On April 19th, we attended the Highland Community Planning Partnership Conference in Strathpeffer. The Highland Community Planning Partnership is a critically important mechanism for the transformational action needed to ensure a prosperous, equitable, climate-ready region. Last week’s conference highlighted some of the key ways that Highland Adapts and the HCPP can work together. Here are some of our key takeaways:

Background

The Highland Community Planning Partnership (HCPP) brings together public sector bodies, third sector organisations, and other key groups and agencies to reduce inequalities across Highland. While the HCPP covers the whole Highland region, the area is also split into nine Community Partnerships that work to address the needs and priorities of their local area.

The HCPP will deliver the Highland Outcome Improvement Plan 2024-2027, a draft of which is available on the HCPP website. The strategic priorities are as follows:

(1) People – Enable people to live independently, safe and well within their community;

(2) Place – Work in partnership to develop sustainable and resilient local communities;

(3) Prosperity – Creating opportunities for all people and places to prosper and to thrive economically.

How does this relate to climate resilience?

Climate change is already impacting Highland through changes in the frequency and severity of storms, dry periods, extreme temperatures, and intense rainfall events. This will lead to more frequent flooding, wildfires, and landslips. These changes will intensify in the coming years, impacting people, infrastructure, services, and the natural environment.

Climate change disproportionately impacts those already experiencing inequalities by compounding and amplifying disadvantages. This makes climate change resilience especially important to the HCPP’s work to reduce inequalities in Highland.

For example:

  • Climate impacts drive up the costs of necessities such as food, water, and energy, particularly affecting vulnerable households.
  • Extreme weather events and changes in climate patterns disrupt key sectors of the economy, leading to loss of livelihoods and reduced income opportunities.
  • Climate-related health issues lead to higher healthcare costs and financial burdens on communities, especially those with limited access to healthcare services.
  • Climate change damages critical infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and digital connectivity through extreme weather events like storms and flooding.
  • Climate change impacts, such as loss of livelihoods, displacement, extreme weather events, and uncertainty about the future contribute to stress, anxiety, and depression among individuals and communities.

However…

The same interdependencies that link climate change to inequalities in Highland mean that there are an enormous number of opportunities for co-benefits between projects and initiatives. Climate resilience work within the HCPP framework provide opportunities for capacity building and education, empowering individuals and communities to better understand and respond to climate-related risks. Climate resilience initiatives can stimulate economic diversification and innovation, creating new employment opportunities and supporting local businesses, while strengthening communities by ensuring the needs and perspectives of all community members, including those most vulnerable to climate impacts, are included.

We look forward to working with the Highland Community Planning Partnership to incorporate climate-related risks and opportunities in its work and building on conversations at the HCPP conference.

Did you attend the HCPP conference? We are keen to hear how you see climate resilience within the broader HCPP framework and hope you will share your thoughts with us.