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Making Europe resilient to climate change through adaptation

This Communication sets out an EU strategy to make Europe more climate-resilient in a flexible manner and by prioritising low-cost solutions. It sets out several climate adaptation actions to improve the EU's response to climate change impacts at all levels.


Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: An EU Strategy on adaptation to climate change. COM(2013) 216 final of 16.4.2013.


As global warming is already having effects worldwide, efforts to limit the rise in average global temperature must continue by pursuing climate change mitigation action. For the EU, this means cutting its greenhouse gas emissions by 20 % below 1990 levels by 2020 as a first step towards an agreed reduction target of 80-95 % for 2050.

The EU strategy on adaptation to climate change is complementary to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It suggests several solutions to the impacts of climate change.

The strategy underlines that adapting now has multiple benefits. For example, it is estimated that 1 euro spent on flood protection today should prevent 6 euros of damage costs in the future.

The strategy is also complemented by the European Climate Adaptation Platform (Climate-ADAPT) launched in March 2012, which brings together the latest data on adaptation action in the EU, together with policy support tools.

Eight actions

The strategy sets out actions for promoting adaptation within the EU, improving decision-making, targeting key vulnerable sectors.

  • Encourage all EU countries to adopt comprehensive adaptation strategies
  • Provide funding from the EU LIFE programme for the environment to support capacity building and step up adaptation action in Europe.
  • Introduce adaptation into the Covenant of Mayors framework through the Mayors Adapt initiative.
  • Address knowledge gaps on adaptation.
  • Further develop Climate-ADAPT as the ‘one-stop shop’ for adaptation information in Europe.
  • ‘Mainstream’ adaptation by integrating it into EU policies and legislation, thereby making agricultural, fisheries, regional development and other policies ‘climate-proof’ .
  • Ensure more resilient infrastructure.
  • Promote insurance and other financing for resilient investment and business decisions.

Governance and financing

The Adaptation Strategy calls for policy coordination and cooperation among EU countries through the EU Climate Change Committee, which brings together representatives of all EU countries. It also recommends that more be spent on building a climate-resilient Europe, including through EU funds and programmes.


White paper - Adapting to climate change: towards a European framework for action (2009).

last update 08.06.2014