The European Commission is pleased to announce the call for proposals to mobilise at least 150 regions in testing the solutions locally most needed to build climate resilience and to deliver at least 75 deep demonstrations of systemic transformations to climate resilience.
The proposal should develop and test at least one innovative solution, combining technological, social and business innovation, leading to an increase of the resilience and adaptation capacity to climate change in the involved regions and communities of the agriculture sector and the related value chains. Nature based solutions and the restoration of cropland and grassland should be explored as priority and at the very heart of the development whenever possible.
- The proposed solution should address at least some of the following aspects:
- Improving resilience of the agriculture and /or forestry sector, improving the capacity of the sector to withstand dry periods and extreme droughts while protecting the ecological flows, preserving biodiversity in and around the catchment channels, preserving longitudinal connectivity of the flowing streams, slowing the falling level of the groundwater table and reversing the loss of biodiversity. This should include for example exploring value of culture rotation and other means to improve soil quality, improving soil structure by circular approaches, establishment and maintenance of landscape features (such as hedges reducing wind erosion), innovative silvo-pasture, management of genetic resources in an agro-ecological perspective and other agro-ecology approaches in farmland, in particular in relation to droughts and water multi-usage and management;
- Exploiting agro-ecology as an approach to enhance the climate resilience of the farming system, its functionality and sustainability, while bringing sustainable solutions and multiple benefits, such as more stable yields from adapted food crops, water efficiency, enhanced farmer livelihoods from income generation, increased biodiversity, improved water quality and water use efficiency, the ecological status of waters, improved soil structure and health, reduced erosion, and/or a higher level of carbon sequestration.
- Exploring integration of available smart farming approaches (and improvements of the same based on updated data) and the use of technologies such as the AI, remote sensing and the Internet of Things (IoT) to improve climate resilience through the modification and improvement of nutrient and crop protection processes, such as fertilization, pest control and irrigation, to ensure sufficient crop yields both in terms of quality and quantity, while also reducing emissions, water consumption and preserving biodiversity.
- Development of more natural ecosystems, generating combined benefits for climate mitigation, reduction of water flooding and soil erosion, (by increasing green infrastructures, tree planting, or increasing of permeable green surfaces) and maintaining or restoring rivers, peatland, wetland and natural floodplain.
- Further demonstrate and increase awareness of the value of maintaining and restoring existing natural systems, preservation of cultural landscapes and socio-ecological systems as providing a rich spectrum of climate services compared to other anthropogenic solutions, including integration of cultural heritage considerations as the legacy from the past, to be experienced in the present, and for transmitting to future generations. In line with the Mission Implementation Plan and the new EU Climate Adaptation Strategy, implementing nature-based solutions with adequate social and environmental standards on a larger scale would increase climate resilience. Blue-green (as opposed to grey) infrastructures represent multipurpose, “no regret” solutions, which simultaneously provide environmental, social and economic benefits and help build climate resilience, whose uptake can be facilitated by better quantification and communication of their benefits. Nature based Solutions (NBS) essential role for sustaining healthy water, oceans and soils was recognised, together with their potential to reduce costs, provide climate-resilient services, and improve compliance with Water Framework Directive requirement for good ecological status, if they were to play a bigger role in land-use management and infrastructure planning. The forthcoming Nature Restoration Law will also play an important role in requiring MS to plan restoration activities across a range of ecosystems.
- The check will normally be done for the coordinator if the requested grant amount is equal to or greater than EUR 500 000, except for:
- Public bodies (entities established as a public body under national law, including local, regional or national authorities) or international organisations; and
- Cases where the individual requested grant amount is not more than EUR 60 000 (lowvalue grant).
- Projects results are expected to contribute to all of the following expected outcomes:
- Regions and communities have undertaken action transforming into tangible projects their roadmaps designed with the aim of fostering a systemic approach to climate resilience towards the different and multi-risks locally identified as relevant, with particular emphasis on the development of nature-based solutions, biodiversity and climate mitigation synergies, and ecosystem restoration.
- Regions and communities have taken the leadership and have been involved in development and testing of solutions that can transform the agriculture and the forestry sectors, making them more resilient to foreseen climate change, while making progress in the sustainable transformation required implementing the European Green Deal.
- Solutions contribute to the implementation at the local level of the Common Agriculture Policy and the related National Strategic Plans, and they are well in line with the foreseen measures for drought management and the river basin management plans where those are in place.
- Developed solutions are close to nature, are at least neutral or support biodiversity, improve or at least do not harm water quality and availability (retentiveness in the landscape), making the agriculture/forestry sector and nature at large more resilient to climate change and supporting implementation of the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030.
- Solutions making the agriculture and/or forestry business models more resilient to long term effects of climate change have been developed, tested and brought closer to the market.
- Potential economic, social and environmental losses caused by extreme weather events to the agricultural, forestry and other related sectors, are reduced, making them more resilient through better preparation.
- Accompanying measures for enabling conditions, that would boost the outcomes, such as support instruments for environmental services, the use of digital monitoring, access to relevant data and knowledge, facilitation of financing and mobilisation or resources, are piloted.
- Agriculture and other related businesses, in particular those affering to the food-water nexus, are better prepared to cope with the changing climate, also through climate adaptation targeted education, up- and re-skilling programmes.
- Available or emerging climate-resilient solutions particularly relevant for small farms, organic farms or farms in conversion or any type of farms looking for alternative to intensive agriculture are also made known and available to the regions and communities, contributing to the implementation of the Farm to Fork Strategy.
- To become a beneficiary, legal entities must be eligible for funding.
- To be eligible for funding, applicants must be established in one of the following countries:
- The Member States of the European Union, including their outermost regions,
- The Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) linked to the Member States,
- Countries associated to Horizon Europe;
- The following low- and middle-income countries.
For more information, visit EC.