The Basque Government shares its good practices on climate change at the EU Adaptation Mission Forum in Sweden


Adolfo Uriarte, the Director of Natural Heritage and Climate Change of the Basque Government, presented the progress achieved by Euskadi in climate change adaptation at the EU Climate Change Adaptation Mission Forum held in Blekinge, Sweden.

The EU Mission on Climate Change Adaptation focuses on supporting and bringing together efforts of European regions, cities, and local authorities to develop resilience against the impacts of climate change in the remaining decade. For its part, the annual Forum is an opportunity to take stock, identify problems, provide guidance and define the way forward, by bringing together national, regional and local authorities, European institutions and research organizations that drive the Mission.

In addition, the event has also served to share experiences and regional initiatives on adaptation to climate change. In that sense, Adolfo Uriarte, Director of Natural Heritage and Climate Change of the Basque Government, has shared the good practices that the Basque Country has already implemented in its particular Basque Adaptation Mission.

The Basque Country is one of the 118 regions selected for the EU Climate Change Adaptation Mission, and within this framework, it has been recognized as an advanced region in terms of adaptation due to its more than 20-year track record in climate planning. The selection of the Basque Country to be part of this mission, together with its participation in the Regions4Climate project, confirms the innovative and pioneering nature of the work carried out by the Basque Government in terms of adaptation, including relevant large-scale projects such as the LIFE IP URBAN KLIMA 2050 project, the analysis of vulnerability and risk of the Basque coast in the face of climate change Kostaegoki, as well as the promotion of a new model of climate governance among public and private entities, and the deployment of local climate action through the Udalsarea 2030 network, the Basque network of sustainable municipalities.

Basque Mission and Regions4Climate

Within the framework of the European project Regions4Climate, where Euskadi will collaborate with a dozen European regions on innovative climate resilience solutions, the Basque Government has already initiated two main actions: the restoration of several marshland areas in the Txingudi Bay and the implementation of the Basque Adaptation to Climate Change Mission.

The first of the interventions falls within the actions planned in the Master Plan for the recovery and improvement of the connectivity of the estuary ecosystems of Txingudi, specifically, the area of the San Lorenzo lagoon. This area is an intertidal zone controlled by gates, and the intervention will consist of a comprehensive environmental restoration, removing these gates that currently regulate the entry of brackish water and removing the agricultural land.
The location where the project will be carried out, the bay of Txingudi, was already intervened 25 years ago to bring nature closer to society and fauna. Now, it is expected that the recovery of the original marshland will significantly improve the capacity for resilience against the imminent effects of climate change, and have a positive impact on the biodiversity of the area. In total, 5.5 hectares of land will be recovered.

The process of involving local actors in Txingudi will be used to extrapolate it to the rest of the territory and address the second challenge of the Basque Country in the Regions4Climate project: the deployment of the Basque Mission for Climate Change Adaptation. With it, it seeks to align the Basque Country's planning in terms of adaptation with the priorities at European level, especially in terms of financing.

About Regions4Climate

The Regions4Climate project, coordinated by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, brings together 44 partners from different European countries to demonstrate innovations that enhance society's resilience to the effects of climate change, in line with the Paris Agreement and the European Green Deal. Under the motto "Building Resilient Communities" and based on cross-sectoral strategies created by and for people, the project's partner entities will collaboratively develop and implement innovative social, technological, digital, business, governance, and environmental solutions to enhance adaptive capacity and minimize vulnerability to climate impacts.

The five-year project, which started in January 2023, has received a total grant of 24,522,103.00 euros from the European Commission under the Horizon Europe research and innovation program. It falls under the topic "Large-scale Demonstrators of Climate Resilience for Cross-border Value Creation," according to the agreement number 101093873 HORIZON-MISS-2021-CLIMA-02-04.

About Urban Klima 2050

The largest climate action project in the Basque Country, LIFE IP Urban Klima 2050, will transform the Basque territory through the coordination of a total of 40 actions for climate change mitigation and adaptation from 2019 to 2025. It is led by the public company Ihobe, part of the Department of Economic Development, Sustainability and Environment, which works together with around twenty entities. These include two other areas of the Basque Government (the Department of Health and the Directorate of Ports and Maritime Affairs), the three provincial councils, the municipalities of Bilbao, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Donostia/San Sebastián, Bakio, Bermeo, Gernika-Lumo, and Zarautz, two public companies of the Basque Government (EVE and URA), as well as technological and research centers (AZTI, BC3, Neiker, Tecnalia, and Tecnun), and the Naturklima Foundation.

Endowed with a budget of 19.8 million euros, it will facilitate the effective deployment of the Basque Country's Climate Change Strategy, KLIMA 2050, at the urban level.