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EU regional policy

Regional Policy or Cohesion Policy is the EU’s main investment policy. Regional Policy takes into consideration all regions and cities in the EU in order to support job creation, business competitiveness, economic growth, sustainable development, and improve citizens’ quality of life. Regional Policy provides the necessary investment framework to meet the goals of the Europe 2020 Strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth in the European Union.

Key information on EU funds for adaptation action in Regional Policy can be found in the EU funding of adaptation section of Climate-ADAPT

Cohesion Policy 2014-2020

To help Member States and their regions in setting strategic direction for the next financial planning period from 2014 to 2020, the Commission presented on 14 March 2012 the Common Strategic Framework (CSF: Part I and Part II).

Climate change adaptation is explicitly addressed in thematic objective 5 of CSF: "Promoting climate change adaptation and risk prevention and management". Key actions under this thematic objective proposed for the ERDF and Cohesion Fund, include:

  • development of strategies and action plans for adaptation to climate change and risk prevention and management plans at national, regional and local level and for building up a knowledge base and data observation capacities, and mechanisms for the exchange of information;
  • increased investment in adaptation to climate change and risk prevention and management, including: avoiding damage and increasing resilience to the built environment and other infrastructure; protecting human health; decreasing future pressure on water resources; investing in flood and coastal defences; and decreasing the vulnerability of ecosystems in order to increase resilience and enable ecosystem-based adaptation;
  • development of tools (detection, early warning and alert systems, risk mapping and assessment) and increased investment disaster management systems, to facilitate disaster resilience and risk prevention and management for natural risks, including weather-related risks (such as storms, extreme temperature events, forest fires, droughts, floods) and geophysical risks (such as avalanches, landslides, earthquakes, volcanoes), and to support societal responses to industrial risks (early warning systems, risk mapping).

Key actions for the EAFRD address:

  • sustainable water management, including water efficiency (with regard to ecosystems), through the creation of on-farm water storage zones; support for water-efficient cropping patterns; and the establishment and management of forest protection belts against erosion;
  • improved soil management through support for practices to prevent soil degradation and depletion of soil carbon stock, such as low tillage, winter green cover, and the establishment of agro-forestry systems and new forests;
  • ensuring a high potential for adaptation to climate change and diseases and maintaining genetic diversity, especially by supporting local crop varieties and livestock breeds.


Cohesion policy for climate change adaptation to climate change and risk prevention

Cohesion Policy plays an important role in supporting risk prevention efforts to adapt to the present and future impacts of climate change. Through an investment of EUR 8 billion, Cohesion Policy address various types of risks, related or not to climate change adaptation. The predominant focus is on flood prevention. It supports adaptation measures by promoting ecosystem-based approaches, developing new infrastructures or retro-fitting existing infrastructures. Moreover, it contributes to developing disaster resilience and disaster management systems at regional and local level, also for other types of risks. For instance, measures to address the 'knowledge gap' such as the necessary academic research, studies and reports, strategy development, ICT support or awareness and education measures can be co-funded. More information on funding opportunities for disaster risk management can be found here.

An introduction to the cohesion policy can be found here.