European Community of Practice launch provides climate adaptation opportunities

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The drive towards climate change resilience and adaptation across Europe took a step forward with the launch of a Community of Practice for regional authorities on 26 January. Representatives of the REGILIENCE, IMPETUS, ARSINOE and TransformAr projects joined hundreds of participants from around the continent to network and learn together.

Organised by the European Union’s Mission on Adaptation to Climate Change – known as ‘Mission Adaptation’ – the event was an opportunity to learn about the Mission, its charter, intentions for the Community of Practice, and the online resources that support this collaborative effort, such as a planned Mission implementation platform and Climate Adapt.

Participants were urged to become ambassadors of climate change adaptation, in the opening welcome by Mission Manager Clara de la Torre of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Climate Action, DG CLIMA. The Mission’s objective is to support at least 150 European regions and communities towards climate resilience by 2030.

Around 300 regions and authorities are currently part of the Community of Practice. More than 200 of these are signatories to the Mission charter, representing 24 EU countries and other parties from countries associated or potentially associated with Horizon Europe, the EU’s research and innovation programme.

European survey

During the opening session, results were presented from a survey of European regions and local authorities. This showed that – while 76% of participating regions have a regional adaptation strategy, and significant numbers have dedicated budget, people or collaborations to support the work – the greatest barriers to deciding and implementing climate change adaptation measures remain finance and knowledge. On this basis, finance, access to data, and citizen engagement were selected as topics for interactive workshop segments for participants from projects, regional governance bodies, research organisations and European institutions to discuss together.

Projects participate

Thirteen representatives of the EU-funded climate projects REGILIENCE, IMPETUS, ARSINOE and TransformAr took part in the event. This was a great opportunity to meet newly-launched sister projects funded under Horizon Europe, and to explore opportunities for synergies with them and other meeting participants.

TransformAr was presented in a panel that showed examples of available tools for citizen engagement and how to organise it. These examples provided inspiration for the workshop discussion that followed. Likewise, examples from other projects and organisations were presented before the financing and data access discussions, including updates about the Copernicus Climate Change Service and the European Risk Data Hub. Regional, national and European funding opportunities were also explained.

In response to the wealth of information presented, the Community of Practice launch event also generated some feedback for Mission Adaptation. For Europe’s regional authorities to be able to build trust and pioneer climate change adaptation for their communities, they need support with translating materials and general awareness-raising around climate change impacts and the meaning of key terminology. And they need easy-to-apply guidance through the various tools, platforms and options, notably to support their decision-making processes.. .

These are areas where REGILIENCE, IMPETUS, ARSINOE and TransformAr are collaborating to maximise impact – for example, jointly listing their developing tools and solutions. All four projects are committed to play their roles as part of the wider EU adaptation strategy The Community of Practice launch event marks a hopeful moment in the move towards these goals.

Further information

To stay up to date about the work of REGILIENCE, IMPETUS, ARSINOE and TransformAr and our role in the European climate adaptation community, please subscribe to our joint newsletter, or read previous editions of ‘The Climate Resilience Post’.­­­­­


High temperatures

Record-breaking summertime temperatures have been recorded in the Netherlands in recent years. With global temperatures rising, such extreme weather events will occur more often, and for longer periods. Prolonged high temperatures, with warm nights as well as hot days, can cause heat stress* and related health issues, particularly among city populations.

*Heat stress occurs when the human body cannot get rid of excess heat and can impact wellbeing through conditions such as heat stroke, exhaustion, cramps and rashes.

"We want to enable municipality decision makers who are working on spatial developments to identify heat stress 'hot spots' and cool areas, analyse the future effects of climate change, and model the effect of different heat stress-reducing measures. The tool must provide them with an easy starting point to integrate heat stress risks in their projects."


Despite the cooling effect of the sea in the region of Zeeland, the growing risk of heat stress has become a concern.

Elderly and other vulnerable people are more impacted by the effects of prolonged heat, which can cause headaches, dizziness, insomnia and other health issues – even death. Excess temperatures also affect general comfort and liveability of cities. Water quality can be reduced, both for drinking and swimming, and infrastructure can be affected. Buildings and concrete surfaces trap heat, potentially leading to damage, and release it during the night, keeping temperatures warm.

During heat waves, it is important that everyone has access to a cool and comfortable place. Appropriate spatial planning can help to decrease and deal with heat stress. Environmental factors like water bodies, trees, and shade have a major impact on stress caused by high temperatures. Therefore, planting trees, removing concrete surfaces, creating green roofs and cool spaces can improve our comfort and health. The IMPETUS Atlantic team is developing a digital tool to support regional decision making for city planning to address these needs.


Flood risk

By 2050, sea-level within this region is predicted to rise by 15-40 cm, with more frequent extreme weather and more (severe) storms triggered by climate change. These changes will exacerbate the natural risk of flooding in the IMPETUS ‘Atlantic’ region, because it is surrounded by rivers and the sea, and is below sea level.

*Risk takes into account two aspects; the chance that an event will occur and the negative impact of such an event once it occurs. When there is a low chance that an event will occur, but its impacts are huge, the risk is still significant.

“In the Netherlands, an extensive system of dikes protects us against sea and river flooding. We have always put our faith in this defence and focused almost solely on flood prevention. However, pressure on our system will increase with climate change and rising sea levels. To adapt and maintain a safe living environment, we should develop other safety measures, like more robust spatial planning and contingency plans."


Rotterdam city, is located in Rijnmond – ‘mouth of the Rhine’. The Rhine river flows through this densely populated area and characterises the region. Protections such as sea dikes and storm surge barriers have been constructed to protect the region, but flooding still occurs.

People living in the city are accustomed to seeing smaller floods. The changing climate affects the interplay between rainfall, river levels and sea storms, increasing the flooding risk. Water levels could rise by a few metres, even in populated areas, with potentially massive impacts. 

Mitigation measures such as storm surge barriers reduce the chance that high water reaches the city, but to minimise the impact of floods when they do occur, adaptation strategies are also needed. A city that can adapt to be safe from floods must be carefully designed. How best to design such an adaptive city?

Critical infrastructure, such as hospitals and evacuation routes, must be accessible at all times. Planning how to best protect them, homes and lives is complex. Flood water behaves in a complex way and flood risks show strong spatial variations. The IMPETUS Atlantic team is developing a digital tool to support regional decision making for adaptive city planning. 


Energy and waste water

To become climate-neutral by 2050, climate mitigation* efforts are crucial in our strategy for how to deal with climate change. Reducing our energy consumption is a significant mitigation step. In the Netherlands, 15% of energy is consumed in the Rijnmond area around the port of Rotterdam, in large part by a major petrochemical industry cluster.

*Climate mitigation encompasses measures such as technologies, processes, or practices that reduce carbon emissions or enhance the sinks of greenhouse gases.


The Rotterdam port petrochemical industry cluster is Europe’s largest. It consumes 70% of the Rijnmond region’s energy. A large part of this energy is wasted (64%, 203 petajoules). More than half of that energy is lost with wastewater. In addition, most energy processes within these industries rely on fossil fuels, which has a significant impact on the climate.

Energy use must be minimised and fossil fuels should be replaced by renewable sources if climate change is to be mitigated. Electrification of processes opens up the possibility to use more renewable energy and can greatly impact decarbonisation. Recovering wasted heat would significantly reduce energy consumption and is a first step towards a more circular industry. 

Supporting industries in a transition towards climate-neutrality depends on identifying how best to reduce their carbon footprint without sacrificing production or performance. The IMPETUS Atlantic team is creating a digital tool that supports decision making about pathways towards an effective energy transition for EU industry.