In May 2016 the Informal Meeting of EU Ministers Responsible for Urban Matters met in Amsterdam; they agreed on and established the Pact of Amsterdam - Urban Agenda for the EU (NP-CEU 2016). In line with the EU 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, the Pact of Amsterdam defines Climate Adaptation as one of the Priority themes to be addressed. Climate Adaptation Partnership started working in July 2017 as a multilevel and cross-sectoral cooperation instrument and key delivery mechanism for the theme.
The objectives of the Climate Adaptation Partnership is: “to anticipate the adverse effects of climate change and take appropriate action to prevent or minimise the damage it can cause to Urban Areas. The focus is on: vulnerability assessments, climate resilience and risk management, including the social dimensions of climate adaptation strategies”.
The Coordinator of the Climate Adaptation Partnership is the City of Genoa. Among the members are States – France, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria -, local and regional authorities - Barcelona, Glasgow, Trondheim, Loulè, Potenza, Sfantu Gheorghe, European Commission departments – DG REGIO, DG CLIMA, DG ENV, DG RTD, JRC, and other organisations – Eurocities, CEMR, EIB, URBACT, EEA, Covenant of Majors.
It is widely recognized that vulnerability and the potential scale of damage due to climate change is especially high in urban areas, which host high density of populations (including highly vulnerable groups), a high concentration of valuable assets and economic investments as well as essential infrastructure networks and nodes. A continent with a high rate of urbanisation faces increasing temperatures and the effects of extreme weather. This could impact not only the quality of urban life but also a range of other themes, from Jobs and Growth to Justice and Migration. However, European cities and towns are not equipped to face this global scale challenge on their own.
The main barriers and bottlenecks are:
- Lack of financial resources for planning and implementation
- Lack of supportive national frameworks and policies
- General lack of human resources and their capacities and know-how
- Lack of experience in creating long-term administrative set-ups for adaptation
- Gaps in understanding climate impacts and costs in specific urban sectors
- Limited capacity to collect, access and interpret climate data
- Lack of experience and know-how on implementing adaptation measures
- Gaps in know-how on developing urban monitoring systems
- Limited awareness of the available information, also due to language barriers.
The Partnership goal is to enable local governments to assess climate change risks and the vulnerability of their own essential urban system, both socially and at the infrastructural level, to strategically plan adaptation policies based on solid evidence and to fund and implement measures on the ground leading to tangible increases of urban resilience in Europe.
The set of actions proposed in the Action Plan comes under three headings:
- Action R1: Revision of urban development and planning regulation tools, focusing on national, regional and local climate adaptation actions
- Action R2: Further involvement of national municipality associations and Covenant of Mayors as key facilitators and supporters of local authorities
- Action F1: Guidelines and toolkits for adaptation economic analysis
- Action F2: Recommendations for the Ops of the ERDF in order to improve access for municipalities
- Action F3: A new LIFE for urban adaptation projects
- Action F4: Further support for the drafting of local adaptation plans
- Action K1: Improving data accessibility for EU Municipalities in the framework of COPERNICUS
- Action K2: Enhancing the urban content of Climate-ADAPT
- Action K3: Political training academy on climate adaptation
- Action K4: Enhancing citizen and stakeholder involvement at regional and local levels for climate adaptation agendas
- Action K5: Promote open access on insurance data for climate risk management
The Climate Adaptation Partnership process is a response to important urban resilience issues recognised both globally and on the European level – and on to the local level. Acting local is key for successful achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals but local action must be supported by all governance levels in concerted action. The participatory bottom-up approach, which is at the basis of this Action Plan, means to bring together local realities and needs, with international expertise as well as national and international legislative and strategic mandates in defining state-of-the-art solutions. The specific Actions in the Plan aimed to increase the number of urban areas adopting and implementing adaptation plans and strategies resulting in reduced human and economic losses due to climate change impacts.
The Action Plan is guided by these key principles:
- Respect for subsidiarity and proportionality principles by defining clear responsibilities for actions on the appropriate governance levels, which ensure the most efficient delivery of the results and the highest added value;
- Seeking a more effective integrated and coordinated approach to EU policies, legislation, funding sources and initiatives governing urban adaptation issues;
- Mainstreaming approach by strengthening of the urban dimension in the EU adaptation to climate change policies and strengthening the adaptation dimension in the EU urban policies, instead of creating new policies;
- Additionality to the existing initiatives, instruments and activities undertaken by EU, national, regional and local authorities; building on current achievements, best practice, accrued knowledge and lessons learnt;
- Strong local governance level ownership through active involvement of urban authorities and innovative bottom-up approach in the definition of the Action Plan;
- Striving toward territorial cohesion by ensuring a wide geographic representation among Adaptation Partnership members and encouraging the expression of urban adaptation concerns originating in all geography of the EU;
- Strong awareness of socio-economic issues and potential socio-economic impacts of the proposed actions with the aim to minimise negative and promote positive impacts;
- Embedding of the proposed actions in the existing working and decision-making structures on all governance levels – EU, national, regional and local without creating unnecessary administrative burden.
Objectives of the Action Plan
The overarching objective of the Action Plan is to operationalise suggested policy and governance solutions for the identified key bottlenecks hindering successful adaptation to climate change in the EU urban areas.
In order to fulfil this objective, the Action Plan:
- Provides concrete Action proposals for the design of future and the revision of existing EU legislation, instruments, and initiatives relating to the adaptation to climate change in EU urban areas tackling the three pillars of Better Regulation, Better Funding and Better Knowledge;
- Defines responsible institutions and organisations and implementation mechanisms for the proposed Actions;
- Proposes a timeline for the implementation of each of the Actions;
- Provides the basis for the monitoring of the Action Plan implementation by defining Completion Indicators for the proposed Actions.
See all 11 Climate Adaptation draft actions:
- 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
Climate Adaptation Partnership is actively seeking partners and stakeholders to be involved in the further development and implementation of the final Action Plan.