Hungary is expected to be impacted by climate change more severely than the global average. According to regional climate models’ forecasts (ALADIN, RegCM) for the period of 2071-2100, the increase in average temperature will be 3-5°C. This is expected to be accompanied by a decrease in precipitation with a more unpredictable distribution and an increase in extreme weather. According to forecasts, the combined effect may lead to a change in the runoff of up to 60%. Hungary will face more frequent and extreme hydrological events: water scarcity and droughts will be more extensive, precipitation will become more intensive and unpredictable floods and excess inland water inundations will increase.
Hungary needs to improve risk awareness and build a shared vision to mitigate water-related challenges. Hungary’s high exposure to climate change is combined with a high level of sensitivity of some key sectors, such as settlements and agriculture. To mitigate detrimental effects, and to provide effective adaptation measures, settlement management (including areas outside urban centres that are managed by the local municipality) must be prepared to handle, relieve and retain water, as well as cooperate with other stakeholders from the water and agriculture sector.
LIFE-MICACC's main goal is to improve the climate resilience of vulnerable municipalities in Hungary by reducing their risks stemming from climate change. To this end, it will introduce and foster the integration of sustainable ecosystem-based water management approaches into local governments’ natural resources management strategies and land-use planning practice. The project also aims to strengthen the coordination role of local municipalities in climate change adaptation planning and recognition of risks. More specifically, the project aims to: Raise awareness and increase the knowledge of decision-makers in Hungarian local governments, relevant public administration bodies and economic actors about the impacts of climate change and about ecosystem-based natural water retention measures (NWRM) by showcasing to Hungarian municipalities and stakeholders the relevant knowledge from implemented NWRM pilot cases in Europe; Test and demonstrate the practical applicability and viability of selected NWRMs in climate change adaptation within the Hungarian natural, socio-economic and administrative context by developing and implementing prototypes of these measures on five pilot sites; Disseminate the practical knowledge gained from the five test cases and foster the replication of the tested NWRM solutions for improved climate resilience in different locations within Hungary, both locally and regionally; Build locally coordinated catchment partnerships around a joint vision and prepare plans for the upscaling of NWRM solutions to catchment level, involving stakeholders; Build local capacity in the most vulnerable Hungarian municipalities to strengthen the coordinating and integrating role of local governments in mainstreaming ecosystem-based climate change adaptation measures into natural resources management strategies and spatial planning, and to enhance an enabling environment for them; Create innovative and user-friendly smart IT tools for all Hungarian municipalities and other stakeholders that help them understand and manage climate risks, support knowledge sharing and facilitate stakeholder mobilisation; and Involve Hungarian local governments in national and European networks of mutual support and cooperation for climate change adaptation and mitigation.
The project underlines the multifunctional role of the NWRMs and their important contribution to the implementation of the EU Adaptation Strategy and the EU strategy on green infrastructure along with their integration in other policies such as the Water Framework Directive, Floods Directive and the EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy. The project will promote Hungarian municipalities’ involvement in the EU’s Initiative of Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, which will help them develop their Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plans.
Expected results: Increased adaptive capacity of municipalities in Hungary, leading to resilient, adaptive and balanced natural areas; Improved knowledge of decision-makers in local governments on climate-induced water risks, ecosystem-based adaptation and funding sources; Local actors and decision-makers taking part in trainings and e-learnings; Two online tools available to improve understanding and tackle water risks; Improved climate resilience of the five pilot sites through addressed water scarcity problems, the retention of excess waters in created wetlands and green infrastructure; An adaptation guide focusing on ecosystem-based methods; Improved adaptive capacity of the replication sites through increased knowledge of the municipalities’ natural assets in relation to water management and climate change adaptation; and Better cooperation among municipalities and stakeholders, with a strengthened coordination role for leading municipalities in managing local issues.