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Atlantic Area

Region's countries

Coastal regions of Portugal, Spain, France, the United Kingdom and Ireland, as well as the autonomous regions of Madeira and Azores (Portugal) and the autonomous community of Canary Islands (Spain).


Policy framework

1.    Transnational cooperation programme

The INTERREG V B Atlantic Area Programme 2014-2020 covers an expanded area compared to the previous 2007-2013 programme, including the 38 Atlantic coastal regions of Portugal, Spain, France, the United Kingdom and Ireland and the autonomous regions of Madeira and Azores in Portugal and the autonomous community of Canary Islands in Spain.

The objective of the programme is to implement solutions to regional challenges in the fields of innovation, resource efficiency, environment and cultural assets, to enable a better quality of life to be generated in the Atlantic Area territory. For the period 2014-2020 the programme focuses on four priorities (which are articulated in seven objectives):

  1. Stimulating innovation and competitiveness;
  2. Fostering resource efficiency;
  3. Strengthening the territory's resilience to risks of natural, climate and human origin;
  4. Enhancing biodiversity and the natural and cultural assets.

Climate change adaptation is covered in priority 3 and the related objective 3.1 ‘Strengthening risks management systems’. The main change sought will be improved cooperation contributing to reduce risks and their impacts and to reinforce the safety of the population and the environment, by strengthening the resilience and planning capacity of Atlantic regions at local and regional levels.


2.    Macro-region strategies

In the case of the Atlantic Area, although a real macro-regional strategy has not been developed, it can be argued that the Atlantic Maritime Strategy takes, to a certain extent, a similar role, as a framework for transnational economic and social cooperation among Atlantic regions. The Maritime Strategy and Action Plan for the Atlantic Ocean Area covers the same area as the Atlantic transnational region, further to some overseas territories (St. Martin, Guadeloupe and Martinique). It addresses climate change and disaster risks as potential obstacles to sustainable growth, which are here tackled with strategies for knowledge generation. In particular, ocean observation, mapping and forecasting are considered critical for the sustainable growth of the economic activities in the Atlantic area and need for (public) information and climate services for the actors operating in the area. The Atlantic Arc Commission under the Conference of the Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR) covers most of the regions participating in the Atlantic Area. The work in the Atlantic Arc council is mainly focused on the implementation of the Atlantic Maritime Strategy.


3.    International conventions and other cooperation initiatives

The OSPAR ‘Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic’ covers a wider area than the EU Atlantic Area transnational region, including, further to three Atlantic regions (Celtic Seas, Bay of Biscay and Iberian Coast, and Wider Atlantic), also other two regions: Arctic Waters and the Greater North Sea. Under this convention, climate change (and ocean acidification) is addressed as a cross-cutting issue in terms of knowledge generation, monitoring of impacts and design of management options aiming at increasing ecosystem resilience.


Examples of projects funded in the 2014–2020 period

Examples of projects funded by the Atlantic Area Programme 2014-2020 are reported below.

The MyCOAST project (2017-2021) aims at providing climate services for economic activities along the coast of the Atlantic Area. It also aims at creating a climate change coastal observatory. Target users of the data, services and tools to be provided by the observatory are actors involved in managing and preventing coastal risks like flooding and coastal erosion, those in managing water quality issues, and those responsible for managing maritime safety and response to pollution incidents in the Atlantic Area. Furthermore, observatory data will be used for increasing awareness of these risks in the Atlantic Area, and for identifying and promoting opportunities for the private sectors, for instance related to aquaculture, shipping and wind energy providers.

The PRIMROSE (Predicting risk and impact of harmful events on the aquaculture sector) project (2017-2020), will provide knowledge for the management of risks related (inter alia) to climate hazards on the aquaculture sector, generating a system for transnational short to medium term risk forecast and a long-term assessment of climate impacts on harmful algal blooms and pathogens. This improved forecast will include assessments of microbial risk and climate change impacts, in addition to algal bloom predictions. The 10 project partners include academic research organizations in all five countries participating in the Atlantic Area Programme and representatives of the fisheries and aquaculture sectors in the UK and Spain. Although adaptation is not addressed explicitly, climate change is one of the pressures on marine ecosystems which is considered also in terms of challenge posed by invasive species.

The Risk-AquaSoil (Atlantic risk management plan in water and soil) project (2017-2019) aims at defining a comprehensive management plan for climate risks related to soil and water to improve the resilience of the Atlantic rural areas. The management plan encompasses the design of early warning and diagnosis services, and the development and testing of innovative strategies for a better soil and water management taking into account the risks associated to climate change. Stakeholder and local communities will be involved in training and capacity building activities and in risk management and damage compensation systems.