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South-West Europe

Region's countries

Southern regions of France, the entire territory of Spain (including the Balearic Islands and then territories of Melilla and Ceuta), Portugal, and the UK territory of Gibraltar further to Andorra


Policy framework

1.    Transnational cooperation programme

The INTERREG V B South West Europe Programme (SUDOE) supports cooperation in the fields of smart and sustainable development. It focuses on the cooperation between research and innovation networks, by disseminating applied research linked to Key Enabling Technologies and encouraging cooperation between the various departments and institutions that support the development and internationalisation of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Also the programme supports the dissemination of best practices and innovative solutions for energy efficiency in buildings and consumption of renewable energy, the development of risk management coordination strategies and activities, especially those linked to water resources shortages, and the preservation and promotion of natural and cultural heritage, particularly the Natura 2000 network sites. For the period 2014-2020 the programme focuses on five priorities:

  1. Research and innovation;
  2. Competitiveness of SMEs;
  3. Low-carbon economy;
  4. Combating climate change;
  5. Environment and resource efficiency.

Climate change adaptation is covered in priority 4, which is endowed with 12% of the overall programme funding (17.08 million Euros). This axis focuses on management and prevention of climate change risks associated with the scarcity of water resources and high variability of rainfall, which favours the intensification of drought conditions, desertification, soil erosion, forest fires and flooding.


2.    International conventions and other cooperation initiatives

Some areas of the SUDOE region are included in the OSPAR ‘Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic’, specifically in Region IV - Bay of Biscay and Iberian Coast. 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. France and Spain are also contracting parties of the Barcelona Convention, which covers the area of the entire Mediterranean Sea.

The SUDOE region includes the Pyrenees mountain area, which has a long tradition of cooperation. The Working Community of the Pyrenees (CTP) was established in 1983 on the initiative of the Council of Europe to tackle common cross-border challenges in the fields of transports, education, research, cultural heritage and sustainable development, among others. In 2010, the CTP funded the Pyrenean Climate Change Observatory (OPCC) with the aim of promoting a better understanding of climate change impacts in the region and defining effective adaptation measures. OPCC work on adaptation has included:

  • A vulnerability analysis of the region to climate threats;
  • A database of best practices on adaptation to climate change in mountain areas;
  • The definition – together with relevant stakeholders, decision-makers and authorities – of recommendations for the strengthening and implementation of coordinated medium-term initiatives throughout the Pyrenees.


Examples of projects funded in the 2014–2020 period

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

The 4KET4Reuse (KET for treated wastewater reuse in water scarcity SUDOE regions) project (2016-2019) aims at developing Key Enabling Technologies (KET) for the reuse of wastewater to tackle water scarcity, which in the region is mainly driven by decreasing precipitations and the pollution of available resources. In particular, the project seeks to develop and validate four regeneration systems by eliminating emerging pollutants. Water management issues are also the scope of the AGUAMOD (Development of a water resource management platform in low-water periods in SUDOE territory) project (2016-2019) which aims at developing a platform for the integrated management of water resources in the SUDOE region during summer periods as a tool for strengthening cooperation between managers and land users.

The objective of the FIRE-RS (wildFIRE Remote Sensing) project (2016–2019) is to reduce the impacts of forest fires by providing emergency agencies and coordination centres with an innovative tool for the early detection and the efficient management of fires. On a different note, PLURIFOR (Transnational Plans for the Management of Forest Risks) (2016-2019) seeks to reduce the vulnerability of woodland areas to multiple hazards (plagues, diseases, storms, and fires) by creating or improving management plans in Spain, France, and Portugal.

In addition to the INTERREG V B SUDOE Programme, cross-border cooperation (INTERREG A) also plays an important role in building a joint knowledge base, and to transfer, replicate and capitalise on adaptation knowledge in the region. This is exemplified by the support provided to Pyrenean Climate Change Observatory research activities by the INTERREG A Spain-France-Andorra Cross-Border Cooperation Programme (POCTEFA) both under the previous and current programming period. The OPCC-2 project (2016-2019) is expected to enhance current knowledge on climate change impacts and vulnerabilities in the Pyrenees, and support decision making by identifying and implementing adaptation measures.