Geneva - UNISDR today backed a newly launched project from the European Commission, Adaptation Strategies for European Cities, designed to provide capacity building and support for European cities in developing and implementing an adaptation strategy for climate change.
Helena Molin-Valdes who leads UNISDR's Making Cities Resilient campaign urged campaign members in Europe to get involved in the project which is led by UNISDR partner ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability) for the Directorate-General for Climate Action.
"This provides a good opportunity for cities to justify investment in upgrading local infrastructure and raising awareness of the impact that climate change is having on urban resilience. The information gathering can also be supported by data collection under UNISDR's new Local Government Self-Assessment Tool," she said.
The project aims to raise awareness throughout Europe on the importance of preparing for climate change in cities, facilitate exchange of knowledge and good practices, as well as develop tools and guidance for cities on adaptation.
The DG Climate Action invites cities to participate in a survey on their experiences in adapting to climate change. Three stakeholder dialogue workshops are also to be held in May and June 2012.
"Whatever we build or create today needs to withstand climate changes over the next 50 years. The budget should allow for the European Union to provide more financial assistance to the poor and vulnerable regions, which do not yet have the capabilities to make adaptation plans or to adapt to potential impacts of climate change," said Policy Analyst, Annika Ahtonen, at the Brussels-based European Policy Centre, a think-tank on EU affairs.
According to the European Commission body in charge of maritime affairs and fisheries, close to 85 per cent of spending to protect Europe's coasts from flood and erosion is in five countries -- the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Germany, Spain and Italy. That amounted to € 1.05 billion in 2008. Adaptation to climate change in coastal management is a European priority.
This adds to the portfolio of climate adaptation projects that ICLEI is engaged in worldwide. One flagship project, the Resilient Cities Congress to be held 12-15 May 2012 in Bonn, Germany offers a global forum for learning, cooperation and networking on all aspects of urban resilience and climate change adaptation.