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Eurosite contribution to EU consultation on new EU Strategy on adaptation to climate change

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Eurosite contributed to the public consultation on the new EU Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change, which closed on 20 August 2020. The input was prepared based on the feedback received from members of the Eurosite Wetlands and Climate Change (WCC) Working Group. The WCC WG, established in 2014, aims to increase exchange of knowledge on ecosystem-based approaches to adapt to and mitigate global climate change and adapting wetlands to global climate change.

The aims of the consultation were: 

  • to give all relevant stakeholders the opportunity to have their input in new policy development
  • to gather stakeholder opinions on policy options and their possible impacts
  • to identify triggers of behavioural and institutional changes to support the take-up of adaptation measures and practices.

The broad context and possible directions of development were given in the background document “Adaptation to Climate Change Blueprint for a new, more ambitious EU strategy” recently released by the European Commission’s DG Environment and DG Climate Action.

Eurosite fully supports the need and increased ambition described in the blueprint. In our contribution we raised the following issues:

  • habitat restoration is of key importance for ecosystem resilience in view of climate adaptation;
  • nature-based solutions can provide sustainable, cost-effective scenarios to tackle issues of adaptation to climate change;
  • wetlands play a crucial role in mitigating the adverse impacts of climate change;
  • natural sites managers’ and civil society input to the implementation of the strategy should be strengthened with both organisational and financial support.

We also highlighted the following problems that are current challenges in taking adequate adaptation action in the EU:

  • habitat restoration is not fully recognised as part of the strategy;
  • there is a lack of common, clear, achievable objectives and metrics;
  • a lack of appropriate communication member states and sectoral policies, which creates information silos;
  • the role of changes in agriculture is undervalued.

Moreover, we recommended to increase focus on biodiversity conservation (to prevent negative side-effects of its implementation), inter-sectoral communication, green cities (including urban infrastructure, transport, water management), education (especially  in colleges and universities), green jobs support and on habitat restoration on landscape scale, including not protected areas.