Research database

Project information
Project title
Climate change and institutional response: the cases of local/ regional planning strategies and cultural heritage management
Project leader
Arild Buanes, Norut
  • PL:  Arild Buanes, Norut
  • Personnel: Marit Myrvoll NIKU

Fjord and Coast, Theme: Human dimensions of ecosystem response to climate change

Funding Source
Fram Centre
Summary of Results

WP1 Nordic countries’ management of World heritage sites in the High North

Objective: To perform a comparative study to analyse similarities and differences between the Nordic states and their World Heritage policies, especially concerning the World heritage Sites located in coastal areas in the High North. The project targets World Heritage Sites as a bounded policy tool within cultural heritage management. Cultural heritage issues are one example of the many national sectorial policies that the local/regional planning system is expected to implement locally, and also integrate with other national policy goals, as well as with the local developmental goals set by the local political bodies. The Nordic World Heritage Sites in question (had to be adjusted downward in relation to original project): Norway: 1) Rock carvings of Alta (1985) - cultural site 2) Struve Geodetic Arc (stretches through 10 states) - cultural site. Sweden: 1) Laponian Area (1996) - mixed site (both natural and cultural) 2) Struve Geodetic Arc. Iceland: 1) Thingvellir National Park (2004) – cultural site. Denmark: 1) Ilulissat Icefjord, Greenland (2004) - natural site. Finland: 1) Struve Geodetic Arc. On-going document studies focusing on these sites, with a comparative perspective examining the Nordic countries policy and intentions in knowledge production and management concerning climate and environmental change and the respective world heritage sites.  Preliminary analysis shows a clear tendency that there is a much larger climate and environmental focus on natural WHsites compared to cultural WHsites.

WP2: NB! Preliminary results, analysis is ongoing. 77% of the municipalities in Troms and Finnmark (yet to be determined in Nordland) have by mid-November 2012 produced the “planning strategy” documents required by the 2009 Planning and Building Act (PBA). Our analysis documents the scope of current municipal/local planning, at present referencing 55 different planning types – from overall societal development to land use, municipal service provision across a range of sectors, all the way to the internal workings of municipal administrative units.

Municipal energy and climate plans (ECPs), made mandatory by Royal Decree in Sept. 2009, are given due attention in the majority of plans, but the focus has broadened from the mitigation-directed instruments of the first generation ECPs towards broader aspects of societal adaptation to climate change, both regarding land use and infrastructure. Although ECPs (and risk-vulnerability analyses) are made mandatory parts of the planning and preparedness system, most planning strategy documents indicate that what may have been academic and national level concerns just a few years ago, are –  not least due to recent weather related incidents –  increasingly experienced as local, real-world (potential) problems to be included in local planning efforts. Furthermore, the recurrent references to climate change related research in many planning strategy documents, and how this research is contextualized, hints at a convergence of academic knowledge, national level policies/expectations, and how problems are experienced locally.

Most municipalities in Northern Norway are coastal, and coastal zone management is highlighted in a number (N=to be determined) of planning strategies. In Troms, where the county council recently has initiated a regional ICZM project, we see that many municipalities stress the need for larger, regional and inter-municipal CZ planning efforts are highlighted. By comparison, CZ planning in Finnmark municipalities is confined within their borders .

Published Results/Planned Publications

WP1: Planned conference paper presenting the research project and results at:

  • the 3rd International WHILD Conference (WHILD=World Heritages: Global Discourse and Local Implementation).
  • the 2013 Nordic World Heritage network-meeting.

WP2: Article (in prep.) to the Norwegian PLAN journal

Communicated Results

WP 1 UNESCO World Heritage Convention 40 years “Living with World Heritage”, Interregional conference, Røros, Norway.

Interdisciplinary Cooperation


Budget in accordance to results

The Fram Centre funding enabled this project in its entirety.

WP2 has been used as a corollary project to one RCN application (DEMOSREG), and also a proposal to the Ministry of Environment regarding municipal planning strategies.

Could results from the project be subject for any commercial utilization

WP2: Because the municipalities now are producing first generation planning strategies, this  project presents a “planning strategy baseline” from which to evaluate subsequent planning processes and implementation. Future studies will be required to assess the actual changes (if any) to municipal planning brought forth by this new element in PBA 2009.