Even though various EU (but also national) financing instruments already support local and regional climate adaptation action (e.g. European Structural and Investment Funds, but also Horizon 2020, LIFE, EU Solidarity Fund, Natural Capital Financing Facility), cities – especially smaller ones – still struggle in accessing such funds – in particular at an early stage of the process, when developing their climate risk and vulnerability assessments and drafting their local adaptation strategies. Both sub-national and national governments have a key role to play in this process, by directly offering funds or indirectly managing and redistributing those funds, and/or assisting the bundling and pooling of smaller-scale projects set up by municipalities in their territory. Moreover, it is very important for municipalities to develop their own (in-house) capacities and foster cross-departmental cooperation in drafting the adaptation plans instead of outsourcing the work to external experts. The provisions should therefore include the possibility to pay staff-time of municipality officers, in order to build in-house expertise.
NOTE: Bottlenecks addressed: 16, 2, 6, 7, 13, 19, 18, 28 (See the Annex F on the Draft Action Plan)
Today, there are some calls under Horizon 2020 and a few other programmes which can be used by cities to support the development of their climate risk and vulnerability assessment and/or adaptation plan, but those documents as such are not the expected deliverables, but rather a result of other project activities. LIFE program also covers, in part, adaptation planning, but since it is not the main aim of the program, it seems that nowadays the support provided is not sufficient. URBACT offers cities the possibility to develop plans through its Action Planning Networks, in a transnational partnership with other European cities. The level of financing available is not comparable with HORIZON 2020/LIFE, and climate adaptation is just one of the many topics available for cities to propose. Besides, the Covenant of Mayors provides technical assistance through capacity-building activities and twinning programmes, and some Covenant coordinators offer (directly or indirectly) financial support. Cities and towns who would need financial support to kick-start the process and draft their plan do not necessarily well fit into the existing calls, which support the implementation of specific adaptation actions, but not the development of adaptation plans.
The revision of the pre-conditions for accessing certain funds or the adjustment of selection and award criteria for grants for adaptation planning under the different programmes (mainly H2020: When it comes to LIFE, this will be done in partnership with action F3 “A new LIFE for urban adaptation”) by the Commission could enable and foster an easier access – notably by smaller municipalities.
Proposing a sort of “fast-stream access” to financial instruments for the drafting of adaptation plans for particular local and regional authorities based on factors - such as being already publicly committed to comprehensive adaptation (e.g. by joining the Covenant of Mayors initiative) is another option to be explored further.
Creating a new specific call linked to the elaboration of adaptation plans and directly targeting local governments could also be considered in order to ensure that most towns and cities in the EU end up with their own Climate Adaptation Plan (such as SECAP), in line with EU policies and strategies.
- Assessing what financial support is available for cities through the already-existing (EU/National) funding programmes to carry out climate risk and vulnerability assessments and develop adaptation action plans.
- In parallel, consulting cities – in particular small ones – to identify the main difficulties they face when carrying out their risk and vulnerability assessment and developing their adaptation strategies.
- Developing a set of recommendations for fine-tuning existing EU financing instruments so that they can be better used by small municipalities to draft adaptation plans and engage further (sub-)national authorities to best meet remaining cities’ needs (e.g. suggesting more specific provisions for (groups of) smaller municipalities in the next calls and adjusting other selection criteria).
Integrating the proposed provisions in relevant calls.
Funding Sources and Needs: SECAP-drafting costs range from 10.000€ to around 20.000€ for small towns. Allocating around 1M€ to Plan drafting would result in 50 to 60 new plans. If co-financing is asked then the number of new plans could be even doubled. However, adding co-financing would limit the possibility for small municipalities to apply, unless the rate is kept low. This call should be designed in order to primarily target small and medium sized municipalities with less resources to use external expertise.
Implementation Risks: The time periods when the amendments to the existing call provisions can be made might not coincide with the implementation/finalisation time of this action – it needs to be taken into account that the recommendations resulting from the action might only be considered in further future.
Responsible Institution: European Commission (DG CLIMA; DG ENVIRONMENT; DG RTD; DG REGIO)
- Covenant of Mayors Office
- National governments (as managing authorities of several EU and national funds)
- City/region representatives
- 06.2019 Progress monitoring
- 12.2019 Progress monitoring
- 06.2020 Progress monitoring
Indicators of Completion:
- Number of local adaptation plans drafted thanks to specific provisions applying to new calls
- Number of local climate risk and vulnerability assessments developed thanks to specific provisions applying to new calls
- Draft Action R1: Revision of urban development and planning regulation tools, focusing on national, regional and local climate adaptation actions
- Draft Action R2: Further involvement of national municipality associations and Covenant of Mayors as key facilitators and supporters of local authorities
- Draft Action F1: Guidelines and toolkits for adaptation economic analysis
- Draft Action F2: Recommendations for the Ops of the ERDF in order to improve access for municipalities
- Draft Action F3: A new LIFE for urban adaptation projects
- Draft Action F4: Further support for the drafting of local adaptation plans
- Draft Action K1: Improving data accessibility for EU Municipalities in the framework of COPERNICUS
- Draft Action K2: Enhancing the urban content of Climate-ADAPT
- Draft Action K3: Political training academy on climate adaptation
- Draft Action K4: Enhancing citizen and stakeholder involvement at regional and local levels for climate adaptation agendas
- Draft Action K5: Promote open access on insurance data for climate risk management