Strategies and policies

Adaptation strategies are needed at local, regional, national, EU and international levels in order to anticipate the adverse effects of climate change and prevent or minimize the damage.

Such strategies often have an urban dimension, and cities have a major role in their implementation. The Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy is the main conduit for EU support to cities for climate-change adaptation.

Adaptation is complementary to efforts to cut greenhouse-gas emissions in cities, which are covered by other topics such as Energy transition in citiesUrban mobilityCircular economy in cities, and Sustainable use of land and nature-based solutions in cities.


Main documents

Climate strategies and targets

Citizens' summary: EU strategy on adaptation to climate change

EU Adaptation Strategy Package

EU strategy on adaptation to climate change

Other documents

Adaptation to climate change

Environment Action Programme to 2020

Urban data and studies

Climate-ADAPT urban section

Urban Adaptation Support Tool

Covenant technical materials
Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy reporting guidelines and Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan template

Urban Data Platform

Eurobarometer Survey - Climate Change (2011)

Quality of life in European cities (2015)

European Environment Agency



Adaptation strategies for European Cities: final report (2013)

Open Data Portal for ESI

Guidelines on climate change and Natura 2000

Funding opportunities and advice


European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI)

European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF)

European Investment Project Portal

Urban Innovative Actions (UIA)


Horizon 2020


LIFE NCFF (Natural Capital Financing Facility)

Interreg Europe


'Marguerite' fund for energy, climate change and infrastructure

JPI Urban Europe

Advice and technical assistance

European Investment Advisory Hub (EIAH)

Joint Assistance to Support Projects in European Regions (JASPERS) 


Mainstreaming climate action - ESIF fact sheet

Mainstreaming climate action - ERDF fact sheet
Mainstreaming climate action - CF fact sheet
Mainstreaming climate action - ETC fact sheet
Mainstreaming climate action - ESF fact sheet
Climate change and major projects
Quick reference guide

Beginner's Guide to EU Funding

Accessing regional-policy funds



Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy


European Green Capital Award (EGCA)

European Green Leaf (EGL)

European Capital of Innovation

CityStar (RegioStars)

Project databases and examples


LIFE project database

REGIO project database

Case studies database: Climate-ADAPT
Case studies on urban adaptation, searchable by climate impact


Stopping Athens floods: Funding opportunities for disaster risk management within EU cohesion policy
Western Attica (Greece) has serious flood problems. The Cohesion Fund financed an €80 million flood protection project along the Eschatia river. This protects 134,000 local residents and their property from floods in the suburbs of Athens. It has also created over 700 jobs and promoted urban regeneration in a low-income area. The construction of new flood defence structures stops floods now, and it will also allow the future development of the area upstream the river.

Strategic Initiative Cluster adapt!
8 transnational projects with almost 100 project partners jointly promote climate adaptation in North-West Europe 

URBACT network: Resilient Europe
Cities in the URBACT network share experiences in order to foster resilience and sustainability. 

LIFE Resilient communities projects
Recent LIFE projects focusing on promoting resilient communities 

LIFE HydroClimateStrategyRiga
Helping the city of Riga (Latvia) adapt to hydrological processes intensified by climate change

Making critical infrastructure more resistent to climate change

Reconciling Adaptation, Mitigation and Sustainable Development for Cities (RAMSES)

Flood and heat-proof, green Emscher valley
Strengthening the green infrastructure network and adapting water management in Germany

Climate-resilient cities and infrastructures

Promoting innovation in disaster resilience

Smart Mature Resilience 

Collaborative research on flood resilience in urban areas

Improving preparedness and risk management for flash floods and debris flow

Responses to coastal climate change: innovative strategies for high‑end scenarios - adaptation and mitigation

GEO-Citizens' Observatories
Support sharing of technological solutions and community participatory governance methods.

EU legislation

Environmental Impact Assessment Directive
Directive 85/337/EEC applies to a wide range of public and private urban-development projects.

Water Framework Directive - integrated river basin management for Europe
Directive 2000/60/EC is a response to demands by citizens and environmental organisations for cleaner rivers and lakes, groundwater and coastal beaches.

Floods Directive
Directive 2007/60/EC obliges EU countries to assess and reduce flood risks.

Urban Waste Water Directive
Directive 91/271/EEC seeks to protect the environment from the adverse affects of urban and industrial waste water discharge.

Civil Protection Mechanism
Established in 2001 to deliver governmental aid in the immediate aftermath of a disaster.