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The Urban Adaptation Support Tool - Getting started

0.6 Where can I find support for adaptation planning in the form of advice and capacity building?

Guidance alone may not always provide sufficient support for city administrators to successfully develop and implement adaptation strategies. Additional questions may arise on specific issues embedded in the local situation and capacity building may be necessary to build a strong adaptation team that has good understanding of the necessary steps. Therefore, additional, more in-depth or more personalised support could be helpful. Currently cities have various options for obtaining additional support in the form of helpdesks, forums, workshops, seminars and webinars organised by a wide range of organisations on various governance levels. Twinning programmes and knowledge exchange events with city peers provide valuable hands-on support from other urban areas.


As the EU initiative for adaptation in urban areas Mayors Adapt is a port of call for the support for EU cities and towns. Mayors Adapt offers its signatories a Help Desk that responds to adaptation related questions from local administrations.

Mayors Adapt/Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy also organises twinning programmes wherein cities visit their peers to learn from each other’s experiences in adaptation planning and implementation.

European and international city associations, such as Climate Alliance, CEMR,  EurocitiesICLEI, and others often include adaptation to climate change among their focus areas and provide related capacity building and support activities.  

Other international organisations target their work in areas closely related to adaptation, such as disaster risk reduction, mitigation of climate change or sustainable urban development. They provide capacity building events and resources relevant for adaptation in urban areas. For example, UNISDR’ s Making Cities Resilient campaign offers webinars and capacity building events on disaster risk reduction(DRR), the World Bank’ s e-Institute offers e-Courses and webinars related to adaptation in urban areas; Adaptation Learning Mechanism, run by a group of international organisations working on adaptation issues, provides operational guidance for adaptation and adaptation learning; also UN-HABITAT’s Cities and Climate Change Initiative as well as Medellín Collaboration on Urban Resilience through their City Resilience Profiling Programme  and C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group all support adaptation-relevant knowledge building and exchange.

Furthermore, support and capacity building activities are organised by EU transnational regions that have developed regional adaptation strategies, often in the national languages of participating countries. Their activities mostly do not specifically target urban areas. The adaptation activities of transnational regions are detailed in the regions’ pages.

On a national level capacity building and support activities are organised as part of the implementation of national adaptation strategies. They can be either urban-specific or more general in their coverage. It is advisable to contact the national level agencies implementing adaptation policies to inquire about the available support relevant for urban adaptation. The contacts can be found in the country pages. Similar support may be available from sub-national (province, region or state) authorities. 

National and sub-national associations of municipalities both provide their own adaptation support instruments as well as disseminate the relevant information about external events and capacity building opportunities.

European and national level organisations providing adaptation-related funding offer capacity building activities for the successful uptake of the funding. More on funding opportunities and related organisations see Q1.4 What financial mechanisms and support can be used for adaptation

Adaptation research projects funded through EU funding schemes include workshops and knowledge exchange activities; they also work with local municipalities as partners for case studies. In this way, urban areas can collaborate with scientists and receive paid-for support from experts in the field.

Sector-specific advice and learning opportunities may be provided by the organisations described above; however, it is also recommendable to approach the sectoral associations of the key vulnerable sectors in your area.

See also Climate-ADAPT news section and Mayors Adapt news feed for announcements of relevant events.

International information for cities

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EU General information

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