European mayors commit to climate change adaptation

The number of European cities committed to take action against climate change reached 100 on October 16. The European Commissioner for Climate Action, Connie Hedegaard welcomed mayors from across Europe to pledge their commitment to climate change adaptation at the official Mayors Adapt Signature Ceremony held in Brussels. Representatives from more than 150 local and regional authorities were in attendance. Michael Bloomberg, Former Mayor of New York City addressed participants by video message and Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change joined the event via live video link. Of the 106 signatories, some 57 were there to celebrate their leadership in taking action on climate change adaptation.

Satisfied with the high level of participation on the initiative, Commissioner Hedegaard said, “When we launched Mayors Adapt in March, we aimed to build a network of at least 50 cities by the end of the year. We already have 100 and more are queuing up to join. Our cities are building up their resilience against climate change. That is great news for citizens and businesses. Good preparation will be much cheaper than cleaning up afterwards – and it can save lives”, she add in the official statement.

The event offered an opportunity for cities to learn from each other. It allowed participants to discuss how cities can better prepare for the adverse impacts of climate change, exchange experiences and good practices, learn about technical and financial tools, and discuss common challenges and opportunities associated with adaptation.
“We are considering actions on climate change as a major part of planning for the future – for a number of years now, we are engaged in action on adaptation to climate change. Mayors Adapt offers us a great opportunity to tackle the issue head-on,” said Deputy Mayor of Munich, Josef Schmid.

The Mayors Adapt initiative was launched in March 2014 within the framework of the successful Covenant of Mayors initiative, which focuses on mitigating green house gas emissions. The objective of Mayors Adapt is to increase support for local activities, provide a platform for greater cooperation and networking between cities, and raise public awareness about adaptation.

Cities participating in Mayors Adapt help contribute to the overall aim of the European Union’s Adaptation Strategy by developing comprehensive local adaptation strategies or mainstreaming adaptation into relevant existing plans. Signatory cities to the Mayors Adapt Initiative include Barcelona, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Glasgow, Lisbon, Munich, Naples, and Rotterdam.


(Image: Connie Hedegaard, Member of the EC in charge of Climate Action participes at the Mayors Adapt event. Photo credit: © Etienne Ansotte, European Commission on Flickr)