A VCCCAR funded think tank, held on 8-9 April, 2010, provided a public forum for presentation and discussion of potential climate change impacts and adaptation options for the Wimmera – Mallee region of north-western Victoria. The think tank brought together regional practitioners and national and international climate change adaptation researchers to identify regional challenges, knowledge needs and adaptation strategies.
1. The region is undergoing significant demographic, economic and environmental change. Adaptation to climate change should be integrated into broader regional sustainability strategies and planning frameworks.
2. There is relatively little understanding of climate change in the region. Information about climate change and response strategies is critical in enhancing preparedness and planning for altered conditions, and for future risk management. This information should indicate the complexity of interactions between human-natural systems, focus on solutions, and provide a range of strategies, potential adaptation pathways and tangible actions to manage threats to key assets and vulnerabilities.
3. Infrastructure maintenance and development is necessary for regional economic viability and adaptive capacity, whether in relation to existing socio-cultural needs or future economic viability in a changing climate.
4. Successful adaptation will require broader regional engagement, strategic vision, action plans and demonstration of successful adaptation strategies. Capacity building, information delivery and skill development is essential for effective adaptation. Wider community engagement is needed to improve community understanding, learning and skill development opportunities. Younger people need to be included in planning and decision-making and given opportunities for intergenerational engagement and learning.
5. Existing strong regional networks and collaboration can be built upon to create new information and knowledge pathways, to build local and regional leadership, and to support economic, social and environmental behavioural change.