Bottom up Adaptation Strategies for a Sustainable Europe

Launch of the EU Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change

On 16 April 2013, the European Commission adopted a broad new Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change, which aims to enhance Europe’s preparedness and capacity to respond to climate change impacts at local, regional, national and EU levels. It was officially launched at an event in Brussels on 29 April, and is intended to guide both the EU and its Member States in meeting the challenges of climate adaptation. The strategy provides a framework for policy coordination, targeted action, and mechanisms for monitoring and evaluation of adaptation efforts. The BASE project provides key support to the EU strategy by strengthening the knowledge base and providing tools to guide decision making on adaptation towards a sustainable Europe.


The EU Adaptation Strategy is focused on three key objectives:

  • Promoting Member State action by encouraging all Member States to adopt comprehensive adaptation strategies, funding adaptation capacity-building and launching a voluntary commitment based on the Covenant of Mayors initiative;
  • ‘Climate-proofing’ action at EU level by further promoting adaptation in key vulnerable sectors e.g. agriculture and fisheries, ensuring more resilient infrastructure and promoting the use of insurance against natural and man-made disasters;
  • Improving decision-making by addressing gaps in knowledge about adaptation and further developing the European climate adaptation platform (Climate-ADAPT).


The EU Strategy is a significant step forward in the process towards consolidating and harmonizing the dispersed and largely uncoordinated adaptation activities across Europe.  The aim of the EU Strategy is to ensure that adaptation is integrated into all relevant EU policies and that special support is given to particularly vulnerable regions or sectors. It also offers unique capabilities to engage the private sector and establish mutually acceptable ‘benefit-risk balances’ to stimulate climate-resilient investment and sustainable growth.


The BASE project makes a direct contribution to the EU Strategy by improving the knowledge base for effective and sustainable adaptation across Europe. In addition, BASE integrated assessment models and diverse case studies will systematise data on climate change impacts, risks and opportunities. BASE research can further provide support to a number of specific aspects of the EU Strategy:

  • In support of the development of Member State strategies BASE will provide insights on how local action can support or challenge action at national level;
  • The EU Strategy proposes to increase capacity-building. BASE will examine stumbling blocks, how local action can be made meaningful and the role that participation plays in this process;
  • BASE’s analysis of bottom-up processes will assist the EU to design Member State guidelines that reflect the context-specific nature of adaptation;
  • Through local and regional level and macro analyses, BASE will gather diverse but transferable policy experiences. These will feed into and further enrich the Climate-ADAPT platform as a ‘one-stop shop’ for adaptation information;
  • BASE case studies can support action to climate-proof major EU policies such as the Common Agricultural Policy by identifying adaptation pathways and approaches for changing existing policies and practices;
  • BASE develops tools and models that will improve assessments of cost effectiveness and address uncertainty to promote more resilient infrastructure and support business investment decisions.


By deepening experiences and facilitating a systematic exchange of best practice in these areas, BASE is expected to help the EU prioritise actions and investment necessary to increase the sustainability of adaptation action and the resilience of the EU as a whole. The BASE project runs from 2012-2016.

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