Climate change adaptation in Europe: tracking progress and sharing know-how

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News Published 02 Dec 2015 Last modified 08 May 2017
2 min read
Photo: © Fatma Demir, Picture2050/EEA
An increasing number of initiatives and measures are being put in place to adapt to current and potential impacts of climate change at European, national, regional and local levels. It is now critical to understand better which actions work in which contexts and why. Where do countries stand in terms of tracking climate change adaptation in their territories? A new report by the European Environment Agency provides an overview of national monitoring, reporting and evaluation (MRE) systems in European countries.

Climate change impacts vary across Europe. Some regions are projected to face increasing water stress and drought, while others will experience floods. Different policies and actions therefore need to be put in place to meet adaptation needs and potential impacts specific to each area. To evaluate whether actions are effective and efficient, European countries need to collect and analyse information on adaptation policies in their territories. This knowledge allows for a better understanding of how and why certain actions work in certain contexts, which in turn supports the development of adaptation policies and measures.

The European Environment Agency (EEA) report ‘National monitoring, reporting and evaluation of climate change adaptation in Europe’ consolidates emerging information on MRE systems at national level in European countries. It looks at the most recent activities from European countries, provides insights into key aspects (e.g. drivers, governance, methodology and information channels) and reflects on current practices as well as on future issues that might be relevant for those working in this area. The report includes national-level case studies.

Tracking and evaluating adaptation actions

The European Union ‘Strategy on adaptation to climate change’ foresees that the European Union and countries monitor and evaluate the status and progress of adaptation. In this context, the EEA report finds that an increasing number of European countries have already taken action on MRE systems. As of October 2015, 14 countries had MRE systems in place or under development: Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Lithuania, Malta, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

Most European countries with MRE systems in place aim to monitor and report on the progress that has been achieved in the implementation of actions and policies included in national adaptation strategies or plans. Some also refer to monitoring the effectiveness of the actions and policy implementation.

MRE of adaptation remains an emerging and dynamic field of practice where the experience of countries with more advanced MRE systems can be invaluable for those countries just beginning to consider building such systems. Experience in monitoring, reporting and evaluation in other new policy areas can also be relevant to the climate change adaptation policy domain since the challenges faced can be similar, for example in terms of data and information reporting availability and requirements.

The report complements the information available on the European Climate Adaptation Platform Climate-ADAPT and national websites on climate change adaptation. The report will be presented at the side event 'Europe adapting to climate change' during Resilience Day at the COP21 climate talks in Paris. 


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