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Climate change adaptation of major infrastructure projects


This study reviewed the availability of resource materials that can support infrastructure project developers to consider climate change adaptation. It provides an overall stocktaking of available resources that contribute to the preparedness of Member States regarding the climate change requirements of the European Structural and Investment Funds programming period 2014–2020. Finally, it identifies some good practices in adapting to climate change.

Information for the stocktaking component of the study was collected through web-based desk research, as well as questionnaires and interviews aimed at relevant national competent authorities (managing authorities, research institutes, ministry officials, etc.). Stocktaking was done both at the European and Member State level. The study distinguishes seven categories of resources:

  • Data availability; the availability, accessibility and applicability of data on climate projections and impacts, geophysical parameters, long-term scenarios, economic, environmental and social impacts, etc.
  • Methodologies; quantitative or qualitative methodologies (a system of processes, a set of principles and rules) for integrating climate change adaptation in the development of infrastructure projects.
  • Tools for planning, evaluation, impact estimation (i.e. software, maps, computer simulations, long term climate forecast visualisations etc.) to assist the adaptation of infrastructure to climate impacts.
  • Guidance on how to use methodologies (i.e. for conducting climate change vulnerability and risk assessments) or develop the required infrastructure project documentation relating to climate adaptation.
  • Design standards; the availability of published engineering design standards (i.e. by BSI, DIN, ISO) for infrastructure projects that include sections or appropriate provisions to ensure resilience to climate change impacts.
  • System and legal framework; the institutional and legal framework adopted by formal authorities across the EU which is used to deliver responsibilities for climate adaptation, infrastructure and the management of European Structural and Investment Funds.
  • Institutional capacity; human and technical capacity of institutions to carry out their functions relating to climate change adaptation.

This study reviewed the preparedness in terms of availability of sector-specific resources for six different sectors of the economy (receptors): transport, broadband, urban development, energy, water and waste.

The study also gathered good practice case studies providing examples of the integration of climate change adaptation and resilience into infrastructure projects. The case studies reflect a variety of Member States, geographical locations and sectors and are presented in a standardised manner to allow an easy dissemination of key messages.

Reference information

European Commission, Directorate General for Regional and Urban Policy

Published in Climate-ADAPT Jun 28 2019   -   Last Modified in Climate-ADAPT Sep 10 2022

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