1. Overview of the analysed projects

This study analyses the seven climate change projects co-funded by the INTERREG IVC Programme. The projects address various aspects of climate change challenges at regional and local levels and seek to identify solutions. The seven projects have involved 78 partner regions from Europe, led by partners from six Member States. Six of the seven projects have been completed, and the other will continue until December 2014.

Some of the analysed projects focus more on adaptation to climate change, addressing issues such as water scarcity and drought, flood prevention, the adaptation of agriculture to climate change, and adaptation measures in urban, spatial and territorial planning. Others deal with the opportunities and challenges related to the shift to a low-carbon economy and explore how, through effective planning, regions can reduce GHG emissions and build their economies around less-intensive energy use.

A summary of the INTERREG IVC climate change projects covered in this report is presented in Table 2. A more detailed presentation of the projects including objectives, outputs, achieved results, good practices identified and transferred etc. can be found in Annexe 1 of this study.

Table 2: INTERREG IVC climate change projects
Green and Blue Space Adaptation for Urban Areas and Eco-towns (GRaBS)To ensure that existing and new mixed-use urban development is adapted to the impacts of climate change; and to improve local and regional planning policy by integrating green and blue infrastructure.14 partners from 8 countries, led by the Town and Country Planning Association (UK)
Forms for: Adapting to Climate Change through Territorial Strategies! (F:ACTS!)To create effective implementation capacity at regional and local levels for integrated territorial approaches that promote adaptation to climate change and its effects in peri-urban and rural areas.14 partners from 8 countries, led by the Government Service for Land and Water Management (DLG), the Netherlands
Regional cooperation towards Adaptation to Climate Change (RegioClima)To enhance cooperation among EU regions towards avoiding risk and reaping the benefits of a changing climate.8 partners from 8 countries, led by Larnaca District Development Agency, Cyprus
Climate Neutral Urban Districts in Europe (CLIMACT)To strengthen regional capacity to develop and implement policies to reduce GHG emissions.11 partners from 9 regions led by Rhône-Alps Region
Regions for Sustainable Change (RSC)To develop the potential of regions to stimulate climate change mitigation and adaptation and to promote sustainable socioeconomic development.12 partners from 8 EU Member States, led by the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe, Hungary
POWER ProgrammeTo improve the effectiveness of regional development policies through the exchange, sharing and transfer of policy experience, knowledge and good practices related to five themes.7 partners from 7 regions, led by South East England Development Agency (SEEDA), UK
Climate Neutral Urban Districts in Europe (CLUE)To increase regional capacity in policy development to facilitate the implementation and assessment of new solutions and technologies to support low-carbon economic development in urban areas.11 partners from 9 European countries, led by Stockholm City Planning Administration, Sweden

2. Overview of good practices from the climate change projects

For the purposes of analysing good practices in addressing climate change at the local and regional levels identified by projects, a set of five core themes has been developed. These themes reflect the stages in a typical cross-sectoral planning process that authorities would carry out to address climate change.

This section presents good practices and the main findings related to each of these interlinked core themes:

  • Core theme 1: Making the case for climate action 
  • Core theme 2: Stakeholder involvement and policy networks 
  • Core theme 3: Strategic and action planning
  • Core theme 4: Implementation measures
  • Core theme 5: Measuring and monitoring progress 

At the end of each section, a brief SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis table summarises the potential for transfer of the relevant practices. More details on many of the good practices are presented in Section 4 below.

Figure 5 illustrates the share of each theme in the project good practices that have been reviewed and analysed for the purposes of this study. Two themes — ‘Making the case for climate action’ and ‘Strategic planning’ — are almost of equal importance for the climate change projects. These are closely followed by ‘Policy measures’, while ‘Stakeholder involvement and policy networks’ and ‘Measuring and monitoring progress’ have a smaller share. 

Figure 5: Core themes addressed in the project good practices 

  • Core theme 1: Making the case for climate action
    • Effective climate change policy-making, planning and implementation are highly dependent on accurate information. A common challenge at local and regional level is related to knowledge about what impacts climate change will bring and what they will mean, as well as what opportunities may exist to mitigate GHG emissions and shift to low-carbon development. Developing an information base on climate change and making the case for climate action through targeted research and methodologies is seen by many regions as a prerequisite for bridging the gap between the abstract nature of climate change as an issue and the need to design and implement realistic mitigation and adaptation measures. In some cases, projects developed and piloted technical tools that support decision-making or help to design preventive measures; these have been considered as part of gaining a better understanding climate change and making the case for action.

      Good practices have emerged from the core climate change projects on how pilot and demonstration projects can help to expand knowledge and raise awareness of climate challenges among decision-makers and the wider public, and to inspire other regions to take action. Good practices focusing on and making the case for climate action include:

      * studies for technical solutions to increase energy efficiency, the development of renewables and the greening of public transport;
      * pilot and demonstration projects for improving approaches (e.g. in agriculture, forestry, water management and flood prevention);
      * examples of technologies used (e.g. RES, energy efficiency, transport).

      The efficient use of energy and the introduction of clean energy sources are considered by the projects as key issues for mitigating climate change, and numerous good practices were identified. The Hammarby model (POWER) — developed in Stockholm — is an example of an integrated urban eco-cycle model that manages energy, waste, sewage and water for both housing and offices in a single cycle. Actions towards achieving energy autonomy by 2020 are being implemented in Austria’s Burgenland region (an RSC partner). These include measures to increase wind farm capacity (300 MW) and develop co-generation plants using biomass. The Berlin ImpulsE programme (ClimAct) aims to translate R&D knowledge into practice and to motivate different stakeholders (the housing industry, architects, planners, engineers and politicians) to invest in energy efficiency solutions.

      Since the transport sector contributes significantly to GHG emissions, several examples related to ‘greening’ the transport sector emerged in the INTERREG IVC climate change projects. The Green Berlin Zone project (ClimatAct) aims to reduce GHG emissions and air pollution by prohibiting the use of high-emission vehicles in inner-city Berlin. The project achieved a 50% reduction in fine particles and a 20% reduction in NOx emissions in 2011 (compared to 2007).

      Southern Europe is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of the changing climate, and water scarcity and the need to improve water management practices are crucial issues in Mediterranean countries. The construction of seawater desalination plants to reduce dependency on annual rainfall is one step undertaken in Cyprus to address increasing water demand. Other measures include the use of alternative/non-conventional water resources, and water recycling and re-use (RegioClima).

      Decision support systems for water management have been identified as a good practice by the RegioClima project. AQUATOOL is used in Valencia region (Spain) for the integrated management of complex water resource systems, in a context of water scarcity. The Coastal Flooding Decision Support System (DSS) applied in the Severozitochen region, Bulgaria, is a tool for appropriate coastal flood management. A helpful tool for flood prevention is the early warning system applied in the city of Pärnu, Estonia.

      In addition to technical solutions applied for flood prevention and management, some of the good practices focus on biodiversity-related measures that have a dual function — that is, flood protection and the conservation of ecosystems (e.g. F:ACTS!) The ‘Natural climate buffers’ concept is an example of water retention and biodiversity protection applied in the Netherlands.

      An overview of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT analysis) of good practices gathered under Core theme 1 ‘Making the case for climate action’ is presented in Table 3.

      Table 3: SWOT analysis of good practices within ‘Making the case for climate action’
      Strengths Weaknesses

      By demonstrating good practices, the gap between the abstract nature of climate change and the need for immediate and effective action can be narrowed.

      There are convincing cases for the co-benefits that action on climate change can provide for other sectors (economy, environment) at local and regional levels.

      Many regions and local authorities are at a very early stage of taking action on climate change. Practices that demonstrate the need for, and value of, taking action on climate change are important for those just getting started.

      Levels of innovation can be low; regions use INTERREG funds to implement actions rather than test or ‘pilot’ truly innovative ideas.

      Regions will require hands-on technical assistance to enable the adoption of best practices that are highly specific in nature.

      Opportunities Threats

      Several good practices are easily replicable or can generate ideas for further innovation.

      Some of the good practices can serve as an example for other regions of how to create win-win solutions based on maximising the regional potential for low-carbon development (e.g. measures in Burgenland towards achieving energy autonomy).

      The potential for transfer can be high (e.g. Green Zone in Berlin).

      Good practices are tailored to local circumstances and may not work in other regions.

      There is likelihood that practices are duplicated without adding value, due to limited cooperation and exchange of results from among the various projects.

  • Core theme 2: Stakeholder involvement and policy networks
    • Collaborative work across sectors and the fostering of partnerships between regional and local actors are crucial in achieving climate change objectives. This theme includes practices focusing on:

      * achieving a common climate-related goal (e.g. climate-neutral area, climate agreements and partnerships, energy autonomy);
      * tools for the analysis and organisation of stakeholders, multi-stakeholder involvement;
      * encouraging politicians to commit to the achievement of climate change goals; and
      * ensuring specialised institutions are in place in regional/national administrations.

      For the INTERREG IVC climate change projects, stakeholder involvement gives rise to benefits not only at the level of awareness raising but also in the process of understanding a territory’s vulnerabilities and opportunities for low-carbon development. Moreover, it facilitates the design and implementation of policies, since local actors are empowered from the beginning and networks are created, enabling a critical consensus on policies and initiatives.

      Tools for the analysis and organisation of stakeholders and techniques for mobilising community groups can be highlighted as positive examples of climate change projects. Some of the projects make a distinction between organisations and interest groups and the general public, and also highlight that both aspects are important for raising awareness and building consensus for action.

      Most of the projects recognise that it is not only essential to involve stakeholders but also to work together on a shared vision and with joint responsibility in order to achieve climate-related objectives. Climate change is seen as ‘a trigger for creating new coalitions’ (F:ACTS!). The concepts of carbon neutrality and energy self-sufficiency through the exploitation of RES potential have attracted a great deal of attention in several partner regions and have proved effective in mobilising the community. To ensure buy-in from a range of stakeholders, green infrastructure was regarded by the city district of Nieuw-West-Amsterdam (a GRaBS partner) as a valuable source of capital for the city, helping it to adapt to climate change. Policy commitment on the part of politicians has been highlighted as a key driving force for achieving climate-related objectives.

      The EKKO (Energy Concepts for Municipalities) process is an example of how municipalities in Austria’s Burgenland region (an RSC partner) are involved in achieving strategic energy goals, thereby ensuring the active collaboration of local authorities. The Planning and Climate Change Coalition (UK), led by the Town and Country Planning Association, is an example of a transparent forum for innovative and reflective policy-making that puts climate change at the heart of the planning system and involves a wide range of stakeholder groups. The ClimAct project identified as good practice the Norrbotten and Västerbotten Energy and Climate Offensive (NV Eko), which aims to establish direct and personal contacts and engagement with politicians and heads of municipalities by offering to map the energy demand and renewable energy potentials in the participating municipalities.

      Among the partner regions, different approaches have been taken towards establishing institutions with responsibility for low-carbon development and adapting a region’s territory to climate change effects. Determined, well-positioned policymakers who are motivated to act on climate change issues can make the difference between positive action and inaction.

      An overview of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT analysis) of good practices gathered under Core theme 2 ‘Stakeholder involvement and policy networks’ is presented in Table 4.

      Table 4: SWOT analysis for good practices within ‘Stakeholder involvement and policy networks’
      Strengths Weaknesses

      Initiatives that include stakeholders or target stakeholder involvement ensure high public ownership, acceptance and support for projects and policy plans.

      Such initiatives strengthen community values and deliver solutions that stakeholders accept.

      Climate change cuts across economic sectors and social groups and requires an open cooperative approach to succeed. These initiatives are therefore important building blocks not only for acceptance of policies but also developing technically sound and proficient approaches.

      The implementation of stakeholder initiatives requires considerable human and financial resources.

      Many regions are still at an early stage in tackling climate, and more complex approaches for stakeholder involvement or creating networks will be difficult to test.

      Implementation is not limited due to time constraints.

      Opportunities Threats

      Continuation after the project period is more probable in the case of initiatives in which relevant stakeholders are involved.

      Several of the approaches (e.g. tools for the analysis and organisation of stakeholders) proved to be successful in mobilising the relevant stakeholder and can be applied in other regions less experienced in involving community groups.

      The level of innovation can be high and there is good transferability potential for such projects.

      Stakeholder initiatives can be unsuccessful if stakeholders are not committed or the main stakeholders are not well identified.

      Securing participation of many groups requires considerable time and skill; political considerations may also hamper efforts.

  • Core theme 3: Strategic and action planning
    • All of the INTERREG IVC climate change projects consider climate change as a long-term problem that requires adequate policy actions. At the same time, they recognise that there are gaps in knowledge about climate change strategic planning at regional and local levels. In response, they have put forward the enhancement of the policy planning process for climate change action as one of their main goals. The good practices included within this core theme address various aspects of planning, reflecting the different geographical characteristics of the project partners (e.g. peri-urban, rural and urban) and the diversity of climate change problems faced by the participating regions. The practices grouped under this core theme include examples of:

      * local and regional climate change strategies;
      * approaches to designing and implementing integrated territorial actions;
      * mainstreaming climate change into all relevant policy areas; and
      * guidance for climate change strategic planning.

      A number of decision-making support tools and guidance for climate change strategic planning are emerging from the capitalisation work. Some of these were already in existence and are applied at regional level; others were developed as a result of joint work during the projects. The Guide on Climate Protection Policies (ClimAct) contains 52 good practices, including general climate change strategies and action plans. One example is the Kent Climate Change Delivery Plan (2009), developed for the Kent Climate Change Network. The Wico sub-programme (POWER) focuses on developing guidelines for the installation of small wind systems along coastlines to promote and accelerate the uptake of wind power in the EU. The guidelines discuss implementation problems related to regulatory frameworks, as well as administration, market incentives and technologies.  

      The main legacy of the GRaBS project is the 11 adaptation action plans (AAPs) developed by the participating partners based on a robust methodology for embedding green and blue infrastructure into planning. While some of the good practices focus on climate-related problems faced in urban areas and offer solutions specific to the urban environment (e.g. GRaBS), others look for integrated territorial approaches to addressing climate change in peri-urban and rural areas. An example of the latter are the pilot actions carried out by five F:ACTS! partners, which adopt a territorial and spatial perspective as a way of making the territory more resilient to climate change. This approach to climate change implies considering multi-sectoral aspects and taking account of the multi-functionality of the territory.  The F:ACTS! partners dealt with a wide variety of territorial plans: some at strategic level (i.e. the Masterplan in De Wijers; the Dutch Water Line); others at management level (Strofylia); while Varna integrates water aspects in strategic and operational territorial plans.

      Many of the planning-focused good practices are overarching local and regional-level climate change policies or strategies (RSC, POWER, ClimAct, RegioClima). In some cases they also include energy, illustrating how the multifaceted nature of climate change makes it challenging for regions to understand and address with proper policy actions. Tools and methods to help effective planning for climate change are therefore considered valuable and necessary at regional level. Presented in the project’s final output, the RSC four-step methodology for integrating low-carbon aspects in the regional planning process is an example of such a methodology. The climate change strategy of the Valencia region (RegioClima), with 125 measures for climate change mitigation and adaptation, is an example of how the issue can be addressed in a holistic way. 

      Climate change is a cross-cutting issue, and its mainstreaming into sectoral and land-use plans and policies is also a problematic area. Strategic environmental assessments (SEAs) and sustainability assessments (SAs) are useful tools for ensuring the integration of climate aspects into policies, plans and programmes. The Malta Environment and Planning Authority (MEPA, RSC) reviewed the Maltese land-use planning structures and processes and developed recommendations for improving the system by taking greater account of climate change (e.g. better control of GHG emissions; modifications to current decision-making processes, use of adaptation potential etc.).

      An overview of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT analysis) of good practices gathered under Core theme 3 ‘Strategic and action planning’ is presented in Table 5.

      Table 5: SWOT analysis for good practices within ‘Strategic and action planning’
      Strengths Weaknesses

      Implemented policy plans have great potential for spin-offs and can have long-term effects and bring long-term solutions.

      The level of innovation can be high and can result in major changes in the development path of the region.

      Some of the good practices can stimulate other regions to make their territory more resilient to climate change by adopting a territorial and spatial perspective towards planning.

      Mainstreaming climate change into all relevant policy areas can be strengthened using the guidance and good practices on this subject.

      Transferability cannot be ensured easily because specific  regional features must be considered in such plans. For example, approaches for designing integrated territorial actions need to be tailored to regions’ needs and circumstances.

      Some regions may need further assistance in understanding and applying the guidance, methods and tools.

      Opportunities Threats

      Experience with planning can serve as a good basis of inspiration for other regions.

      Climate change strategic and action plans often serve as coordination mechanisms across the various sectoral approaches. These are complex and new for many regions and therefore, there is great potential to be achieved by sharing approaches.

      Strategies and plans may only exist on paper and will not be implemented if political will, institutional capacity, public support and financial background are not ensured.

      Competence for strategic planning on climate change may not be clear at the local and regional levels, creating uncertainty for investing resources in planning or the feasibility of such plans.

  • Core theme 4: Implementation measures
    • Measures for the implementation of strategic plans form the basis for achieving results. As climate change is relatively new for many of the regional and local authorities participating in these IVC INTERREG projects, project work has tended to focus on the planning and preparation stages. In some cases, the technical solutions and other concrete projects discussed under the first core theme (making the case for climate action) are in fact implementation measures of an existing strategy or action plan. Among the key implementation measures addressed in the projects were those aimed at education and awareness raising of the population on climate change overall, in addition to the risks and opportunities it poses for local communities. Specific measures targeting the private sector were also considered. Financing for climate change action — through EU funds, national, regional or local subsidy incentive schemes and other mechanisms — was also considered, as this is a critical starting point in most areas.

      Several projects (e.g. POWER, RSC) identified examples of awareness raising and improving recognition of climate change issues by educating the population and decision-makers. It is acknowledged that such initiatives help to explain complex scientific information and develop a common language between different groups such as technical experts and policymakers. Another example of the added value of education is its role in fostering cooperation with universities and students (e.g. pilot studies carried out under F:ACTS!) and building consensus among different stakeholder groups for climate change action.

      The Power project collected ‘Community Champions’ good practices as examples of how to identify and train key individuals who can support, advise and motivate the local community to engage with climate change issues. The ClimAct project outlined that the engagement of communities with respect to climate change should result in implemented actions, and relevant good practices (community-owned RES plants) were identified in the UK.

      Several projects (e.g. RSC, POWER) noted the importance of financing instruments and support mechanisms for achieving climate-related objectives. In this regard, both public and private financing measures are considered, although the application of the first seems more widespread than the latter. On the mitigation side, such instruments support energy efficiency measures targeting vulnerable groups, or incentivise people towards efficient energy use. Examples of state and regional subsidies in RSC regions include: refunds on the purchase of products using solar and wind energy; subsidies for electric vehicles; aid for the replacement of equipment with more energy efficient and less-carbon-intensive systems; support for increasing energy efficiency and promoting micro-generating technologies in the housing sector; and subsidies to increase energy efficiency and sustainable mobility. 

      The Energy Supply Contracting project (ClimAct) targets building owners, real estate companies, public administrations and industrial companies, offering them integrated solutions for developing, installing, operating and financing efficient energy supply plants in buildings. The investments are realised without any additional costs to the building owners, as all costs are borne by the contractors. The Hungarian Energy Efficiency Panel Programme (RSC) supports energy efficiency measures in residential buildings and encourages the use of renewable energy.

      An overview of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT analysis) of good practices gathered under Core theme 4 ‘Implementation measures’ is presented in Table 6.

      Table 6: SWOT analysis for good practices within ‘Implementation measures’
      Strengths Weaknesses

      Educational campaigns and actions that raise awareness and recognition can have a considerable positive impact on behaviour.

      If carefully designed, policy measures can result in long-term, long-lasting changes.

      These measures can be costly, thus long-term financing conditions should be ensured.

      Opportunities Threats

      The level of innovation can be relatively high as this is an area with considerable potential for new developments in the coming years.

      There is good potential to transfer such measures or enable the generation of new ideas based on previous successes.

      There is a high risk for the measures not to be well planned and not to result in the desired impacts.

      If such measures are transferred without taking into consideration local circumstances, they may not be successful.

      Legal, political and institutional considerations can hamper the successful development and uptake of such measures.

  • Core theme 5: Measuring and monitoring progress
    • Adequate and regularly updated information is crucial for assessing the existing situation and developing future climate change strategies. Practices that fall under this topic include:

      * emissions and energy data collection and inventories;
      * tools for assessing or improving the baseline situation with regard to climate change;
      * the use of indicators for measuring implementation results; and
      * tools for assessing the outcomes and cost-effectiveness of low-carbon measures.

      Many of the analysed climate change projects find it difficult to monitor GHG emissions at local/regional level due to a lack of robust data, and this is a major challenge for the project partners for the development of more effective strategies and actions. To address this challenge, some of the projects (RSC, ClimAct) identified methods for emissions and energy data collection and inventories; and some were motivated by exchanges of experience to develop their own inventories. Tools for assessing or improving the baseline situation with regard to tackling climate change, assessing the vulnerability of urban areas to climate change impacts, as well as measuring the progress of policy implementation through the use of indicators have been developed by some of the projects (e.g. RSC).

      Developing a better knowledge of GHG emissions observations was a key focus of ClimAct. The project recognised that a great number of initiatives and methods exist at regional and local levels in Europe that measure GHG emissions, and established ENERGee-Watch, the European Network of Regional GHG Emissions and Energy Watch. The Energy Book (F:Acts) applied in Italy is a web-GIS for gathering and disseminating information on the energy efficiency and CO2 emissions of buildings. It is an integrated energy cadastre that includes energy aspects in urban planning.

      Recognising the need to measure European regions’ status and progress towards low-carbon development and to provide reliable data for informed decision making, the RSC project developed the Low-Carbon Indicators Toolkit and a methodology for the prioritisation of actions for a low-carbon economy (PACE-tool). The Low-Carbon Indicators Toolkit provides an insight into the use of indicators for the monitoring of low-carbon development and offers a short questionnaire for self-evaluation. The PACE-tool examines the cost-efficiency of possible measures, comparing the impacts on costs, jobs created and carbon savings at regional level over a certain timeframe.

      An overview of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT analysis) of good practices gathered under Core theme 5 ‘Measuring and monitoring progress’ is presented in Table 7.

      Table 7: SWOT analysis for good practices within ‘Measuring and monitoring progress’
      Strengths Weaknesses

      Measurement tools tailored to regional needs through bottom-up approaches provide a good basis for informed policy and decision-making.

      Quantitative information about GHG emissions and energy consumption could raise awareness of different stakeholders about climate change and promote co-benefits of mitigation actions.

      In those communities where a desire to measure the progress of activities already exists, there is a great interest for reliable and advanced monitoring tools.

      Levels of innovation can be low; regions use INTERREG funds to implement actions rather than test or ‘pilot’ truly innovative ideas.

      Monitored data can be misleading if not carefully collected and properly assessed.

      Opportunities Threats

      Potential for transfer in the case of methodologies can be high (i.e. GHG emissions inventories).

      By identifying synergies, the added value of these practices can be considerable (e.g. ENERGee-Watch Network).

      By exploiting synergies among similar measurement/ monitoring tools, the cost of maintenance and improvement could be significantly lower.

      Data collection and analysis are time-bound, and resources need to be ensured after the project so that the developed tools are not lost; if monitoring is not carried out regularly, the resources invested in the development of the database and monitoring tool will be lost.

      The methodology used for monitoring might not be transparent and simple enough to be understood by policymakers.

3. Common features and solutions

The INTERREG IVC climate change projects have all worked towards making improvements in capacities to mitigate and/or adapt to climate change through a variety of techniques, as described in the previous sections. In this subsection, we provide an overview of the common features of the projects, approaches and solutions.

  • Core themes addressed by the projects
    • Figure 7 provides an overview of the core themes addressed by each project and gives an indication of the number of good practices that were identified (represented by the size of the bubble).

      Figure 7. Overview of the five core themes as addressed by the projects  

      All of the climate change mitigation projects, except CLUE and F:ACTS!, cover the five core themes presented in subsection 3.2, while GRaBS and RegioClima predominantly focus on two or three themes. CLUE is not presented in the chart as the project is still in an early stage of implementation. Strategic planning is the only core theme described in subsection 3.2 that is focused on by all the analysed projects, although to varying degrees. Good practices related to making the case for climate action, stakeholder involvement and policy networks and policy measures were also identified by all but one partner. Monitoring and measuring practices, however, were only identified by four projects. 

      Table 8 illustrates the themes addressed to the greatest and least extent by each project. Adaptation projects mostly identified practices related to making the case for climate action, strategic planning and stakeholder involvement and focused less on the other core themes. The mitigation projects covered all topics, but put greater emphasis on concrete working solutions (pilot and demonstration projects), policy measures targeting behavioural changes and monitoring practices, while focusing less on planning and stakeholder involvement.

      Table 8: Themes addressed to the greatest and least extent by each project
      ProjectMain sub-themes addressedLeast or not addressed sub-themes
      F:ACTS!Strategic and action planning
      Stakeholder involvement and policy networks
      Implementation measures
      GRaBSStrategic and action planning
      Stakeholder involvement and policy networks
      Making the case for climate action
      Implementation measures
      Measuring and monitoring progress
      RegioClimaMaking the case for climate action
      Implementation measures
      Measuring and monitoring progress
      Stakeholder involvement and policy networks
      ClimActMaking the case for climate action
      Measuring and monitoring progress
      Strategic and action planning
      POWERMaking the case for climate action
      Implementation measures
      Strategic and action planning
      Stakeholder involvement and policy networks
      RSCStrategic and action planning
      Implementation measures
      Stakeholder involvement and policy networks

      Climate change adaptation has emerged more recently than mitigation as a recognised policy field in most of the EU; as a result, it seems reasonable that the projects focused on adaptation (e.g. F:ACTS!, GRaBS and RegioClima) have focused more on the early stages of the policy cycle. As policy practice and experience develops in the coming years, it can be expected that future projects will focus on implementation measures, including both regulatory and incentivising policy options, as well as approaches to preparing and implementing technical solutions. As one of the project partners at the thematic workshop for this study noted, most regional and local authorities understand the technical approaches they need to put in place to take action on climate change. The problem is figuring out how to accomplish them, by navigating the processes of policy development, stakeholder cooperation, behaviour change and access to funding. Rather than focusing on one-off demonstrations that may have limited innovative aspects or learning potential for other regions, projects should target their efforts on the truly most challenging parts of the process.

  • Common approaches taken by the projects
    • A number of outputs produced by the projects stand out in the capitalisation work, showcasing that partners approach the issues from different angles, but at the same time, there are similarities in the identified solutions.  

      Moving to a competitive low-carbon society is central to the EU policy agenda, as outlined in Chapter 2. The process of shifting towards a low-carbon economy was explored by several of the INTERREG IVC climate change projects. It is also the focus of the ongoing CLUE project, which looks into policies aiming  to create climate-neutral districts. POWER and RSC developed guidance documents for regions (POWER: Regional roadmap for partner regions; and RSC: the handbook Building a Low-Carbon Economy). While the POWER project developed a tailored solution for each of its partner regions, the RSC project created more general guidelines that can be applied in any European region.

      Another common issue addressed by adaptation projects is that of building resilience to climate impacts. The solutions adopted vary, depending on the project contexts and specific problems in the geographical areas. While F:ACTS! emphasised the importance of implementing integrated territorial strategies that tackle complex, area-specific problems combined with the efficient use of natural resources, GRaBS considered nature conservation measures as crucial for adaptation to climate change in  urban areas. By preparing adaptation action plans, GRaBS partners demonstrated how to approach urban adaptation though green and blue infrastructure development. Pilot actions implemented by F:ACTS! detail the approaches to designing cross-sectoral territorial actions.

      The policy context chapter notes the cross-cutting nature of climate change and explains why this is a challenge for authorities to address, particularly when planning effective responses to climate change in . Several of the guidance documents and policy recommendation collections that were developed by the projects concentrate on cross-thematic and sectoral issues. 

  • Common solutions identified
    • Several good practices provide technical solutions for cleaner energy, as well as for emissions reductions in the transport sector. The WICO sub-project of the POWER project developed guidelines for promoting small wind energy development solutions and building energy audit solutions (GENERATION). The POWER project summarised strategies for energy efficiency through climate agreements and eco-driving solutions. Other topics covered by POWER outputs, which can also be of interest for the ongoing CLUE project, include green energy auditing and strategies for innovative low-carbon settlements. As a significant share of emissions comes from the transport sector, sustainable mobility is addressed from a climate perspective by several INTERREG IVC climate change projects, although from different angles. The ITACA handbook and E-mob final publication, produced by the POWER project, offer solutions for sustainable mobility, which is also focused on by several RSC partners that promote cleaner technologies and support for public transport. GRaBS acknowledges the role of transport policies in emissions reductions, but also discusses interactions with the effects of climate change and the adaptation of transport infrastructure accordingly in urban areas. Agriculture is one of the sectors facing the biggest climate challenge, and some of the good practices suggest how to implement effective adaptation measures in the agricultural sector. The solutions offered by the Douro region in Portugal (F:ACTS!) and the Veneto region in Italy (RegioClima) include the adaptation of vine management practices and the improvement of viticulture. 

      As discussed in subsection 3.2, one of the issues confronting regions is the availability of robust and accurate data on regions’ emissions performance, which are needed when formulating policies to reduce emissions. Some of the good practices from the analysed climate change projects offer solutions that range from collecting an inventory of GHG observations and climate protection policies across Europe (ClimAct) to implementing pilot projects on GHG emissions balance at city and local level (RSC partners Liguria and Cornwall). The collection of data is crucial, since constant and precise monitoring is a key to the success of climate change strategies, policies and actions in achieving climate goals. Some of the good practices address the knowledge gap and lack of tools for monitoring progress by developing concrete tools (an index for analysing regions’ preparedness to move towards low-carbon development, or the integration of specific indicators in territorial strategies and other strategic documents).  

      Assessment tools can be efficient in mainstreaming climate change issues into planning. However, a large proportion of regional-level experience with SEA (Strategic Environmental Assessment) was related to Cohesion Policy planning documents for the current funding period — before climate change became the EU agenda priority that it is today. This is one of the reasons why the opportunity to harness SEA potential for the integration of climate concerns into regional planning was not fully seized. When carried out in parallel with the planning process, SEAs helped in many RSC regions to modify initial development proposals to better focus on environmental protection and to incorporate specific indicators for monitoring climate change in the planning process. In addition to specific climate change measures (e.g. related to GHG emissions reductions, sustainable transport, renewable energy implementation) within policies, some projects identified examples of the integration of cross-cutting themes into sectoral policies. This is achieved by linking climate change to economic benefits and social inclusion, for example.

      A participatory approach towards planning is considered important for the successful achievement of climate change goals. There are various ideas and techniques for involving wider stakeholder groups in the decision-making process, but such approaches are not widely spread. Partner regions with traditions and experience in stakeholder involvement seem to be more active in building climate coalitions and engaging groups from the wider society. Although such techniques can be inspirational for regions with less experience, the adoption of such practices elsewhere is difficult due to different legal structures and environments.

      Common features can be observed in raising recognition of climate change among the population. These include techniques for engaging citizens in climate change actions and training them to use energy more efficiently. ‘Community Champions’ in the UK (POWER) and the ‘Energy Hunting’ campaign in Limburg, Flanders (F:ACTS!) are examples of awareness-raising initiatives that focus on education and behavioural changes among citizens. 

4. Interesting and potentially transferable practices

The knowledge base built by the climate change projects comprises good practices and approaches that are used by the regions, as well as tools, methodologies and practices that were jointly developed in the course of carrying out the projects. Many of the latter provide interesting ways to optimise existing practices and approaches; others introduce new concepts that are based on a combination of practices that are ongoing in partner regions. Several outputs are sufficiently generic that, with some adaptation, they can easily be used by other projects and regions.

This subsection presents a selection of interesting practices, tools and methodologies that are considered valuable. The selection is based mainly on those practices that have been considered successfully transferred through the projects and/or recommended by the project partners. The good practices are structured according to the five core themes presented in subsection 3.2.  

  • Making the case for climate action
    • The Hammarby model in Sweden (Stockholm) (POWER project) manages energy, waste, sewage and water for both housing and offices in one single eco-cycle and introduces an integrated and environmentally friendly approach towards urban planning. Combustible waste, for example, is incinerated to produce both electricity and district heating; and waste heat from treated wastewater is used to heat water in the district heating system. The project not only focused on the design aspect, but also recognised the need to influence how residents use places. The Hammarby model achieved this through the creation of an environmental centre that promotes understanding of how residents can help to achieve the city’s environmental aspirations. The Malpolska region, involved in the CLUE project, expressed an interest in studying and transferring this good practice.

      By focusing mainly on utilising its renewable energy potential and adopting measures at community level, the Burgenland region in Austria (an RSC partner) aims at energy self-sufficiency through the exploitation of renewable energy potential and the implementation of its energy strategy. In order to achieve self-sufficiency, the region took an integrated approach and linked energy-saving potential to cost savings and local job-creation opportunities. This approach, known Europe-wide as the ‘Güssing model’, (named after the town of Güssing, located in the Burgenland region)  provides important lessons for other local communities wishing to improve the sustainability of their energy sources and usage, while at the same time boosting the number of green jobs in their region. The model successfully supported the Güssing area in efforts to increase wealth and enhance well-being by providing citizens with long-term life perspectives. This example can serve as an inspiration for European regions that are remote from main business hubs, as well as regions affected by the economic crisis and looking for win-win opportunities that simultaneously achieve cost savings and boost employment.

      AQUATOOL (RegioClima) is a decision support system for planning and management in river basins (or any other water resource system). It provides different interfaces that facilitate the design of models representing water flow in a river basin. The tool facilitates the analysis of many problems related to hydrological planning. It can provide a first low-cost approach to improving climate change adaptation and can easily be applied across many geographic regions and in different contexts. The tool has been tested overseas and in several areas in Europe, which shows its robustness and flexibility to adapt to a great variety of conditions. As the space configurations of water resource systems are variable, AQUATOOL can be transferred to other regions if geo-referenced data bases are available, or at least editable.

      Coastal Flooding Decision Support Systems (RegioClima) are tools for the management of coastal flooding based on the application of simulation software. The system is suggested for use as a tool in the context of coastal flooding management plans in a number of settlements on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. Such tools can be useful in coastal areas that are becoming increasingly vulnerable to climate change impacts, and where authorities often lack technical solutions for flood risk prevention and management. The tool is valuable as it provides comprehensive information that is indispensable for sound decision making, such as data on water-level forecasting, flood inundation mapping, flood-risk assessment of coastal areas, assessing the environmental impact of flooding, etc.

      In the Veneto region of Italy, researchers explored links between vineyard management and cultivation practices and climate change (RegioClima). As a result, the introduction of new varieties of grapes and the extension of vine cultivation into new zones have been proposed, as well as a new system for vineyard irrigation and land management. This practice can be valuable in other agricultural areas in the Mediterranean focusing on vineyard management, as it offers practical tips on how to adapt cultivation practices to the changing climate. This approach is quite innovative, as it demonstrates how to preserve the local varieties by applying new practices in irrigation, disease prevention and land management. In addition, its adoption requires only minimum investment on the part of vintners. 

      The concept of natural climate buffers (F:ACTS!) applied in territorial and land-use planning focuses on climate change adaptation through the provision of adequate room for ecological processes. The concept is applied in the De Molenkade (Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie, the Netherlands) project, which aims to achieve climate adaptation in an area of 75 hectares in which water storage and water buffering are made possible by creating new ponds and taking measures to make the land suitable for inundation. This flood-prevention scheme also includes nature-restoration measures. The potential for combining biodiversity measures with climate change adaptation often remains overlooked; thus this concept can be useful in spatial planning in other flood-prone areas in Europe and helps to lower the probability of flooding while gaining control over the flooding process. The concept’s innovative character lies in the fact that natural processes are used as spatial solutions to develop climate-resilient urban and rural landscapes.

  • Stakeholder involvement and policy networks
    • The Planning and Climate Change Coalition (GRaBS), led by the Town and Country Planning Association, brings together over 40 organisations from across sectors to develop a consensus on how governments should respond to climate change. This practice is considered good and innovative because the cohesive working together of over 40 different groups (e.g. biodiversity and ecosystem interest groups, private sector groups, parks experts, planners, politicians) — all with the common aim of improving ability to respond to the impacts of climate change — led to a robust exchange of ideas and approaches to climate change adaptation. It can be of value for other  that lack experience of and knowledge about involving stakeholder groups in decision-making processes.

      The Norrbotten and Västerbotten Energy and Climate Offensive (NV Eko, ClimAct) contributes to the improvement of industrial and commercial activities in Norrbotten and Västerbotten with respect to climate change. NV Eko created possibilities for environmentally driven and sustainable company development that will contribute to a safe and cost-effective energy supply for the region. Activities comprise networking and the organisation of seminars and roundtable discussions with politicians and other stakeholders. These activities provide support for developing and implementing local energy and climate strategies and projects (such as easy-to-use actions by SMEs). This good practice showcases that an institutionalised form of business-community involvement in climate change mitigation activities can lead to more successful results, as companies establish long-lasting relationship with politicians, public bodies and other businesses which motivates them to pursue long-term mitigation strategies.

  • Strategic and action planning
    • The practical guidance to support the development of adaptation action plans (AAPs, GRaBS) sets out an iterative approach to adaptation planning via an ‘AAP development cycle’. Beginning with a baseline review via a SWOT analysis, the cycle describes how adaptive capacity should be improved, stakeholders engaged and adaptation measures determined. The EU Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change emphasises the need to develop adaptation strategies and action plans, and the AAP process can be useful for many regions in Europe that lack experience of and knowledge about addressing adaptation issues at policy-planning level. The AAP process has been successfully tested by GRaBS partners.

      The Kent Climate Change Delivery Plan, identified within the ClimAct project, represents a combined approach to the climate change problem and includes a mitigation plan addressing carbon emissions across the public, domestic, business, travel and transport sectors; it also features an adaptation plan to identify the priorities for the county in relation to climate change. The plan not only represents a holistic approach towards tackling the climate challenge but was also developed with the involvement of various stakeholder groups — which can be important for ensuring commitment and ownership on the part of policymakers, businesses and residents.

      The RSC document ‘Opportunities for Integrating Climate Change into Regional Planning through Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)’ provides advice to regional planners on ensuring the proper integration of climate change issues into regional planning. The document is organised according to groups of activities in a typical SEA process, and is applicable in regions with insufficient experience with using assessments as tools for mainstreaming climate change issues into plans and programmes requiring SEA, including investment programmes. Another value of the document is that it provides practical tips and advice as well as positive experiences and examples of innovative practices from RSC partner , which is especially helpful for regions lacking in knowledge and experience.

      The Burgenland Energy Strategy (RSC) focuses mainly on utilising the region’s renewable energy potential and adopting measures at community level to achieve energy autonomy by 2020. The strategy envisions electricity autonomy in 2013; the use of own resources with added value; the introduction of new businesses and technologies; and the avoidance of conflict with food production. The region provides an example of how ambitious regional low-carbon targets and actions can trigger economic development, which can also be a possible way forward for many European regions. This cooperative, bottom-up process is a critical factor in designing communal energy concepts that specifically target the needs of municipalities and at the same time contribute towards achieving the region’s energy goals. This is an innovative and ambitious regional effort towards planning low-carbon development, in that it extends to all stakeholders and requires that they fulfil all of their own strategy objectives. The approach can serve as an example for other regions aiming to boost economic development through low-carbon solutions. 

      The WICO sub-programme (POWER) identified good practices such as planning permission in the UK for small renewable energy devices, which can simplify planning procedures for the installation of small renewable energy systems by automatically delegating small developments to local planning officers and not requiring the involvement of a committee. The project guidelines, inspired by such good practices, helped to improve policies in partner regions, including the transfer of successful incentive schemes for small wind power, such as the feed-in tariff scheme in the municipality of Huelva; the creation of local bylaws and small wind pilot installations in Andalucia; and the installation of small wind turbines on public buildings and their connection to the national grid in Diputacion de Huelva (with modifications to the legislation). The guidelines can also be applied and provide inspiration in other regions.

      The Green Space Factor and Green Points System (GRaBS) are innovative planning instruments used to secure a minimum amount of green space and the incorporation of adequate and functional green infrastructure in new building lots. The system was pioneered in Germany and Sweden. In submitting plans, developers must describe in detail how they would achieve the requested green space factor. The applied instruments can be useful in regions wishing to design and incorporate similar tools into wider planning systems. The system is also an innovative example of how partnerships between the private, public and voluntary sectors can result in the achievement of new, climate-resilient communities.

      Integrated Territorial Intervention (F:ACTS!), applied in Portugal, aims to promote sustainably managed agro-forestry. An Integrated Territory Intervention (ITI) combines different policy instruments that are framed by the regulations of the Common Agriculture Policy. Designing an ITI starts with the selection of the main goals (related to biodiversity and landscape) and the elaboration of a proposal. The ITI has a top-down approach, although implementation is local and requires cooperation between national and local authorities and farmers. The ITI scheme can be efficient in other rural areas as it promotes the establishment of a framework for local actions, focusing simultaneously on nature conservation and ‘traditional’ economic activities. The ITI is also an innovative example of combining agro-environmental and forest measures.

  • Implementation measures
    • (F:ACTS!) focuses on the successful design and application of Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) and aims to address some of the barriers encountered when implementing such schemes. In the case of the Monte do Carrio pilot project (Spain), a proposal was made to fund wildfire prevention activities along with other new land management activities. The funds come from payments by electricity companies to forest associations for the installation of wind power mills. The PES model is applicable in areas where a link can be established between climate hazards and people at risk. The F:ACTS! approach is valuable as it offers a series of concrete actions and steps for establishment of PES. An example of the PES design is also provided.

      Innovative public campaigns for awareness raising were applied in Limburg/Flanders (F:ACTS!). Municipalities challenged inhabitants to save energy, and volunteers were trained to become ‘energy masters’, who subsequently advised house owners on how to save energy. Innovative communication approaches were also used (the campaign ‘Limburg Isoleert’, and the traveling Blue Pearl in the ‘De Wijers’ project). The practice can inspire other regions to mobilise and involve communities in climate actions by highlighting the economic benefits they can provide to the population in addition to the environmental impacts.

      POWER identified two good practices in the UK for training ‘community champions’. The WinACC Low-Carbon Champions are encouraged and trained by Winchester Action on Climate Change to reduce their own carbon footprint and to support others to do the same. The training lasts for five weeks, although WinACC subsequently provides them with continual access to support. The Thornhill Community Energy Champion project, carried out by the Thornhill Plus You initiative, trains residents on energy saving and energy-efficiency solutions, enabling them to gain knowledge on these issues and to advise other residents. Both practices underline the importance of identifying and training individuals who can serve as an example for, and motivate, other members of the community to take steps towards climate change mitigation.

      The ClimAct project identified the introduction of community ownership of renewable energy plants as an efficient model. The West Mill Co-op at Westmill Farm in Oxfordshire (UK) is the first community-owned wind farm in the South of England. This project involved the purchase, construction and 25-year operation of five wind turbines. The wind farm started commercial generation in February 2008. As a following step, a solar plant is currently being developed. On the community-owned Isle of Gighain, Scotland, there are three second-hand wind turbines, installed in 2003. The farm’s break-even point came in 2009, and it today provides an income for the Isle of Gigha Heritage. These examples all highlight the fact that, to ensure the long-term successful operation of renewable plants, the involvement of residents as owners can be an innovative way forward for other regions as well.

  • Measuring and monitoring progress
    • Prioritisation of Actions for a Low-Carbon Economy — PACE (RSC) is an Excel-based tool that assesses and compares measures by their impact on carbon saving, cost efficiency and job creation on a regional scale. Tested in three RCS regions, the PACE tool is easy for decision-makers to use. Through the table and charts produced it shows which measures should be prioritised for support or investment by decision-makers. Based on the methodology, an analysis was carried out of the carbon emissions-related aspects of the Hungarian economy. The tool can assist other regions to prioritise low-carbon measures and find win-win solutions with benefits for the climate, economy and social domain. 

      The eco-calendar tool (POWER) aims to encourage inhabitants to improve energy efficiency, reduce pollution and decrease emissions of CO2. The tool was originally developed by a Polish municipality (Niepolomice) and was translated and transferred to Estonian, Finnish and Swedish regions. The calendar, as a form of communication, proved to be effective for transferring information on energy issues and can be easily replicated in other regions.

      ENERGee-Watch, the European Network of Regional GHG Emissions and Energy Watch (ClimAct) connects GHG emissions observatories throughout Europe. The observatories identified through the Energee-Watch network so far have illustrated the need for further standardisation among observatories in order to enable comparisons between territories and the establishment of European methodologies. The creation of a European network of emissions inventories can provide participating regions with an opportunity to achieve this standardisation, to share experiences and to improve together. As stated by the project, regional GHG observatories, governed by a local consortium and financially supported by public authorities, also have the potential to demonstrate the need for bottom-up approaches to tackle climate change.

      The RSC Low-Carbon Indicators Toolkit is a user-friendly online tool that comprises two main modules: the Low-Carbon Indicators Library, which includes extensive information on indicators and their use; and the Regional Climate Confidence Index (RCCI), which aims to assist European regions to measure their status and progress towards low-carbon development. The toolkit can assist regions to review existing monitoring practices and improve them by developing new indicators for progress monitoring. The RCCI is an innovative tool, as it introduces the key characteristics of climate-confident regions. It enables the regions to critically evaluate their strengths and weaknesses with regard to climate change, and inspires them for future improvement. The RCCI was adapted to circumstances in Bulgaria, where the index was integrated into the monitoring of regional development plans.

      The use of specific indicators in territorial development projects (F:ACTS!) was a positive step towards promoting accountability and efficiency in territorial development projects. It is not only achievements that should be measured but also aspects such as transparency and public participation. This approach can be of value for regions incorporating indicators for progress monitoring in their territorial strategies and plans.

5. Synergies

The INTERREG IVC climate change projects address a variety of common issues. This provides an opportunity to explore the similarities and synergies between the projects, which include the tools and methodological approaches used by the partners, as well as the identified solutions. Although the climate change projects addressed similar issues, they did not have an opportunity to share their knowledge and experience during project lifetimes, which has been identified as a disadvantage. The capitalisation workshop held in November 2012 demonstrated that project partners are supportive of the idea of discussing solutions and approaches to similar challenges with other projects.

CLUE is the only ongoing climate change project and therefore has the possibility of benefitting from the experience and knowledge base of the already completed projects. The lead partner has indicated that the Hammarby model identified within the POWER project and applied in Stockholm, Sweden, served as the inspiration for the development of the CLUE project and that project partners aim to investigate the potential for transferring it during the project period.

Synergies can be observed between RSC and ClimAct projects regarding the theme of measuring and monitoring progress. An example of such linkages is the inventory of GHG observations and climate protection policies across Europe collected by ClimAct and the implementation of pilot projects on GHG emissions balance at city and local level (Liguria and Cornwall, partners in RSC). The ‘Low-Carbon Indicators Toolkit’ developed by RSC project can be also relevant for the ClimAct project partners as it provides detailed information on low-carbon indicators.

Strategic planning for climate change action is a focus of GRaBS, F:ACTS! and RSC, and valuable good practices have resulted from the projects’ work on this topic. For example, the GRaBS methodology for developing adaptation action plans is generic and can be useful for regions participating in F:ACTS! and RSC aiming to strengthen the resilience of their territories to climate change. The good practices on and guidelines for integrated development of territories resulting from F:ACTS! are also relevant for GRaBS partner regions seeking adaptation approaches in urban areas based on eco-systems conservation. The guidelines, produced by RSC, on using SEA as a tool for mainstreaming climate change into planning can encourage other regions to include climate change as a cross-cutting theme in their plans and programmes. 

The issues addressed by the INTERREG IVC climate change projects are closely in line with the EU climate policy objectives, both in terms of climate change mitigation and adaptation. Bearing in mind the ongoing challenge of translating these objectives into policy actions at regional and local levels, there is potential to share learning and synergies with other initiatives and programmes addressing similar problems. One of the objectives of the EU Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change is to ensure better-informed decision-making by addressing gaps in adaptation knowledge. The INTERREG IVC climate change projects have the potential to contribute to this objective through the accumulated knowledge and good practice examples that can be beneficial for other regions in Europe. One way to promote this knowledge base, especially with regard to climate change adaptation, is through the European Climate Adaptation Platform (Climate-ADAPT), as mentioned in Chapter 2.

The Climate-ADAPT initiative aims to address knowledge gaps by helping users to access and share information on expected climate change impacts in Europe; the current and future vulnerability of regions and sectors; adaptation strategies; and methodologies that support adaptation planning. The information on adaptation action is targeted at all levels, from the EU through regional and national levels to the local level. The further development of Climate-ADAPT is emphasised in the newly adopted EU Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change. Defined as a ‘one-stop shop’ for adaptation information in Europe, the portal can be a useful means of sharing the knowledge accumulated by the INTERREG IVC climate change projects with other regions in Europe and with stakeholders, while the projects themselves can benefit from the information on adaptation strategies, case studies and adaptation tools.

Some of the good practices identified in the INTERREG IVC climate change projects have already been acknowledged and used outside the INTERREG IVC community. The GRaBS methodology for developing adaptation action plans has been referenced in the newly adopted European Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change, while the Coastal Flooding Decision Support Systems (DSS) in Severozitochna, Bulgaria (RegioClima), will be used as a training tool within the project ‘Advanced Numerical Simulation Tools for the Protection of Coasts against Flooding and Erosion’ within the 7th EU Framework Programme.

Synergies can be sought with other initiatives focusing on low-carbon development and sustainable energy use. The Covenant of Mayors initiative, in which many European cities and regions are participating, demonstrates how European cities and regions can work together towards developing and implementing sustainable energy policies through the implementation of local sustainable energy action plans. The commitment of signatories is further translated into specific projects and measures stipulated in action plans — subject to constant EC monitoring. The experiences of the INTERREG IVC core climate change projects in relation to strategic planning for low-carbon development can be of value for regions participating in the Covenant of Mayors. Good practices related to stakeholder involvement are also relevant, as cities are expected to mobilise society to participate in action plan implementation, organise local energy days, etc. Many European regions are also participating in the Covenant of Mayors as supporting structures, since they are able to provide strategic guidance and financial and technical support to municipalities that have the political will to sign the covenant but lack the skills and/or resources to fulfil its requirements.

Synergies also exist between the INTERREG IVC climate change projects and initiatives targeting European cities, as mentioned in Chapter 2. Energy Cities, an association of local authorities in Europe, promotes the transition to more sustainable energy use and low-carbon solutions through exchanges of experience, the transfer of know-how and the implementation of joint projects. The Smart Cities initiative builds on existing national and EU programmes such as CIVITAS, CONCERTO and Intelligent Energy Europe, and initiatives such as the Covenant of Mayors. It aims to provide support to cities across Europe by testing and implementing programmes and solutions for sustainable energy production and use in the building, energy production and transport sectors. The initiative should enable the transition to a low-carbon economy in 25 to 30 European cities.

Another example of how the knowledge base on climate change is being fostered at city level is the EU Cities Adapt project, implemented for DG CLIMA. The initiative offers capacity building and assistance for cities to develop and implement adaptation strategies. It also aims to engage cities across Europe to raise awareness of the importance of preparing for climate change, build capacity and share lessons learnt.

Synergies can also be sought with the transnational programmes that are part of the European territorial cooperation objective of the current Cohesion Policy. The Climate-ADAPT web portal provides an overview of the 13 transnational regions and the climate change adaptation projects they have implemented. This is a useful resource for further examination of the broad body of work done here, especially on trans-boundary adaptation. For example, the Central Europe Programme supported 26 projects in this area in the current programming period. The South East Europe Transnational Cooperation Programme has supported 10 projects on preventing environmental and technological risks, including adaptation to climate change, and 13 on energy and resource efficiency.

The DG CLIMA initiative ‘A World You Like with a Climate You Like’ comprises the collection of success stories related to the implementation of the 2050 low-carbon roadmap. The collection includes practices related to travel and transport; production and innovation; building and living; shopping and eating; and re-use and recycling. Many of these practices could be of interest for, and useful to, INTERREG IVC climate change project partners, helping them to build greater awareness in their own regions and local communities.

The INTERREG IVC Programme can contribute to the sharing of experiences and good practices from the climate change projects among these other programmes and initiatives. In addition, the INTERREG IVC Programme’s objectives related to climate change can be addressed more efficiently if dialogue between projects is fostered during implementation.

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