The Action Plan of the Climate Adaptation Partnership under the Urban Agenda for the EU defines three top areas: governance, resources, knowledge. The latter theme includes an Action called “Training academy for politicians on adaptation”, led by the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) in collaboration with other partners. Three Political Training Academies will be organized under the Action, as well as various local trainings in cities.
The purpose of these academies is to provide information to politicians to assist them in their decision-making on issues related to adaptation. The first Political Training Academy took place in Oslo at the Urban Future Global Conference on 22 May 2019. The trainer was Birgit Georgi (Strong cities in a changing climate), supported by Eva Baños de Guisasola (CEMR).
Around 30 city stakeholders joined the training, among them various mayors, vice mayors and city representatives from these countries: Ireland, The Netherlands, Finland, Sweden, Latvia, Portugal, Norway,Iceland, the United States and organisations from Hungary and Italy. These stakeholders are just approaching the topic of adaptation to cities well on their way, although they still see areas for further improvement.
Summary of the content of training and discussion:
The training is anchored in the need to mitigate climate change and to adapt to the impacts that will occur despite current mitigation efforts. It guided participants through the climate impacts felt in cities across Europe, which cause a wide array of effects such as thermal discomfort, premature death due to heat, floods, damage to buildings and infrastructure and interruption of services such as transport, energy and water supply. These can trigger secondary and tertiary impacts like lower production rates and loss of income affecting strongly quality of life in the city.
The costs of inaction can be high. Not acting or delaying action puts people’s life at risk - recently numbers show around 490 people died in the 2018 heatwave in Berlin. Delaying action also means missing windows of opportunities for more sustainable and cheaper action, e.g., when integrating adaptation concerns in the maintenance of infrastructure.
European policy has early acknowledged the role of cities in adapting to climate change. Cities have many different adaptation options at hand. These include soft measures, such as regulations and incentives, grey measures, such as infrastructure and building design; and green and blue measures, which are nature-based solutions such as the introduction of parks, gardens, green roofs etc.These options are often combined to find the most effective combination for the specific location and available budget. Nature-based solutions are often preferential due to lower costs, fast implementation, and multiple benefits.
The training explored and presented different strategies of dealing with climate change, ranging from strategies that simply cope with the impact, such as developing emergency procedures for rare extreme weather-related events, to ones that have a transformative effect, such as building floating houses to withstand floods. It also went through success factors that should be taken into consideration when developing effective adaptation measures – such as the approach and monitoring of such activities – and how to finance these adaptation measures, through a variety of public and private funding sources. There was particular emphasis on a mixed approach, tailored to the conditions and resources available in each city.
Lastly the training introduced various tools and sources for information on adaptation. The challenge is to select the best fitting information and tools for each case. Climate-ADAPT is the European Climate Adaptation Platform and is a one stop-shop for this kind of information, making it accessible on a single platform. One of the tools is the Urban Adaptation Support Tool, and the Urban Adaptation Map Viewer with interactive maps on cities vulnerabiity to climate change impacts and adaptation action.
- Climate-ADAPT: The European Climate Adaptation Platform (guidance, reports, maps, data, case studies)
- IPCC report 1.5: on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels
- Urban adaptation to climate change in Europe 2016 - Transforming cities in a changing climate (EEA report 12/2016
- Urban adaptation to climate change in Europe - Challenges and opportunities for cities together with supportive national and European policies (EEA report 2/2012)
- EU Adaptation Strategy
- EU Urban Agenda Climate Adaptation Partnership
- Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy Europe
- Urban Adaptation Map Viewer – interactive maps on cities vulnerabiity to climate change impacts and adaptation action
- Financing urban adaptation to climate change EEA report 2/2107 with case studies
- Funding options – overview on different options by the Covenant of Mayors
Future sessions are planned as follows:
- Brussels, 9th October 11:30-13h, in the context of the European Week of Cities and Regions
- Innsbruck, 6-8th May 2020 in the context of the CEMR congress, open to any politician wishing to attend
- Glasgow 19th June 2019
- Genova, November 2019
- Potenza, Nov 2019 TBC
- Loulé April 2020 - TBC
- Trondheim? Spring 2020 - TBC
See the slides that were used during the presentation here.
Contact to trainer: www.birgitgeorgi.eu
Contact of the training academy on adaptation: Eva Baños de Guisasola, Policy Adviser Environment, Energy and Climate, Council of European Municipalities and Regions: Eva.BanosDeGuisasola@ccre-cemr.org