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C3-Alps: Capitalising Climate Change Knowledge for Adaptation in the Alpine Space


C3-Alps is a European project funded by the Alpine Space Programme under the European Territorial Cooperation 2007-2013. C3-Alps started in January 2012 and will run until December 2014. The Lead Partner is the Umweltbundesamt GmbH / Federal Environment Agency Austria. The partnership is composed of 17 Project Partners from Austria (4), Italy (4), Germany (3), Switzerland (2), France (1), Slovenia (1), the Principality of Liechtenstein (1) plus UNEP's regional office for Europe, and includes international organisations, national and regional government authorities, national agencies, provinces/regions, research institutions and institutes of applied sciences.

Project Description

C3-Alps will synthesize, transfer and implement in policy and practice results of previous Alpine Space projects on climate change adaptation. The capitalisation approach aims at

  1. generating new and directly usable forms of state-of-the-art synthesis adaptation knowledge in the Alps, harmonised across sectors and useful to adaptation decision-makers,
  2. its effective and tailor-made communication and transfer to target groups,
  3. enhancing effectiveness of adaptation policy and governance frameworks, and
  4. initiating, supporting and pioneering tailored and cross-cutting adaptation processes, strategies, action plans and decision support in pilot regions and municipalities.

To leverage sustainable impacts, the project will be driven by the information and user needs of target groups. By supporting bottom-up action, C3-Alps will contribute to implementation of national adaptation policies on regional and municipal levels and to advancement of national adaptation strategies.

Work Package 4 "Adaptation Policy and Governance"

WSL is responsible for Work Package 4 "Adaptation Policy and Governance".

Aims and research questions

Capitalisation of climate change knowledge by C3-Alps is aimed at the actors and institutions relevant for adaptation policies on different administrative levels, in different organisations and within different governance systems (institutional arrangements). Thus, it is crucial to know who the actors in the policy field "climate change adaptation" are, how they interact, in which governance systems they are embedded, which institutions are critical forces for these governance systems and are therefore significant for policy advances, how existing climate adaptation knowledge, information offers and communication channels are used, what the barriers for the implementation of climate adaptation policies are, and what this altogether means for the effectiveness of existing adaptation policies.

This activity will conduct an analysis and provide a performance assessment of the existing actor networks, governance systems, and actual adaptation policies in Alpine Space countries. Results are expected to provide answers to the following research questions:

  • Who are the relevant actors for climate adaptation?
  • Which are adequate governance systems for climate adaptation?
  • How do different governance systems perform?
  • What are strengths and weaknesses of different governance systems in the Alpine space?
  • What are barriers for the capitalisation of climate adaptation knowledge? 
  • What are barriers for the implementation of climate adaptation policies?
  • What is ‘good’ climate adaptation policy making?


  • Defining, framing and screening climate change adaptation governance
  • Analysing the performance of existing climate change adaptation policies
  • Assessing strengths and weaknesses of adaptation governance systems and identifying good practices
  • Reviewing the science-policy interface in adaptation decision-making
  • Developing options and proposals for improving the performance of climate adaptation policies and for optimising the science-policy interface


  • Menzel, S., Pütz, M., 2013: Climate Adaptation Policies and Governance in Alpine Countries. Transnational Synthesis Report of Work Package 4 in the C3-Alps Project.
  • Menzel, S., Truong, J., Pütz, M., 2013: Climate Adaptation Policies, Governance, and the Science-Policy Interface in Alpine Countries and Regions. Country Report Switzerland. Deliverable of WP4 in the C3-Alps Project.


Project Team

WSL, Research Group Regional Economics and Development

  • Marco Pütz (Project Leader)
  • Susanne Menzel (Project Leader)
  • Jasmine Truong (2012)