Experiences of national approaches to climate adaptation – a regional workshop organised by the EU4Climate project on national adaptation strategies and plans took place in Warsaw, Poland on 4 April 2023, to support policymakers and technical officials in the Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries in adaptation policy making. 43 representatives (in person and online) of governments of the Eastern Partners, EU and UNDP, experts in the field and partner organizations took part in the workshop aiming to strengthen countries’ efforts toward national adaptation plans and seize linkages to disaster risk reduction and natural hazard management.

Europe has set the target to become climate neutral by 2050; and the European Climate Law has been adopted, committing to at least a 55% reduction of net GHG emissions by 2030. The European Commission has adopted a new strategy for adaptation in 2021, focusing on adapting to climate change in a smarter, swifter and more systemic way, as well as stepping up international action on climate change.

As a part of international efforts, the EU has been financing EU4Climate, to support the development of adaptation policies and fulfill commitments of the EaP countries under the Paris Agreement. As an integral part of addressing the adverse impacts of climate change through medium and long-term National Adaptation Plans (NAP), the focus of the workshop was on the transition from the development of NAP plans into adaptation action.

In his welcoming remarks, Nicholas Cendrowitz (DG NEAR) emphasized the need for swift action to address climate change effects in the Eastern Partnership region, which are quite high compared to many other parts of the world. In addition to the natural disasters, the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine further aggravates the existing pressure on the environment. Mr. Cendrowitz confirmed that the EU will continue supporting EaP countries against the weaponization of the energy supply, with the best energy security being reduced amount of energy needed. Despite the existing short-term needs for fossil fuel supplies, the European Green Deal is instrumental in addressing the consequences of the war, both in the short and long term.

Mr. Cendrowitz reiterated the main aim of the workshop of supporting capacity building through developing medium- and long-term adaptation plans, and moving to the next stage of implementing these plans. He encouraged further dialogue between the EU and EaP countries, as well as within the EaP region.

Laura Altinger (UNDP) in her turn mentioned that despite the current challenges in the region, the Eastern Partnership countries are keeping climate policies among their priorities, making substantial progress in updating national mitigation and adaptation targets. She thanked the European Commission for providing support and called participants to be involved in the workshop to become familiar with best practices from the EU institutions and the Member States. Ms. Altinger encouraged participants to share their national experiences with developing and implementing national adaptation plans and strategies.

Welcoming remarks set the ground for the Eastern Partners by providing the opportunity for every country to briefly present its state of play on NAPs. All Eastern Partner countries are highly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change – an increase in extreme weather events, more frequent heat waves, forest fires and droughts, heavier precipitation, and flooding. EU4Climate project supports adaptation planning in EaP countries, with a special focus on developing and adopting national and sectoral adaptation plans which were presented by government representatives of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

After the counties’ state of play, turning plans into action was the approach providing an opportunity to access different aspects of NAP implementation. “Experience on adaptation engagement in Bulgaria” by Svetlana Zhekova (Senior International consultant), Experience with Monitoring and Evaluation systems and supporting adaptation at the sub-national level by Markus Leitner (Environment Agency Austria), “Undertaking capacity assessments” by Galyna Trypolska, “Challenges in undertaking CRVAs” by Naira Aslanyan (UNDP Armenia) and CRVA experience of Ukraine by Dmytro Dyadin helped to facilitate inter-regional exchange on national and sub-national activities.

“Glasgow–Sharm el-Sheikh work programme on the global goal on adaptation” shared by Maryam Navi, (UNFCCC) provided a brief overview of the Programme of Global Goal on Adaptation and the Plan for this year. The “EU’s efforts in supporting adaptation to climate change within and outside the EU” presented by Michal Nekvasil (DG CLIMA) brought insights into EU strategic Adaptation that sets the vision of a climate-resilient Europe by 2050 as well as multilateral and bilateral climate-linked connections with the EaP countries (video of the presentation).

Provided guidance, highlight emerging best practices, and displayed case studies, tools, and approaches came as knowledge and skills on how to support policymakers, governmental, administrative, and technical government officials at the sub-national level. Angelina Tamasova (EEA) offered (video of the presentation) an overview of how EU Member States are adapting to climate change, and progressing through the adaptation policy cycle in her presentation “Status of the reported national adaptation actions in the EU”. Approaches to developing national adaptation communications (ADCOMs) Ephrat Yovel (International Consultant) provided some approaches on how to develop and what information to include in adaptation communication.

The transboundary climate and adaptation risks session explored what transboundary climate risks are, the gaps in research agendas, and the implications for adaptation programming, policy and global governance. Knowledge needs on transboundary climate risk from a UNFCCC perspective by Ephrat Yovel and Transboundary climate risk and the implications for adaptation by Katy Harris (Senior Policy Fellow at the Stockholm Environment Institute and Director of Adaptation Without Borders) were the topics with which the workshop was summarised.

All presentations can be found here.