Successful ECCA Conference delivers clear messages ahead of global climate summit, COP26

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Europe’s most influential climate adaptation conference will present key messages to inform climate strategies, policies and financing, after convening the most wide-ranging European and global speakers and audiences in the event’s eight-year history.

It is planned to progress these key messages to the world’s largest global climate summit, COP26, being held in Glasgow, UK, from October 31- November 12, to extend the reach of ECCA 2021 (the European Climate Change Adaptation Conference) in informing future climate strategies and policies.

Diverse voices and high-profile speakers

Diverse voices from governments to investors, communities and activists, came together with Europe’s world-leading climate science researchers at ECCA. United in a commitment to drive innovative and effective climate adaptation action, more than 1,900 people joined ECCA 2021’s 9 webinars from May 25-June 10.
 
High-profile panellists from around the globe represented the entire chain of cutting-edge climate adaptation action from research, policy and investment to ground-level delivery. The interactive format enabled worldwide audiences to join on Zoom and watch live on YouTube, contributing their ambitions and experiences through polls, break out groups and message boards to the EU Commission and other European decision-makers at the final ECCA high-level event on June 22.

The overarching messages were that change is needed to finance, deliver and accelerate sustainable and meaningful climate adaptation solutions at a time of unprecedented risk but also of opportunities to improve climate resilience; society and governments can build on lessons learned from the Covid pandemic to increase collaborative actions; empowering people at every level through sharing knowledge and inclusive, diverse communication channels, builds networks so successful measures can be replicated and nurtures a sense of ownership and, finally, the crucial message that sustainable solutions leave no one behind. Key themes among examples of proven adaptation measures were finance, health and nature-based solutions. 

The world must set clear and ambitious climate targets

At the heart of the ECCA discussions was achieving a balance between what the climate adaptation research community delivers and the needs of policy-makers, financial institutions and funders, businesses, cities and communities.

Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, EC, addressed the high-level event, declaring that every country in the world must set clear and ambitious carbon emissions targets and support those most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

He said: "As we go to another summer with what could be a record-breaking temperatures, citizens will be once more reminded that the climate crisis is affecting us already. This reality is exactly what brings you all together here in Europe and will bring the world together in Glasgow at COP26 later this year. The frequency and severity of climate and weather extremes is increasing and we must adapt to it."

"To tackle the climate and biodiversity crisis every country in the world needs to set clear targets. In February the EC adapted a new and more ambitious Adaptation Strategy 2050. The new strategy puts nature-based adaptation at the forefront."

“We are only as resilient as the most vulnerable among us. We cannot allow climate impacts to hit the most vulnerable at the same way as COVID-19 pandemic did therefore we will intensify work and support regions and communities making sure nobody is left behind." 

“The science-policy dialogue is indispensable in order to help decision-making in dealing with climate that humanity has not experienced before. ECCA 2021 conference is the key opportunity for knowledge exchange. Policy-makers at all levels need to know about the climate change risks and about the ways and solutions to better and faster perform the decisions.” 

‘A more climate-resilient Europe’

Timmermans supported the participation in ECCA of the Climate Pact Ambassadors, saying that local action is very important because climate impacts local realities and the communities, adding: “We need to build back a better and more climate-resilient Europe.”

The 5th ECCA conference was co-organised by the EU Commission and JPI Climate, with 3 Horizon 2020 projects – SINCERE, CASCADES and RECEIPT – as a virtual event, defying the restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic to reach a wider audience than ever before. First held in 2013, it is Europe’s largest conference on climate change adaptation and a vital forum for exchanging knowledge between scientists, policy-makers and practitioners. The aim is to inspire adaptation action by showcasing solutions, sharing knowledge, creating connections and dialogue with the broadest possible range of policy-makers.

The 2021 theme ‘Bringing adaptation solutions to life: inspiring climate adaptation action for a resilient future’ was explored through the 9 webinars. The key messages drawn from the webinars aim to trigger faster and sustainable policies and investment for climate solutions.

Webinar panellists represented influential organisations including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), World Food Programme, Adaptation Fund, Climate Justice Resilience Fund, Center for International Climate Research, Climate Policy Initiative, EU Commission, European Parliament, European Investment Bank, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Climate Alliance, European Environment Agency, European Committee of the Regions, European Green Deal, Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change Foundation, Amundi Group, Adelphi, national and local governments and cities among many others.

Young voices were represented by the Polish Youth Climate Council and the activist group, Fridays For Future.

Organisers hope that the next ECCA Conference, in 2023, will build on the progress that has been made in bringing together more stakeholders, international, national and commercial funders and investors, extended knowledge exchange and wider connections with target groups. They also want to extend even further the range of diverse voices from across Europe including Eastern Europe, young people, local communities, businesses, financial institutions and cultural minorities.

Watch the recordings of the 5th ECCA webinars here 

Watch a recording the high-level event here:
Session 1
Session 2
Session 3  

Watch the ECCA 2021 teaser video here 

ECCA 2021 by numbers:

9 Webinars
74 meetings
112 Speakers & presenters
From 112 countries
Representing more than 12 international sectors
1962 Participants

By Sally Stevens, Monday 12 July 2021