European Climate Change Adaptation Conference
The biennial European Climate Change Adaptation conference is convened by projects that have received funding from the European Union’s Research and Innovation Framework Programmes.
In 2010, the first global conference on adaptation was held in Gold Coast, Australia under the umbrella of the UN Environment Programme of Research on Climate Change Vulnerability, Impacts and Adaptation (PROVIA). This marked the beginning of the biennial Adaptation Futures conferences, and inspired a group of European participants to organise Europe-focused events in alternate years. The European Commission supports the conference series, managing the events together with the project coordinators of three EU-funded adaptation research projects.
Diverse voices and high-profile speakersDiverse voices from governments to investors, communities and activists, came together with Europe’s world-leading climate science researchers at ECCA. United in a commitment to drive innovative and effective climate adaptation action, more than 1,900 people joined ECCA 2021’s 9 webinars from May 25-June 10. High-profile panellists from around the globe represented the entire chain of cutting-edge climate adaptation action from research, policy and investment to ground-level delivery. The interactive format enabled worldwide audiences to join on Zoom and watch live on YouTube, contributing their ambitions and experiences through polls, break out groups and message boards to the EU Commission and other European decision-makers at the final ECCA high-level event on June 22. The overarching messages were that change is needed to finance, deliver and accelerate sustainable and meaningful climate adaptation solutions at a time of unprecedented risk but also of opportunities to improve climate resilience; society and governments can build on lessons learned from the Covid pandemic to increase collaborative actions; empowering people at every level through sharing knowledge and inclusive, diverse communication channels, builds networks so successful measures can be replicated and nurtures a sense of ownership and, finally, the crucial message that sustainable solutions leave no one behind. Key themes among examples of proven adaptation measures were finance, health and nature-based solutions.
The world must set clear and ambitious climate targetsAt the heart of the ECCA discussions was achieving a balance between what the climate adaptation research community delivers and the needs of policy-makers, financial institutions and funders, businesses, cities and communities. Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, EC, addressed the high-level event, declaring that every country in the world must set clear and ambitious carbon emissions targets and support those most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. He said: "As we go to another summer with what could be a record-breaking temperatures, citizens will be once more reminded that the climate crisis is affecting us already. This reality is exactly what brings you all together here in Europe and will bring the world together in Glasgow at COP26 later this year. The frequency and severity of climate and weather extremes is increasing and we must adapt to it." "To tackle the climate and biodiversity crisis every country in the world needs to set clear targets. In February the EC adapted a new and more ambitious Adaptation Strategy 2050. The new strategy puts nature-based adaptation at the forefront." “We are only as resilient as the most vulnerable among us. We cannot allow climate impacts to hit the most vulnerable at the same way as COVID-19 pandemic did therefore we will intensify work and support regions and communities making sure nobody is left behind." “The science-policy dialogue is indispensable in order to help decision-making in dealing with climate that humanity has not experienced before. ECCA 2021 conference is the key opportunity for knowledge exchange. Policy-makers at all levels need to know about the climate change risks and about the ways and solutions to better and faster perform the decisions.”
‘A more climate-resilient Europe’Timmermans supported the participation in ECCA of the Climate Pact Ambassadors, saying that local action is very important because climate impacts local realities and the communities, adding: “We need to build back a better and more climate-resilient Europe.” The 5th ECCA conference was co-organised by the EU Commission and JPI Climate, with 3 Horizon 2020 projects – SINCERE, CASCADES and RECEIPT – as a virtual event, defying the restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic to reach a wider audience than ever before. First held in 2013, it is Europe’s largest conference on climate change adaptation and a vital forum for exchanging knowledge between scientists, policy-makers and practitioners. The aim is to inspire adaptation action by showcasing solutions, sharing knowledge, creating connections and dialogue with the broadest possible range of policy-makers. The 2021 theme ‘Bringing adaptation solutions to life: inspiring climate adaptation action for a resilient future’ was explored through the 9 webinars. The key messages drawn from the webinars aim to trigger faster and sustainable policies and investment for climate solutions. Webinar panellists represented influential organisations including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), World Food Programme, Adaptation Fund, Climate Justice Resilience Fund, Center for International Climate Research, Climate Policy Initiative, EU Commission, European Parliament, European Investment Bank, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Climate Alliance, European Environment Agency, European Committee of the Regions, European Green Deal, Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change Foundation, Amundi Group, Adelphi, national and local governments and cities among many others. Young voices were represented by the Polish Youth Climate Council and the activist group, Fridays For Future. Organisers hope that the next ECCA Conference, in 2023, will build on the progress that has been made in bringing together more stakeholders, international, national and commercial funders and investors, extended knowledge exchange and wider connections with target groups. They also want to extend even further the range of diverse voices from across Europe including Eastern Europe, young people, local communities, businesses, financial institutions and cultural minorities.
The first global conference on adaptation was held in Gold Coast, Australia under the umbrella of the UN Environment Programme of Research on Climate Change Vulnerability, Impacts and Adaptation (PROVIA) in 2010. This marked the beginning of the biennial Adaptation Futures conferences, and inspired a group of European participants to organise Europe-focused events in alternate years. The European Commission supports the conference series, managing the events together with the project coordinators of three EU-funded adaptation research projects.
The 4 previous editions were about:
- 2019 – European Climate Change Adaptation Conference | ‘Working together to prepare for change‘ – Lisbon, Portugal, 28–31 May 2019 (website)Held for the first time in southern Europe, this conference’s edition brought together researchers, policymakers and practitioners to discuss recent advances in climate change adaptation (CCA) and disaster risk reduction (DRR) research, policy and practice, and aimed to inspire collective climate action. Around 1200 participants attended the 96 Science-Practice and Science parallel sessions. These were organised by the scientific and practice communities to present the current state-of-the-art and to inspire action along the six identified ECCA themes.
PLACARD, BINGO and RESCCUE were the EU-funded projects behind the fourth ECCA.
- 2017 – European Climate Change Adaptation Conference | ‘Our Climate Ready Future‘ – Glasgow, Scotland, 05–09 June 2017 (website temporary unavailable)The vision for ECCA 2017 was to inspire and enable people to work together to discover and deliver positive climate adaptation solutions that can strengthen society, revitalise local economies and enhance the environment. The City of Glasgow welcomed over 850 people to the third ECCA, which featured for the first time a business and innovation programme.
Contributions from young speakers stressed the need for deeper involvement of young people in climate action and policymaking at all levels. A challenge embedded into the city’s school curricula led to an exhibition by local school children of their imaginative solutions to Glasgow’s flooding problems.
ECCA 2017 was organised by the EU-funded IMPRESSIONS, HELIX and RISES-AM projects.
- 2015 – European Climate Change Adaptation Conference | ‘Integrating climate adaptation action in science, policy, practice and business‘ – Copenhagen, Denmark, 12–14 May 2015 (website)
More than 750 participants from 46 countries took part in ECCA 2015 in Copenhagen. The conference offered a platform for researchers, policymakers, and businesses to share new research results, novel policy developments, and practical implementation experiences on climate change impacts and adaptation. Opportunities for business innovations to support the transition to low carbon societies were also highlighted.
Sessions were designed to combine knowledge, policy, practice and business as well as showcase how climate change adaptation in Europe can contribute to job creation and other societal benefits.
BASE, RAMSES and ToPDAd were the EU-funded projects behind the second ECCA.
- 2013 – European Climate Change Adaptation Conference | ‘Integrating Climate into Action‘ – Hamburg, Germany, 18–20 March 2013 (webpage)The first ECCA was organised by EU research projects RESPONSES, CLIMSAVE, MEDIATION and ClimateCost, covering a broad range of adaptation issues. The conference focused on understanding and assessing adaptation in action with topics covering risk and vulnerability assessments, governance, and impact and effectiveness studies, as well as the economics of adaptation.
|The theme of the 5th ECCA conference is:
“Bringing adaptation solutions to life: Inspiring climate adaptation action today for a resilient future”
Why acting now? Our climate is changing rapidly. Heatwaves, droughts, floods, fires… Extreme events attributable to human-driven climate change escalate in frequency and intensity, striking more and more people, regions, cities and communities.
Are we ready to adapt? While climate change adaptation science is developing fast and improve our understanding of the climate and biodiversity crises, and relevant climate risk management are increasingly developed across Europe, there is an unprecedented need and opportunity in the EU to scale up adaptation action, through the recovery investment stemming from the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the EU Green Deal.
As part of the European Green Deal, the new EU Adaptation Strategy, as well as the Horizon Europe Mission “A Climate Resilient Europe”, place resilience building and climate adaptation high up on the list of priorities. The European Climate Pact, launched in December 2020, gives additional momentum to act for adaptation, inviting all citizens, communities and organisations in every sector of our society and economy to participate in climate action and build a greener Europe. The New European Bauhaus will explore how to live better together after the pandemic and to accelerate the green transformation of our society.
The European Climate Change Adaptation conference ECCA 2021 comes at a right time, after the first global Climate Adaptation Summit in January 2021, and before the COP 26 in Glasgow in November 2021, the publication of the IPCC 6th Assessment Report and the upcoming conference Adaptation Futures. ECCA 2021 will raise the attention of decision-makers on the pressing need to accelerate the transfer of knowledge from R&I to policies and practices in order to increase resilience in Europe and beyond in a context of rising climate risks.
Adequate adaptation options and opportunities need to be integrated in pathways that lead to a better resilient future. Alternatives do exist to improve climate adaptation in terms of the infrastructure we build and retrofit, the finance we invest and the decisions we make (business, personal and collective), and contribute to shape a climate resilient and zero carbon Europe. Adaptation science, knowledge and practice can inform decision-making and help accelerate societal transformation. Adaptation actions can have multiple benefits, including recovery, resilience, climate change mitigation, biodiversity conservation and restoration, job creation, citizen safety, social inclusion, wellbeing and financial security.
This ECCA edition aimed to:
- A platform to exchange practical solutions and knowledge (legacy) on solutions for climate resilience
- A place to connect research, tools and solutions with decision makers and practitioners
- A place to listen and learn new things – and to be inspired to create change
- An event that leaves you with a good feeling and a desire to get involved again
- An event that raises awareness and encourages action at all levels
The biennial European Climate Change Adaptation conference is convened by projects that have received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Framework Programme (website).
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