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EU Green Infrastructure Strategy

Description

The EU Green Infrastructure Strategy (2013) promotes the protection, restoration, creation and enhancement of green infrastructure. The strategy shows how green infrastructure (GI) and natural solutions can provide ecological, economic and social benefits in various EU policy areas. This includes EU climate change and adaptation policy, among many others such as the Common Agricultural Policy, EU maritime affairs and fisheries policy, disaster risk management, EU urban, water, health, energy or transport policy. Whenever green infrastructure offers an alternative to grey measures, the green solution should be endorsed or established as a complement.

The GI Strategy sets out four priority work streams:

  1. promoting green infrastructure in the main policy areas;
  2. improving information, strengthening the knowledge base and promoting innovation;
  3. improving access to finance;
  4. contributing to the development of GI projects at EU level.

In addition, GI and green corridors must be supported on a high spatial component and should not end at territorial boarders. Therefore, the development of a Trans-European Network for Green Infrastructure in Europe is another objective of the strategy.

The GI Strategy was adopted in 2013. Since then the Commission provides guidance on implementing the Strategies goals and reviews the implementation.

In 2015, the report Supporting the Implementation of Green Infrastructure (2015) was published, which includes general recommendation on how to promote GI as well as specific country  and sector factsheets (Annex 1).

In 2019, the Commission published one guidance document and two review reports on the progress of implementation.

The EU Guidance document on a strategic framework for further supporting the deployment of EU-level green and blue infrastructure (2019) focuses on guidance for scaling-up investments in EU-level GI projects. Supporting tools and instruments are presented and explained, including (i) financing instruments to support strategic investments in EU-level GI projects; (ii) prioritized Action Frameworks (which are planning tools specifying the financing needs for the implementation of Natura 2000 and GI)); and (iii) scientific or technical tools, such as the EU initiative on mapping and assessment of ecosystems and their services (MAES), and geographical information system (GIS) tools. More detailed information on existing EU funding sources, on co-benefits and on several relevant case studies are provided within the Annex of the guidance document.

The two review reports look at the progress made in the development of Green Infrastructure (GI) and the challenges encountered in implementing the four priority work streams of the EU GI Strategy (see above).  The Review of progress on implementation of the EU green infrastructure strategy (2019) summarizes the overall lessons learned and makes recommendations for future action. The report Additional information on the review of implementation of the EU green infrastructure strategy (2019) provides further details on GI mainstreaming in other EU policies and the implementation in the EU member states.

With regard to climate change adaptation and EU climate adaptation policy, the review reports note that GI and ecosystem-based solutions are becoming increasingly important and accepted. Both concepts are specifically addressed in the EU Strategy on adaptation to climate change (COM (2013) 216), and GI is referred to as part of several strategy action. At international level the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) repeatedly emphasizes the benefits of GI and ecosystem-based solutions in the context of climate change and adaptation. Overall, the EU GI strategy has successfully supported awareness raising and implementation of GI in many areas. The reports highlight several good practice examples of mainstreaming GI in different EU policies, of GI projects and activities in the EU member states.

Both review reports conclude that a lot has happened in the last few years, but there is still high potential more to be done. It is recommended that greater emphasis should be placed on the economic, social and other co-benefits arising from GI and ecosystem-based solutions. There is still potential to further develop this and to strengthen effective mainstreaming of GI in relevant EU policies and legislation.

Reference information

Source:
EC documents

Published in Climate-ADAPT May 05 2020   -   Last Modified in Climate-ADAPT May 05 2020

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