The European Commission selects the design of the Zorrotzaurre peninsula as an example of climate change adaptation


On 26 July, the European Commission adopted a set of guidelines to help Member States implement and update their climate change adaptation strategies, plans and policies. The document with the new recommendations includes 5 examples of climate adaptation measures in different European cities, including Bilbao, along with Botkyrka (Sweden), Basel (Switzerland), Vicentina (Italy), and the Mückenatlas surveillance project for a mosquito atlas in Germany to control the spread of the insect.

Specifically, the Commission's document highlights the Zorrotzaurre urban regeneration project as an example of public-private partnership and which includes specific measures to flood-proof the district. These include opening the Deusto canal, turning the Zorrotzaurre peninsula into an island; constructing a 1.5 flood protection wall for the new buildings; installing storm water tanks, along with providing green public spaces that can absorb flood water.

The document, published by the European Commission on its website, seeks to be an essential tool for all public administrations of the Member States to make climate adaptation a top political priority.

The aim is to help them adopt climate change adaptation policies by means of multi-level climate governance. The recommendations include a comprehensive list of the key characteristics of the adaptation policies to be applied to the general framework of each country's policies.

The Basque Country, a benchmark region in climate adaptation

The selection of a Basque city as an example of climate change adaptation is no accident as the Basque Country is a leading European region in the application of mitigation and adaptation policies; hence, in 2022 the European Union selected the Basque Country as a benchmark region in adaptation and resilience to be part of the EU Mission on Adaptation to Climate Change.

This designation means that the Basque Country is ready to be the mirror to be held up to the other European regions and share, among other aspects, its experiences in climate governance with the deployment of local adaptation and mitigation policies through Udalsarea 2030, the network of Basque municipalities.

In addition, URBAN KLIMA 2050, an important climate adaptation project, – led by Ihobe, a Basque Government's publicly-run company, and 50% funded by the European LIFE programme – is underway in the Basque Country; a score companies are taking part: the Basque Government, the three provincial governments, the local councils of Bilbao, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Donostia/San Sebastián, Bakio, Bermeo, Gernika-Luma and Zarautz, the publicly-run EVE [Basque Energy Board] and URA [Basque Water Agency], along with the AZTI, BC3, Neiker, Tecnalia and Tecnun technology and research centres, and the Naturklima Foundation.