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EU Missions: Climate Mitigation and Adaptation for the Transformation of Cities

EU Missions are a set of initiatives that require new forms of collaboration, involving a wide range of sectors (public and private), as well as citizens, in their design, implementation and monitoring. The aim is to set up new structures and tools for working together to develop innovative solutions to improve the quality of life in Europe.

EU Missions

Horizon Europe includes among its main innovations the launching of Missions as a new way to implement R&D&I with a social and economic impact in areas of interest for the European Union and its citizens.

These Missions are defined as a portfolio of multidisciplinary actions aimed at achieving a bold and inspiring, yet measurable, goal that has a major impact on society.

EU Missions contribute to the objectives of the European Green Pact, the European Cancer Plan and the Sustainable Development Goals.

The five EU Missions are:

  • Cancer,

  • Water and oceans,

  • Soil Health and Food,

  • Smart and climate-neutral cities,

  • Climate Change Adaptation including Social Transformation.

citiES 2030 focuses on the Cities and Adaptation Missions.

Mitigation and adaptation: strategic pathway to overcome city limits

EU Mission: The Climate Neutral and Smart Cities Mission

The Cities Mission provides a starting point to support to cities in the transition to climate neutrality and the development of Climate City Contracts. To ensure this, the NetZeroCities platform was integrated into the Mission part of the Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Program, designed to help cities overcome the structural, institutional, and cultural barriers they face in achieving climate neutrality by 2030.

This platform, made up of 33 diverse entities, supports the EU Mission "100 Smart and Climate Neutral Cities by 2030" and provides cities with world-class expertise and services tailored to their needs. It aims to ensure customized access to available tools, methodologies and technologies to accelerate the implementation of the decarbonization roadmaps for European cities.

The NetZeroCities initiative provides Mission cities with a space that allows them to focus on capacity building, understand the dynamics of complex city systems, and design cross-sectoral and integrated interventions that will enable them to achieve the goal of climate neutrality by 2030.

Climate City Contracts are voluntary commitments established by cities and their stakeholder ecosystem with the European Commission to address climate change and promote urban sustainability.

Through this iterative process, cities commit to implement concrete actions, mobilize resources to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve climate neutrality, receiving support and resources to carry out their projects.

citiES 2030 and NetZeroCities collaborate closely by articulating the different services and expertise at national and European level respectively.

The Adaptation Mission

The Adaptation Mission aims to achieve climate resilience by 2030 for its 308 member European regions, municipalities and cities. It seeks to promote the enabling conditions to make this transformation possible. From governance that promotes deliberative democracy; capacity building, citizen and private sector involvement; financing; social and economic transformation; to access to data, services and digital tools.

To this end, the Adaptation Mission provides the necessary support in three key actions:

  • Identification of climate risks

  • Advice on the road to climate resilience

  • The momentum in the implementation of transformational projects.

In this context, the Horizon Europe program will provide €350M, earmarked for research and innovation.

Projects in support of the Adaptation Mission include:

  • MIP4Adapt. This digital platform offers a Community of Practicea space for sharing knowledge and experiences through events and training sessions. It also offers technical assistance, through local providers, with different blocks of support ranging from the necessary support in the design, implementation and monitoring of adaptation plans, advice on access to finance, and in the processes of citizen and other stakeholder involvement. The platform integrates the services of Climate adapt with its customized tools for the development of the Adaptation-support-tool.


  • Pathway to resilence (P2R). Coordinated by EIT Climate-KIC, this initiative, composed of 14 partners from 10 countries, seeks to create a movement between regions and communities and build capacity for the implementation of the Adaptation Mission; provide services to design innovation pathways and agendas for transformation into key community systems (KCS) and high-impact financial instruments; and, design a framework for benchmarking and assessing regional resilience maturity.

citiES 2030, in collaboration with the Basque Centre for Climate Change (BC3), provides services to Spanish cities in coordination with MIP4Adapt and P2R for the implementation of the Climate Change Adaptation Mission.

In collaboration with BC3 - Basque Centre for Climate Change, citiES 2030 has developed a series of tasks aimed at working synergistically between the European Cities Mission and the European Climate Change Adaptation Mission in Spain:

  • Providing cities and regions with tools and methodologies to better understand possible measures for adaptation to climate change and thus facilitate decision making.
  • Organization of meetings to facilitate the exchange of knowledge, experiences and best practices in climate change adaptation.
  • Development of pilot projects with cities to implement their action plans for adaptation to climate change and highlight their policies in this area.

To achieve the implementation and replicability of key projects towards neutrality and resilience, it is essential to strengthen collaborative governance mechanisms, find appropriate funding mechanisms and promote collaboration between the different levels of public administration.