The final version of the opinion "Towards a new EU climate change adaptation strategy – taking an integrated approach" was adopted at the CoR Plenary session on 9 February 2017. Through opinion, the CoR:
stresses that a well-functioning multi-level governance framework is of crucial importance, and therefore calls on the European Commission to encourage stronger collaboration between the different levels of government - especially in the preparation and implementation of the national, regional and local adaptation strategies and plans;
supports EU initiatives such as the Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy and the new EU Urban Agenda Partnerships that foster the emergence of coordinated multi-level /multi-stakeholder governance schemes and cooperation platforms;
points out that the absence of a legislative prescriptive framework is perceived by local and regional authorities as an obstacle to adaptation action in certain Member States;
urges the European Commission to consolidate efforts to create an enabling framework for capacity building in cities and regions;
stresses that accessing EU financing instruments supporting climate action is still the biggest challenge faced by cities and regions and calls therefore on the Commission to provide European local and regional authorities with 1) easily-accessible and understandable information and 2) further guidance and support on how to access them, and also possibly combine them;
invites the Commission to explore further the idea of a fast-track access to financial support for local and regional authorities committed to adaptation action;
considers that the Commission shall continue exploring innovative ways to channel investments for adaptation actions to local and regional authorities and calls on the Commission to provide them with appropriate expert advice, guidance and support in preparing viable investments and securing financing;
invites the Commission to embed its climate (adaptation) action further in the new international climate agreements, to reinforce its exemplary role , and help to build synergies between these agreements.
The ENVE secretariat will make sure that appropriate follow up to this opinion will be given by the European Commission and other relevant stakeholders.
CoR rapporteur Sirpa Hertell (FI/EPP) and DG CLIMA head of Unit for Adaptation Beatriz Yordi presented the opinion and the current work of the European Commission on adaptation.
The ENVE Secretariat met with Lombardia representative responsible for climate. They discussed Lombardia leading action on adaptation, including its adaptation strategy, its further implementation, and how it influenced the national and european strategies as well as how it helped Lombardy cities, business and rural areas to build their resilience.The international level, notably the initiative RegionsAdapt and possible collaboration with the Covenant of Mayors were also among the topic of discussion.
Author: Evelyn Lukat, Jenny Tröltzsch, Giacomo Cazzola, Zoritza Kiresiewa, Daniel Blobel (Ecologic Institute); Alberto Terenzi, Julia Peleikis, Vasileios Latinos (ICLEI); Ray Purdy, Peter Hjerp (UCL).
This studies was ordered to support the work of rapporteur Hertell when elaborating her opinion on adaptation.
Mrs Hertell presented her working document to frame the debate on adaptation. Mr Claus Kondrup, senior policy officer on climate mainstreaming and adaptation, DG CLIMA, European Commission, made a presentation on mainstreaming climate within the EU budget. Birgit Georgi, senior project manager at the European Environment Agency presented the EEA latest report on adaptation in urban settings. Lucie Blondel, project manager in charge of Mayors Adapt/adaptation within the Covenant of Mayors also made a presentation.
Minister for Environment of Sardinia, Donatella Spano, met with rapporteur Sirpa Hertell to talk about regional adoption, vertical and horizontal coordination, cross-sector collaboration, as well as Sardinia's experience as coordinator of the Italian inter-regional board for the implementation of the national adaptation strategy. Mrs Spano also talked about Sardinia's involvement at international level within the Under 2°C Memorandum of Understanding and her subsequent experience in sharing best practice.
Rapporteur Sirpa Hertell, together with CoR member Christian Illedits (AT/PES), were speakers at a workshop organised by DG CLIMA adaptation Unit during the European Week of Regions and Cities.
Speakers were: Mrs. Yordi Beatriz, DG CLIMA head of Unit (Chair), Ms. Hertell Sirpa , Mr. Illedits Christian , Mr. Kondrup Claus, DG CLIMA , Ms. Miladinova Gergana DG REGIO.
Climate change mainstreaming is an important new feature of the Cohesion policy and significant funds have been allocated to climate-related actions.The workshop presented the achievements and outlined what further efforts are needed. It was be based on presentations by (1) CLIMA on climate policy, climate mainstreaming, main results; (2) REGIO on the link with sustained and sustainable economic growth, (3) Two cities / regions on best practices in climate mainstreaming.
Rapporteur Hertell participated in the Climate Alliance working group meeting on adaptation in Krems, Austria. The local adaptation experts made suggestions to the rapporteur and had a fruitful exchange with the rapporteur on all topics of the opinion (governance, financing, stakeholders engagement, risk assurance).During the Working Group, Mrs Hertell was joined by Giuliana Torta from DG CLIMA. She provided more details about the Commission's review plans for the strategy.
The ENVE Secretariat participated to the Forum on "Climate Change Adaptation & Resilience – exploring and unlocking opportunities" organised within the framework of the Climate Chance Summit gathering all non-Party stakeholders.
The CoR and rapporteur Sirpa Hertell contributed to the roadmap discussed during the forum and are part of the Adaptation Coalition co-piloted by Climate Alliance, Green Cross and the International Chamber of Commerce.
The ENVE Secretariat met with E3G consultancy in order to discuss the content of the opinion, notably risk insurance, how to improve processes instead of focusing on targets, and how to boost local resilience through EU support.
The ENVE Secretariat participated in the ECONADAPT workshop organised by DG Research. The workshop from the DG Research funded ECONADAPT project on the economics of adaptation synthesised the findings of the ECONADAPT project. It also included findings from other DG Research adaptation projects. The aim was to bring research together to help inform the 2017 Adaptation review and provide input to Action 4 of the adaptation strategy on building the information base.
A stakeholders' consultation was organised in order to collect inputs from local and regional representations in Brussels as well as networks and organisations.
While ICLEI sent a written contribution and Climate Alliance was present as expert advising rapporteur for her Opinion, UECBV, ALDA, European Association of Elected Representatives from Mountains, Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR), CEMR, Euro Coop, Euromontana,Airport Regions Conference, Midi-Pyrenees Europe, Helsinki EU Office, Natureherit Design & Consult BV and Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) participated to the consultation.
On 30th June, the draft opinion "Delivering the global climate agreement – a territorial approach to COP22 in Marrakesh" (Rapporteur: Francesco Pigliaru, ENVE Commission Chair, President of Sardinia, (IT/PES)) was adopted in ENVE Commission and included a part on adaptation. This part highlighted the need for adaptation policy to be integrated within a comprehensive climate policy and introduced the opinion to come on adaptation for which Mrs Hertell is rapporteur.
In this conference organised by the CoR, the Regional minister of Environment of Sardinia, Donatella Spano, gave a presentation on: "Multi-level governance – the regional level as a pivotal level to ensure coherent policy-making, the example of adaptation".She gave a clear overview of the contribution of regions in the promotion of resilience throughout Europe and beyond. She also demonstrated how regions can help translate EU and national strategies down to the local level and help their territories and small towns and cities to adapt to climate change.This session on how to engage all actors on implementation was chaired by Sirpa Hertell.
Rapporteur Sirpa Hertell met with DG CLIMA head of Unit on adaptation, Beatriz Yordi and her team.Mrs Yordi confirmed that the CoR opinion timeline matched perfectly the EC timeline for the evaluation and review of the EU strategy on adaptation to climate change.Mrs Hertell and Mrs Yordi discussed about adaptation policy and financing. They discussed about the importance of the Covenant of Mayors, how national strategies should develop down to the local level + inversely how cities are leading on adaptation.Economic aspects, themes of good governance, cross-border/transnational aspects and macro-regional strategies were also discussed.Mrs Hertell insisted in the role of regions to build resilience within territories and that it should also be featured within the next strategy.
ENVE Secretariat and EPP group met with DG CLIMA's adaptation unit in order to discuss the objectives of the own-initiative opinion and the timeline to feed usefully within DG CLIMA's work on adaptation. This meeting also prepared a formal meeting between rapporteur Sirpa Hertell and Head of Unit Beatriz Yordi. DG CLIMA insisted on the usefulness to have more information on the economic impact of climate change at local level. It also discussed about the publication of a study on the mainstreaming of climate within EU budget.
The ENVE Secretariat participated in this interactive policy workshop on Implementing the EU Adaptation Strategy with practical insights and policy recommendations. The workshop gathered scientists and practitionners together and gave deeper insights on how to identify the best solutions to address climate change adaptation challenges at a local/regional level.This workshop concluded 4-year EU funded BASE project (DG Research°
During a study visit of the ENVE Commission at the 8th European Conference Sustainable Cities and Towns, 27-28 April, Bilbao, Spain, Kata Tutto, rapporteur on the Covenant of Mayors, spoke at a breakout session on Green Climate Cities and insisted on the importance of the new Covenant to entegrate both mitigation and adaptation.
On 21st April, during an ENVE Commission meeting, Mrs Hertell (FI/EPP), city councillor in Espoo, was appointed rapporteur for a CoR own-initiative opinion "Towards a new EU climate change adaptation strategy – taking an integrated approach".
This opinion aims to feed within the work of the European Commission ahead of the draft of the evaluation report of the 1st EU strategy on adaptation to climate change in september 2017.
Pirita Lindholm, Director of Climate Alliance Brussels Office, has been appointed as Mrs Hertell expert to advise her on the opinion.