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Adaptation to Climate Change

Adaptation to Climate Change

Policy instruments for adaptation to climate change in big European cities and metropolitan areas

Ecologic Institute led a study examining adaptation strategies in large cities and metropolitan areas across the European Union. A print version of the report is now available in English and French.  The study, which was commissioned by the Committee of the Regions, aims to identify best practices at the levels of both strategies and individual adaptation measures. It is targeted at local and regional administrators and interested stakeholders.

The report presents and analyses adaptation strategies and measures from 20 different cities and regions in Europe. To make extensive use of first-hand information, the case studies were essentially based on a survey of local and regional administration representatives who have been involved in the development and/or implementation of adaptation strategies. A first round of questionnaire-based interviews focused on the adaptation strategies as a whole while a second round served to analyse individual adaptation measures in more detail.

Measures are grouped by "clusters of measures" responding to different adaptation challenges. Detailed fact sheets for individual adaptation measures can be found in an annex. The description and analysis of adaptation strategies and measures are preceded by a literature review and followed by recommendations that relate measures responding to the different adaptation challenges to the five stages of the policy management cycle: Baseline review, Target setting, Political commitment, Implementation and monitoring, and Reporting and evaluation.

The report is available for free download in English [pdf, 1.5 MB] and French [pdf, 1.7 MB]. Hard copies in both languages can be obtained from the Committee of the Regions. See also CoR Publications website and EU Bookshop.


Ecologic Institute, Berlin/Vienna; AEA group; ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability; European Secretariat Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe (REC) 2011: Adaptation to Climate Change. Policy instruments for adaptation to climate change in big European cities and metropolitan areas: European Union Committee of the Regions.

English, French
Ecologic Institut, Berlin/Wien
AEA group
ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability
Europasekretariat Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe (REC)
978-92-895-0521-5 (English), 978-92-895-0522-2 (French)
289 (English), 359 (French)
Project ID
Table of Contents


  1. Climate change adaptation in cities - literature review
    1.1.    Problems facing big cities in light of future climate change
    1.2.    Possible solutions
    1.3.    An initial analysis of the key barriers to adaptation at the city level
  2. Case Study Methodology
  3. Analysis of city adaptation strategies
    3.1.    Overview of results
    3.2.    Description and analysis of individual adaptation strategies
  4. Analysis of individual adaptation measures
    4.1.    Overview of results
    4.2.    Catalogue of clusters of individual adaptation measures
  5. Recommendations
    5.1.    Recommendations for city adaptation strategies
    5.2.    Recommendations for adaptation measures to address climate challenges
    5.3.    Conclusions

Annex 1: Working definitions of key terms
Annex 2: Information on Tools and Guidance
Annex 3: Questionnaires used to collect case study data
Annex 4: Template for the measure factsheet and applicability check table
Annex 5: Descriptions and applicability check tables for individual adaptation measures
Annex 6: List of Interviewees

Climate, climate change, adaptation, adaptation strategies, cities, urban areas, metropolitan areas, regions, European Union, Committee of the Regions,