Effective adaptation to the effects of climate change by EU’s local and regional authorities can reduce the overall costs from damages and save European natural and human resources.

It can also help to stimulate investment and strengthen stakeholder participation, argues the working document of Sirpa Hertell, CoR Rapporteur on “Towards a new EU climate change adaptation strategy – taking an integrated approach

By investing in climate preparedness, cities and regions become more attractive, healthier and safer” – explains Sirpa Hertell, Vice-Chair of ENVE and author of the document – “Local and regional authorities need to act constantly to adapt to the effects of climate change. They are in the frontline not only in experiencing the effects of climate change but also in responding to the climate change taking place right now“.

The adaptation capacity differs between regions and cities due to variations in access to knowledge, finances, human resources and the legislative frameworks in the Member States. It is also strongly shaped by geographic, demographic and socio-economic characteristics of the different territories.

Following the adoption of the EU Energy and Climate 2030 targets in 2014 and the COP21 agreement in Paris in 2015, the European Commission is working on the review of the 2013 EU Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change, which will lead to a new EU strategy in 2018.

The main objective of the CoR’s opinion is to contribute to this review and any follow-up policy.

Meanwhile, there are several ideas requiring CoR Members to take a position on: i.e. whether the review should include a more explicit recognition of the role of multi-level governance? Should it provide clarity on both pre- and post-2020 financing opportunities that support the implementation of local adaptation action? And how should further promotion of the capacity building and knowledge transfer opportunities be offered to local and regional authorities?

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