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Climate Change Adaptation in Europe

Adapting to climate change is necessary to strengthen the resilience of our social and economic systems to the negative impacts of a changing climate. But adaptation also offers opportunities. Effective adaptation action can reduce overall damage costs, save natural and human assets and stimulate economic regeneration.

The EU Adaptation Strategy sets out the framework for strengthening Europe’s resilience to the impacts of climate change. It focuses on three key objectives:

Promoting action by Member States
• By encouraging all Member States to adopt comprehensive adaptation strategies
• By providing funding to help them build up adaptive capacity and take action
• By supporting adaptation action by cities within the framework of the Covenant of Mayors.

Better informed decision-making
• By addressing knowledge gaps.

‘Climate proofing’ action at EU level
• By further promoting adaptation in key vulnerable sectors (for example agriculture, fisheries and cohesion policy)
• By ensuring that Europe’s infrastructure is more resilient, and promoting the use of insurance against natural and man-made disasters.

Adaptation creates new opportunities

The impacts of climate change will affect all of the European Union, though with regional differences. As major centres of population and infrastructure, cities play a central role in enhancing the EU’s resilience through adaptation.

Moreover, integrating adaption into planning policies can provide new opportunities for EU mayors and political leaders to make cities more livable. Breaking the mould in urban development stimulates investment and innovative concepts for housing or public green spaces. Strengthening stakeholder participation sets the foundation for fruitful cooperation among citizens and public administration, which may affect further policy areas as well. By investing in climate preparedness, cities become more attractive, healthier and safer.

Funding for adaptation

At least 20% of the EU budget for 2014-2020 will be spent on climate action, including a dedicated 860 Million Euros of climate action funding through the LIFE instrument. Adaptation requirements are included in all relevant EU funding streams of which many encourage local authorities specifically to integrate adaption needs into their policy planning and implementation.