North-West Europe

Region's countries

The cooperation area of North West Europe for the 2021-2027 Interreg programming period includes seven countries: the whole territory of Ireland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland and the Netherlands, and parts of France and Germany. Major changes with respect to the previous programming period (2014-2020) are the exclusion of the United Kingdom*, and the extension of the transnational region, covering the whole territory of the Netherlands and wider regions of Germany.

 

* From the entry into force of the UK Withdrawal Agreement on 1 February 2020, content from the United Kingdom will no longer be updated on this website.

 

Policy framework

1.     Transnational cooperation programme

The Interreg VI B North West (NEW) Europe Programme (2021-2027), approved by the European Commission on 24 August 2022 promotes a green, smart and just transition for all NWE territories with the aim to support a balanced development and make all regions more resilient, increasing their ability to respond better to any existing and future challenge. Interreg NEW programme assists at supporting the regions’ energy and circular transition by implementing and taking up of transnational and place-based solutions to contribute to the preservation of natural resources, the enhancement of nature-based solutions to climate change.

The thematic scope of the programme covers aspects of the green, smart and just transition and is organised around three priorities:

  • Priority 1-Smart climate and environmental resilience
  • Priority 2 – Smart and just energy transition
  • Priority 3- Transition towards a place-based circular economy
  • Priority 4 – Improving territorial resilience through innovative and smart transformation

Climate change adaptation projects are especially funded within the priority 1, with the specific objective of “Enhancing protection and preservation of nature, biodiversity and green infrastructure, including in urban areas, and reducing all forms of pollution”. The programme supports efforts to develop green/blue infrastructure. Those actions aim at ensuring the protection or restoration of a wide range of ecosystems and prevents the loss of biodiversity and natural capital. As most NWE regions are failing to meet air quality targets, the Programme also aims to reduce heat stress and improve air quality.  

The issue of energy efficiency, that is relevant for both mitigation and adaptation issues, is covered under the priority 2, and in particular the Specific Objective 2.2 (Promoting energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions). It will be achieved by identifying opportunities that increase the energy performance of e.g. dwellings and public buildings, transport/mobility, Inland Waterway Transport, as well as of district heating and cooling network lines.

The previous Interreg V B North West Europe (NWE) Programme (2014-2020) aimed to promote the economic, environmental, social and territorial future of the NWE region. , Due to the high urban density and the exposure of urban areas to the risk of coastal and fluvial flooding, the NWE Programme identified addressing climate change vulnerability as one of the major challenges in the programme area. However, this challenge was not translated into a thematic priority for the programme. Itwas included among the investment priorities related to the transition to a low carbon society (priority 2, and mainly the investment priority 4e), stating that ‘mitigation/adaption actions are required’.

 

2.     International conventions and other cooperation initiatives

Together with other regions, parts of North West Europe are covered by the OSPAR ‘Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic’. In particular the north-western and north-eastern parts of the regions’  coasts are covered by two subregions of the OSPAR convention: the Celtic Seas subregion and the Greater North Sea subregion. 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. In 2019, OSPAR established an Intersessional Correspondence Group on ocean acidification (ICG-OA).

Other cooperation initiatives that involve some parts of the North-West region are the Trilateral Wadden Sea Cooperation and the North Sea Commission within the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions. More details on these initiatives are presented on the North Sea Transnational Region page.

 

3.     Adaptation strategies and Plans

Although no adaptation strategies and plans exist specifically for the North West Region, the cooperation initiatives that involve several countries of the transnational region (OSPAR, Trilateral Wadden Sea Cooperation and North Sea Commission) have own strategies that are relevant for climate change adaptation (the North Sea Region 2030 Strategy, the Wadden Sea Climate Change Adaptation Strategy and North-East Atlantic Environment Strategy (NEAES) 2030). They are fully described on the North Sea Transnational Region page.

 

Examples of projects funded in the 2014–2020 period.

None of the projects, approved under the 2014-2020 programming period, directly addressed adaptation-related challenges. They focus instead on climate change mitigation (by cutting carbon emission) with added values also for adaptation (by improving energy efficiency).

However, North West Europe can rely on a wide experience of transnational cooperation projects which deal with knowledge creation and sharing on climate change adaptation. Those projects were funded in the INTERREG programming period 2007-2013, as for examples in the case of AMICEDROP and IMCORE projects. Moreover, the complete set of eight projects dealing with climate change adaptation, funded in 2007-2013, were grouped in SIC-adapt!, It is a strategic cluster aimed at increasing the visibility and capitalization of projects’ outcomes