Sustainable urban development and the need to adapt cities to climate change were the subjects of talks held by representatives of the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Development and local government authorities. The meeting opened a project dedicated to climate change adaptation in cities, which will be financed under Operational Programme Infrastructure and Environment 2014-2020.
The project implements the guidelines of the Strategic adaptation plan for sectors and areas sensitive to climate change (SPA 2020) – the first government document that responds to the challenges posed by climate change adaptation. The main purpose of the meeting was to present the key guidelines of the project and to encourage representatives of Polish cities to cooperate in its implementation.
In his speech opening the meeting, Maciej Grabowski, the Minister of the Environment, stressed the role of cities in the climate adaptation policy as areas particularly sensitive to the negative effects of climate change.
„Flood, drought, high temperature and their consequences pose a threat to city inhabitants and infrastructure, in particular in the case of big cities. The need to adapt to climate change is a great challenge to their administrators. That is why I would like to encourage you to cooperate with us. We are planning to coordinate a project financed by the European Union, under which urban adaptation plans are going to be developed comprising proposals of specific measures for the protection against climate change.”
The project is addressed to major Polish cities. Its objective is to develop adaptation plans comprising proposals of measures to improve resistance against climate change. The measures will be financed under Operational Programme Infrastructure and Environment, Regional Operational Funds and the funds of the National and Voivodeship Funds for Environmental Protection and Water Management.
„Together with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Development, we have already started preparations for the project. We spared no efforts to ensure that the Operational Programme Infrastructure and Environment 2014-2020 and regional programmes may support both adaptation plans development and the investments resulting from them. Moreover, as the environmental department, we may finance adaptive measures under the environmental funds scheme.
„I hope that the undertaking we are presenting to you today will arouse your interest. Together we can do more, achieving synergies and significantly strengthening the resistance of Polish cities against climate change,” added Minister Grabowski.
The meeting was also attended by Marcin Korolec, Vice-Minister of the Environment; Waldemar Sługocki, Secretary of State in the Ministry of Infrastructure and Development; representatives of the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management and representatives of the Institute for Sustainable Development Foundation. Local administration was represented by city mayors and employees of city offices.
Climate change has a real and notable socio-economic impact on states and cities. In the case of Poland, losses attributed to climate change in 2001–2010 amounted to ca. PLN 54 billion. Taking adaptive measures is crucial to prevent subsequent losses.
Poland’s response to climate-related challenges was the adaptation of a Strategic adaptation plan for sectors and areas sensitive to climate change until 2020 (SPA 2020) by the Council of Ministers in 2013. It is the first Polish strategic document that is directly related to climate adaptation, which – next to mitigation, i.e. the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions reduction – is the core of the climate policy. The plan provides a framework for national measures, while stressing the role of the local dimension of adaptation.
Urban adaptation is one of the key priorities of SPA 2020. Therefore, the strategy includes a recommendation to prepare local adaptation plans in all Polish cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants by 2020. The plans should include an analysis of sensitivity to climate change specific for a given city and a package of adaptive measures.
The concept and scope of the project „Development or review of climate change adaptation plans in cities” – read here.
Previous information on the urban adaptation plans – read here.