Caldas da Raihna, Portugal, 21 October, 2022
The European summer of 2022, with its extreme heat, drought, fires and torrential rains, sent a very clear warning signal around the urgency of adapting to the negative impacts of climate change.
“Everything can change. That's why it's something everyone should do every day, because you never know which drop will make a full glass overflow. Which drop will lead to change...” - László Radics, Mayor of Répceszemere, Hungary
Fortunately, the European Commission, member state governments at all levels, as well as civil society have already started to strengthen European community resilience. Efforts have ranged from enabling policies, to investing in targeted research and innovation, to developing funding and financing schemes, as well as technical capacity building resources. All this has been accompanied by the fundamental recognition that support needs to be directed mainly at the local level, in municipalities across Europe.
Répceszemere, Hungary, 10-11 November, 2022
"Climate change is a fact and it is happening faster than we thought, so the municipalities that have already started implementing measures are going to be best prepared for the future, and most resilient." - Efren Feliu, Spain
One such source of locally centred support is the Policy Support Facility (PSF), a two-year pilot programme of the Covenant of Mayors - Europe. The PSF targets 12 countries (Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain) considered to have higher vulnerability and risk exposure to climate change. One element that the PSF offers is financial and technical support for the development of national adaptation workshops in each of the 12 countries. Coordinated by a partner organisation in each country, these workshops aim to stimulate exchange on local climate change adaptation challenges and solutions. National agencies also participate, to impart but also gain knowledge and understanding. By having each workshop be country-focused, municipalities and regions facing similar challenges are able to learn from experts and one another, in their local languages.
“The workshop allowed us to further our knowledge by learning from other cities which share the same climate scenarios but reply to climate adaptation through different approaches.” - Diana Loureiro from the Óbidos Municipality, Portugal
The last quarter of 2022 has seen four successful national workshops delivered in Portugal, Hungary, Romania and Spain, with the remaining eight to take place in early 2023. While the focus of each of these workshops has varied, determined by local context and need, common themes have nevertheless emerged, including:
- How to better connect local to regional and national, from policy to funding
- Approaches for undertaking risk and vulnerability analyses and subsequently selecting the most appropriate adaptation actions
- The power of nature based solutions for providing multiple societal benefits
- Using open access, online tools to support decision making
- Connections and synergies between adaptation and mitigation actions
“We need national databases, specific indicators, benchmarks so that local authorities have a reference to validate their assumptions. Without such an approach we cannot move forward.” - Matei Dimitriu, Romania
Bucharest, Romania, 22 November, 2022
Lead national workshop coordinators, supplemented by external technical experts and facilitators, have designed experiential, hands-on activities that have met workshop participants where they are, on their adaptation journeys. They have stimulated exchange of good practices, troubleshooting techniques, innovations and provided a new source of peer support to participants. And their success to date has spurred the desire of several national coordinating partners to replicate these workshops in others parts of the country in 2023. This would in turn provide more cities, towns and regions with the opportunity to learn, share and shortly thereafter apply newly gained adaptation capabilities.
Navarra, Spain, 30 November, 2022
You can find all the adaptation resources of the PSF here.
- Publication date
- 3 January 2023