Legal solutions to address climate change adaptation in Spain: Reflections from the first national event of the DACE Project organized by IIDMA

  • Last 28 June the International Institute for Law and Environment (IIDMA) hold the first Spanish event entitled “Adaptation to Climate Change in Spain: Legal Solutions” at the European Commission Representation in Spain (Madrid) as part of the European DACE Project “Discussions and Actions on Climate and Environment”. 

In addition to addressing climate change mitigation by aiming at limiting the global average temperature increase to 1.5 degrees, the Paris Agreement included a global goal on adaptation and called to advance in building climate resilience as well as to increase our capacity to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change. At EU level, the European Climate Law and the European Climate Change Adaptation Strategy aim at responding to the continent’s growing vulnerability and move towards a climate neutral, adapted and resilient Europe by 2050. To this end, several European environmental organizations, including IIDMA, have launched the DACE Project with a dual purpose:

  1. To raise awareness and increase knowledge on climate change adaptation and legal developments in this field; and
  2. To analyze and raise awareness of citizens’ climate rights that could be affected by the negative impacts of climate change increasing the number of climate litigation cases.

The Spanish event counted with the participation of 8 experts in environmental and climate law and policy representatives of the European Commission and the Spanish Administration at state, regional and local levels. It highlighted the importance and urgency of addressing an in-depth debate with all sectors of the society to better understand the current consequences of the climate crisis, and the existing tools and solutions already provided by the international, EU and Spanish legal-institutional frameworks to move towards more resilient and adapted societies.

During the opening of the event, the Head of Communications of the European Commission Representation in Spain, Juan González, confirmed the importance of supporting initiatives such as the DACE Project to help increase knowledge and awareness of climate change challenges. Likewise, after presenting the work of the Institute over 25 years, the Lawyer and Director of IIDMA, Ana Barreira, stressed that climate change is a problem that requires a legal response which is being provided by the large number of regulations being developed since 1992 following the adoption of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Paris Agreement later in 2015.

In the first panel of the event, IIDMA’s lawyer Alba Iranzo presented the nature, objective, and main activities of the DACE Project, as well as the results of the public opinion survey “Knowledge and Perception of Climate Change in Spain” – undertaken by an external agency in March-April 2023 – which show the concern of Spanish citizens and the need to promote further knowledge about this phenomenon and the tools to address it.

In the second panel, three experts in the field (Anna Dimitrijevics from the European Commission, Ana Barreira from IIDMA, and María Salazar from the Spanish Office for Climate Change of the Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge, MITERD) addressed the current regulatory and planning framework on climate adaptation at the international, European Union and Spanish levels. Among the key messages, this panel point out the importance of avoiding “maladaptation” practices and the obligation of Member States to adopt effective regulations and strategies to achieve a climate resilient and adapted Europe by 2050. In addition, in view of its high level of vulnerability, the event showed that Spain has been one of the EU pioneering countries in taking action on adaptation, taking significant steps through key national tools such as the Spanish Climate Change and Energy Transition Law, the National Plan for Adaptation to Climate Change (PNACC 2021-2030), and its five-year work programme (2021-2025) to monitor implementation.

In the last third panel, experts from the regional governments of Andalusia, the Balearic Islands and Galicia, as well as from the local City Council of Valencia presented the regulatory and planning advances taken to promote climate adaptation in their territories, the existing challenges, and the potential solutions and actions implemented in cross-cutting areas such as water, health, biodiversity, agriculture, cities, etc. The need to increase technical and scientific knowledge on adaptation, and to continue promoting effective coordination and collaboration between citizens, administrations and the private sector was stressed.

As a result, the event – attended by more than 60 participants in site and online, fulfilled the expectations of the EU DACE Project by providing an in-depth debate on the challenges and potential legal solutions to advance in building resilient and adapted societies, while remembering that there is still so much work to undertake at all sectors of the society.

More information available at IIDMA´s website here.

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or or of the granting authority – the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Neither the EU nor EACEA can be held responsible for them.

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