Urban Klima 2050 unveils its advances in climate action at Uhinak 2022


LIFE IP Urban Klima 2050 has taken the advances made in its climate change actions in the Basque Country to Uhinak 2022, the cross-border conference on climate and coastal change, which is being held at the Ficoba exhibition centre (Irun, Gipuzkoa) on 16 and 17 November. Over the two days, Urban Klima 2050 will have its own stand to showcase the different actions in three policy areas – urban & peri-urban, river basins and the Basque coastal area – implemented from 2019 to 2021.

In its third year up and running, LIFE IP Urban Klima 2050, the Basque Country's largest climate action project for the coming years, has shown that it making progress to ensure the resilience of Basque territory to climate change.

Those advances include strategic actions such as:

o  The review of the current Climate Change Strategy of the Basque Country that has allowed challenges to be identified and a series of improvements to be obtained that will be incorporated into the design of the Climate Change and Energy Transition Roadmap to 2050 and the Strategy to 2030 which are currently in the pipeline

o  Climate risk assessment for the Basque country with future projection of variables such as humidity, wind and radiation, and temperature and precipitations, along with conducting a soil erosion analysis

o  Approval of the Climate Change and Energy Transition Plan 2021-2024. Based on the assessment of the KLIMA 2050 Strategy, it is the prelude to the future Basque Energy Transition and Climate Change Act and the Climate Change and Energy Transition Roadmap to 2050

Furthermore, within the actions aimed at establishing planning guidelines, the focus has been on:

o  Integrating climate change in urban and territorial planning, in health and hydrological policies

o  Integrating the climate change adaptation variable in the process to prepare Sectoral Territorial Plan of Renewable Energies in the Basque Country

o  Assessment of municipal emergency plans to analyse their adaptation to climate change

Furthermore, Urban Klima 2050 has begun to get down to details with the launch of pilot schemes. The progress at urban and peri-urban level includes:

o  Pilot schemes in the three Basque capitals associated to nature-based solutions and their co-benefits

o   Key green infrastructure to improve the urban-rural connection and the resilience of the territory with different pilot projects:

Furthermore, healthy and sustainable mobility and renewable energies actions have been implemented in different municipalities.

As regards the climate change adaptation measures in the river basins, different intervention pilot schemes have been conducted along different rivers. Progress has been made in drafting the project to create floodable areas next to the course of the River  Estepona through Bakio;  the rewilding of the area along the Errekatxulo watercourse in Añorga (Donostia/San Sebastián) and the banks of the River Ebro through Labastida (Araba). Adaptation measures have also been deployed regarding the supply of water in the River Baia basin.

In turn, with respect to climate change adaptation measures in the coastal area, early warning and prediction tools have been developed to assess and minimise the effects of climate change on coastal areas such as Zarautz and Donostia/San Sebastián. A study has been conducted that analyses the impact of climate change on 28 beaches of the Basque Country. Actions aimed at port adaptation have also been implemented. They include the study of the current status of the port of Ondarroa and the assessment of flood protection in the urban settings of 15 Basque ports.

Citizen empowerment is another of the goals of Urban Klima 2050. Therefore, different actions and tools to rally citizens to action have been deployed. Work is also underway to integrate climate change in the day-to-day running of the Public Administration with the introduction of different training actions in that regard.

Finally,  climate governance structures such as the ‘Climate Change Hub’ are being set up; the integration of climate energy policies in regional policies that influence the large urban areas is being analysed, and new governance models for climate action are being designed.

                                      ADVANCES 2022 REPORT – LIFE IP URBAN KLIMA 2050