There is broad consensus that National Adaptation Strategies (NAS's) are a useful tool for countries to assess vulnerabilities, mainstream climate change risks, and address adaptation. In line with this, many EU Member States are currently in different stages of designing, implementing and reviewing their own NAS’s, a practice actively encouraged by the European Union under its 2013 Adaptation Strategy. As these processes have occurred over different timeframes and in different national contexts, the different successes and challenges experienced by each Member State provide important insights on what is needed to enhance adaptation planning across all levels in Europe, and where barriers and challenges exist.
Through the use of case studies from across the EU, this policy brief examines processes for designing, implementing and reviewing adaptation strategies at the national and local level, in the larger context of the EU Adaptation Strategy. Sections 2 and 3 us case studies to examine the processes through which Member States design and implement their NAS’s, and identifies challenges and trends both common and unique. It finds that the EU Adaptation Strategy has influenced these processes, and has the potential to foster mainstreaming of adaptation into all policy sectors, especially early in the policy process. At the same time, several key challenges to designing and implementing NAS's exist, including difficulties dealing with shorter politcal timeframes and concretely realising mainstreaming of adaptation into all sectors.