Last update:21 Mar 2017

Item Status Links
National Adaptation Strategy
  • Adopted
Action Plans
  • Assessment


  •  Revising process


Impacts, vulnerability and adaptation assessments

- National (screening NAS)

- Sectoral & Other (territorial)

  • Completed/
  • Completed/ Currently being undertaken


Research programs

- National Programmes

- Key research initiatives (added value)

  • Currently being undertaken

Climate Services / Met Office

- Observation

- Climate projections and services

  • Observation: Established
  • Climate projections: Established
  • Services: Being developed

Web Portal(s) /

Adaptation platform(s) (5a)

  • Online/Being developed

Monitoring, Indicators, Methodologies
  • Established/Being developed
Training and education resources
  • Established

National Communication to the UNFCCC
  • Last NatCom Submitted (2014)



Adaptation strategies

In France, a national adaptation strategy (NAS) was adopted in 2006[1].

Regional impact, vulnerability and adaptation studies are currently carried out to implement subnational adaptation planning policies (Regional Climate, Air and Energy Schemes then Regional Scheme on Territorial planning and Sustainable Development process). The French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME) supports local initiatives through training and on-line tools, in particular at regional level. A wiki-based local adaptation initiative mapping gathers some local adaptation experiences.

Adaptation action plans

A national adaptation plan (NAP) was adopted in 2011[2], with a five-year implementation period. A global evaluation was published at the end of 2015[3].

The NAP has prioritised 240 concrete measures covering the 20 thematic areas of the plan: Cross-cutting actions, Health including "Plan Canicule", Water, Biodiversity, Natural hazards, Agriculture, Forests, Fisheries and aquaculture, Energy and industry, Transport infrastructures, Urban planning and the built environment, Tourism, Information, Education and training, Research, Funding and insurance, Coastlines, Mountains, European and international actions, Governance.

A second adaptation plan is under construction and is foreseen for 2017.

Regional and local adaptation Schemes and Plans

At the regional level, all  26 (One per Region) SRCAE (Regional Scheme on Climate, Air and Energy) have been approved. They include mitigation, air and adaptation actions and measures. The part of adaptation measures depends on the region. Due to the Law on New Territorial Organisation of the Republic (NOTRe), the region level has been reduced from 22 to 13 in mainland France. The SRCAE and the SRADT (Regional Scheme on territorial planning and Sustainable Development) will be merged into the Regional Scheme on territorial planning and equality, sustainable development (SRADDET).

At a more local level, the SRCAE is translated into local (Cities or Inter-municipality associations) plans (PCET: Climate Plan on Energy and Territory) or Urban plans (PLU Local Urbanization Plans). The number of foreseen local plans is over 400. These plans should be coherent to the SRCAE, the national mitigation and adaptation plans and strategies. From 2017 on, the PCAET (Climate Plan on Energy, Air and Territory) will replace the PCET. Cities or Inter-municipality over 20,000 inhabitants need to develop such a plan or revise their current PCET.

The NAP 2011-2015 had an allocation of 168 M€ of specific expenditures to be dedicated to implement the actions that are in the NAP. Cross-cutting/coordinated adaptation action is also included in that budget, as well as  coordination actions, the development of climate services, websites, capacity building and other actions. A state-of-the art on available funding sources for adaptation at regional and local level seems to have been put on hold while waiting for the results of the partnership agreement linked to the European Structural and Investment Funds.

The sectors agriculture, human health, water and coastal areas have used financial instruments for adaptation, but no further information was provided. Explicit budgetary allocations were cited for the agriculture and forestry sectors, as well as for human health, but no indication was provided on the amounts. Finally, project-based public support was mentioned concerning adaptation action in coastal areas.

During the NAP period, initiatives related to financing adaptation mostly focus on involving departments in charge of adaptation in preparing the partnership agreement on the use of European Structural and Investment Funds. Hence, the focus seems to be currently put on how to make use of EU funds for adaptation investments in France at local scale.

In France, adaptation is also indirectly promoted via the State’s role in the insurance markets. The State acts as reinsurer of last resort. Moreover, insurers are directly involved in funding risk prevention policies. Levies collected by private insurers contribute to financing state-sponsored preventive action (via the so-called Barnier Fund) such as relocating high-risk assets, risk reduction investments by individuals, and risk assessment and risk management undertakings by local authorities. The French system also includes a public mechanism to avoid social exclusion and anti-selection phenomena in the natural catastrophe insurance market: the Bureau Central de Tarification (BCT). It provides insurance to those that cannot obtain it through regular market venues, for either availability or affordability reasons. No indication of other types of public-private cooperation for the financing of adaptation action could be found.




France has identified and assessed adaptation options on the basis of participatory processes or cost and benefit assessments. The 2015 assessment report gave also a view on priority sectors.

The review of the national adaptation plan to climate change mobilizes all stakeholders' and plans to develop proposals for the adaptation of territories to climate change separated into 6 dimensions:

  • governance and steering
  • knowledge and information, including awareness
  • prevention and resilience
  • adaptation and preservation of environment
  • vulnerability of economic sectors
  • strengthening international action

Priorities will be given to overseas territories specificity and topics highlighted by the assessment report of CGEDD, meaning water resources, coastal zones and cities. The territorial articulation will also be given special attention. A transversal working group and inter-levels (national, regional and local levels) dedicated to the governance of the plan will be made as soon as possible to define the arrangements for steering, consultation, conduct and reporting of the plan.

The first NAP was meant to help mainstream adaptation in various sectorial policies. According to the NAP assessment report, the integration of adaptation considerations into key land use and resource management policies is progressing satisfactorily in the biodiversity, forestry, agriculture and urban planning, as well as in coastal and mountain areas. Some initial steps have also been reported (they were planned to take place in 2014) to integrate adaptation into water management cycles, including some achievements in specific river basins.

France indicates that adaptation in priority sectors is being implemented according to what was planned in the NAP, with delays in some actions and the need to reconsider others, but the overall picture shows significant progress in sectors such as health, agriculture, forestry, energy, and coastal areas, which is line with current EU mainstreaming priorities. Conversely, there appear to be more limited progress, due to some delays in implementation or insufficient ambition of the current NAP, in the areas/sectors of fisheries/aquaculture, tourism, industry, infrastructure and transport, urban development, and tourism.

Despite the fact that the 2011-2015 NAP ended and was evaluated in 2015, several actions and measures remain active during the preparation of the next plan.

Climate change considerations are gradually being integrated into urban development discussions, in particular green adaptation options. Climate change adaptation has also been included as a conditional criterion for supplying equipment in rural territories.

The reinforcement of assurance as a tool to face climate change is one of the objectives of the NAP, together with the provision of other incentives for investments. The final assessment report, however, concludes that it is too early to see achieved the objectives as regards insurance, given the complexity of the issue, that there are significant works still to be implemented to introduce the consideration of resilience to climate change into public investments, and to identify financial resources to finance adaptation. There have been some achievements in the provision of incentives via the Agenda 21 processes or the social responsibility of enterprises. Such measures must be included in the next NAP. 

 a) Observations and projections

Observations of the French climate are available on the Météo France (French national weather service) website which provides yearly and seasonal assessments, public climatologic data and extreme events early warning including storm surges. 28 climate change indicators for France are available on-line and regularly updated (ONERC website)[1]. They refer to general climate indicators, agriculture, wildlife, cryosphere, oceans and health.

Climate projections are available through an extensive scientific approach via a reference climate scenarios report, sea level rise report and downscaled indices report. Since July 2012, there is free access to the most recent French high resolution climate simulations and data (projections, parameters, indices) provided by the "DRIAS les futurs du climat" website[2], which aims at providing climates services in France.

ClimatHD, a web based application provide also climate observations and projections as well as impacts and effects of climate change. Such information is useful for dissemination of information to the general public.

In 2010, the Ministry of Sustainable Development called upon the expertise of French climate scientists to produce a reasoned assessment of climatic conditions in France in the 21st century. Dr Jean Jouzel was appointed to lead this assessment which was carried out by scientists from CNRS/INSU/IPSL and LGGE, from Météo France, BRGM, CEA, CETMEF, and the CNES. The results are compiled in the series “The Climate of France in the 21st Century[3]”, which provides climatic benchmarks to inform development of climate adaptation measures.  This tool is crucial for the many players concerned with the problem of adaptation, namely local communities, the private economic sector, associations and State run services. Five reports on different topics have been published by Onerc during the NAP period

b) Impacts & vulnerability assessments

A Report to the Prime Minister and Parliament on impacts and vulnerability is published by Onerc on a yearly basis. These reports deal with main subjects relevant for  adaptation. They include an examination and a summary of risks and challenges strengthen by climate change in a particular domain and they give advice on adaptation strategies.  The subject of these reports is annually decided by the Onerc Direction Board (Conseil d’Orientation).

An extensive assessment of sectorial impacts, costs and possible adaptation options was published in 2009[4], after a two-year inter-ministerial collaboration. The knowledge base has been built around various research projects at national, regional and local level. A specific research fund led by the Ministry in charge of ecology, called GICC[5], has produced since 1999 much valuable information to inform adaptation policies, for example on future river run-off, future shifts in forest pattern, etc.

In 2012, impacts, vulnerability and adaptation options in French overseas regions were evaluated for various sectors[6]. The NAP contains actions across all sectors to develop or specify the impacts and vulnerability assessments of systems, resources, sectors and territories, to properly inform the adaptation decision making at the relevant scales.

The 2013 report is entitled “Trees and forest in a changing climate[7]”. As reported widely by the IPCC, the impacts of climate change could have significant consequences for the growth, and indeed the survival, of trees and forested lands. Henceforth, foresters must incorporate these changes, as forests will be directly affected. This large challenge for forestry is an opportunity to better account for ecosystem services in order to guide the silvicultural choices that will take effect in the decades to come. Such services contribute to improving the strength and resilience of forests to those hazards and crises they will encounter.

The 2015 report is entitled “The coastline in the context of climate change[8]”. The French coastline faces a range of highly specific challenges, in terms of demographics, urbanisation socio-economic activities and the environment. The average sea level rose by 1.7 ± 0.2 mm per year between 1901 and 2010, and by 3.2 ± 0.4 mm per year between 1993 in 2014. All current climate models predict that average global sea levels will rise at a rate faster than that observed between 1971 and 2010 during the 21st century. This means that, in addition to the 20 cm rise in sea levels observed in the last 150 years, the sea is expected to rise by a further 26 to 82 cm by the end of this century.

The last report is the final assessment of the French National Adaptation 2011-2015[9]. France is a pioneer in terms of its evaluation of adaptation policy, as it has undertaken an open, transparent and collaborative approach aimed at documenting as extensively as possible the experience gained through the implementation of the first national adaptation plan. Within the framework of the implementation of the road map stemming from the 2014 Environmental Conference, the General Council for the Environment and Sustainable Development (CGEDD, Conseil général de l’environnement et du développement durable) was entrusted with the final review of the NAP, by the Minister of the Environment, Ségolène Royal, in June 2015. Several evaluations, both on individual themes and on the overall plan, were also published and composed into the final assessment report. 

The vulnerability assessment reports do not consider transboundary impacts. The NAS contains some statements about consistency of adaptation action across the national borders, but this objective is not developed in the NAP into specific action. Still, a forthcoming transnational Report ‘Changement climatique dans les Alpes’[10] will address such issues for alpine areas.

c) Research

Researchers are involved in adaptation policy making and in implementing and monitoring the NAP. Though their degree of involvement is not clear, neither which mechanisms they use to identify research priorities. The NAP contains a high percentage of detailed and focussed research actions across most thematic sections, and an additional section on research, where it can be assumed that the research priorities identified in the 'research' area of the NAP were based on an ex-ante assessment of the most relevant knowledge gaps for climate change adaptation. The ONERC has the power to recommend about knowledge needs to inform the NAS, and works in close collaboration with the relevant national research institutions.

Information about research funding is not available. There is no explicit link of the needs identified in the NAP and the national research programmes SNRI, or the GICC. The 2013 review on the implementation of the NAP stated that 94% of the research actions identified in the 'research' section of the NAP were funded. Similar figures have been reported for other knowledge gathering actions identified as priority in other NAP sections, which seems to provide convincing evidence that identifying knowledge gaps helps to mobilise funding for climate change adaptation research.

GICC has, since 1999 produced information to inform climate adaptation policies. Other research projects are funded through conventional research schemes, e.g. national research agency, EU research funds, etc. Most recent research project presentations are gathered in a common database as soon as they deal with impact and vulnerability about French territories[11].

d) Monitoring progress

The NAP document includes  a dedicated monitoring method A periodic review of adaptation action is planned. After the first assessment of was undertaken at the end of 2013, the final evaluation of the NAP was more comprehensive and includes recommendations for forthcoming actions on climate change adaptation. However, it is currently not planned to update the risk or vulnerability assessments that have been undertaken so far. The results of the evaluation were be published in autumn 2015. It included a diagnostic on the NAP and recommendations for the next NAP announced for 2017.

Its mid-term review took place in June 2013. There is no evidence that dedicated indicators are being developed on the main-streaming of adaptation action at sectorial level. Instead, as the integration of adaptation into sectorial policies is part of the NAP's specific actions and measures, the monitoring scheme deals with qualitative assessment of the status of the main-streaming process, for which details are provided in the monitoring report.

The final assessment report published in 2015 noted that although it was the first plan, its overall progress was very satisfactory since 80% of the actions and about 75% of the measures initiated would be completed by the end of 2016. On the other hand, the mission was quite unable to comment on the extent of the financial commitment of the plan for which 171 M€ had been considered, since the monitoring of the allocated financial resources is not done in a comprehensive manner. This first plan has placed much emphasis on the deployment of the key levers that the state could use to move the whole country forward, such as laws, statutory provisions, planning tools, methodological tools, improvement in observation systems and the sharing of analyses and observations. Some remarkable results can be put into highlight, as the publication of the Report on the Climate in France during the 21st century, the planning tools that have been significantly improved (for instance, the first national strategy on flood risk has been published in October 2014 and the national integrated coastline management strategy takes into account the impact of climate change) and some operational measures to adapt specific business sectors that have been taken.

The assessment report noted that it’s the overall progress of the first NAP was very satisfactory since 80% of the actions and about 75 % of the measures initiated would be completed by the end of 2016. On the other hand, the mission was not able to make conclusions on the extent of the financial commitment of the plan for which 171 M€ had been considered, since the monitoring of the allocated financial resources is not done in a comprehensive manner.

This first NAP has placed much emphasis on the deployment of the key levers that the state could use to move the whole country forward, such as laws, statutory provisions, planning tools, methodological tools, improvement in observation systems and the sharing of analyses and observations. Some remarkable results can be put into highlight, as the publication of the Report on the Climate in France during the 21st century, the planning tools that have been significantly improved. For instance, the first national strategy on flood risk has been published in October 2014 and the national integrated coastline management strategy[14] takes into account the impact of climate change. And some operational measures were developed to support specific business sectors to adapt.

Regional and local governments are not directly involved in implementing the NAP. A planned NAP action consists in reporting about the consistency of national and regional strategies (i.e. a posteriori), instead of identifying cooperation and coordination mechanisms to build adaptation strategies that are territorially consistent (a priori). Regional administrations are seldom mentioned as partners of the NAP. For local administrations the provision of guidance is mostly considered.

Currently, there are no procedures or guidelines to support the assessment of impacts of climate change in major projects and programmes. Some measures are planned, and there is progress in some of them, but they cannot be considered as implemented.

Regarding infrastructure, France has reviewed design codes and infrastructure standards in the transport sector that are related to climate change variables. Besides, France is developing a methodology on assessing vulnerability of French airports to climate change. A guide looking at transport networks in general is under development. A network of infrastructure managers has been set up with regular meetings and exchange of experience.




[4] Report








a. Governance

In France, the Ministry of the Environment / General directorate for energy and climate, and within it the national observatory on the effects of global warming (ONERC) are in charge of adaptation policy-making. 

There is not a specific horizontal governance structure for adaptation in France, but a clear division of responsibilities is identified in the NAP. Sectorial departments are in charge of implementing measures in their area of competence while ONERC ensures overall implementation monitoring. Every action committed in in the NAP identifies the leading actors and partners to be considered for implementing each action. The NAP contains a set of identified transversal actions, where many sectorial Ministries are involved. More specific sectorial actions also involve several sectorial ministries, when relevant.

The NAP and regional planning are not formally coordinated. The NAP process has been undertaken by the central government for national issues. Regional planning is led by the Regional assemblies and local state representatives. Local adaptation planning is led by the local councils. There is no formal requirement or a mandatory link between national and regional/local planning for adaptation (i.e. in the NAP/NAS). However, the NAP contains a 'governance' section where the alignment between regional strategies and with the NAS are pursued, including an evaluation of the consistency between the NAP and the regional approaches, which provides a seed for a governance system.

Local adaptation planning must be compatible with regional planning, and according to the NAS, they must consider the physical interactions at wider scales, but it is unclear how this is ensured as the NAP does not contain many provisions at this respect. Notably, the only reference of local authorities as partners in the NAP actions relate to water management. Other local planning instrument (urbanism, land use) have to take into account the local adaptation planning document, but there is no formal compatibility constraint.

Stakeholders’ involvement in the development of adaptation policy has been significant in France, in particular preparing the NAP. For this purpose, consultations were made to the metropolitan and overseas regional administrations. The private sector and interest groups were also actively involved: they had the possibility to shape decision-making in adaptation policy (e.g. advisory committees). Scientists also participated in the process, and the general public was electronically consulted on policy drafts. The assessment report. Transboundary issues in France are mostly addressed via EU INTERREG projects, or via Transboundary River Basin Management Plans (Meuse, Rhine) or Transboundary observatories (Pyrenees) or International conventions (alpine convention, Mediterranean action plan, Indian Ocean commission). However, and despite the NAS contains some statements about transboundary coordination to ensure a sound territorial approach to the adaptation action, there is no indication of action to prepare for transboundary cooperation on common challenges.

b) Adaptation capacity, dissemination, education, training

Among the key factors for implementation, France highlights the need to build capacity at an early stage so as to enable a good and shared understanding of issues at stake. Information is given to the private sector, interest groups and to the general public. Scientists and researchers also seem to be directly involved in the implementation phase, although it is unclear exactly how.

Wiklimat[1] is an exchange platform to facilitate sharing knowledge on local climate change adaptation initiatives, to foster the valorisation of pilot applied research projects, interactions with Climate-ADAPT could be established (e.g. by using “Europe et international” wiki field already available), to allow France better highlight what is available elsewhere in Europe on adaptation. A dedicated portal is available[2] for information on climate change projections, parameters and indicators.  As indicated in NAP, ONERC website (part of Ministry website) aims at being the portal for science policy interfaces on adaptation. Also, the NAP contains extensive actions to further develop the information sources on adaptation, being its key action the development of a reference website to disseminate scientific information.

Science community is widely involved in adaptation policy making, especially through NAP preparation in 2010 and implementation related to knowledge enhancement. Furthermore, ONERC mission as defined by 2001 law is to ensure science-policy coordination for climate change and extreme events. For instance, a scientific interest group “GIS Climat-Environnement-Société” organised 3 to 5 times a year multi-disciplinary meetings dealing with science-policy issues related to climate change impacts.

Information and education and training are two of the priority areas of the NAP. A communication strategy and action plan are developed yearly. In addition to the web portal mentioned above, exhibitions are organised and videos recorded with key actors of the NAP sectors. Decision makers are targeted via regular letters on activities by ONERC. Climate change impacts indicators are developed, summarised and made available via web portals. In partnership with the ministry of education, Météo-France has also developed a specific portal for training[3] and also a web-training on climate change. Adaptation jobs are highlighted as part of the green segment, with in particular a focus on the health sector.





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