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Adriatic-Ionian Area

Region's countries

Entire extension of Greece, Croatia and Slovenia, twelve Italian regions as well as four no-EU countries of Albania, Montenegro, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina


Policy framework

1.    Transnational cooperation programme

The INTERREG V B Adriatic-Ionian Programme (ADRION) 2014-2020 aims to promote the sustainable economic and social prosperity of the Adriatic and Ionian area through growth and jobs creation, by improving its attractiveness, competitiveness and connectivity while at the same time preserving the environment and ensuring healthy and balanced marine and coastal ecosystems. For the period 2014-2020 ADRION focuses on four priorities:

  1. Innovative and smart region;
  2. Sustainable region;
  3. Connected region;
  4. Supporting the governance of the EUSAIR.

These four priorities will work towards specific objectives:

  • Strengthening research, technological development and innovation;
  • Preserving and protecting the environment and promoting resource efficiency;
  • Promoting sustainable transport and remove bottlenecks in key network infrastructures;
  • Enhancing the institutional capacity of public authorities and stakeholders and the efficient public administration.

Climate change adaptation is considered under priority axis 2, as part of the Specific Objective 2.2 ‘Enhance the capacity in transnationally tackling environmental vulnerability, fragmentation and safeguarding ecosystem service in the ADRION area’. Through this objective ADRION is expected to contribute to enhance common understanding in the region on environmental protection, biodiversity management, ecosystem services and climate change adaptation. Other expected results include: enhanced competencies of stakeholders and involved partners; increased availability of data and information also through interoperability and systematic monitoring; increased transnational cooperation among authorities and civil society organisations; harmonised infrastructures, management structures and hazard or risk response mechanisms; increase in the number of management and planning tools.


2.    Macro-region strategies

The ADRION cooperation area coincides with the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region (EUSAIR). The general objective of the EUSAIR is to promote economic and social prosperity and growth in the region by improving its attractiveness, competitiveness and connectivity. With four EU Member States (Croatia, Greece, Italy, Slovenia) and four non-EU countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia), the strategy contribute to the further integration of the Western Balkans. The EUSAIR focuses on both the land and marine resources of the region and builds on four thematic priorities/pillars representing key challenges as well as opportunities in the region: (1) Blue growth, (2) Connecting the Region, (3) Environmental quality, (4) Sustainable tourism. Cooperation for joint management of common environmental resources as well as climate change and disaster risk management issues represents crucial challenges for the sustainable development of the Adriatic-Ionian region. Indeed, climate change mitigation and adaptation as well as disaster risk management feature as horizontal topics relevant to all four pillars of the EUSAIR strategy.


3.    International conventions and other cooperation initiatives

At the wider scale of the entire Mediterranean Sea, cooperation on environmental protection (including climate change adaptation) at transnational level is formalised in the frame of the Barcelona Convention and related protocols.

In 2013–2016 the EU financed the Environment and Climate Regional Accession Network (ECRAN) that assisted Balkan countries (Croatia, Serbia and Kosovo under UN Security Council Resolution 1244/99, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Montenegro and Turkey) in exchanging information and experience in the fields of environment and climate action related to preparation for accession. ECRAN activities were implemented through a system of Working Groups, which in the case of the climate change were related to: Climate policy development and building climate awareness (WG1), Greenhouse Gas inventory systems and EU monitoring mechanism regulation (WG2), Emission trading system (WG3), and Climate adaptation (WG4).

Seven Adriatic-Ionian countries (all but Italy) together with Bulgaria, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Hungary, Moldova, Romania and Turkey, as well as the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) collaborate in the frame of the Drought Management Centre for South East Europe (DMCSEE). The centre coordinates and facilitates the development, assessment and application of drought risk management tools and policies in South-Eastern Europe with the goal of improving preparedness and reducing drought impacts in this region.


4.    Adaptation strategies and plans

No adaptation strategies and plans have been developed for the moment in the specific context of the Adriatic-Ionian region. The ‘Regional Climate Change Adaptation Framework for the Mediterranean Marine and Coastal Areas’ endorsed by the 19th meeting of Contracting Parties (COP19) of the Barcelona Convention is relevant also for this specific region.


Examples of projects funded in the 2014–2020 period

Funded by the ADRION 2014-2020 program, I-STORM (Integrated sea storm management strategies) (2018-2019) aims to enhance sharing of data, forecasts and knowledge on sea storms and related impacts (coastal flooding, erosion and consequent impacts on coastal ecosystems and infrastructures) through a common infrastructure and tools (e.g. for coastal disasters mapping and for hazard and risk assessment). Moreover, the project aims to develop joint strategies for ensuring effective response to sea storm emergencies, also by improving countries' capacities on data interoperability, early warning and civil protection procedures. The permanent cooperation network set up by the project wish to ensure that sea storm challenges are faced and overcome in the framework of EUSAIR and with a medium-term implementation perspective.

The Italy-Croatia Cross-Border Cooperation Programme 2014-2020 assumes high relevance for the Adriatic-Ionian region as its cooperation area (25 provinces in Italy and 8 counties in Croatia) covers a significant portion of the Adriatic sub-region. This programme directly deals with the issue of climate change adaptation and its strategic objective 2.1, part of priority axis 2 ‘Safety and resilience’, focuses on improving climate change monitoring and planning of adaptation measures. Examples of funded projects directly or indirectly related to climate change adaptation include:

  • iDEAL (Decision support for adaptation plan) (2018 - 2019) aiming to support local authorities to manage climate-related problems. The project will develop and test a common evaluation framework of climate change impacts based on indicators and will elaborate climate adaptation plans in five Italian and Croatian coastal areas.
  • AdriaMORE (Adriatic DSS exploitation for monitoring and risk management of coastal extreme weather and flooding) (2018 - 2019), which will improve an existing platform on hydro-meteorological risk management, focusing on the Adriatic coastal areas of the two involved countries.
  • Readiness (Resilience enhancement of Adriatic basin from fire and seismic hazards) (2018 – 2020), focusing on fire risk.