Cohesion Policy and climate action in mountain regions

Apr 21, 2021

The European Parliament (EP) Think Tank has published a research study overviewing how EU Cohesion Policy currently contributes and can contribute in the future to EU Climate Policy goals. It explains how much of the budget goes to climate action and to what kind of initiatives across EU regions, setting out policy recommendations for strengthening climate action financed by Cohesion Policy.

The study includes an analysis of climate change interventions across the main EU geoclimatic regions: Atlantic; Boreal and Artic; Continental; Mediterranean; Mountain; and Outermost.

The EU mountain regions includes alpine and mountainous areas which have climate impacts such as: temperature rise larger than EU average; decrease in glacier extent and volume; decrease in mountain permafrost areas; upward shift of plant and animal species; high risk of species extinction in Alpine regions; increasing risk of soil erosion; decrease in ski tourism.

Cohesion Policy addresses the climate vulnerabilities of the EU mountain regions in several ways. Over the programming period 2014-2020, a total amount of €3.2 billion of Cohesion Policy funds were planned for climate action in the EU mountain regions. Initiatives for mitigation consist mainly of interventions on transports and energy efficiency of infrastructures. The environmental and natural resource management obtained approximately 13.1% of the total funds.

The study provides some examples of initiatives for climate change adaptation in mountain regions, two of which are notably highlighted below:

  • the Interreg Alpine Space Operational Programme (OP) which financed GoApply, a Project facilitating policy cooperation and knwoledge exchange on joint challenges faced by Alpine areas. It allowed mapping, analysing and comparing relevant governance systems.
  • the Interreg Spain-France-Andorra (POCTEFA) financed the Pyrenean Climate Change Observatory, a network of more than 80 organisations, focusing on monitoring the effects of climate change to help the Pyrenees plan effective adaptation measures.