2020 Siggen Seminar : Climate Change Adaptation

Helping protected areas adapt to a changing climate

The Siggen Seminar has gone 100% digital!

Once again the Siggen seminar was an opportunity to learn, exchange and innovate. Under the constraints of COVID19-related travel bans, the organising team had to adapt to the new conditions and innovate by organising a 100% digital seminar. 

We are sharing here an overview of the work done, key information shared as well as key learnings and ideas discussed.


During this online interactive seminar, the objectives were:

– Learn more about the basic concepts and ideas underlying climate change adaptation for protected area managers;

– Meet and exchange with experienced nature conservation professionals;

– Contribute to the design of a draft recommendation for policymakers.


Helping protected areas adapt to a changing climate

Through case studies and presentations, speakers gave participants an overview and important considerations on how to adapt to climate change in (and around) protected areas

Seminar Highlights

To help you get the best of the presentations, you can read  a highlight of the presentations and download the presentation material.

Watch on demand

All presentations have been recorded and are accessible in an online playlist here


Enabling collaboration and personal contributions from participants was more challenging. Nevertheless, by leveraging cloud technologies, we managed to get interesting results.

Climate change adaptation library

Together we built the prototype of a collaborative online library on climate change adaptation for protected areas. You can access it here

Ideas box

Assemble interesting ideas from the field on how to improve policies and regional governance and help protected area managers adapt to a changing climate? They will be fed into the work of the EUROPARC Climate Change Task Force  and will contribute to the design of a draft recommendation for policymakers.


Our exposition to the COVID-19 travel ban was very high as we were expecting 25 people to travel from all over Europe to meet in Northern Germany for the 2020 Siggen Seminar. The rate in which the conditions changed was rather fast. We had to adapt within a fortnight. Instead of cancelling the seminar altogether, we decided to test our resilience and challenge our adaptation capacity. We were confident that we could still meet our objectives at least partially by going 100% Digital.

Read the key learnings of running a 100% digital seminar here 

Ideas from the field …

… on how to improve policies and regional governance and help protected area managers adapt to a changing climate? 

Note: Below you will read a number of ideas that were gathered during the seminar. The purpose of publishing them here is for inspiration and discussion. They will be reviewed, evaluated and eventually fed into the work of the EUROPARC climate change task force. 

Improving the state of nature in Europe through wise and innovative land-use planning

Land-use zoning outside protected areas is an effective tool with a lot of potential to provide support and adaptation capacity for biodiversity inside the protected area network. High-end ecological decision support analyses can increase the effectiveness of land-use planning in minimizing harmful impacts of development and finding feasible trade-offs and identifying ecologically effective green infrastructure.

Along that same line searching for joint land assignments, developing multiple benefits strategies or developing green infrastructure and nature-based solutions are very promising ways to reverse nature loss and improve the quality and quantity of nature in Europe. 

From the climate change agenda perspective, observations point in the same direction. Nature and socio-ecosystems do not stop at the boundaries of existing nature reserves. Natural areas are influenced by surrounding areas and vice et versa and by abiotic factors such as water, temperature, air quality… Working on climate-proof nature and society should not only take place within nature reserves, but everywhere. Improving the “naturality” of cities, peri-urban areas, farmlands, … will strengthen natural values of entire territories including protected areas, improve connectivity to help species to migrate and ensure resilience against climatic extremes. 

On that topic, another idea is to focus on the goal of providing Beside protected areas, we could look into an approach that uses ‘other acceptable measures’, that are fitting within the IUCN definition of a protected area, to achieve the extension of nature areas around PA, and provide better connectivity – using agri-environment schemes, voluntary and community nature reserves, land covenants, etc.

For policy makers, esp. At a regional level, this means that the nature challenge has a strong relationship with other (transition) challenges, such as the transition in food and energy production, waste management, mobility, urbanisation, … It is very important to keep a constant attention to nature and promote the benefits of nature-inclusive adaptation measures to reach common goals. 

In any case, cooperation is essential at the regional level between governments, NGO’s, business and knowledge institutions. When such nature-inclusive solutions always take into account the enhancement of biodiversity within and in the surroundings of protected areas, this works through to the entirety of the climate resilience of nature. It’s a chance we have to take as nature managers!

Better integration of policies and frameworks is needed

There is an important quantity of frameworks related to climate change and biodiversity loss. In some cases, integration of policies is lacking, either horizontally, from supranational to local levels, or vertically eg. between sectors such as climate change, biodiversity, agriculture, economy, local development …  

New challenges also offer new opportunities for protected areas

Even when such an integration exists, protected area managers sometimes have little awareness about their relationships or the opportunities for financing and new collaborations. 

For example, as healthy habitats or ecosystems are more resistant and resilient to climate change and human impacts, “nature capital” studies could help local administrators understand that habitat loss means high costs and loss of value for human activities themselves. This could lead to the funding of more sustainable activities or the development of frameworks for payment for ecosystem services.

Stakeholder involvement must be a priority for nature conservation 

In general, environmental professionals would benefit from developing skills and techniques to engage with stakeholders. Alternatively, or in parallel, involving other profiles such as experts in communication, sociology, participatory processes would be beneficial and lead to the development of win-win solutions.

Case studies and examples should be published and shared

Sharing experiences is the best way to engage others. People prefer to learn from their peers, their equal. It is easier for a local politician to accept an idea from another local politician. The same applies to protected area managers, business developers, local inhabitants… Case studies are also very important in building confidence in new approaches and ideas. It is good to actually see that it works.

This idea of social validation should help us develop our stakeholder engagement strategies. 

Show the value of nature and protected areas

Stakeholders need to see the (potential) value to them of nature and protected areas.  When we seek support for nature improvement, conservation or restoration and for protected areas, we must advertise how it benefits communities. It is not all about money, benefits can also be symbolic, cultural, social.

Clear examples of nature-inclusive adaptation measures and how they benefit several sectors and actors are needed to encourage action and collaboration.

Make the effect of climate change concrete for stakeholders.
Making climate change ‘visible’ and the risks concrete will help in creating a sense of urgency and promote action (not only in politics, but also by citizens).

Return of Experience : Organising a “no travel” seminar

Siggen Seminar 2020 – Key learnings from our adaptation strategy to the travel ban?

Our exposition to the COVID-19 travel ban was very high as we were expecting 25 people to travel from all over Europe to meet in Northern Germany. The rate in which the conditions changed was rather fast. We had to adapt within a fortnight. Instead of cancelling the seminar altogether, we decided to test our resilience and challenge our adaptation capacity. We were confident that we could still meet our objectives at least partially. 


It was rather easy to adapt the learning aspects and information sharing by leveraging the webinar and video conferencing technologies. 

We decided to go for a format of 3 90-minutes morning sessions with a 5-minute stretching break at halftime. The sessions were structured around key presentations, which did not exceed 20 minutes and were followed by discussions.

According to the feedback we received, this format was appreciated, not too long nor too tiring.

Participants insisted on the usefulness of case studies and concrete examples and best practices. It looks like it is the best way to help them. They also suggested to share the presentation material before the presentation to be able to browse it locally. The screen share is not always practical.

On the content side, the need for more examples of adaptation measures or data driven models and less “guidelines” was also expressed. Stakeholder involvement incl. policymakers  is another topic in high demand.

Meet and exchange

The meet and exchange objective was much harder to reach. It is difficult to replicate digitally the informal discussions and personal encounters of a face to face meeting.

We do not think participants managed to create strong personal bonds. We had created an online who’s who. This was felt by the participants.

It is certainly possible to go further in organising sub-group discussions. It requires clear directions from the organizers. Informal chatting still feels awkward but might work in smaller groups. To be tested


Enabling people to contribute was important to us. Here our experience was actually pretty rich. We leveraged cloud technologies, such as online documents to produce notes collaboratively and forms to collect and share inputs.

Concretely, we integrated a number of simple homeworks in our program that participants could do on their own or with colleagues after the session. The results were accessible online to all participants.  It worked very well to collect and centralise inputs. 


In conclusion, this experience shows that for selected objectives, we can efficiently increase our reach and exchange  by leveraging digital cloud technologies. With adequate preparation, we are confident that this experience can be replicated and enhanced. Besides, some tools could beneficially be integrated in face-to-face meetings.

LEARN – Helping protected areas adapt to a changing climate

Through case studies and presentations, speakers have given  participants an overview and important considerations on how to adapt to climate change in (and around) protected areas.

All presentations have been recorded and are accessible in an online playlist 

Program highlights

Our house is on fire! 

A word from the president of EUROPARC on climate change and biodiversity loss.

By Ignace Schops, President, EUROPARC

Ignace highlighted the main trends leading to climate change and biodiversity loss that build up into a catastrophic era,  the anthropocene. He emphasised that both those major crises are the two sides of the same coin. Albeit complex, solutions exist and protected areas have an important role to play to tackle those global challenges and build a sustainable society. 

Download the presentationWatch the video

Climate change and nature protected areas.

A seminar, a LIFE Project and the results of a European survey

by Olivier de Sadeleer – Project Manager, EUROPARC Federation

Olivier introduces the Digital Siggen Seminar and takes the opportunity to present the LIFE Natur’Adapt project and to summarise the results of the European survey on the integration of climate change into the management of protected natural areas, which looked at identifying existing initiatives and expectations of managers in Europe.

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Elements of methodology and key concepts

Formalising key concepts definitions and elements of methodology for climate change adaptation in protected areas

By Anne-Cerise Tissot, LIFE NaturAdapt Coordinator, Réserves Naturelles de France

In her talk, Anne-Cerise frames the key concepts necessary to work on climate change adaptation such as sensitivity, exposure and adaptation capacity. She emphasised the importance of the vulnerability assessment as a keystone to adaptation planning and measures implementation.

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Climate Change Risk assessment and vulnerability diagnostic

Case study: “Risk assessment of Scottish protected areas features to climate change”

By Stewart Pritchard, Operations Manager (protected places), Scottish Nature Heritage

Stewart went through the main steps of how Scottish Natural Heritage developed an assessment of the risk posed by climate change to notified features of protected areas in Scotland. Over 4 years, together with ClimateXchange, they developed the assessment process model, collated data sources, expert opinions, and applied initial scoring to their features list. They then worked on improving the model and summarising the findings about the risks. This work led to the organisation of workshops to develop the understanding of the consequences on specific ecosystems. The results have been reported and mapped to allow for planification.

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Planning for adaptation

Case study: How to adapt the management of a protected area to climate change. The case study of Basque Country Natura 2000

By Ainhize Butron, Climate Action Technician, Ihobe – Sociedad Pública de Gestión Ambiental

Ainhize explained how their team did the actual planning of adaptation and mitigation measures.

As management plans already existed in most cases, they : 

  • analysed the existing objectives and management measures using what they learned about the potential future climate the associated vulnerability.
  • prioritised climatic measures (adaptation, mitigation or both).
  • redesigned measures to include climate change
  • or included new measures ”climatic” measures.

From a participation perspective, she highlighted the need to include this work in a more general framework such as the sustainable development goals, the regional climate change strategy, …

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Implementing the measures, an opportunity to cooperate

Case study: Climate change adaptation in the Portofino Marine Protected Area, how to collaborate with local stakeholders

By Lorenzo Merotto, Biologist, Portofino Marine Protected Area

Lorenzo explained how the Portofino MPA developed  standardised monitoring protocols addressed to use as climate change indicators and a vulnerability assessment that includes biodiversity and socio-economic aspects. In this presentation he emphasised the opportunity and the need to involve stakeholders in the fight against global changes. 

He shows how Portofino developed citizen science, capacity building and dissemination activities to increase involvement of stakeholders, to reach new ones and local administrators and policy makers. According to him, it is a necessity to get positive results.

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Integration of the regulatory context

Case Study: Climate change and biodiversity conservation. Which synergies in the current legal framework of France?

By Pierre Strosser, Director, Acteon

Pierre presented the results of the investigation Acteon’s team conducted on how current planning frameworks and documents consider the links between biodiversity (nature) conservation & adaptation to climate change.

The goal is to better capture the role(s) protected areas could/can play in climate change adaptation strategies. Having screened planning and strategies for both “climate change adaptation” and Biodiversity conservation”, they highlighted that no references were made on how protected areas could contribute to adaptation to climate change. The main “bridging concepts” between nature and climate change adaptation are references to Ecosystem functions or services and nature-based solutions without clearly defining in the majority of cases what these notions encompass and imply in operational terms.

He then explores a number of ideas on:

— Which added value of nature protection for climate change adaptation?

— How to ensure nature protected areas are well considered in climate change adaptation policies?

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