIWTS is prepared to provide the functions of moving goods and people throughout unimaginable interruptions and crises spanning from the environment, to infrastructure systems, labor relations, human errors, and public health. Ports and harbors must plan and adapt to both long-term disturbances, such as climate change, and short-term disturbances such as natural disasters and increasingly frequent and intense storms and flooding on inland waterways. If not adequately addressed, these disturbances can cause major national and international disruptions. However, proper planning and mitigation to minimize disruptions and speed recovery from these and other potential hazards and constraints will serve to increase the resilience of the MIWTS.

This new report presents the results of Task Group 193’s review of pertinent documentation, PIANC and third-party reports and publications, unpublished reports and tools, and the practical experience and expertise of the Task Group 193 members. The objective of the report is to provide an understanding of resilience of the MIWTS, summarize knowledge to-date, and highlight future needs through the definition of key terms and a series of case studies, and finally, identify best practices and resilience-related decision-support tools.

The report also describes the relationship between resilience and other systems management concepts including sustainability, risk, and vulnerability.

The report can be accessed at PIANC members can download the report free-of-charge.  Otherwise there is a charge.  However, note that for only € 95,00 (€ 35,00 for students ) you can become an individual member of PIANC. Individual members receive a login and password to access the members-only pages, from where all the published (English) PIANC reports can be downloaded FOR FREE. Find out more at 

Sea-locked Small Island States rely on well-functioning and reliable transport systems, and therefore face particular challenges when it comes to climate change.  It was thus a privilege for Jan Brooke representing @PIANC1 and #NavClimate to take part in the breakout group on Enhancing Action in Sustainable Transport as part of the Placencia Ambition Forum, a virtual event organised by the Alliance of Small Island States on April 20-22.

The Placencia Ambition Forum was introduced by the Prime Minister of Belize, who noted that unlike COVID-19 there will be no vaccine for or immunity from the implications of climate change.  The forum reflected on the lessons already learned from the ongoing public health crisis, but stressed the need for continued urgent attention to climate change action. 

Specifically with regard to transport and transport infrastructure, some of the key messages coming out of the discussions were:

  • a recognition of the vulnerability of transport networks and infrastructure to systemic shocks, particularly but not only in small island states
  • the need to be less arrogant, to pay more attention to nature and to seek opportunities that work with, rather than against, nature
  • the importance of locally-relevant solutions and of building system-level resilience
  • the need to apply the COVID-19 sense of urgency to the climate crisis, to come out of the pandemic 'in a different direction'
  • the critical importance of preparedness, of listening to the evidence, and developing ambitious and holistic Nationally Determined Contributions covering both climate change mitigation and adaptation

Find out more at or contact

Ministers responsible for waterborne transport policy in the EU have welcomed the European Commission’s Communication on the European Green Deal and, in this context have agreed to work towards a carbon-neutral and zero pollution waterborne transport sector

#NavClimate Supporter organisation the European Boating Industry reports that EU Transport Ministers approved the ‘Opatija Declaration’ at their meeting in mid-March.  The Declaration outlines the measures for the EU Member States in their development of maritime policy in the coming decade. It focuses especially on the protection of the marine environment, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and further digitisation in maritime and inland navigation.

The Declaration is based on five key points: 1) Environmental protection, 2) Digitisation, 3) Human resources, 4) security and 5) competitiveness. The full declaration can be found for download at 



Friday, 13 March 2020 18:37

#NavClimate March 2020 Newsletter issued

The March 2020 Newsletter of the #NavClimate partners is now available to download below.  This Newsletter discusses the early planning for COP26 in Glasgow; introduces the NavClimate events that are planned for later this year; and provides an update on the activities of some of the Navigating a Changing Climate partner and supporter organisations.

It also includes a reminder about the still open call for abstracts for the Navigating a Changing Climate conference-within-a-conference at the COPEDEC conference in November - see 

Feel free to provide any feedback on the newsletter or let us know what you would like to see included in future editions by email to .

An exciting announcement from #NavClimate supporter EFIP: a Challenge to gather ideas on how European inland ports, in their role as multimodal transport hubs, can contribute to achieve the European climate targets.

According to the thinkport VIENNA website, "Europe has set ambitious transport, environmental and climate targets for 2030 and 2050 (climate targets 2030, climate targets 2050). European inland ports, due to their role as multimodal transport hubs as well as their proximity to metropolitan areas, are of crucial importance when considering strategies and approaches to achieve climate targets in the coming years. Globalisation, changing consumer behaviour and urbanisation are leading to a steady increase in traffic, freight transport and emissions in European cities. These developments call for new solutions and rapid action in order to actively meet the challenges arising from them. The political measures and initiatives to achieve these goals will be the focus of attention of all actors in the coming years. Issues related to sustainable development of European inland ports and to actively contributing to the achievement of climate targets are at the forefront of the EFIP (European Federation of Inland Ports)".

Find out more at 

A new publication from UNCTAD entitled 'Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation for Coastal Transport Infrastructure: A Compilation of Policies and Practices' is now available for download from  This important new compilation recognises the strategic role of ports and of other key coastal transport infrastructure as part of the global trading system, and stresses the potential for climate-related delays and disruptions across global supply chains.  Enhancing the climate resilience of coastal infrastructure is a matter of strategic economic importance.

Against this background, the UNCTAD publication explains how (in addition to legal and regulatory approaches, policies and plans) guidance, standards, best practices, methodologies and other tools in support of adaptation are urgently required.  The compilation presents several examples, from around the world, of approaches, reports, studies and guidance that are already available to support climate risk, vulnerability and impact assessments, as well as the development of effective adaptation response measures. 

PIANC's recent Working Group 178 report on Climate change adaptation planning for ports and inland waterways (downloadable for free at is among the guidance documents highlighted in the UNCTAD publication.

The new UNCTAD publication at 

A reminder that the call for abstracts is now open for the Navigating a Changing Climate 'conference-within-a-conference' at COPEDEC in The Philippines, in November 2020. Find out more about COPEDEC at and see the call for papers at

Deadline for submission of abstracts is 21st February 2020.

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