ICLEI European Secretariat

ICLEI European Secretariat

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Climate change adaptation

Extreme weather events like heavy rainfall, hail, violent storms and heat-waves are increasing in frequency and sea levels continue to rise – the effects of global warming and climate change are undeniable. Urban systems are highly vulnerable to these threats.

Climate impacts vary significantly from region to region, and can fluctuate within definite geographical areas. Adaptation and resilience management is therefore required both on a regional and local scale to move towards resilient communities.

Supporting communities in making tangible changes

ICLEI is committed to supporting cities, towns and urban regions in their efforts to develop adaptation strategies and action plans, and to guide them through a systematic process of implementation and management. Acknowledging the complexity and cross-cutting nature of the challenges, ICLEI emphasises the need to develop strategies for adaptation and resilience as an integral part of any statutory planning process.

ICLEI is an interface between various levels of government - from the European Union to the local level - as well as between research, policy and practice.


ICLEI has been involved in a number of climate change adaptation projects:

  • Smart Mature Resilience (2015-2018) is a multi-disciplinary research project working to enhance cities' resilience. The project will develop Resilience Management Guidelines to help cities resist, absorb and recover from shocks and stresses caused by climate change, social dynamics and critical infrastructure vulnerability, with the goal of strengthening Europe's nexus of resilient cities.

  • RESIN (2015-2018) is an interdisciplinary European-funded research project investigating climate resilience in European cities. The project works with cities and research institutions to develop tools to support cities in designing and implementing climate adaptation strategies for their local contexts.

  • RAMSES (2012 2017) is a European research project delivering much needed quantification of the impact of climate change on cities, as well as criteria to prioritise adaptation options. Through understanding city characteristics and climate change impacts on the urban scale, the project assesses risks and vulnerabilities, and the costs and benefits of respective adaptation measures.

  • EU Cities Adapt (2011 2013), a piloting project implemented for DG CLIMA that  provided capacity building and coaching for European cities in developing and implementing adaptation strategies.

  • CHAMP (2009 2012) trained and supported local and sub-regional authorities in implementing an integrated management system for climate change mitigation and adaptation, promoting the method and the model Europe-wide.

  • AsianCitiesAdapt (2010 2013) brought together science and policy in order to identify the impacts of climate change and develop policy support tools for adaptation strategies in four Indian cities and four Philippine cities.


ICLEI organises events to share knowledge, create awareness and provide an exchange platform for cities, researchers and adaptation practitioners. Key events include:

  • The Open European Day, taking place back-to-back with the BRC, a unique interactive exchange platform focused on European Cities, their requirements to successfully adapt and their supporters.


ICLEI is involved in creating and advancing tools that support local governments in assessing their vulnerability and developing their adaptation and resilience strategies.

Available tools include:


ICLEI establishes Partnerships for raising awareness on climate change adaptation. ICLEI is currently knowledge partner of the global Connect4Climate programme, launched by the World Bank, the Italian Ministry of Environment, and the Global Environment Facility (GEF), dedicated to climate change communication.

EMAS at ICLEI