European Commission, DG External Relations

Adapting to Climate Change in Europe – Options for EU Action

Transforming global warming concerns into behavioural changes

On 27 February 2008, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) in partnership with the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe (REC), will host a multi-stakeholder roundtable on Climate Change entitled 'Adapting to Climate Change in Europe – Options for EU Action'. The speakers at the event include Mr. Alexander Graf Von Schwerin, Vice-President of the EESC, Mr. Guido Sacconi, President of the Climate Change Committee of the European Parliament, Mr. Vladimír Špidla, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, and Mr. Corrado Clini, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the REC.

On 29 June 2007, the European Commission adopted its first policy document on adapting to the impact of climate change. The Green Paper 'Adaptation to climate change in Europe - options for EU action,' builds upon the work and findings of the European Climate Change Programme. The Green Paper sets out four lines of priority actions to be considered: early action to develop adaptation strategies in areas where current knowledge is sufficient; integrating global adaptation needs into the EU’s external relations and building a new alliance with partners around the world; filling knowledge gaps on adaptation through EU-level research and exchange of information; setting up a European advisory group on adaptation to climate change to analyse coordinated strategies and actions.

The growing scientific and political consensus on the reality and causes of climate change calls for a concerted response from all sections of society – including citizens (bottom-up actions). Building widespread public support for new policies and collective action, however, will require effective communication, outreach activities and education (top-down actions). In order to address climate change, people first need to understand the issues and challenges they face. They need to know that climate change is a reality and understand what this means for them. Most importantly, they need to know what they can do to face the problem.

The 27 February roundtable will discuss these issues. Climate change concerns us all. Therefore all actors, in the widest possible sense, from the individual citizen to public authorities, the private sector, businesses, towns and cities, academics, networks, policy makers and authorities at all levels, associations and NGOs are invited to participate actively during the roundtable.

The Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe (REC) is an independent international organisation established in 1990 by Hungary, the United States and the European Commission. Today this non-advocacy, not-for-profit organisation is legally based on a charter signed by the governments of 29 countries and the European Commission. The REC works in various fields of sustainable development, bridging solutions and stakeholders of issues, such as environmental policy, biodiversity, climate change, renewable energy, environmental information, environmental investments, law drafting, sectoral integration and waste management.  Activities are conducted in Central and Eastern European countries, in the Caucasus and Central Asia, supported by the REC’s offices in 17 countries and expert network.

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