How Sweden works with climate adaptation

Adaptation efforts concerning a warmer climate take place in Swedish society at different levels and in many different areas.

The local level – municipalities

Many municipal activities are affected by climate change. Groundwater levels may, for example, affect the availability of drinking water in the municipality. Another example are the rescue services which must be prepared for more weather-related events and natural disasters.

Municipalities are also responsible for building permits, environmental supervision and more. According to relevant legislation, municipalities must report the risks that climate change causes to what is built in the municipality in their master plan. How these risks can be reduced must also appear in the plan.

Regional level – the County Administrative Boards

The county administrative boards bear monitoring responsibility for municipality work with climate adaptation. They must also initiate and support municipal climate adaptation work.

The county administrative boards also play an important role in coordinating climate adaptation activities with within the county and across municipal borders. Activities include preventing climate adaptation measures in one municipality from creating problems in another. This could, for example, concern flood risks in catchment areas that often extend over larger-scale administrative boundaries.

National level – government, Riksdag and state authorities

Riksdag and government

These are the highest decision-making bodies in Sweden and determine legislation and regulations that govern climate adaptation in Sweden.

• The Riksdag has adopted a national strategy for climate adaptation. The aim is to strengthen long-term climate adaptation work in the country as well as the national coordination of climate adaptation.

• Ordinance (2018:1428) governs the climate adaptation work of 32 government agencies and all 21 county administrative boards.

•  SMHI (Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute) has been commissioned by the government to coordinate and support government agency activities concerning climate adaptation.

•  There is a great deal of legislation that directly or indirectly affects climate adaptation in Sweden. The most obvious are the Planning and Building Act and the Environmental Code (In Swedish).

•  The government has also given the Swedish National Board of Housing, Building and Planning the special task of coordinating national climate adaptation work for the built environment.

Government agencies

State authorities with designated responsibility for climate adaptation must support and help within their respective area or sector. The Swedish Board of Agriculture and the Swedish Forest Agency must, for example, support climate adaptation in the agricultural and forestry sectors, respectively. The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency must increase society's preparedness for climate-related incidents and crises such as forest fires and floods, while the Public Health Agency looks at how climate change affects people's health.

The Ordinance (2018:1428) lists all authorities with designated responsibility for work with climate adaptation (In Swedish)

The National Expert Council for Climate Adaptation

The government has appointed a special council to review and evaluate work with climate adaptation in Sweden. This council is linked to SMHI. Every five years, it produces a report which, among other data, must contain proposals for continued work with climate adaptation in Sweden. The first report was submitted to government in February 2022.

The National Expert Council for Climate Adaptation has its own website (In Swedish).

Source of this page: SMHI (Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute)