EU cooperation strengthens – Espoo joins the Mission Adaptation to Climate Change

3.10.2022 10.03Updated: 3.10.2022 11.27

The City of Espoo was invited on 29 September 2022 to implement the EU Mission Adaptation to Climate Change. Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and severe throughout Europe. Cities can play a significant role in climate risk management and adaptation.

EU missions are a new, ambitious instruments for tackling major global challenges. The five missions launched in September 2021 address health, climate and environmental challenges. The Adaptation to Climate Change mission to which Espoo was selected to join supports 150 or more European regions and communities to become climate resilient by 2030.

For Espoo, European cooperation means sharing good practices, mutual learning and a good position to apply for EU funding.

"The European Missions offer excellent opportunities for bench-learning in co-creating new innovative solutions needed to tackle societal challenges. I can describe this as a decisive leap in out-of-the-box professional change management", says Markku Markkula, Vice-Chair of the Sustainable Espoo programme and Vice-President of the European Committee of the Regions. He continues: "The Espoo city community, including top industrial and scientific experts and different citizen groups, has through the EU Missions new opportunities in not only taking into use new societal and technological innovations in our city but also taking a more vital role as a global forefront city in implementing the UN SDGs".

The EU’s approach is clear: global challenges require all social actors to join forces in new and innovative ways. Cities have a crucial role in achieving the objectives of the missions.

Extreme weather phenomena are also experienced in Espoo

Adapting to climate change refers to the means and ways that can be used to prepare for the effects of climate change and reduce the vulnerability of society and the environment to them. The protection of biodiversity is also a key factor in adapting to climate change. Espoo’s three biggest climate risks are floods, heavy rains and heat.

“Climate change has already manifested itself in many ways to Espoo residents: the heat waves in recent summers, the floods in the Gräsnaoja and Espoonjoki rivers and the 2020 winter with little snow. Therefore, it is important to anticipate the effects of climate change and prepare for ever-increasing extreme weather phenomena,” says limnologist Saara Olsen from the City of Espoo environmental protection services.

The City of Espoo’s action plan for adaptation to climate change 2022–2025 was recently published as part of the Climate Watch service. The city is also drawing up a roadmap for 2035 to safeguard the diversity of nature based on the principle of no net loss.

Preparing for climate change requires the city to invest in the study of its impacts and the construction of various protection structure

“Examples of adaptation measures include the Nuottalahti and Kirkonkymppi flood barriers and space reservations in plans for planting trees to provide shade. Espoo residents also play a key role in adaptation measures, including reducing the amount of runoff water by increasing vegetation on the plots and preventing the spread of invasive species from gardens to the environment. With the cooperation of the city and residents, Espoo remains a safe and healthy living environment even in a changing climate,” Olsen says.

Espoo is an active EU mission participant

Espoo has actively participated in the EU missions. In April, Espoo was selected to implement EU Mission on climate-neutral and smart cities together with other pioneers. The news of the City of Espoo’s selection for the Mission Adaptation to Climate Change was published at the European Commission’s annual Research and Innovation event on 29 September 2022.

The themes and objectives of the city mission focusing on mitigating climate change and the adaptation mission complement each other.

The EU will allocate EUR 370 million of funding from the Horizon Europe programme for implementing the Mission Adaptation to Climate Change in 2021–2023, aiming to secure public and private funding many times greater than that for the missions.

Further information

Helena Kyrki, Manager for Sustainable Development, tel. +358 43 824 8661, helena.kyrki@espoo.fi
Saara Olsen, Limnologist, tel. +358 40663 3620, saara.olsen@espoo.fi
EU Mission: Adaptation to Climate Change | European Commission (europa.eu)(external link)
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