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Case studies

Valencian Collaboration Space (Spain): towards multi-level governance in support of the EU Missions

Valencian Collaboration Space (Spain): towards multi-level governance in support of the EU Missions

A robust multi-level governance framework is necessary to coordinate actions, foster synergies, and lead the collaborative implementation of EU Missions. The Valencian Collaboration space utilises existing multi-level networks and collaborative mechanisms that are essential for achieving effective multi-level governance. These elements offer support to local governments in the design and implementation of local adaptation strategies and actions.  

The case study delves into the ongoing development of a multi-level governance framework in València, Spain. This framework is designed to take a leadership role and expedite action within the context of the EU Mission on Adaptation to climate change. The so-called ‘collaboration space’ aims to establish an effective mechanism for the coordination, collaboration, and decision-making among the regional and local authorities, enabling synergies between adaptation and mitigation, and leading the collaborative deployment of the EU Missions. By doing so, it aims to establish permanent, effective and collaborative climate adaptation processes at local level.  

The case study involves the Regional Government of Valencia (Generalitat Valenciana), which is the governing body of the Autonomous Community of Valencia (Comunidad Valenciana) and València City Council (Ayuntamiento de Valencia) and affiliated institutions. Both entities signed the Charter of the Mission on Adaptation to Climate Change, emphasizing the need for coordination between regional and local authorities in implementing adaptation actions. València city’s participation in the EU Mission on Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities offers additional opportunities for identifying and maximizing synergies between the two EU Climate Missions. 

The ‘collaboration space’ results from past coordination efforts at the regional and local levels, as well as ongoing local activities and interactions with other EU Missions. The framework draws inspiration from the governance structure of the "València 2030 Climate Mission" a local mission-oriented initiative that laid the groundwork for València's participation in the EU Missions. Finally, the multi-level ‘collaboration space’ is further put forward in the binding Climate City Contract signed by València city in the context of the EU Mission on Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities. 

Case Study Description

Challenges

Recent evidence from the IPCC (2022) highlights the urgency of addressing climate change and its impacts. In València, climate adaptation is now gaining prominence after years of mitigation being the primary focus of climate policy and implementation.  

València is encountering challenges that are commonly shared across the Mediterranean basin. The Regional Government has already assessed the main risks and impacts of climate change in the Region of València. Anticipated temperature increases, water scarcity, droughts, and other risks are expected to negatively affect ecosystems, human health, and key economic sectors. València City Council (often cited as Valencia city in the text) has an updated climate risk assessment, considering the immediate catchment area and sensitive ecosystems. It experiences climate-related impacts such as heatwaves, droughts, flooding, sea level rise, and coastal erosion.  

Both the Regional Government and València City Council have made progress in addressing these impacts through advancing climate risk assessments, raising public awareness campaigns and putting forward adaptation solutions involving sustainable water management and using nature 

In València, the authorities are striving for an integrated approach to comprehensively achieve their climate objectives. This entails fostering synergies between adaptation and mitigation, integrating adaptation goals into sector-specific policies, aligning regional and local adaptation initiatives, and increasing local awareness. Implementing this approach requires the establishment of effective mechanisms for vertical coordination, cooperation, and multi-stakeholder engagement, including government agencies, community organizations, universities, businesses, and civil society. However, establishing a multi-level governance framework to support the long-term process of climate change adaptation is a complex task that requires sufficient time and effort. 

Objectives

The Regional Government and València City Council have actively participated in the climate-related EU Missions to advance their approach. València city initially joined the EU Mission on Climate Neutral and Smart Cities in 2022 in becoming climate neutral by 2030. Following the selection of the region in the EU Mission on Adaptation to Climate Change, València city also signed the Charter. This step solidified the necessary collaboration between the region and the city in jointly addressing climate adaptation planning and implementation, while also ensuring the delivery of mitigation co-benefits.  The objectives of this multi-level collaboration space include: 

  • Improving resilience to the impacts of climate change,  
  • Supporting the integration and mainstreaming of climate adaptation into municipal and regional planning, 
  • Supporting regional actors in acquiring the necessary skills to effectively plan for and implement climate adaptation, 
  • Aligning the regional and urban strategies and policies to bring about transformational change, 
  • identifying and utilizing synergies and determining joint tasks within the frameworks of the Climate-Neutral Cities & Climate Adaptation Missions, 
  • Citizens’ engagement is a key focus. 
Adaptation Options Implemented In This Case
Solutions

In València, a multi-level ‘collaboration space’ is being formed to establish vertical coordination between the city and the regional government, alongside multi-stakeholder cooperation. While still under development, this adaptation governance framework aspires to enable all local actors to pursue synergies and join efforts to address climate challenges and implement the climate-related EU missions.  

Adaptation to climate change requires action at various levels of government. Multi-level networks and collaborative mechanisms are essential for achieving effective multi-level governance. These elements offer support to local governments in the design and implementation of local adaptation strategies and actions (EEA, 2022). By the end of 2022, it was decided that defining a strong multi-level governance framework in Valencia was necessary to coordinate actions, pursue synergies, and lead the collaborative deployment of the EU Missions. That would require the creation and management of new multi-level governance arrangements, beyond those already active. Work started by contracting a specialized technical assistance support service to guide and support the whole process.  

The organizational structure proposed by the technical assistance is set out in two levels. The first one involves vertical coordination between the Regional Government, València city and associated agencies being in charge of steering and driving local climate policy making and implementation. It mainly comprises a Core Group that remains consistent throughout the planning and decision-making process, providing guidance and direction. Additionally, there is a supporting team consisting of representatives from institutions and boards who participate in specific initiatives as required.  

The Regional Government provides the enabling institutional framework, allocates resources, and coordinates and overviews adaptation actions undertaken by the local authorities falling within its jurisdiction, such as València city. Since 2013, the Commission for the Coordination of Climate Change Policies has been acting as an institutional coordination body to support policy-making within the region. The Valencian Climate Change Agency is also being established, as an independent advisory board, which will have several roles, including advising and monitoring on climate action. Finally, through the ‘Policy Support Facility’ under the Covenant of Mayors, the region is offering funding and technical assistance to all municipalities and help implement adaptation actions. València City, along with its local climate and energy institutions, such as València Clima I Energia and Las Naves has established various local governance structures to support climate action.  

The second level draws inspiration from the governance structure of the "València 2030 Climate Mission," a local initiative aimed at addressing climate challenges. This initiative served as a foundation for the city’s involvement in the EU Missions. Mission Alliance embraces the concept of the "Quintuple Helix framework”, which represents the collaboration of the private sector, public sector, academia, civil society, citizens, and the media. The Alliance seeks to create numerous transformative initiatives, including public policies, entrepreneurial innovations, and personal actions, that have a systemic impact on addressing the climate crisis. 

This collaboration space plays a crucial role in facilitating leadership, promoting a just social transition, realigning regulatory and financial frameworks, and effectively managing available resources. It also supports rapid learning, fosters alliances and networks, facilitates social communication, encourages the development of new innovative and technological capabilities, and promotes capacity building. 

Building on a long history of multi-level collaboration  

The Regional Government and València City Council have a successful history of establishing collaborative governance structures to tackle various issues including addressing climate change and energy-related goals. The establishment of the 'collaboration space' builds upon past coordination, partnerships, and ad-hoc governance structures at both regional and local levels.  

This collaborative approach has been effectively employed in various initiatives that include the European Green Capital 2024, and the Horizon 2020 funded projects ARCH (Advancing Resilience of Historic Areas against Climate-related and other Hazards) and TOMORROW (TOwards Multi-stakehOldeRs transition ROadmaps With citizens at the centre).  

The "València 2030 Climate Mission" is advanced through a multi-level coordination approach that fosters collaboration among a variety of stakeholders and embraces distributed leadership, exemplified by the Mission Alliance. In tandem with the city’s intention to join the EU Mission on Adaptation in 2022, the local mission expanded to include synergistic adaptation-mitigation planning. It integrates adaptation policies and actions into the development strategy and sectoral plans, aligning with regional and national government strategies. The local mission is linked to the València 2030 Urban Strategy and through that to the local public policy sphere, promoting systemic innovation and urban transformation. 

The Collaboration Space is also featured in the Climate City Contract, a binding agreement signed by València city within the framework of the EU Mission on Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities. Finally, upon joint decision, the Climate City Contract has been ratified by the Regional Government.  

Multi-level governance structure in action: New governance body to ensure resilience of L’ Horta de València 

The Valencian authorities successfully pursued collaborative governance in the past. L’Horta de Valencia is a 28km2 historic agricultural site near the city. It is a designated ‘Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System’ by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and encompasses Spain's largest lagoon, Albufera. L'Horta is governed by 40 local authorities including València. It serves as a strategic climate action site, showcasing the benefits of combining mitigation and adaptation efforts. It promotes local and sustainable food systems for emissions reduction and utilizes its potential for carbon storage. In terms of adaptation, L'Horta's integration into the peri-urban green infrastructure network provides ecosystem-based services, mitigating the heat island effect and preventing floods. The Valencian authorities implemented a new legislative framework to establish the Consell de L'Horta, a governance body that includes the Regional Government, Province, and municipalities, including València. This framework aims to support the multifunctional role of L'Horta and provides oversight for its management.  

Relevance

Case mainly developed and implemented because of other policy objectives, but with significant consideration of Climate Change Adaptation aspects

Additional Details

Stakeholder Participation

The Regional Government and València City Council have conducted stakeholder analyses to identify partnerships and collaborate closely with various stakeholders in the application and implementation of the two EU Missions. 

Workshop - Adaptation Mission in Comunidad Valènciana  

The workshop on the Adaptation Mission in Comunidad Valènciana, co-organized by the Directorate General for Climate Change and València city, brought together experts, policymakers, and stakeholders from various sectors. It served as a crucial step in identifying areas for future projects and establishing partnerships within the collaborative space.  

Public participation 

Public participation and raising awareness among citizens are integral to preparing the collaborative space for EU Missions. Several initiatives at the regional and city levels promote citizens' engagement, including Climate Pact Ambassadors, Women's Climate Action Network, Environmental Education programs, and the Citizen Climate Assembly. The latter, which was legally approved recently, is a forum for citizen representation that enables deliberative participation and the generation of collective knowledge and reflections on climate change. It also serves as a platform for discussing and developing public policies related to climate change.  

At the city level, the collaboration space involves a multi-level and multi-actor local platform, the Mission Alliance, which involves ambassador organizations, private sector entities, citizens, and influencers committed to the Climate City Contract.  

In addition to mobilizing the people of València, the Mission Alliance provides information, tools, and resources to facilitate sustainable actions. It offers a platform where individuals and businesses can showcase their efforts, learn from each other, and engage in sustainable practices. By seeing others' involvement and progress, more people and organizations are motivated to participate and contribute to making València a better city to live in. 

Mission Alliance consists of four levels of engagement: Engaged Citizenship, Joined entities, Ambassador Organisations, and Influential Figures. Engaged Citizenship refers to the active involvement of citizens in adopting sustainable habits, consumption patterns, including travel choices. Joined entities include small businesses and neighborhood associations voluntarily implementing sustainability measures. Ambassador Organisations are recognized for their strong commitment and innovative actions towards the EU Missions. Influential Figures are individuals who are influential within the Valèncian society and use their online platforms to advocate for a more sustainable world. They are reaching a broader audience than the public administrationClima I Energia, which manages the Climate Change Observatory, Observatory on the Road, and Energy Offices. The València Canvia Pel Clima campaign is an annual multi-stakeholder local event focused on climate change and energy transition experiences and celebrations. 

Moreover, the current collaborative work between the two administrations includes a specific task related to communicating and disseminating both EU Missions, aiming at raising awareness and promoting citizens engagement. 

Success and Limiting Factors

Success Factors 

The creation of the multi-level collaborative space relies on established partnerships, networks, and collaborative processes that have been developed over time. This culture of collaborative administration and trust has inspired the multi-level governance concept. Also, these authorities have maintained excellent communication despite working on interconnected initiatives with different timelines. For instance, while the Regional Government was still planning on the climate shelter regulations, València city was implementing its own network of climate shelters. Through collaboration and effective communication, both parties minimized the challenges and maximized the efficient use of resources. 

The presence of supportive administration and political leadership has been essential in establishing the new governance framework. The collaboration of multidisciplinary working groups allowed for a deeper analysis of the whole range of synergies and conflicts between actions across the different work areas of both authorities. Contracting a technical assistance support service provided specialized support in the design of the collaborative space as well as on the development of the whole process.  

Limiting Factors 

The introduction of the multi-level collaborative space encountered obstacles during its implementation. Firstly, effectively communicating both EU Missions to the civil society proved to be challenging due to the complexities inherent in communicating climate objectives. Certain messages were difficult to convey accurately, particularly to citizens who are generally unfamiliar with this field. Additionally, while stakeholder mapping had already been done, the main challenge was getting them actively involved in climate action, both in terms of mitigation and adaptation.  Furthermore, being part of the first group to develop these systemic transitions meant there were no existing success stories to learn from. The need for local staff to achieve the climate transition was highlighted in recent campaigns and studies. Breaking down organizational silos and advancing towards faster and more innovative administrative procedures was another challenge. 

Costs and Benefits

The project's costs primarily consist of a technical assistance contract to support the establishment of the collaborative space. Additionally, there are expenses related to staff, representation, and meetings. Assessing or quantifying the monetary benefits of the process is currently challenging as the enhanced governance is expected to have a cross-cutting influence on future climate action, which currently is difficult to assessThe costs associated with the Mission on Adaptation workshop included staff, materials, speakers, catering, and promotion, totalling €16,317.24, with staff costs amounting to €1,017.43. NextGenerationEU Funds have been used in this process, as well as own funds of the participating entities.   

The Spanish policy framework on climate change adaptation includes both national and regional levels. The National Climate Change Adaptation Plan (PNACC), developed since 2006, serves as the reference framework for generating knowledge and implementing adaptive responses to climate change. At the national level, Law 7/2021 on climate change and energy transition aims to achieve greenhouse gas emission neutrality and to establish an efficient and renewable energy system in Spain. Title V of the law focuses on adaptation to climate change and highlights the National Plan for Adaptation to Climate Change as the key planning instrument. It provides guidelines for considering climate change in various sectors, such as water management, biodiversity protection, territorial planning, and transport. 

Regional governments have developed their own strategic frameworks, plans, and programs for climate change adaptation, which are implemented through various initiatives and actions. The AdapteCCa platform provides information on these regional frameworks and actions. Currently, five regions have approved their own regional climate change laws, while two regions (La Rioja and Galicia) are in the process of adopting their laws. The regions with approved laws include Andalusia, the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands, Catalonia, and the Valencian Region. 

The urgency of climate change can lead to hasty decisions and inconsistent regulations. These regulations, often dependent on higher administrative levels, may deviate from climate resilience goals. Recently, the Valencian Climate Change and Ecological Transition Law was approved by the Council (Llei 6/2022, 5 de desembre, DOGV Num. 9486 / 09.12.2022), providing a legal basis for climate change adaptation. Aligned with the European Green Deal, this regulation aims to reverse the impact of the climate emergency through targeted actions in energy, urbanism and territory, mobility, and green taxation.  

The law emphasizes collaboration and participation, establishing the Valencian Climate Change and Ecological Transition Council to coordinate climate policies. It encourages the formation of Local Councils for Climate Change and Ecological Transition at the municipal level, fostering engagement and facilitating local climate action plans. Overall, this law demonstrates a strong commitment to effective governance, driving the region toward a sustainable and resilient future. 

Implementation Time

The current phase of configuring the new collaboration space requires one year for implementation, starting from September 2022. Additional time may be necessary to establish any potential permanent coordinating body that could be formed. 

A one-year workplan has been approved in September 2022 by the Core Group to lay the groundwork for future efforts. Significant progress has been made by collaborating on the compilation and analysis of synergies between climate adaptation and mitigation actions undertaken by València City Council, its affiliated organizations, and the regional entities. Currently, no specific monitoring or evaluation mechanism has been established, but once the collaboration space is established as a permanent body, appropriate monitoring procedures will be determined

Life Time

The proposed measures have an indefinite lifetime. The governance structure is subject to continuous improvement and updating should circumstances (e.g. new regulations) make this advisable.

Reference Information

Contact

Regional Government

Patricia Callaghan Pitlik Head of the Climate Agenda 2030 Service
DG of Climate Change of the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development, Climate Emergency and Ecological Transition. Valencian Government
+ 34 961 24 70 08 (callaghan:_pat@gva.es)

Ciro Pascual Garrido  Technical officer of the Climate Agenda 2030 Service
DG of Climate Change of the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development, Climate Emergency and Ecological Transition. Valencian Government
+ 34 961 24 86 31 (pscual_cirgar@gva.es

 

Valencia City Council 

José Villalba Ruiz. Head of the Climate Emergency and Energy Transition Service 
Urban Ecology, Climate Emergency and Energy Transition Area. Municipality of València
+34 96 96 352 54 78 (jvillalbar@valencia.es). Generic e-mail: scambioclimatico@valencia.es 

Emilio Servera Martínez. Environmental Projects Officer 
València Clima i Energia. Municipal Foundation
+34 961 061 588 (emilio.servera@climaienergia.com). Generic e-mail: climaienergia@climaienergia.com

   

* This case study was developed within the framework of the EU Mission on Adaptation to Climate Change, involving the European Environment Agency (EEA), Valencia city council, the regional government of Valencia, and the Mission Secretariat. Additionally, valuable contributions were provided by Tecnalia Research & Innovation and TECH friendly through their work with the Valencia authorities* 

Published in Climate-ADAPT Sep 20 2023   -   Last Modified in Climate-ADAPT Dec 12 2023


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