LIFE Project Cover Photo

MAinSTreaming Experiences at Regional and local level for adaptation to climate change

Reference: LIFE15 CCA/IT/000061 | Acronym: LIFE MASTER ADAPT



Within the EU, southern Europe, and the Mediterranean basin, in particular, will be most affected by global climate change. Strategies and plans for adaption to climate change are developed at national and regional level in the EU. Italy launched its National Adaptation Strategy to Climate Change (SNAC) in 2014, and officially adopted it in June 2015. Italy's regions are characterised by different landscapes, geographical features and climate. Two of those regions, Lombardy and Sardinia, are representative at both national and EU level, with problems typical of other regions. Thus an analysis of their vulnerability to climate change and the mainstreaming of adaptation measures in these regions could be useful to guide other regions and countries in developing their adaptation plans.


The LIFE MASTER ADAPT project aimed to identify and test innovative tools of multi-level governance, to support regions and local authorities in defining and developing climate adaptation strategies and policies. In particular, the project aimed to build on existing developments in Lombardy (Italy) to create a scalable methodology to optimise the targeting and integration of regional policies in different sectors with respect to climate change adaptation. To be effective, regional policies need to be developed locally, integrating top-down and bottom-up approaches. The project aimed to address the needs of groups of towns or cities that share the same vulnerabilities and whose administrations have a similar capacity to respond to climate change, but which are missing a common methodology for mainstreaming adaptation. The project aimed to define new governance models, to enable the integration of regional and local adaptation policies and measures.


LIFE MASTER ADAPT developed and tested innovative multi-level governance tools to help regions and local authorities define and develop climate change adaptation strategies and policies. The project provided a common methodology for mainstreaming adaptation, which addressed the needs of groups of towns or cities sharing the same vulnerabilities, and having a similar capacity to respond to climate change. The main results consisted of steering documents and guidelines on climate vulnerability and risk assessment, based on the latest scientific evidence on the effects of climate change, intended for administrators and technicians of regions and cities. Another important result was the direct involvement of numerous stakeholders in developing methods to integrate adaptation policies into sectoral plans and programmes.

The project was conceived when Italy had adopted the National Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change (SNAC) in June 2015. Among the Regions, only Lombardy had its own regional strategy and was preparing to draw up an action plan for its implementation. After the LIFE MASTER ADAPT funding was granted, Italy began drafting the National Adaptation Plan. Thanks to a collaboration established with the Italian Ministry of the Environment, the tools produced by the project, in particular the Guidelines for drafting regional adaptation strategies, were transferred into the national process to give a new push to the implementation of the National Adaptation Plan to Climate Change. The project team developed and mainstreamed 10 adaptation measures at regional level in the Lombardy Adaptation Plan. With the use of the developed tools, the Sardinia Region approved its Regional Strategy of Adaptation to Climate Change (SRACC), as a mainstreaming strategy.

The project developed and supplied a common methodology to support the identification of the main vulnerabilities and action priorities to ensure an effective regional and local application of the Italian National Adaptation Strategy; and prepared and provided the regions with a methodology to optimise mainstreaming into other policy areas. It provided guidelines for adaptation governance in urban areas to optimise coordination with urban planning and the development of private/public partnerships; boosted the adoption process of the National Plan of Adaptation to climate change, following the adoption of the Guidelines for Regional Strategies by the Conference of the Regions and Autonomous Provinces; and provided guidance, with a focus on metropolitan cities and aggregation of municipalities, to incentivise the integration of adaptation in large area planning tools, such as the Covenant of Mayors.

In north Milano (Seveso river basin) partners met representatives (at political and technical levels) of the municipalities to identify the most appropriate local policy instruments. In particular, cooperation with the local ?Contratto di Fiume? (River Contract) enabled interaction with the local Urban and Spatial Planning policies, regulations on Green Public Areas, Parks? plans, and Risk and Emergency plans.

The project is expected to have a long-term positive environmental impact due to the application of adaptation measures, which are now included in their territorial and regional plans. Projects actions have improved the knowledge base and increased awareness regarding climate resilience. Major climate risks and the level of vulnerability were identified, and this helped in selecting adaptation objectives, priorities and options. The project?s dissemination activities, including a series of workshops, sensitising public opinion and authorities on the risks - but also the opportunities - that climate change brings. LIFE MASTER ADAPT contributed to the implementation of EU climate policy; and the Italian National Plan for Adaptation to Climate Change, the Regional Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change of the Sardinia Region (SRACC), the Strategy and Plan for Adaptation to Climate Change of the Lombardy Region, and other regional and local climate change adaptation policies, strategies and plans.

The project has positive socio-economic implications, through the involvement of numerous stakeholders, enabling information to be shared at many levels, guaranteeing collective interests in climate change adaptation. Direct economic benefits are expected in the longer term, linked to safer and resilient territories.

Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report and After-LIFE Communication Plan (see "Read more" section).


Reference: LIFE15 CCA/IT/000061
Start Date: 01/10/2016
End Date: 30/06/2020
Total Budget: 1,592,674 €
EU Contribution: 954,702 €
Project Location:


Coordinating Beneficiary: Regione Autonoma della SardegnaAssessorato della Difesa dell'Ambiente
Legal Status: PAT
Address: Viale Trento n.69, 09123, Cagliari, Italia
Contact Person: Gianluca COCCO
Tel: +39 070 6066456, +39 348 133 8708

LIFE Project Map



  • Resilient communities


  • Mayors Adapt


  • Directive 2007/60 - Assessment and management of flood risks (23.10.2007)
  • COM(2013)216 - EU Strategy on adaptation to climate change (16.04.2013)
  • COM(2013) 249 final ?Communication from the Commission on Green Infrastructure (GI) - Enhancing Europe?s Natural Capital? (06.05.2013)


Name Type
Regione Autonoma della SardegnaAssessorato della Difesa dell'Ambiente Coordinator
Regione Lombardia, Italy Participant
Coordinamento Agende 21 Locali Italiane, Italy Participant
University of Sassari - Department of Science for Nature and Environmental Resources, Italy Participant
Ambiente Italia s.r.l., Italy Participant
Fondazione Lombardia per l’Ambiente, Italy Participant
Università Iuav di Venezia, Italy Participant
ISPRA (Institute for Environmental Protection and Research/Istituto Superiore per la Protezione e la Ricerca Ambientale), Italy Participant