Roles and responsibilities in Sweden

The roles and responsibilities of climate change adaptation in Sweden are divided across different levels – from local and regional to national. The collaboration between the different sectorial responsibilities is essential to achieve the adaptation targets.

At the local level the role of the municipalities includes several important activities in which adaptation can and should be integrated. The municipalities are responsible, for example, for functioning water and sewerage systems, energy and waste facilities, hospitals and health care facilities, schools and welfare. According to several legislations, they are also authority practitioners in charge of supervision, control and permission granting. They handle environmental protection and nature conservation as well as the examination and surveillance of the Environmental Code.

The municipal emergency management and civil protection are important features for the development of risk and vulnerability analyses of adaptation strategies. The responsibility includes both sectored operational planning and physical planning.

The county administrative boards have a broad responsibility when it comes to climate adaptation. In addition to the regional responsibility, they have an important role in providing support to municipalities for their environmental efforts. Inter-municipal aspects will also be controlled, such as floods, because climate issues are often transboundary.

Since 2009 the county administrative boards are responsible for climate change adaptation at a regional level. A number of areas are relevant to consider based on the need for climate change adaptation. They are:
• Regional development
• Sustainable community planning and housing
• Nature conservation and environmental protection
• Crisis management in peacetime and emergency services
• Social care
• Communications
• Food inspection
• Farming
• Cultural environment
• Gender equality
• Civil defence
• Animal protection and veterinary questions
• Reindeer management (in the provinces of Norrbotten, Västerbotten and Jämtland)
• Fishing

Many central agencies play an important role through their respective sectorial responsibility. Some 30 agencies are working on prevention, increased competence and knowledge as well as improved preparedness for disruptions in vital public services. However, no national agency currently has the overall responsibility for climate change adaptation.

Several Swedish governmental agencies have joined in a common network to facilitate the national planning and implementation of climate change adaptation measures.The main purpose of the agency network is cooperation to increase society’s resilience against climate change. This is done by working to strengthen the participating governmental agencies as well as society outside the network, and by working towards improvements of frameworks and steering instruments. Each of the participating governmental agencies have responsibility for adaptation to climate change within their respective areas of expertise. By dedicating specific working groups to different climate effects the network is able to deliver common, joined-up services to the parts of society that are carrying out adaptation activities.

The Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI), has been commissioned to create a national knowledge centre for climate change adaptation. The purpose is to collect updated knowledge about vulnerability and climate change adaptation.