The EU testing innovation in 24 regions to accelerate climate adaptation
Climate change adaptation has become one of Europe's main goals for 2030. In response to the escalation of climate change, the EU is facilitating the research and application of new social innovations at local level to accelerate our capacity for recovery (resilience).
As part of the EU Mission on Adaptation to Climate Change, which is helping to implement the "European Green Deal", 118 European regions and communities are involved in becoming more climate resilient. Thus, over 100 organisations have received €50 million as part of Horizon Europe - Research and innovation actions support the application of the Mission on Adaptation to Climate Change - to address current and envisaged challenges related to climate change and build more resilient European communities. Two projects – Regions4Climate and RESIST – will get underway in January 2023. Their goal is to plan and apply real climate resilience innovations created by and for people, in response to the EU Mission on Adaptation to Climate Change.
Regions4Climate will have important socio-cultural, economic and environmental repercussions during the 5 years of the project. The project's long-term results are expected to benefit at least 13.8 million people, living in the 12 regions belonging to Regions4Climate, with a potential to expand them to around 746 million people in Europe in the long run.
Regions4Climate will implement innovative actions to improve climate resilience in close cooperation with the stakeholders within the real settings of the associated regions. The project will use an intersectoral approach to develop and validate resilience solutions that include innovative technologies, their integration and their application in combination with new business models and innovative policies. This will facilitate and strengthen decision making and will improve regional climate change resilience by providing a set of tested, scalable and easily reproducible climate change adaptation solutions.
"Climate change requires a shift in paradigm in the way we interact with the world around us. In order to adapt to and mitigate climate change, we must be increasingly more efficient in the use of resources and water, work in harmony with nature and generate new knowledge and information that allow society to prosper in the face of this huge global challenge," explained Laura Wendling, a scientist at the VTT Technical Research Centre in Finland and a Regions4Climate coordinator.
Regions4Climate has 12 European regions working on the development and testing of their own resilience plans and transformative adaptation pathways, driven by cross-border cooperation and knowledge sharing. The partner regions include the Basque Country (Spain), Nouvelle-Aquitaine (France), Azores (Portugal), Tuscany (Italy), Køge Bay (Denmark), Burgas (Bulgaria), Helsinki-Uusimaa (Finland), Pärnumaa (Estonia), Eastern Crete (Greece), Castilla y León (Spain), Nordic Archipelago (Finlandia, Åland and Sweden) and Troodos (Republic of Cyprus).
The Basque Country is one of the 118 selected regions for the EU Mission on Adaptation to Climate Change, a framework in which it has been recognised as an advanced adaptation region thanks to its track record of over 20 years in climate planning. The selection of the Basque Country for this mission, along with its participation in the Regions4Climate project, endorses the innovative and trailblazing work of the Basque Government in the field of adaptation. That work includes major and important projects such as LIFE IP URBAN KLIMA 2050, the Kostaegoki project to analyse the Basque coast's climate change vulnerability and risk, along with driving a new model for climate governance involving public and private entities, and the deployment of local climate action through Udalsarea 2030, the Basque Network of Sustainable Municipalities.
The Basque Government's Deputy Minister for Environmental Sustainability stressed that “the Basque Country is a committed region and it will continue to focus on climate adaptation as it has been doing so in recent years”. The Deputy Minister stressed the importance of the Regions4Climate project as it is an opportunity for the Basque administration to work with the main technology centres. This joint action will allow progress to be made in the adaptation of the coastal front in the coming years by working with other advanced European regions in this field, while at the same time supporting European regions starting off in the area of climate adaptation.
The Basque representation of the Regions4Climate consortium is led by the Basque Ministry for Economic Development, Sustainability and the Environment and Ihobe – the Basque Government's Environmental Management agency, along with the AZTI, Tecnalia Research and Innovation and Zabala Innovation Consulting technology centres that will provide their extensive experience to support other European regions to better understand the complexity of climate risks and apply the lessons learnt from other benchmark regions.
Thanks to its participation in the Regions4Climate project, the Basque Country will receive around €3 million over the coming 5 years. This initiative will allow it to continue to progress in climate adaptation with large investments on the coastal front, to maintain the public-private partnership to generate knowledge, develop innovative solutions and showcase the role of the Basque business fabric, mainly by SMEs, in climate action.
The results and the social innovations in the framework of the project will be shared on the JUST TRANSITION platform so that they can be reproduced in other regions.
- Climate change
- Climate Resilience / to climate change
- Regional resilience
- Social innovation
- Environmental Sciences
The Regions4Climate project, coordinated by the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, brings together 44 partners from 13 different European countries to demonstrate innovations to improve society's resilience to the effects of climate change, in keeping with the Paris Agreement and the European Green Deal. Based on intersectoral strategies created by and for people, the project's partners will work together to develop and apply innovative environmental, governance, business, digital, technological and social solutions to strengthen the adaptation capacity and minimise vulnerability to climate impacts.
The project, which will run for 5 years and being in January 2023, has receive a total subsidy of €24,522,103.00 from the European Commission as part of the Horizon Europe research and innovation programme, under the action on "Large-scale demonstrators of climate resilience creating cross-border value" as per Agreement No. 101093873.