EU LIFE programme: Supporting integration and co-production of climate change adaptation in small and medium-sized municipalities across the EU

16:15 Wednesday 29 May


Room S7


Eliška K. Lorencová (Czech Republic) 1; Joerg Cortekar (Germany) 2; Majana Heidenreich (Germany) 3; Bettina Fischer (Austria) 4; Majana Putnina (Latvia) 5; Dominic Rumpf (Germany) 6; Christian Bernhofer (Germany) 3; Vojtěch Cuřín (Czech Republic) 1

1 - Global Change Research Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences (CzechGlobe); 2 - Climate Service Center Germany (GERICS); 3 - Technische Universität Dresden (TU Dresden); 4 - Provincial Government of Styria, Technical department for energy technology and climate protection (Land STMK); 5 - Valka Municipality Council, Latvia; 6 - Saxon State Office for Environment, Agriculture and Geology (LfULG), Saxon State Ministry for Environment and Agriculture

Municipalities are important actors in climate change adaptation. However, small and medium-sized municipalities often have deficiencies in:

  • knowledge on regional climate change,
  • identifying specific risks at the local level, and
  • personnel and financial capacities to integrate climate change adaptation into decision-making practice.

The aim of this session is to demonstrate and discuss different approaches to foster integration and co-production of climate change adaptation in small and medium-sized towns across the EU.

The session is organized as a joint session of projects from the EU LIFE programme focusing on climate change adaptation in the urban environment and related issues of urban-rural interaction. Especially projects of the LIFE programme focussing on urban adaptation are invited. Topics of the session relate to the improvement and mainstreaming of climate adaptation measures, among others in the area of heavy rain and heat stress resilience. Specific activities may also include the restoration and safeguarding of water systems and the built environment.

Adaptation measures refer to local action planning, tools for knowledge dissemination, and implementation of particular actions. The session focuses on knowledge co-production and the science-policy interface between research institutions, regional authorities, municipalities and citizens. Lessons learned and best practices from integrating and mainstreaming climate change adaptation in small and medium-sized municipalities across Europe will be presented. Learning from demonstration cases as well as ‘learning from failures’ are important cornerstones for progress. The session will also present innovative approaches to encourage and organise adaptation in small and medium-sized communities that focus on co-development of urban adaptation measures together with the local municipalities.

Target audience

The target audience includes decision-makers, representatives of local, regional and national authorities, urban planners, practitioners as well as researchers. The session will provide opportunity for networking and provide space for learning about different approaches and solutions under various geographical and socio-economic conditions.

Proposed format for the session

6 speakers, planned 10 minutes for each of the presentation + 5 minutes for questions at the end of each presentation, 15 minutes for panel discussion

Contributing Authors abstracts

The EU project LIFE LOCAL ADAPT: Challenges for small and medium-sized municipalities to adapt to climate change in four European regions  – Majana Heidenreich et al., Technische Universität Dresden

The project is supporting smaller municipalities to integrate climate change adaptation into their daily work. This is exemplarily realized in four model regions with very different preconditions in Latvia, Germany, Czech Republic and Austria. For example in Latvia, the municipality of Valka has become an active member of the EU ‘Covenant of Mayors’ initiative developing an adaptation strategy. In Saxony (Germany), the regional authority and the university in Dresden are supporting municipalities to plan for adaptation, e.g. through contest of appropriate adaptation measures. The municipalities in North-West Czech Republic are involved in adaptation planning using participatory approaches. In Styria (Austria), the activities of the regional authority on climate change adaptation are already on an advanced stage. There, the cooperation with selected municipalities reflects various adaptation measures, for example related to mudflows or heat protection. The presentation provides insights into the general approach and specific interaction with the municipalities.

Lessons learned and best practices from LIFE LOCAL ADAPT municipalities – Eliška K. Lorencová et al., Global Change Research Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences

LIFE LOCAL ADAPT project aims to support and mainstream climate change adaptation planning into agendas of small and medium-sized municipalities. In each of the towns, main climate change-related problems have been identified with the aim to propose suitable adaptation measures addressing heavy rain and heat stress resilience, drought, adaptation of buildings and infrastructure. This presentation provides an overview of lessons learned, identify main barriers in climate change adaptation. Examples of best practices and approaches to knowledge co-production across pilot municipalities in Saxony (D), Styria (Austria), North-west region (Czech Republic) and Valka (Latvia) will be presented. Among others, these include the ñRegional Climate Information Systemî (REKIS Communal) that provides information for local municipalities in Saxony concerning climate data, adaption measures, funding opportunities and adaptation contests in Saxony and Styria. Participatory approaches to involve local stakeholders to support knowledge co-production will be presented. Moreover, climate change impacts also affect public health and well-being, focus of Valka municipality.

LifeAdaptate project: Supporting commitment of the European municipalities – Rafael Ataz, Instituto de Fomento de la Región de Murcia

Municipalities in the whole Region of Murcia (Spain) are committed and willing to take action and make a difference. Since Covenant of Mayors (CoM) initiative was launched in the Region of Murcia in 2010, all of the 45 municipalities joined CoM. With a view to assist Murcia and other municipalities in adaptation to climate change, we took the lead in the LIFE ADAPTATE project. LIFE ADAPTATE project focuses to increase the commitment of European municipalities with the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy by the development of local adaptation plans that will be integrated in the previous mitigation objectives of municipalities, giving a comprehensive approach to climate change. The main solution proposed by LIFE ADAPTATE is to contribute to the improvement of climate policy and legislation both at local level and European level, such as EU Strategy on Adaptation to climate change and the 2030 Climate and Energy Package aimed at achieving greenhouse gases reduction, energy efficiency improvement and increasing renewable energy production. The presentation will focus on ongoing activities and approaches to integrate adaptation and mitigation needs in local municipalities in Latvia, Portugal and Spain.

The LIFE MASTER ADAPT project: MAinSTreaming Experiences at Regional and local level for ADAPTation to climate change – Gianluca Cocco et al., Regione Autonoma della Sardegna

The main goal of LIFE MASTER ADAPT project is to identify and test a methodology to include climate change adaptation strategies into the sectoral and territorial policies at regional and local level with a particular focus on urban areas (metropolitan cities and clusters of small municipalities). The initial assumption of this presentation is that regional policies need to be developed at local level combining and integrating top down and bottom up approaches and new models of multilevel governance to integrate regional and local adaptation. Developing many instruments and methods at different scales, MASTER ADAPT aims to set up general and specific adaptation targets at regional level and to test them in different cases for horizontal and vertical adaptation mainstreaming. The expected results of MASTER ADAPT will be discussed including: (i) climate analysis and vulnerability assessment, (ii) policy guidance for setting adaptation targets, (iii) guidelines for mainstreaming and multi-level governance of regional adaptation strategies, (iv) guidelines for the mainstreaming implementation in cities.

New approach to climate change adaptation in Radom based on the presently conducted LIFE project  – Katarzyna Jankowska et al., Radom Municipality

Adaptation to climate change is a relatively new topic in the policies of countries and cities. Undoubtedly, it is an essential element of education and awareness raising, both in city administration and local communities. The project has started activities aimed at adapting urban space to climate change. We are aware that opportunities for limiting negative impacts of urban climate change arise from the development of blue and green infrastructure, which contributes to a more controlled rainwater management, especially in periods of time with excessive rainfall. The overall objective of the project is to increase climate resilience of Radom City by building demonstrative ‘green-blue infrastructure’ for managing extreme storm water flows and control local flood risks. This is one of the tools planned in the project to implement in order to mainstream climate adaptation into city planning and to improve knowledge on the subject for informed decision-making at local level and to raise awareness and capacity building on climate adaptation. The stakeholders of the projects are both local societies as those taking advantage from the project results (reducing ‹heat island, increasing climate resilience of the city, improving water quality) and decision-makers (implementing measures to local policies and investment plans).

Project Life-Good Local Adapt: Facilitating good adaptation in urban areas of small and medium-sized municipalities of the Basque Country, Spain – Marta Suanzes et al., Factor

The project deals with the adoption of sustainable solutions for a good adaptation of urban areas to confront heat waves and water scarcity by encouraging complementarity between public and private initiative; supporting innovative technologies and traditional solutions; by making reachable to the small and medium-sized municipalities the methodologies of prioritization of adaptation; and involving citizens of the neighbourhoods in the decision process. The process of involvement of the population during the project will be presented, including the climate change barometer and participation process developed in five neighbourhoods to assess and raise population awareness about climate change adaptation and identify acceptable adaptation solutions concerning city planning, buildings retrofitting and water management. Also efficient incentives and communication to foster the population commitment will be discussed. Based on these processes, adaptive solutions are technically customized for the 5 neighbourhoods, using CBA and LCA will allow decision makers to prioritize. The prioritized solutions are implemented through two prototypes of green infrastructure and rehabilitated public building. Finally, a model of incentives for citizenship and urbanistic normative documents facilitate the process of mainstreaming adaptation into local policy.