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INTERREG projects

Interreg Programme aim

Interreg  is a European territorial cooperation programme that is connected to the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). It is one of the many funding programmes in the European regional policy, such as the programmes of the Cohesion fund and te European Social Fund. Interreg aims to promote a harmonious economic, social and territorial development of the Union as a whole. The focus of the programme is on strengthening cross-border collaboration and it provides a framework for implementation of joint actions and policy exchanges between actors from different Member States. Many member states, regions and cities have made use of Interreg to fund climate change adaptation (CCA) planning and implementation. 


The structure

The first Interreg programme was launched in 1990 (Interreg I (1990-1993)), followed by Interreg II (1994-1999), Interreg III (2000-2006) Interreg IV (2007-2013) and Interreg V (2014-2020). The 2021-2027 Programme (Interreg VI) is structured as follows:

  1. Interreg A – Cross-Border: to enhance cross-border cooperation between NUTS III regions from at least two different Member States lying directly on the borders or adjacent to them. Interreg A can be used to invest in innovation, health care, education, employment and labour mobility. Risk prevention and emergency response as part of climate adaptation can be financed by this programme.
  2. Interreg B - Transnational: to enhance transnational cooperation between regions from several countries by developing a joint approach to tackle common issues like in the fields of innovation, environment, accessibility, telecommunication, urban development. For the programming period 2021-2027, 14 transnational cooperation programmes will continue to support cooperation activities at larger scale in Europe and beyond. For more information on how climate change is embedded in transnational Interreg programmes, click here.
  3. Interreg C - Networking: to enhance interregional cooperation to build up networks for developing good practice and facilitating the exchange and transfer of experience by successful regions. For the programming period 2021-2027, Interreg C covers 3 interregional cooperation programmes (Interreg EUROPE, INTERACT, and ESPON) sharing the objective to increase the capacity of policy-makers to develop and implement better regional policies.
  4. Interreg D – Outermost regions: the objective of the new strand D, specifically established for the outermost regions, is to allow them to cooperate with their neighbouring countries and territories in the most efficient and simple way. Strand D concerns 4 geographical areas: Amazonia, Caribbean, Middle Atlantic/Gulf of Guinea (MAC), Indian Ocean, Mozambique Channel. For more information about how climate change is embedded in Interreg programmes for outermost region, click here.


Moreover, in 2021-2027. the cross-border cooperation (CBC) between EU Member States and Neighbourhood is governed by the EU Cohesion policy and the programmes are fully part of the Interreg Programme, known as “Interreg NEXT”. The cooperation with candidate countries occurs through Interreg IPA (Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance) organised in 14 programmes covering cooperation in 212 regions.


For more information check the Interreg website.


Budget, objectives and priorities for the Interreg 2021-2027

Interreg VI has a budget of about EUR 10 billion invested in over 100 cooperation programmes across the borders, in and outside the EU. A share of about 6.7 billion EUR is allocated to the 73 cross-border cooperation programmes (strand A), 2.3 billion EUR to the 14 transnational cooperation programmes (strand B), 500 million EUR to the Interregional cooperation programmes (strand C) and 300 million EUR for the outermost regions (strand D).

The budget should contribute to the five Policy Objectives (PO) of the EU’s cohesion policy and to additional two Interreg Specific Objectives (SO):

  • A more competitive and smarter Europe (PO1)
  • A greener, low-carbon transitioning towards a net zero carbon economy and resilient Europe (PO2)
  • A more connected Europe (PO3)
  • A more social and inclusive Europe (PO4)
  • A Europe closer to citizens (PO5)
  • A better Cooperation governance (ISO1)
  • A safer and more secure Europe (ISO2)

Climate change adaptation is expected to be particularly addressed by projects funded under PO2. Enabling conditions for adaptation are also expected from PO4 and ISO1.


Some Interreg V (2014-2020) projects on climate change adaptation

Climate change adaptation (CCA) projects financed by Interreg can be found in the KEEP database.

Climate change adaptation projects financed by Interreg A - Cross-Border

One of the many Cross-Border programmes is Interreg 2 Seas Mers Zeeën. This is the collaboration between coastal areas of England, France, Flanders (Belgium) and the Netherlands that are located at the Channel and North Sea. Seven projects on CCA are at this moment launched. One of them is SPONGE2020, started in July 2016 and lasting 4 years, that aims to improve the adaptation capacity of cities and densely built areas in the 2 Seas region by co-creating and implementing innovative climate change solutions with stakeholders. Experiences are shared and nature based solutions for CCA are co-created. By 2020, this project will have resulted in an increase of adaptation capacity of densely built areas of at least 25,000 m3 and cost saving of 10 – 50% compared to traditional CCA investments. The total project budget is € 6 840 257 and is implemented by regional and local authorities like the Rotterdam, Antwerp, Somerset County Council, Essex County Council, Regional water authority of Delfland, Westcountry River Trust, Westland, and Southend-on-Sea Borough Council. SPONGE2020 is a good example to show that Interreg programming can be used to implement nature based solutions for climate change adaptation.

Climate change adaptation projects financed by Interreg B - Transnational

There are also many Interreg Transnational programmes that finance climate change adaptation projects.  In particular, Eastern European countries may have limited funds for CCA. The Interreg Programming is a good way to support them in a transition towards an adaptive society.

For more information on projects funded by Interreg B – Transnational, click here

Climate change adaptation projects financed by Interreg C - Networking

To ensure knowledge sharing on climate change adaptation among the member states, Interreg Networking has financed several knowledge exchange projects. One of them is PERFECT – Planning for Environment and Resource Efficiency in European Cities and Towns. This network aims to improve the implementation of regional development policies for the protection and development of natural heritage through the recognition of the multiple benefits of Green Infrastructure by Managing Authorities, partners and stakeholder groups. PERFECT partners will work with regional stakeholders and inter-disciplinary teams within their organizations to identify and integrate the multi-use of Green Infrastructure into long-term policies and practices, and crucially, investments.

PERFECT outputs will include 7 Action Plans for GI, expert paper, factsheets, guidance and a matrix of good practices. The total budget is € 1,839,719.60. Partners in this network are local authorities of the Netherlands, Slovenia, Slovakia, Italy, Austria, Hungary and United Kingdom.

Climate change adaptation financed by Interreg IPA Cross-Border

Climate change adaptation can be one of the topics to foster stable relations with candidate countries, potential candidate countries and EU Member States. The IPA Cross-Border Co-operation Programme Hungary-Serbia has received funds in the period 2014-2020. One of the projects is PROTECT-HUSRB that has the objective to decrease environmental risks and preventing the negative effects of climate change on nature-protected areas in the Hungary-Serbia border regions by joint actions in monitoring, mapping and preventing invasive species. The project has started in January 2018 and will continue until September 2019. Total budget is €284.817, 34.

Climate change adaptation projects financed by ENPI/ENI Cross-Border

Collaboration with non-EU countries at the borders of the European Union help to stabilize the area. Interreg V has not yet climate change adaptation projects. Interreg IV has included ENPI/ENI cross-border projects for CCA. Climate change adaptation has been one of the topics for collaboration in the Black Sea Region, for instance by the financing and the launch of MAREAS – the Black Sea Joint Regional Research Centre for Mitigation and Adaptation to the Global Changes Impact. Institutes of Romania, Bulgaria, Georgia, Ukraine and Turkey have collaborated in this centre. Interreg has financed this centre by €459.169, 29.

INTERREG projects on Climate-ADAPT

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