Adaptation Principles

Guiding Principles for Climate Change Adaptation

In the context of climate change, adaptation is the process of adjusting to actual or expected changes in climate and its effects, in order to moderate harm and take advantage of beneficial opportunities. Resilience is a key component of adaptation as it reflects the capacity of social, economic and environmental systems to cope with a disturbance.

The goals of climate change adaptation are primarily to “reduce risk and vulnerability to climate change, strengthen resilience, enhance wellbeing and the capacity to anticipate and respond successfully to change” (IPCC AR6). In essence, adaptation and resilience are about safeguarding people, and the natural systems on which we depend, from higher temperatures, rising seas, more frequent and intense extreme weather, unpredictable rainfall, and more acidic oceans.

In recognition of the significant impact of coastal hazards on our coastal community, one of Council’s first major plans to adapt to climate change was the Coastal Hazards Adaptation Plan (CHAP). During its development, Council engaged extensively with the community to understand our priorities for adapting to future climate hazards, and develop a set of guiding principles for building resilience moving forward.

The following list of 17 adaptation principles guides our work to build resilient and adaptive communities, biodiversity and ecosystems. Using Nature-based Solutions (NbS) that work with nature to address societal challenges, and provide multiple co-benefits for human wellbeing, ecosystem health, climate resilience, and climate mitigation (emissions reductions), is central to our approach. The list aligns with Council’s Sustainability Principles and Design Principles, and follows the five strategic pillars identified in Council’s Corporate Plan 2023-2028 in order to embed adaptation into our key organisational priorities. For more information, please email Council's Climate Change & Sustainability Team.

The Noosa Environment

1) Adaptation does not adversely impact upon the natural assets of Noosa.

2) Adaptation supports the resilience of native flora and fauna, natural dune systems and beaches.

3) Adaptation maintains the natural landscape character of places and provides for attractive natural solutions that harmonise with local environmental features.

The Noosa Community

4) Adaptation increases the community’s safety and resilience to risks from climate change.

5) Adaptation responses maintain or enhance accessibility to existing local landscapes in a way that does not adversely impact on natural values.

6) Adaptation responses seek to maintain the functionality of key community spaces where appropriate, though some areas may experience reduced functionality.

7) Adaptation responses seek to minimise disruption to the community from natural hazard events.

8) Adaptation planning incorporates community involvement in early planning, policy, design and decision making.

9) Adaptation considers the potential financial burden on the community in short, medium and long-term, whilst also considering the rights and interests of individuals.

The Noosa Economy

10) Adaptation seeks to support the ongoing functionality of key economic zones.

11) Adaptation supports the goals of Council’s economic strategy where possible, including reducing risks to the economy, minimising future climate-related damage costs, and increasing opportunities for sustainable development.

Long-term Planning for Noosa Shire

12) Adaptation is incorporated into capital works programs, including asset designs.

13) Adaptation responses are flexible and adaptable over time to changing needs and new information, including locally-specific data and circumstances.

14) Adaptation must be intra- and inter-generationally equitable.

Excellence as a Council

15) Adaptation responses are driven by scientific evidence, risk management principles and community consultation with residents and businesses.

16) Adaptation responses reduce risk and create other benefits wherever possible.

17) Adaptation seeks to minimise future financial costs to Council.