Mayors Adapt is an initiative of the European Commission’s Directorate General Climate Action. It is launched in the context of the EU Adaptation Strategy and is implemented within the Covenant of Mayors, the flagship European initiative for cities to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Mayors Adapt is supported by the European Environment Agency (EEA). The main outputs from the project are planned to be included in the European Climate Adaptation Platform CLIMATE-ADAPT, a partnership between the European Commission and the EEA.

Mitigating climate emissions and adapting infrastructure and policies to climate impacts are both crucial elements in building more sustainable cities. Mayors Adapt provides a framework for local authorities to take action on the second of these elements.

Its key objectives are to:

  • Inform: Dedicated events provide information and raise awareness on adaptation for decision-makers, multipliers and other actor groups. The events inspire local authorities to show leadership on climate adaptation and support further activities and participation.
  • Mobilise: Mayors Adapt encourages cities – both those already engaged on climate change adaptation and those just starting out – to capture the opportunities of taking action on adaptation
  • Support: A dedicated helpdesk and quick access to existing expertise empowers cities in setting up and implementing local adaptation plans
  • Facilitate: Comprehensive city profiles offer an opportunity to learn from best-practices, and encourage an active network among cities who benefit from each other’s experiences in the field of climate adaptation.
  • Enable: The initiative offers a unique platform for signatory cities to showcase their activities and engagement. It raises their profile as leaders in action on climate change adaptation.

What must cities do if they join?

Mayors Adapt signatories commit to contributing to the overall aim of the EU Adaptation Strategy by:

  • Either developing a comprehensive adaptation strategy for the local authority
  • or integrating adaptation to climate change into their relevant existing plans.

Why is it worth joining Mayors Adapt? See here the “Five good reasons to join“.

Building on the ‘EU Cities Adapt’ project

Mayors Adapt draws on experience and expertise developed in 2012-2013 within the framework of the ‘EU Cities Adapt’ project which involved 21 cities. Focused on building knowledge, the project found that

  • securing political commitment for climate adaptation is more important than funding
  • a rich array of tools, support and guidance to enhance adaptive capacity and support adaptation planning is already available across Europe
  • there is a role for the EU in providing coherent methodologies and creating and supporting political commitment, for example by means of mayoral declarations

These insights, together with the results of a consultation of cities, fed directly into the development of the Mayors Adapt initiative. Mayors Adapt was officially launched by Connie Hedegaard, EU Commissioner for Climate Action, in Brussels on 19 March 2014.