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Open European Day 2018 set to be biggest edition in the series

18 April 2018

Open European Day 2018 set to be biggest edition in the series

The fifth edition of Open European Day has proven to be the most popular edition yet. Cities are acutely aware of the challenges they are facing and are coming together to discuss these challenges and share solutions with their peers and experts from the world of science and research.


Speakers to join the opening discussion reflecting on the past year and years to come for climate adaptation in Europe will include Nicolas Faivre, DG Research, European Commission, Stefanie Lindenberg, NCFF European Investment Bank, Bernd Decker, EASME/LIFE Programme, Stefania Manca and Paolo Castiglieri, Municipality of Genoa (Italy) for the Climate Adaptation Partnership of the EU Urban Agenda, Eleni Myrivili, City of Athens (Greece), Joanna Kiernicka-Allavena, City of Wroclaw (Poland)/44MPA project and Marian Barquin, Basque Government.


Breakout sessions will see cities discuss topics including flooding, insurance, nature-based solutions, cultural heritage and partnerships and will include contributors from the cities of Arnsberg (Germany), Bologna (Italy), Budapest (Hungary), Cascais (Portugal), Copenhagen (Denmark), Glasgow, Greater Manchester (United Kingdom), Guimaraes (Portugal), Helsinki (Finland), Kristiansand (Norway), Paris (France) and Thessaloniki (Greece). The Open European Day’s successful Marketplace will be back this year as a unique space for exchange and partnerships.


As a new addition for the fifth Open European Day, breakout training sessions will provide expert training on topics including critical infrastructure protection, citizen engagement and financing adaptation.


Strathclyde Business School and Fraunhofer Institute for Intelligent Analysis and Information Systems (IAIS) will provide training on critical infrastructure protection, using the outcomes from the Smart Mature Resilience and RESIN projects, which are co-organising the event.


On:Subject and the European Environment Agency will provide training on citizen engagement for adaptation and EASME/LIFE Programme and the European Investment Bank will provide training for cities on how to access financing to fund urban adaptation. Registration is now closed.


More information and the final programme is available here


 

New Research Will Lead to a More Resilient Europe

10 April 2018

New Research Will Lead to a More Resilient Europe

54 partner organisations across five EU-funded projects have come together to recommend new European Resilience Management Guidelines. Developed over the last three years, these guidelines have the potential to improve the security and safety of citizens and society.


At a major event in Brussels today, these projects - Smart Mature Resilience, DARWIN, IMPROVER, RESILENS and RESOLUTE – launched the ‘White Paper on Resilience Management Guidelines for Critical Infrastructures,’ outlining key recommendations for European policy makers.


To support the uptake of these guidelines, the five projects have developed a series of innovative tools, ranging from serious gaming based on virtual reality and gaming-based training apps, to e-learning hubs and resilience management matrix and audit toolkits.


A panel of end users reflected on the tools developed by the five projects. Silje Solvang, city of Kristiansand, said, "The most valuable outcome of our participation in the SMR project has been the cross-sectoral collaboration, which is essential for resilience." City representatives emphasised the need for access to data, which is only provided by privately owned critical infrastructure providers when the latter is legally obliged to do so. 


SMR project coordinator Jose Maria Sarriegi summarized the outcomes of the panel by notin gthat cooperation is essential for resilience, there is a challenge in communicating resilience, resilience is not only about technology and must include soft factors, there is a need for funding to facilitate further work, and finally, there is a need for the tools and methods produced to be adaptable to changing circumstances.


The European Resilience Management Guidelines and the associated tools were showcased at the Critical Infrastructure Resilience 2018 Conference, which took place on Tuesday 10th April from 09.00 to 16.00 at the Research Executive Agency (Covent Garden), Place Rogier, Brussels.


Attendees, including policy makers, resilience managers and practitioners, heard from resilience experts and end-users across the five projects on topics such as, Resilience Interventions Tools and Benefits; Resilience Policy, Standardisation and Current Needs; and Status, Further Needs and Roadmap to Integration.


The five projects are part of the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and cooperate together under crisis management topic 7: ‘crisis and disaster resilience – operationalising resilience concepts (DRS-7)’.

Cities are where global problems can be solved: outcomes of the 27th Breakfast at Sustainability’s – Boosting local progress in city resilience development

20 March 2018

Cities are where global problems can be solved: outcomes of the 27th Breakfast at Sustainability’s – Boosting local progress in city resilience development

Representatives of over 30 cities and regions in Europe, the European Commission and scientific experts on resilience attended the 27th edition of ICLEI Europe’s Breakfast at Sustainability’s series. The event was hosted by the European office of the Basque Country and a welcome address was provided by – Ignacio de la Puerta, Director for Urban Planning of the Basque Government. A brief introduction to the Smart Mature Resilience project and its tools was provided by Vasileios Latinos, ICLEI Europe.


Mr de la Puerta emphasised in his words of welcome the need to provide space and quality of life for Basque residents. An integrated action plan, as well as participation in numerous local, regional and international projects and programmes, such as Donostia/San Sebastián’s participation in the Smart Mature Resilience Project are addressing this need. The path is a shared one and cities in Europe are welcome to join the Basque Country on this journey by considering the pathways towards transformative action laid out in the Basque Declaration.


Cities must work together in a coordinated way towards long-term resilience goals. For Ben Caspar, Team Leader for Urban Environment for the European Commission’s DG Environment, cities have enormous potential to overcome global challenges. The Pact of Amsterdam has made funding streams easier to understand and has led to enhanced support and cooperation between the European Commission and city networks. As well as funding the European Commission offers other resources to cities, including online tools, such as a new portal planned to be launched during Green Week. Ronny Frederickx, Former President and Good Governance Project Leader, UDITE considered resilience from the perspective of good governance, and warned that lack of trust in political leaders, lack of capacity and ‘segregation in craftsmanship’ or lack of cooperation as drivers of risk. He called for a good governance approach in order to overcome these challenges, as well as for a triangle between science, education and practice.


The innovative and inspiring “Room for the river Waal” project saw attitudes among citizens to the large-scale project turn from hostility and resistance, to sentiments among citizens of pride and ownership of the project. Ton Verhoeven, Arnhem Nijmegen City Region, Netherlands shared how this was achieved through intensive communication and engagement of stakeholders.


Glasgow and Rome are working together on their resilience journey: both cities are part of the Smart Mature Resilience project as well as ICLEI members and members of 100 Resilient Cities. Frankie Barrett, Glasgow City Council and Claudio Bordi, Risorse per Roma. Public authorities in Glasgow are as of recently obliged to involve communities as part of their work, and ongoing projects range across numerous topical areas, for example food security and land use. In Glasgow’s experience, "When citizens are not involved in the plan, it will fail." Rome has used a tool produced by the Smart Mature Resilience project, the Risk Systemicity Questionnaire, to hold cross-sectoral meetings with a goal to break silos and better understand risk.


Annette Figueiredo, Greater London Authority described a recently concluded audit of school air quality in London. Poor air quality has detrimental effects on children’s learning, and a survey revealed that over 360 schools were in poor air quality areas. The Mayor of London, as part of a vision to clean up London’s air received a petition from Greenpeace signed by 303 teachers calling for better air quality near schools, and fifty schools were selected.  The project involved the cooperation of the relevant boroughs, Transport for London, Public Health and other Greater London Authority programmes working with schools, researchers and academics. The collected data will be used in the schools’ curricula so that students can understand how it affects their lives.


For the second part of the day, Serene Hanania, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, invited cities to participate in an interactive workshop. Discussion groups considered topics such as heat waves, flood risks, social issues and emergency response and exchanged their experiences from their respective cities on the topics. The SMR project representatives then demonstrated how the tools co-produced in the project by cities and researchers could support the newcomer cities in overcoming the challenges they raised in the discussions.


In terms of flooding, cross-departmental silos were found to be a major challenge in British cities, as management of water courses was not closely linked to response mechanisms, and vulnerable groups were found to be more exposed to flood risk. Here, Nijmegen could explain their unique case, where better communication on water planning and management is possible due to Dutch water boards. The SMR City Resilience Dynamics tool was mentioned in a possible application to measure surface water interventions.


On the subject of heat waves, desertification and the benefits of reforestation were discussed for cities in Spain. In Italy, paradoxically, abandonment of agricultural areas and increase of rain has led to natural reforestation. The most vulnerable cities to heat waves were considered to be Athens and Rome. Here, the Risk Systemicity Questionnaire was recommended, as awareness of the risk of heat waves seriously underestimates the real mortality rate among elderly people during periods of extreme heat. Malmö, Sweden, expressed the benefits of exchanging with Southern cities with cultural experience of caring for the elderly during heat waves, as heat stress is becoming an increasing problem for Malmö. Here, better access to data on mortality rates would be helpful to gain political support for, elderly, patient and hospice care to take additional measures during heat waves.


A common feature of the cities was the importance of involving volunteers and NGOs in emergency response. While cities and municipalities must adhere to standards, guidelines and norms for emergency response, citizens can step in and provide non-professional support magnanimously, for example providing unofficial transport and meals to refugees. Dedicated policies for involving NGOs and volunteers are included in the Resilience Maturity Model.


IT solutions offer interesting innovative ways to prevent food waste and to build communities in new way. Representative democracy and transparent decision-making were considered to be crucial foundations for social resilience. Decreasing vulnerability is intricately connected to employment, and in the case of French regions, citizens can become alienated as a result of unemployment. 


The cities present shared many aspects and practices around emergency response. Most cities had emergency plans and the same way of responding to an emergency. Malmö provided another perspective, for example, that experts were called in the event of a crisis. In each of the cities, in many cases, those working in emergency response have other responsibilities under normal circumstances, where response takes preference over these duties during a crisis. Risk assessment was considered essential, and the SMR Risk Systemicity Questionnaire is available to be used as part of this process.


A photo gallery of the event is available at https://flic.kr/s/aHsmeXRgWi.

European cities are working against the clock to adapt to the new climate reality

19 March 2018

European cities are working against the clock to adapt to the new climate reality

City council teams in Bratislava (Slovakia) and Manchester (UK) have teamed up with the cities of Paris (France), Bilbao (Spain), top European researchers,  and city network ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability to make their cities and critical infrastructures more resilient to the impacts of climate change.  


A new short film has been launched today showing how Manchester and Bratislava are working with a team of cities and scientists to help municipalities to adapt to a rapidly-changing climate. A second period of unprecedented snow across Europe this weekend following the “Beast from the East” earlier this month has shown that extreme weather is becoming the new normal.

“What was good enough in the past, and maybe 10 years ago, it’s not enough for the future,” said Martina Tichá, Head of Project Management Unit, Strategy and Projects Department at Bratislava City Hall. Bratislava, where an orange alert was raised due to freezing temperatures this Saturday, can expect extreme heat as early as May this year.


As most of Europe’s population lives in cities, city councils across Europe desperately need new ways of working to understand the risks they face and to prepare for the unknown. “The decision makers in Greater Manchester need to know key issues and why they should do something about it,” said Matthew Ellis, Climate Resilience Officer, Greater Manchester Combined Authority.


“Every job within a local authority will be impacted by climate change in the future: every decision that's made will need to take account of what the future climate change risks might be,” said Mark Atherton, Director of Environment, Greater Manchester Combined Authority.


RESIN - Climate Resilient Cities and Infrastructures has been developing innovative tools in a process of ‘co-creation’ between cities, climate scientists and ICLEI since 2015. In Manchester in February 2018, the project held an event to share the new tools with representatives of over 15 cities.  


“You don't have to reinvent the wheel, you can use these tools because you can be sure they have been tested and they have the best current knowledge available from different European research institutions and cities, that deal with problems just like your city is probably dealing with,” said Eva Streberová (PhD), Environmental Manager, Office of the Chief City Architect, Bratislava City.


The latest versions of these tools will be launched at the end of this month. Prototypes are already available on the project website, www.resin-cities.eu. The tools will be presented at Open European Day on 25th April 2018, which is organised by ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability and the European Environment Agency and co-organised by the RESIN project.


For more information about the RESIN project, click here.

CitiesIPCC marks new era for cooperation between science and cities on climate change: and the RESIN project is part of it

2 March 2018

CitiesIPCC marks new era for cooperation between science and cities on climate change: and the RESIN project is part of it

A global climate research agenda will be announced at the Cities and Climate Change Science Conference next week in Edmonton.


In an article published this week in Nature in the lead-up to the conference, leading climate experts identified among the most pressing priorities for cities and climate-change research, “Comparative studies are needed… in different contexts to disentangle these interactions and to find solutions. We need to know how urban morphologies, building materials and human activities affect atmospheric circulation, heat and light radiation, urban energy and water budgets.” The authors called on researchers and city authorities to extend the quantity and types of urban data collected.


Jeremy Carter, University of Manchester, will attend the conference to present the RESIN project’s Climate Risk Typology, which will take steps towards exactly this objective. The RESIN Climate Risk Typology supports adaptation planning by offering users the means to describe, compare and analyse climate risk in European cities and regions. In addition to the IPCC, among the CitiesIPCC partner organizations providing practical support to the Cities and Climate Change Science conference is RESIN project partner ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability.


At a special session organised by ICLEI during the UN Habitat World Urban Forum in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), “CITIESIPCC: Advancing science to accelerate effective climate action in human settlements,” cities and scientists expressed their hopes for the conference to see newly partnerships forged between young researchers in the global South and experienced institutions in European cities and to lay a solid foundation for increased global collaboration on scientific research and knowledge-sharing, particularly to tackle the common challenge of climate change.


“Climate change is a uniquely global challenge; it doesn’t discriminate based on geography, and so we see its effects in every corner of the world,” said IPCC Co-Chair Dr. Debra Roberts. “Our response must also be global, uniting people across cities, countries and continents. That enables us to share best practices based in sound science to meet global commitments that will create a more sustainable and just urban world for future generations.” The conference will bring together 750 scientists, policymakers, researchers, and development experts.


Download the poster presented at http://www.resin-cities.eu/index.php?id=145.

RESIN project welcomes over 15 cities to Manchester for Stakeholder Dialogue event

23 February 2018

RESIN project welcomes over 15 cities to Manchester for Stakeholder Dialogue event

The RESIN project welcomed 52 participants, including representatives of over 15 cities from across Europe to Manchester (United Kingdom) on 1st February 2018 for the project’s first Stakeholder Dialogue. RESIN has been working with cities since 2015 to co-create tools for adaptation planning in European cities.

Manchester in the north of England is facing rainier days and unpredictable weather. The event day saw wildly changeable weather, reflecting the agenda for the day: how just one place (and one project) can be a meeting point for common conditions in otherwise diverse locations. Even sunny southern cities could find common ground with Manchester. Ileana Luminița Balalau, Project Manager, Environmental Protection Agency Covasna, said, “We are facing heat waves and also floods.” Mark Atherton, Director of Environment, Greater Manchester, has gone through the same experience during “Boxing Day floods two years ago, where in the space of 24 hours we had several months’ worth, almost, of rainfall.”

City spotlights: flooding

The City of Lahti (Finland) is focusing on adapting to potential flooding from stormwater in densely built and non-permeable areas, especially the city centre. “We are interested in hearing how the RESIN tools can support our strategic adaptation plan and citizen-involved processes,” said Eira Rosberg, Sustainable Development Coordinator for Lahti. Newcastle’s biggest challenge is not from river flooding but from surface water flooding or flash flooding. In a shocking picture painted by Newcastle City Council’s Helen Hinds and John Robinson, “we had a month’s worth of rainfall in a very short space of time: the city ground to a halt” and “at least 500 properties were affected.”

For Reykjavik,”The main adaptation challenge that we are facing is sea level rise.” Major risk factors, including areas prone to flooding, will be introduced into the district plan and a plan will be formed for necessary counter measures. Reykjavik aims to be carbon neutral by 2040, but, “the main challenge is breaking people out of silos to work together to solve adaptation challenges.”

Researchers respond

The RESIN Climate Risk Typology will be an interactive online portal that support adaptation planning by offering users the means to describe, compare and analyse climate risk in European cities and regions. Climate risk encompasses many social and demographic factors that are important and interesting to citizens. As Burgas representatives pointed out, the facility to display different statistics about a region’s specific social and demographic conditions that contribute to climate risk can be a particularly useful tool for dissemination and awareness-raising among citizens. A risk-based Vulnerability Assessment using IVAVIA (Impact and vulnerability analysis for critical infrastructures and built-up areas) helps cities identify geographical risk and vulnerability hotspots, understand the cause-effect relationships of climate change, and assess its demographic, economic and local impacts now and for the future. This helps identify entry-points for adaptation measures and areas where priority action is needed. IVAVIA has been applied to the RESIN core city of Bilbao with regard to flooding.

Maddalen Mendizabal of Tecnalia offered the cities suffering from floods and heat stress some suggestions for finding replicable case studies. The RESIN Adaptation Options Library draws together hundreds of relevant papers and study cases on the performance of climate change adaptation measures in a database covering measures relating to heat, pluvial, fluvial and coastal floods, and drought – among other things. Once complete, each of the tools will be hosted in an online decision support system called the e-Guide. The e-Guide will accompany and support cities throughout their adaptation processes, allows practitioners to save their progress and relevant documentation in one online space, and providing convenient access to content supporting this process, including the remaining three tools developed by RESIN.

Getting to know the tools – and taking them forward

The Manchester event was a “dialogue” with two-way exchange and learning encouraged throughout the day. After two rounds of discussion, the afternoon focused on practical encounters with the tools under development in the RESIN tools marketplace. Cities visited parallel stations where the tool developers addressed their questions, proposed useful applications for their unique contexts and demonstrated their use.

The next release of the RESIN tools will take place in March 2018.

To read the full article and for pictures of the event, see http://www.resin-cities.eu/newsroom/stakeholder-dialogue/.

European cities face more extreme weather than previously thought

21 February 2018

European cities face more extreme weather than previously thought

A landmark study shows the impact of flooding, droughts and heatwaves by 2050-2100 will exceed previous predictions. The research is the outcome of the recently-concluded RAMSES project, where ICLEI worked with scientists and cities to deliver evidence of climate change impacts and the costs and benefits of adaptation measures.

Published last week in the academic journal Environmental Research Letters, the study shows:
- a worsening of heatwaves for all 571 cities
- increasing drought conditions, particularly in southern Europe
- an increase in river flooding, especially in north-western European cities
- for the worst projections, increases in all hazards for most European cities

“Although southern European regions are adapted to cope with droughts, this level of change could be beyond breaking point,” Dr Selma Guerreiro, lead author, explains.

European cities will meet at the Open European Day at Bonn Resilient Cities on 25th April 2018 to discuss exactly this objective. ICLEI members Helsinki (Finland), Rome (Italy) and Lisbon (Portugal), identified in the RAMSES study, are front and centre in this initiative. Susanna Kankaanpää, City of Helsinki will exchange with Thessaloniki (Greece) and Paris (France) on climate change adaptation monitoring and evaluation. Pierluigi Potenza, Rome, will discuss Protection of Infrastructure with Bristol, Manchester (United Kingdom) and San Sebastian (Spain). Jose Silva Ferreira (Lisbon) will work with Vaxjö (Sweden) and Enschede (Netherlands) to find solutions for Adaptive Water Management.

For the high impact scenario, 98% of European cities could see worse droughts in the future and cities in Southern Europe may experience droughts up to 14 times worse than today. Lisbon (Portugal) is among the top capital cities for increases in frequency and magnitude of droughts. Of the European capitals, Helsinki (Finland) is among the cities most likely to experience the most extreme rise in flooding. Rome (Italy) is one of the cities likely to see the greatest increase in number of heat-wave days.

“The research highlights the urgent need to design and adapt our cities to cope with these future conditions,” says Professor Richard Dawson, co-author and lead investigator of the study.

Registration is open for Open European Day at https://resilientcities2018.iclei.org/.

EPICURO project newsletter

22 January 2018

EPICURO project newsletter

The EPICURO – European Partnership for Innovative Cities within an Urban Resilient Outlook project has launched its first newsletter. EPICURO brings together a total of 10 EU partner (5 cities and 5 technical organizations) and aims to promote the sharing of good practices in urban resilience and climate change adaptation implemented at international, European and local level.

EPICURO is a twin project of RESIN and Smart Mature Resilience.

In this edition:

- EPICURO at a glance

- Come and meet us!

- Our first 10 months: achieved results

- Twinning projects

Download the newsletter here.

CRITIS conference: Call for papers

20 December 2017

CRITIS conference: Call for papers

In 2018, the International Conference on Critical Information Infrastructures Security faces its 13th anniversary.

CRITIS 2018 continues the tradition of presenting innovative research and exploring new challenges in the field of critical (information) infrastructures protection (C(I)IP), resilience and fostering the dialogue with stakeholders.

CRITIS 2018 aims at bringing together researchers, professionals from academia, critical (information) infrastructure operators,
industry, defence sector and governmental organisations working in the field of the security of critical (information) infrastructure systems.

As in previous years, invited speakers will complement a programme of original research contributions. The conference invites the different research communities and disciplines involved in the C(I)IP space, and encourages discussions and multi-disciplinary approaches to relevant C(I)IP problems.

The Projects' Dissemination Session will be an opportunity of dissemination for ongoing European, multinational, and national projects.
Besides, this CRITIS conference has a special focus on current and uture energy infrastructures within a special session Energy infrastructure operators and stakeholders: key challenges and solution directions,Invited key experts from the energy sector will share their experience in the field.

›› Deadline for full - text submission is 30 April 2018.

RESIN project: to support resilient cities and their infrastructures

11 December 2017

RESIN project: to support resilient cities and their infrastructures

Horizon 2020 RESIN project develops standardised approaches to increase the resilience of Europe’s cities and urban areas to extreme weather and climate change. RESIN has a specific focus on ensuring that critical infrastructures are better integrated into this process.

The heart of the RESIN project's approach lies in the co-creation between the partner cities and the research institutes developing the products of the project. This process is actively supported by ICLEI (as a city network and knowledge brokerage organisation) and Arcadis from the viewpoint of a consultancy company.

The main products of the RESIN project include:

- A typology for European cities for adaptation to climate change that can be used to identify cities and regions with similar risk and adaptation profile;
- Detailed guidance for an impact and vulnerability analysis (IVAVIA) including tools such as an impact chain diagram creator, and aggregation and calculation support;
- A database of possible adaptation options with due attention for harmonisation of effectiveness and cost-efficiency information;
- Standardised methods for prioritising between these adaptation measures which will be an input for an adaptation pathway design;
- A common unifying framework for the adaptation decision making process, with associated methods, tools and datasets created to support decision-making at appropriate stages, in the form of an e-Guide;
- Inputs for the international and European Standardisation organisations to enhance the standardisation of approaches in climate change adaptation.

The policy implications of the RESIN project: Panel discussion in a project meeting in November 2017


At the occasion of the RESIN November 2017 consortium meeting held in Brussels, a panel discussed the outcomes of the project in the light of EU policies and European urban challenges:

- the urban risk typology have a value both for individual cities, allowing them to identify and learn from comparable cities, and for national and EU institutions, that can use the typology for developing policies and distributing funding covering the variety of cities and regions in Europe;
- equally all the harmonisation and standardization work within RESIN is beneficial for the cities and their stakeholders as it improves the quality of risk assessments and adaptation strategy making, and it contributes to more comparability between cities;
- from the audience the development of a “stress-test” for cities to demonstrate where they are vulnerable to current and future extreme weather conditions was recommended;
- a recurring topic was the value added of the co-creation process that is at the heart of the project. While it obviously contributes to the development of tools that are better and more widely applicable, it also contributes to the scientific quality of the research. The consortium was invited to publish on this aspect.

If you are interested in learning more about this project, don't miss RESIN upcoming events:
- RESIN Stakeholder Dialogue," Solutions for strategic adaptation planning in European cities“, 1st February 2018, Manchester, UK.
- Open European Day at Bonn Resilient Cities, 25th April 2018, Bonn, Germany.