Development in climate resilience governance in the EU

A review of the research and emerging recommendations

Daisy flower blooming on a sand desert
Resilient daisy plant flowering on a sandy desert with no water.

The discussion paper, Develoment in climate resilience governance in the EU, provides a review of recent developments and thought leadership in resilience and adaptation policy and governance in Europe, with selected international examples.

It is based on the authors’ own expertise and experiences as well as reports, case studies and resilience strategies and plans.

More attention is being paid to resilience globally in part due to growing climate impacts and scientific understanding. Important new research and evidence has been produced recently, for example from the work of the Global Commission on Adaptation.

Countries, cities and regions are making important progress on climate resilience and adaptation planning.  However, most city and regional resilience frameworks focus on adapting to a narrow set of direct climate impacts that threaten a limited number of key sectors. This approach is insufficient and raises the risk of maladaptation. The problem is compounded by the fact that local governments face capacity constraints from inadequate data and lack of funding and guidance from national policymakers.

In fact, regions are facing a complex web of interconnected systemic risks from the low carbon economic transition as well as direct and indirect physical impacts that will strain political, economic and social institutions. Resilience cannot be delivered through downstream technical solutions at the project level alone. It requires fundamental institutional and governance reforms including much greater authority and mandates and clarity of responsibility for managing risks. Given that all infrastructure will need to be resilient to a range of climate scenarios, innovative approaches to financing will be required.

The paper offers an emerging set of recommendations for how European regions can approach the task of reforming the governance of climate resilience. A comprehensive review of different approaches to regional resilience governance was beyond the scope of work. One of our key recommendations is that the case for governance reforms would be greatly strengthened by systematic analysis of the strengths and weakness of different approaches.

This discussion paper has been produced by E3G for EIT Climate-KIC as an input to the Deep Demonstration project on “Forging resilience in some of Europe’s most vulnerable regions”.

Image by alessandrozocc for Adobe.


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