Urban Klima 2050 reports on the progress during the second year of its climate actions to the European Commission’s technical assistance team


The Basque Country’s largest climate action project, LIFE IP Urban Klima 2050, has been visited by the NEEMO monitors, who provide the European Commission with technical assistance to track the progress of the LIFE call. They were in the Basque Country to see for themselves the progress in the second year of the project. On 25 and 26 November, the monitoring team leaders met in Urdaibai with the 20 partner entities taking part in the project headed by Ihobe, the Basque Government’s environmental management agency. The monitors also had the opportunity to learn about the actions being implemented in Bermeo and Bakio.

The visit began on Thursday 25 November with an information session at the Urdaibai Ekoetxea environmental centre. Representatives of the project’s partners there explained the progress achieved in the last year. Advances such as the recent publication of the Energy Transition and Climate Change Plan 2021-2024, which includes 15 emblematic initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30%, ensure a 20% share of renewables in the final energy consumption and secure the resilience of Basque territory to climate change.

Other advances are to do with monitoring and reviewing the KLIMA 2050 Strategy and with actions such as expanding the climate risk assessment in the Basque Country, taking new factors into account and responding to the new context and to the new challenges. In this regard, work is also being carried out on integrating the climate change variable into different sectoral policies, such as the urban and territorial policy, health policies, and water and energy policies.

Applying Nature-Based Solutions (NbS) is another of the work lines being driven in cities including Donostia/San Sebastián and Vitoria-Gasteiz, with the emphasis on NbS selection, design and implementation through innovative tools and methodologies.  In Vitoria-Gasteiz, a catalogue has been produced and which includes 79 interventions that has allowed the city to increase its green surface area, biodiversity and ecosystemic services. In the case of Donostia/San Sebastián, the NbS map has been reviewed and updated with a thermal control map.

The monitoring team leaders also learnt about the healthy and sustainable mobility measures being implemented in the Urdaibai area and in Araba/Álava; the forthcoming deployment of renewable energies, along with harnessing agricultural waste for thermal production at a Rioja Alavesa winery.  Furthermore, representatives of the partner entities explained the advances made in the coastal area measures, such as the urban adaptation of the Zarautz coast (Gipuzkoa) or the completion of wave propagation studies, which included testing at Ondarroa port (Bizkaia).

Visit to the Tonpoi area (Bermeo) and to the Bakio floodplains

In the afternoon, the team were then taken to Bermeo and Bakio to see for themselves the progress of the pilot schemes in both towns.  Specifically, in the area of Tonpoi, along the Bermeotarra coast, the NEEMO monitors, accompanied by the town’s mayor, Aritz Abaroa, visited the area where work will begin in the coming weeks. The aim is to recover the space both from the environmental and social perspective, by means of setting up a periurban green infrastructure, for the use of the public and based on sustainable criteria and adapted to climate change. In Bakio, Mayor Amets Jauregizar accompanied the visitors to the floodplain where the plan is to create a floodable   forest and a floodable salt marsh.

The second session was held in Bilbao on Friday 26 November.  The monitoring team there learnt about the citizen empowerment actions aimed at generating tools for citizens to tackle climate change, along with the tasks to disseminate and inform about the project as a call to climate action.

About LIFE IP Urban Klima 2050

The Basque Country’s largest climate action project will transform Basque territory by means of 40 climate change mitigation and adaption actions between 2019 and 2025. It is led by Ihobe, answering to the Basque Government’s Ministry of Economic Development Sustainability and the Environment. It is working with twenty or so entities, including two other Basque Government areas (its Ministry of Health and the Directorate of Ports and Maritime Affairs), the three provincial councils and the local councils of Bilbao, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Donostia/San Sebastián, Bakio, Bermeo, Gernika-Lumo and Zarautz, two publicly-owned companies of the Basque Government (EVE and URA), along with research and technology centres (AZTI, BC3, Neiker, Tecnalia and Tecnun) and the Naturklima Foundation.

With a budget of €19.8 million, it will also facilitate the effective deployment of the Basque Country’s Climate Change Strategy-KLIMA 2050 at urban level.