• 19 Nov 2018

    Evaluation on the implementation of the EU adaptation strategy

    The European Commission recently published its evaluation on the implementation of the EU adaptation strategy.

    Key findings :

    • The current strategy is still relevant and the Commission will be guided by its objectives. Important lessons have been learned in the evaluation process. The strategy has been a reference point to prepare Europe for the climate impacts to come, at all levels.
    • Knowledge, adaptation modelling and region-specific intelligence has been generated by the EU's Horizon 2020 research programme and projects and by the Commission’s own internal scientific services (Joint Research Centre).
    • Major infrastructure projects financed by the EU budget have become climate-proof and will withstand sea level rise, flooding or intense heat.
    • In the future, an effort must be made to ensure most or all EU cities count on a thorough adaptation plan to protect citizens from both extreme and slow-onset climate hazards. The plans should also cater for specific vulnerabilities of certain communities (e.g. the EU's Outermost Regions) and the different risks faced by the very diverse regions in the European continent.
    • Adaptation must support and be supported by the protection of the EU's biodiversity (nature-based solutions).
    • The contribution of the private sector to enhance society's resilience must be encouraged: the Commission's efforts will continue to be channelled through its Action Plan on Financing Sustainable Growth and the subsequent legislative proposals adopted in 2018.
    • Climate services for specific adaptation needs should develop into business opportunities, based on reliable and standardised data and the incentives provided by Copernicus and other European Earth observation initiatives.


    Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete said: “Our collective work on adaptation has shown we not only know more but can also do more to prevent the worst climate impacts projected by 2050. The need to adapt remains and it has actually grown, as impacts of past emissions unfold through heatwaves, storms, forest fires at high latitudes or destructive floods. This evaluation provides a credible basis for the EU policy on adaptation to explore new directions, improvements and also alignment with international developments since 2013.”

    The evaluation suggests areas where more work needs to be done to prepare vulnerable regions and sectors. It also analyses the role of the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy in informing, mobilising and supporting local authorities in taking climate mitigation and adaptation actions.

    By 30 April 2018, 1076 Covenant signatories from 25 EU Member States, covering around 60 million inhabitants, had committed to conduct vulnerability and risk assessments, and develop, implement and report on adaptation plans. According to the evaluation, about 26% of all EU cities (both Covenant cities and non-Covenant) and 40% of EU cities of more than 150.000 inhabitants have already adopted adaptation plans.

    In general, Central and Northern European cities often have local adaptation plans, whereas cities in Eastern and Southern Europe have fewer. The role of international networks such as the Covenant of Mayors, appears to make the difference for the cities that are not required by national legislation to develop plans.

    The EU Adaptation strategy

    The EU Adaptation strategy was adopted in 2013 and constitutes a reference point to prepare Europe for the climate impacts to come, at all levels. The strategy focuses on three key objectives:

    ·Promoting action by Member States by encouraging and supporting Member States to adopt their adaptation strategies and take actions.

    ·'Climate-proofing' action at EU level by further promoting adaptation in key vulnerable sectors such as agriculture, fisheries and cohesion policy, ensuring that Europe's infrastructure is made more resilient, and promoting the use of insurance against natural and man-made disasters.

    ·Better informed decision-making by addressing gaps in knowledge about adaptation and further developing the European climate adaptation platform (Climate-ADAPT).

    More information 

    Read the full report
    Adaptation preparedness scoreboard country fiches