Bottom up Adaptation Strategies for a Sustainable Europe

Event report: Interactive policy workshop on implementing the EU Adaptation Strategy

Concluding four years of inter-disciplinary collaboration and research the BASE project brought together representatives working on climate adaptation policy at EU and Member State level, as well as local practitioners for an interactive day on climate change adaptation in Brussels.


The INTERACTIVE POLICY WORKSHOP on Implementing the EU Adaptation Strategy was designed for a whole day’s participation to share experiences of adaptation to climate change in policy and practice from across Europe.


80 participants joined the discussions and exchange of good practice on a range of topics, including the impacts and risks of climate change, the sectoral costs and socio-economic benefits of adaptation and the implications for policy making. Participants analysed key findings and observations from the BASE project and considered how these related to the implementation of the EU Adaptation Strategy. On the basis of these discussions, the participants helped to shape a series of recommendations to support the review and future format of the Strategy.

Bea Yordi, DG Climate Action, and Marco Gemmer, DC Research and Innovation, set the scene for the day by providing an overview of the EU Adaptation Strategy and its review process and by putting the BASE project in a wider European research policy development framework.

A range of European case studies on local adaptation action were the focus of a series of ‘ConverStations’: participatory small group settings with 6-8 participants per table. Participants discussed key challenges and opportunities and exchanged examples of good practice in the priority areas of water management, cities and agriculture. Case study inputs included:


·     Innovative approaches to rural adaptation (Alentejo, Portugal)

·     Agricultural spaces providing urban benefits (Holstebro, Denmark)

·     Indirect damages of flood events (Rotterdam, The Netherlands)

·     Suitability of green roofs for urban climate adaptation (Madrid, Spain)

·     Participatory approaches in climate adaptation planning (Šumava Biosphere, Czech Rep.)

·     Unpackaging a climate adaptation ‘success story’ (Copenhagen, Denmark)

·     Connecting local action to a regional vision (Atlantic coast, Portugal)

·     Adaptation to flooding by private homeowners (Venice, Italy)

·     Bridging science and perceptions of rural communities (Doñana, Spain)

·     The economic case for adapting to increasing urban flood risk (Leeds, UK)


In a dedicated session on tools for economic evaluation and financing, speakers Claus Kondrup, DG Climate Action, and Michael Mullan, OECD, took a closer look at funding and financing of adaptation in Europe and globally, while Ad Jeuken, Deltares provided insights into the BASE project findings on the economic evaluation of climate change adaptation measures.


The main focus of the workshop was a series of policy observations that emerged from research in the BASE project. These were presented by Duncan Russel, University of Exeter, as an entry point for discussions throughout the day. The policy observations were centred on the three main objectives of the EU Adaptation Strategy (promoting Member State action; informed decision making; and promoting sectorial action). Each observation was discussed among participants in small groups and feedback was collected to identify topics or specific recommendations that the European Commission’s Adaptation Strategy review should address. This joint elaboration and co-creation of policy recommendations during the workshop also aimed to inform and directly support the development of European adaptation policy at different levels.


BASE Policy Brief #4

The policy recommendations developed during the workshop are presented in the “Key Policy Issues in implementing and evaluating the EU Adaptation Strategy” policy brief, the  final brief of a series produced by the BASE project. The recommendations are structured according to the three main objectives of the EU Adaptation Strategy (promoting member states actions; informed decision making; promoting sectoral actions); they inform and support the development of European adaptation policy at different levels. The recommendations are meant to provide a constructive contribution to the topics or specific issues that are essential for the practical implementation of the EU Adaptation Strategy and should therefore also be considered by the European Commission in the review of the Strategy.

The BASE Policy Brief #4 as well as previous BASE Policy Briefs can be downloaded here.