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European Parliament Studies Climate Change Effects in Outermost Regions

November 2011: The European Parliament has published a study titled “The Role of Regional Policy in Addressing the Effects of Climate Change in Outermost Regions,” which explores potential effects of climate change on the EU Outermost regions, and presents the measures and initiatives within EU Regional Policy supporting mitigation and/or adaption measures in these regions.

Although the Outermost regions are geographically distant to EU member States, they are covered by EU law and represent an economically and biologically important component of the EU. The EU Cohesion Policy promotes the economic development and convergence of these regions with the EU mainland. The report covers: Guadeloupe and Martinique in the Caribbean; the Canaries, the Azores, and Madeira in Macaronesia; Reunion in the Indian Ocean; and French Guiana in the Amazon.

The report highlights that: the Outermost regions face many challenges from climate change, most notably biodiversity loss, health impacts, negative impacts on agriculture, tourism stagnation, and water scarcity; and adaptation measures funded by the EU prevailed in financial terms over mitigation measures in almost all of the Outermost regions.

The report concludes that overall EU funding is inadequate in preparing the Outermost regions for the upcoming challenges of climate change, particularly when comparing it with funding provided to non-sustainable regional activities (such as motorized individual traffic, intensive production, ecologically damaging tourism, etc.). The report thus recommends that future projects funded by the EU should be climate-proofed, and notes that additional investments in adaptation and mitigation are needed. [Publication: The Role of Regional Policy in Addressing the Effects of Climate Change in Outermost Regions]