Funding for Adaptation
There are many different funding opportunities and instruments for urban adaptation. The information on this page aims to provide assistance to cities in locating and obtaining funding for their adaptation projects.
For a complete overview of financing opportunities for Local Climate & Energy Action (2014-2020) click here.
Current and upcoming funding opportunitiesURBACT III
Upcoming calls (the details will be published here as soon as they are available):
• Autumn 2016: call for good practices
• Spring 2017: call for the creation of up to 15 Transfer Networks
• 2018: call for the creation of up to 20 Action-Planning Networks
JPI Urban Europe’s fourth call, the ERA-NET Cofund Smart Urban Futures (ENSUF), which is supported by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 programme, is open and the 43 applicants from the pre-proposal stage are requested to submit full proposals by 20 September 2016. Funding decisions will be made in December 2016 and projects are projected to start between December 2016 and March 2017.
The 3 call topics include concepts and strategies for smart urban transformation, growth and shrinkage; new dynamics of public services; and inclusive, vibrant and accessible urban communities. A total of 23.8 million Euros will be made available for the call via a combination of national and regional funding agencies from 18 European countries as well as Horizon 2020.
Click here for more information about the call, including the full proposal form, call text, and an informational flyer.
JPI Urban Europe and the Belmont Forum jointly issued the Sustainable Urban Global Initiative (SUGI)/Food-Water-Energy Nexus. This call was established to unite the fragmented research and expertise across the globe and find innovative solutions to the challenge of the Food-Water-Energy nexus. The call aims to develop more resilient, applied urban solutions that bring inter- and trans-disciplinary research and innovation together from across the globe, benefitting a much wider range of stakeholders. As demand for energy and water and climate impacts like water scarcity will increase in many areas as a result of climate change, this call supports innovative, adaptive solutions to the challenges of climate change that will be exacerbated in urban areas.
The call will open in December 2016. Pre-proposals are due March/April 2017 and full proposals will be due Sept/Oct 2017.
Click here for further information on the call, including an introductory webinar.
Under the ‘Smart and Sustainable Cities’, the call Demonstrating innovative nature-based solutions in cities, aims to provide a robust, EU-wide evidence base and develop a European reference framework on nature-based solutions for regional and local city authorities, communities, and other stakeholders about the benefits, co-benefits, cost-effectiveness and economic viability of these solutions to enhance resilience in cities and address inclusive urban regeneration, thereby promoting their large scale deployment and the creation of a global market.
Projects should address either innovative nature-based solutions for climate and water resilience in cities (2016) or nature-based solutions for inclusive urban regeneration (2017). Projects should also adopt a ‘front-runner’ and ‘follower’ cities approach, to facilitate the rapid exploitation, replication and up-scaling of the solutions and via large-scale demonstrations. To maximise benefits at European level, each project shall involve at least 2 ‘front-runner’ cities and 3 ‘follower’ cities from different Member States and/or Associated Countries.
The call will open on 08 November 2016 and close on 07 March 2017. For more information about the call, including the scope, expected impacted, click here.
Smart Cities and Communities lighthouse projects
Large-scale demonstrators on nature-based solutions for hydro-meteorological risk reduction is another upcoming call under the ‘Smart and Sustainable Cities’ cross-cutting programme of Horizon 2020. This call aims to address the need for innovative nature-based solutions as alternatives to traditional engineering to address extreme hydro-meteorological events.
Projects are expected to foster EU’s leadership on nature-based solutions for hydro-meteorological risk reduction and climate change adaptation, and thus enhance territorial, socioeconomic and ecological resilience and coherence by mainstreaming nature-based solutions in land use planning as well as landscaping and territorial policies; developing an integrated EU-wide evidence base and a European reference framework on nature-based solutions; enhancing market demand for nature-based solutions for hydro-meteorological risk reduction and climate change adaptation; and contributing to the implementation of EU policies for cost-effective and flexible disaster risk management.
The call will open on 08 November 2016 and close on 07 March 2017. For more information about the call, including the scope, expected impacted, click here.
In 2017, the European Commission’s Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME) we will fund projects in the ‘Climate Action, Environment, Resource Efficiency and Raw Materials’ stream of Horizon 2020’s ‘Societal Challenges’ programme and the calls for proposals will be launched in autumn 2016. For advice on preparing a proposal and finding project partners check out the EASME Info Day on 14 September in Brussels.
General funding opportunities in the EUEuropean Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF)
Many cities lack the financial resources required to meet their green ambitions but the EU has committed to helping them close this gap by setting a political objective that from 2014 on, at least 20% of the EU budget should be spent on activities that promote climate change mitigation and adaptation.
The European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), which constitutes approximately 42% of the overall EU budget, will contribute with about 25% or €115 billion from the EU budget in support of climate change mitigation and adaptation. A considerable part of these investments will happen in urban areas.
The five ESI funds include the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), European Social Fund (ESF), Cohesion Fund (CF), European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), and the European Fisheries and Maritime Fund (EMFF). Click here to explore the distribution of finances and (selected) planned achievements under the different European Structural and Investment Funds.
The funds have 11 thematic objectives, covering a variety of sectors and topics. Thematic objective 5 is specifically dedicated to climate change adaptation, risk prevention, and management, while the other thematic objectives can also significantly contribute to climate change adaptation action. As much of the funding is used to finance adaptation or adaptation-related projects, these funds prove to be a significant source of support for cities making the transition to climate resilient economy. Click here to visit the mainstreaming fact sheets to know more about what types of adaptation action can be funded under the five ESI funds.
Three of the ESIFs, the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), European Social Fund (ESF), and Cohesion Fund (CF) make up the Cohesion policy funds and have been allocated more than €56 billion for climate change-related actions and creating an enabling framework (via capacity building, technical assistance, territorial cooperation). €8 billion of this is specifically earmarked for climate change adaptation as well as risk prevention and management and will likely end up in cities. As such, the Cohesion policy funds serve as one of the most important funding sources in the area of urban climate change adaptation. It is estimated that investments under thematic objective 5 will, for example, protect 13.3 million people from flooding and 11.8 million from forest fires.
The implementation of the Cohesion policy funds are managed in a shared manner with the Commission through the programmes (national, regional, cross border, etc.) as opposed to call for proposals, so in order to find out more about funding opportunities, contact your local Managing Authority, which can be found here.
To get an idea of what types of projects have been funded under the EU’s regional policy programmes over the years, check out the European Commission’s project database here.
European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)
The ERDF, which aims to strengthen economic and social cohesion in the European Union, also supports sustainable urban development. This includes climate change adaptation via, for example, the construction of green infrastructure and rain overflow basins, and the implementation and review of adaptation strategies.
Click here to visit the climate mainstreaming fact sheets to learn more about the types of adaptation action funded under ERDF.
To contact the Managing Authority in your Member State and find out more about the funding opportunities that apply to you under the ERDF, click here.
Cohesion Fund (CF)
The Cohesion Fund, which addresses trans-European transport networks and the environment, also supports climate action, including adaptation. Adaptation-related projects that are potentially supported include the construction of blue infrastructure, new bridges, rain overflow basins, urban drainage systems, and green infrastructure; flood and coastal defense risk management; and enhancing institutional capacity and efficiency in implementing adaptation measures, to name a few.
Click here to visit the climate mainstreaming fact sheets to learn more about the types of adaptation action funded under CF.
To contact the Managing Authority in your Member State and find out more about the funding opportunities that apply to you under the CF, click here.
The ESF, Europe’s main instrument for supporting jobs and ensuring job opportunities in the EU, also supports climate action by enhancing knowledge and skills to develop, produce, use and apply new efficient and low-carbon technologies and by helping to alleviate any negative impacts on employment as a result of shifting to a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy. Some examples of how the ESF can support climate adaptation include training SME’s in improving the climate resilience of their business, as well as job counselling and career guidance on the prospects offered by climate change adaptation.
Click here to visit the climate mainstreaming fact sheets to learn more about the types of adaptation action funded under ESF.
To contact the Managing Authority in your Member State and find out more about the funding opportunities that apply to you under the ESF, click here.
The EAFRD, which generally co-finances the rural development programmes of the EU’s Member States, aims to, among other things, support knowledge transfer and innovation in agriculture, forestry, and rural areas; enhance the viability and competitiveness of all types of agriculture; restore, preserve, and enhance agriculture and forestry-related ecosystems; and support the shift toward a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy in the agriculture, food and forestry sectors. The EAFRD also contributes to climate action by, for example, investing in physical assets that reduce the exposure of holdings to climate change impacts, as well as financing the introduction of climate-resilient crops and species, the installation of protective infrastructure (e.g. observation posts, fire resistant plants, etc.), and the use of forest management to preserve and improve ecosystem services.
Click here to visit the mainstreaming fact sheets to learn more about the types of adaptation action funded under EAFRD.
To contact the Managing Authority in your Member State and find out more about the funding opportunities that apply to you under the EAFRD, click here.
The EMFF, which funds the EU’s maritime and fisheries policies, can also foster adaptation to climate change by, for example, supporting measures to reduce the impact of fisheries on vulnerable eco-systems; helping aquaculture diversify its production and protect against economic losses from climate-induced risks; financing maritime spatial planning and Integrated Coastal Zone Management; and compensating fishermen for economic losses caused by adverse climatic events.
Click here to visit the mainstreaming fact sheets to learn more about the types of adaptation action funded under EMFF.
To contact the Managing Authority in your Member State and find out more about the funding opportunities that apply to you under the EMFF, click here.
LIFE is the EU’s financial instrument supporting the environment, nature conservation, and climate action projects in the EU member states. The current funding period offers significant scope to finance projects that improve or extend best practices developed by earlier LIFE projects in areas such as adaptation planning, forestry practices, or green/blue infrastructure. It can also address the opportunities presented by newer developments such as nature-based approaches, ecosystem services, as well as monitoring and measuring resilience. For environment projects, the LIFE Programme allocates about EUR 3,5 billion from 2014 to 2020 with more than EUR 800 million earmarked for tackling climate action. You can find examples of good practice in adaptation action under the LIFE programme here.
LIFE Programme is implemented through yearly calls for proposals. The next call will be published in Spring 2017.
LIFE mobilises additional funding through two financial instruments, the Natural Capital Financing Facility (NCFF) and Private Finance for Energy Efficiency (PF4EE). These two instruments combine European Investment Bank financing and LIFE programme funds.
Urban Innovative Actions (UIA) is an Initiative of the European Commission that provides urban areas throughout Europe with resources to test new and unproven solutions to address urban challenges. Climate change adaptation is one of 8 topics that will be addressed in future calls (including sustainable use of land/nature-based solutions and urban mobility).
The URBACT programme is the European Territorial Cooperation programme aiming to foster sustainable integrated urban development in cities across Europe via city networks. URBACT networks can encompass a myriad of issues that are relevant for urban areas and incorporate adaptation. These could include, for example, city planning, urban renewal, local economic development, energy efficiency, urban mobility, and health.
Click here for information about open calls.
Horizon 2020 (H2020) is the EU’s largest research and innovation programme aimed at securing Europe’s global competitiveness and has a number of funding opportunities that are relevant for climate change adaptation. 35% of the approximately €80 million budget is earmarked through funding streams like the ‘Societal Challenges’ programme and the cross-cutting focus area ‘Smart and Sustainable Cities’.
Under the ‘Societal Challenges’ section, the ‘Secure, Clean, and Efficient Energy’ stream addresses the Energy Challenge, which is designed to support the transition to a reliable, sustainable and competitive energy system. This includes adaptation-related topics like energy efficiency and smart cities & communities. The ‘Climate Action, Environment, Resource Efficiency and Raw Materials’ stream, which also falls under ‘Societal Challenges’ addresses the challenge that aims to increase European competitiveness, raw materials security, and improve citizen’s wellbeing. At the same time they will assure environmental integrity, resilience and sustainability with the aim of keeping average global warming below 2° C and enabling ecosystems and society to adapt to climate change and other environmental changes. This includes adaptation-related topics like climate action, eco-innovation, and nature-based solutions.
The cross-cutting focus area ‘Smart and Sustainable Cities’ is also relevant for urban adaptation as it brings together stakeholders to demonstrate the feasibility of taking successful solutions for smart and sustainable cities in Europe to scale. It also focuses on creating urban spaces powered by clean energy, electro-mobility, and innovative nature-based solutions.
Click here for the latest H2020 Calls for Proposals and here for general information about how to obtain funding. There is also an online manual available to help guide participants navigate the H2020 site and apply for funding. For best results when searching the H2020 database of calls for proposals, use the filtering and sorting options at the top of the Calls for Proposals page. Information about the calls under the ‘Climate Action, Environment, Resource Efficiency and Raw Materials’ stream can also be found on the EASME website here.
Interreg Europe is a policy learning programme for public authorities in Europe with a focus on interregional cooperation. Thematic areas of the programme include research and innovation, SME competitiveness, the low-carbon economy, and the environment and resource efficiency, all of which have the potential to intersect with climate change adaptation and risk management.
Click here for information about the application process.
JPI Urban Europe is a joint programming initiative that aims is to create attractive, sustainable and economically viable urban areas in Europe. By coordinating resources and making better use of Europe’s public funds, the programme aims to transform urban areas into centres of innovation and technology; realise eco-friendly and intelligent transport systems; ensure social cohesion and integration; and reduce the ecological footprint and enhance climate neutrality. Adaptation-related projects that have been financed by JPI Urban Europe include, for example, the development of sustainable urban planning concepts and tools to manage and seize opportunities arising from urban storm water management.
Joint Assistance to Support Projects in European Regions (JASPERS)
JASPERS is a technical assistance partnership between DG Regional and Urban Policy, the EIB, and the EBRD that provides independent advice to beneficiary countries to help prepare high quality, large-scale infrastructure projects. Given the nature of JASPERS work, many of the projects financed by the programme have adaptation benefits. Some such projects include, for example, upgrading airport infrastructure, construction/rehabilitation of railroads, and the construction of bridges.
Click here for more information about the application process, which can be obtained through the national authorities.
Local or regional authorities with over 75,000 inhabitants can apply for the EIB’s Municipal Framework Loans that finance projects addressing things that are closely linked to adaptation such as urban roads and public transport, water and waste systems, and energy efficiency.
Click here for more information about applying for a municipal loan.
NCFF, which combines EIB financing and European Commission funding under the LIFE Programme, contributes to meeting the objectives of the LIFE programme by focusing specifically on nature & biodiversity and climate change adaptation. Under the NCFF, regional or local authorities are eligible to apply for projects that promote ecosystem-based solutions to challenges related to climate change adaptation. This includes projects developing green infrastructure, for example green roofs, ecosystem-based rainwater collection/water reuse systems or flood protection and erosion control.
Click here for more information about NCFF and how to apply for a loan.
Sponsored by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, EEA and Norway Grants aim to reduce economic and social disparities and strengthen bilateral relations with 16 EU countries in Central and Southern Europe and the Baltics. For the period from 2014 to 2021, a total contribution of €2.8 billion has been agreed. The priorities for this funding period correspond to those of the EU and include adaptation-related topics like environmental protection and management and climate change and renewable energy.
Click here for more information about funding for adaptation.
Relevant resources & publications
- European Environment Agency (2012) Urban adaptation to climate change in Europe: Challenges and opportunities for cities together with supportive national and European policies (here)
- ICLEI (2011) Financing the Resilient City: A demand driven approach to development, disaster risk reduction, and climate adaptation (here)
- Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy (2016) Quick Reference Guide: Financing Opportunities for Local Climate & Energy Actions (2014-2020) (here)
- European Commission (2015) Mainstreaming of climate action in the European Structural and Investment Funds 2014-2020, various factsheets (here)