21 September 2022

Experts met in Athens to take action on climate change adaptation and urban resilience

Cities and regions across Europe are working hard to foster resilience and adaptation, and are eager to exchange knowledge and experiences related to these efforts. The 9th edition of the European Urban Resilience Forum (EURESFO) took place in Athens, Greece, from 14 to 15 September gathering city representatives, experts, and stakeholders working at the forefront of climate adaptation, urban resilience, and disaster risk management.

Once again, the Forum provided an exceptional platform for 70+ speakers and 300+ participants from across Europe and abroad to come together in 17 sessions – on topics ranging from nature-based solutions, data availability, to digital twinning – to take stock and address challenges that cities are facing and outline opportunities for action.

Kostas Bakoyannis, Mayor of Athens, opened EURESFO by unveiling the City of Athens plans to tackle the extreme heatwaves that hit Europe this past summer: “I am glad and grateful, that the European Urban Resilience Forum has managed to gather experts and policy makers from over 80 European cities in Athens to join forces for this common purpose to build resilience, especially after the summer we have had in Europe. Truly talking about heat in Athens is like talking to fish about water; we will aim to lower temperatures with cooling materials, nature-based solutions, updating grey infrastructure and much more."

In addition to climate change, cities are facing increasing challenges. In response, the event held a session focusing on a post-war recovery for Ukrainian cities. The Ukrainian representatives’ focus on planning for a sustainable future even amidst a war is testament to resilience.

In the closing remarks, Holger Robrecht, Deputy Regional Director at ICLEI Europe, stressed the importance of further collaboration: “In light of the war in Ukraine we need collaboration – let’s respond as resilience experts! We can have the capacity to do so if we are a partnership. We have limited means, but with the will to break silos, a lot can be done, such as building common standards for financing. We need to ease access to financing, and in order to scale-up - we need to promote these great solutions that we have seen at the European Urban Resilience Forum.”

Building networks for resilience and climate change adaptation are key to ensure Europe can withstand the effects of climate change and conflict. ICLEI Europe and the European Environment Agency will continue to spearhead the European Urban Resilience Forum in the years to come, gathering experts in the field to exchange knowledge and build collaborations across academia, NGOs, private sector and government. The upcoming edition of the European Urban Resilience Forum will celebrate its 10th jubilee in 2023 – a call for host cities for 2023 and 2024 is currently underway.

In the meantime, continue the discussion in October 2022 at ICLEI’s flagship online conference Daring Cities, where urban leaders from around the world will focus on financing climate emergencies.

#EURESFO2022 was supported by the following partners: European Environment Agency, City of Athens, Regreen, Regilience, CoCliCo, Google, European Investment Bank, Covenant of Mayors, European Committee of the Regions, Ruggedised, Excess, ProGIreg, ARCH, LIFE Programme, Science for Environment Policy, Resilient Cities Network, Making Cities Resilient 2030. ICLEI Europe would like to sincerely thank these collaborators, whose contributions without which this forum would not be possible.

Read the full event press release here, and see/scroll through the event photo album.