Climate change impacts primarily manifest in changes to the water cycle. These impacts combined with increasing human pressure on water resources will likely show the limits of current adaptation practices, calling for more transformational approaches. There is a need for expanding efforts of mainstreaming water-related climate adaptation into EU policies in order to reduce negative impacts from conflicting sectoral policies and to tap into synergies, e.g. with the new biodiversity strategy. To this end, the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) hosted the conference “Climate change and the European water dimension – Enhancing resilience”. The conference gathered stakeholders from EU member states and EU institutions and administrations, non-governmental organisations, research and relevant economic sectors.
As a basis for discussion during the conference, this background paper provides an overview of:
- observed and expected future climate change impacts on water bodies and effects for different water-dependent sectors in different regions of the EU;
- policy approaches and strategies for climate change adaptation at the EU, MS and transboundary level;
- required action and possible entry points for EU activities to enhance adaptation efforts in the EU MS and transboundary basins.
It does so for four different thematic clusters, each featuring several sub-topics. The background paper is based on a literature review, interviews and discussions with the steering committee for the conference. The background paper provides the basis for a policy paper that provides tangible recommendations on EU initiatives to respond to the challenges and entry points identified.