• 25 January 2022

Policy brief “Looking back at the 5th European Climate Change Adaptation Conference (ECCA 2021)”

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This paper looks in retrospect at ECCA 2021, organised in May and June 2021, and discusses the key messages of this conference. It also explores how Europe can support adaptation around the world, which was the topic of discussion during a COP26 side-event that was co-hosted by ECCA 2021.

Key Messages
The European Climate Change Adaptation (ECCA) Conference, organised bi-annually since 2013, offers a platform to exchange knowledge on climate adaptation strategies and policies between scientists, policy-makers and practitioners. The aim is to drive innovation and come forward with actionable solutions.

The theme of the 5th ECCA edition in 2021 was ‘Bringing adaptation solutions to life: inspiring climate adaptation action for a resilient future’. Four overarching messages were a common thread throughout the conference: (1) We need to leave behind ‘business-as-usual’ and focus on change in time of increasing risks; (2) Cooperation across and between various governance scales is a key enabler; (3) Empowering people and communities through a bottom-up approach and ensuring inclusivity is crucial for a just transition; and, (4) Science and policy should make uncertainty manageable, by taking a long-term approach and balance trade-offs across development objectives.

Climate adaptation is a global goal, going beyond Europe. Therefore, the EU Green Deal, and related policies like the EU Adaptation Strategy, have important international dimensions. The EU can help partner countries to adapt to negative climate impacts in three ways, by (1) taking a collaborative approach to adaptation and integrating climate risk management measures into its wider group of policies; (2) raising the financing bar to support adaptation in Africa’s most vulnerable countries and communities; (3) rebuilding trust with Africa via climate diplomacy to advance the adaptation agenda.

Author: Hanne Knaepen, ECDPM

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