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12 January 2017

Bratislava teams up with European cities to adapt to climate change

Bratislava is set to host experts from the Bremen (Germany) and Arnhem (Netherlands) next week to exchange experience on climate change adaptation as part of the Mayors Adapt City Twinning Programme, for which a total of ten European cities have been selected. The meeting will take place from January 16 to 17, 2017.

Although located in different parts of Europe, all the three cities; Bratislava, Bremen and Arnhem; face summer heatwaves, periods of drought, floods and extreme weather events.

As Ingrid Konrad, Chief Architect of the City of Bratislava explains, “Bratislava is making itself internationally visible by its activities in climate change adaptation. As one of the first cities in former Eastern Europe we have elaborated and adopted a strategy for adaptation to climate change and started implementing concrete pilot projects. This is one of the reasons why we have been addressed by the coordinators of Mayors Adapt to take part in the exchange of experience”.

Bratislava, as a core city of the RESIN project, is also working with a group of ‘Tier 2’ cities; Burgas (Bulgaria), Vilnius (Lithuania), Radom (Poland) and Sfântu Gheorghe (Romania), which are observing and providing feedback as Bratislava tests newly-developed tools. RESIN investigates climate change adaptation and resilience in European cities, and as part of the project, the city is working with researchers to co-create practical and applicable tools to support cities in designing and implementing climate adaptation strategies for their local contexts. This co-creation process will also be addressed and shared as part of the upcoming meeting.

The meeting will create a space for the discussion of topics such as creating a suitable city microclimate in summer and winter months, the significance of permeable surfaces, urban greenery and the natural environment, as well as sustainable management of rainwater. The discussion shall also focus on correctly selecting adaptation measures, which have a positive impact not only on the environment but also on the economy. With special regard to economic benefits of adaptation measures, experienced experts from the Institute of Economic and Environmental Policy, University of J. E. Purkyně in Ústí nad Labem, the Czech Republic, have been invited by Mrs. Ingrid Konrad, Chief Architect of the City of Bratislava, to give a lecture on this topic. Applying suitable adaptation measures not only increases citizens’ quality of life, but it also significantly reduces the costs of heating and cooling buildings and the maintenance of green areas, as well as preventing property damage.

The City Twinning Programme enables the cities which have shown interest in this kind of cooperation to delegate their representatives – experts in climate change adaptation to a 2-day visit to another partner city. The City Twinning also enables a visit to other cities, which facilitates building partnerships between European cities and thus possibly starting future cooperation in adaptation to climate change.

Mayors Adapt is an initiative of the European Commission, which obliges the signatories to adopt concrete steps for adapting to negative effects of climate change in their territories. Currently, Mayors Adapt has a successor initiative – the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, which reflects the EU 2030 goals for adaptation to climate change and energy as well as an integrated approach in addressing adaptation to climate change and mitigating its negative impacts. Bratislava joined Mayors Adapt in 2014.