The study looks the climate adaptation strategies of six metropolitan cities in South Korea – Seoul, Daegu, Daejeon, Incheon, Busan and Ulsan.
The adaptation plans and budget expenditures of these six cities were compared based on the Implementation Plan for Climate Change Adaptation Strategy (IPCCAS) 2012-2016 and the annual expenditure reports of each municipality.
When the government established the National Comprehensive Plan for Climate Change Adaptation in December 2008, the government announced a series of national-level adaptation plans. It encouraged local governments to come up with their adaptation plans.
In 2009 the government enacted The Framework Act on Low Carbon Green Growth that required the national government to formulate an adaptation strategy, and local governments must implement the said strategy every five years. Based on this act the government announced The National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy (NCCAS) 2011–2015 in 2010 and with it came the IPCCAS which served as a manual to local governments to help them come up with their adaptation plans.
The study says that mitigation alone is not sufficient to address climate change. In the context of policies, building resilience is synonymous to having climate adaptation strategies in place which include providing alternative water supply, flood protection, cooling services, green infrastructures, and emergency preparedness mechanisms.
Though municipalities have announced their adaptation plans, the study says that implementation of these plans is rare. And that studies on climate adaptation do not assess the performance of these strategies. Failure to implement adaptation plans is sometimes due to financial or political constraints, according to the study.
The study finds that the six metropolitan cities have implemented various programs to adapt to climate change; however, adaptation spending both overall and by sectors varied from their original plan or their IPCCAS.
Cities prioritised disaster/infrastructure, water management, and health sectors, and actual spending is less than what was in their planned budget. Some cities spent more on some sectors in their adaptation, while other cities did not use the money allocated in their budget for adaptation.
The study revealed that the current adaptation in South Korea’s metropolitan cities is not well-tailored for each municipality. The study recommends that to have consistency on both adaptation planning and implementation, local governments should consider local condition when developing adaptation programs rather than applying their NCCAS broadly.
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