River Regions

What is it about

More and more often, we experience extreme weather conditions with heavy rainfall that leads to flooding and mudflows and affects private and public buildings and infrastructure in riverine areas. Critical infrastructure such as power lines and transport links are at specific risk, rendering disaster response even more difficult.

Flood disasters along rivers are among the events whose frequency and extent are increasing at an alarming rate. Affected areas are not only exposed to the direct force of the water masses, but also to debris and soil erosion. Damages to infrastructure such as electricity, transport or water resources cause additional knock-on impacts on access to health or supply services and even health risks due to due to contact with biological or chemical contaminants. Last but not least, the loss of life, health and private property has a serious impact on the mental health of the population.

Measures to mitigate the impact of floods range from protective measures such as improved structural design of the built environment and protective walls to the designation of floodplains and relocation of infrastructure and population. However, the solutions should be carefully considered in order to avoid jeopardising the dwindling remaining emissions budget for achieving the temperature targets through the necessary investments for the chosen solution variant.

We need our natural environment and its capacity to regenerate just as much as we need our built environment. Therefore, a broad understanding is needed as to which measures provide the best trade-off to achieve climate-neutrality and a high quality of life for all.

What I can do as...

Policy Makers & Administrations

Provide framework and guidance

A directed transformation needs an accompanying regulatory framework that promotes mutually supportive developments and limits developments with detrimental direct and indirect side effects. Taking into account the tight and further narrowing emission limits, measures need to be balanced to ensure the best possible adaptation without further increasing the risks from climate impacts.

KNOWING creates region-specific pathways with guidance on the combination and timing of measures that help make a climate-neutral and resilient future achievable. This also includes recommendations on how different sectors can be prepared for the transformation and supported in the development within the pathways.

Regions along river courses have always been the centre of human activities with multiple demands on their use. In order to preserve these functions for the future and not to cause even more serious climate impacts through adaptation policies, measures need to be carefully weighed against each other.

Find out how measures influence each other and how a balanced transformation of the multiple functions of river regions can be achieved. Our recommendations and decision-making tools incorporate the latest scientific findings and the combined knowledge of all relevant stakeholder groups.

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Science & Education

Collaborate and communicate

The multifaceted ecological, economic, and social aspects defining the functions of river regions are explored by a wide range of different scientific disciplines with often unique methods and models and their own terminology. The complexity of climate change however requires combining the knowledge and tools from different disciplines to avoid rebound- and spill-over effects in the decarbonisation and adaptation process.

KNOWING develops a transdisciplinary modelling framework combining knowledge and methodologies from technical, natural, and social sciences to achieve technologically and financially feasible and socially just transformation into a carbon-neutral and sustainable future. Supported by and external scientific board, a Climate Interaction Knowledge Base is developed to provide access to scientific evidence and tools to inspire and support transdisciplinary collaboration.

To secure informed decision making, it is important to further improve and provide the best available knowledge and evidence to avoid maladaptation and failed decarbonisation efforts. Therefore, the framework is open for additional knowledge and models.

Learn more about the data and models applied in the framework and the disciplines involved in the development of the framework, the engagement of stakeholders and citizens and the communication of results.

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Economy & Industries

Lead economic transformation

The redesign and protection of riverside environments require a comprehensive effort to jointly provide the livelihoods for post-fossil societies. Economic transformation is one of the leading drivers in this development and needs to be aware of the multitude of functions of regions along rivers and natural, social and economic environments.

The Transformation Pathways developed by KNOWING provide a clear orientation on planned measures and changing regulatory conditions that help businesses and industries to adapt their production and secure the transformation towards a climate-neutral economy.

Human settlements primarily occur along rivers, and thus numerous economic sectors are also found there. In the event of flood disasters, these are therefore also affected accordingly, which is why it is essential to quickly and thoroughly work on the future planning and use of river regions. To build on activities and opportunities already evolving in the sector, stakeholders from Demonstrator Regions and Members of the external Stakeholder Reference Group support the development of Transformation Pathways with their expertise.

Find out how measures influence each other, how a balanced transformation of infrastructures and assets of river regions can be achieved and how you can take a leading role in the development of the new economy.

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Civil Society

Embrace and shape the change

Even though we do not know exactly what our future will look like and floodings and landslides increasingly endanger our livelihoods, we are not powerless. The world has always changed, and those who have embraced it have always found ways to create and appreciate new opportunities.

KNOWING explains complex interrelationships and the effects of climate impacts, but also climate protection and adaptation measures, on the quality of life of different people. Relatable stories show which measures are necessary to secure the transformation of coastal infrastructure and protection of natural resources without putting anyone at a disadvantage compared to others.

Citizens must be central in shaping a liveable future because it affects their own lives. It is therefore all the more important that everyone understands the interrelationships and preconditions of necessary developments in order to recognise the risks of wrong decisions.

Every day that passes unused means that even higher emissions must be reduced in even less time, or even more adaption measures are needed. It takes all of us to achieve the turnaround together and in time. This is why we actively engage citizens in raising awareness about the complexity of dealing with climate change and benefit from their experiences. Learn more about how you can also help others to join the effort.

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