Adaptation to Climate Change in Hungary

Adaptation to Climate Change in Hungary

Source of funding

Financial Mechanism (Norway | Iceland | Liechtenstein)

Name of client/donor

EEA Grants, Financial Mechanism Office (FMO)

Overall project value

EUR 7,010,000

Date

June 2013 – April 2017

Beneficiary countries

Hungary

Number of staff

21

The project was implemented between June 2013 and April 2017, with the support of European Economic Area (EEA) Grants, representing the contribution of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. The aim of the EEA Grants is to reduce economic and social disparities and to strengthen bilateral relations with 16 EU countries in Central and Southern Europe. Funding in Hungary is channelled through 12 programme areas in different sectors, ranging from environmental protection and climate change to civil society and research. The REC was the EEA Grants Fund Operator for the Adaptation to Climate Change programme within the 2009-2014 Financial Mechanism, and the donor partner was the Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection (DSB). As fund operator, the REC published calls for proposals and launched public consultations on the calls on its specially created website. Prospective applicants were encouraged to review the calls and to submit comments and queries using the dedicated online feature. Ten projects were eventually selected. Further details can be found on the project website.

The programme aimed to promote a clear understanding of climate change impacts and vulnerability in Hungary; encourage actions to improve climate resilience at local level; raise awareness of climate change impacts; and share examples of replicable projects that contribute to reducing the impacts of climate change. It contributed to establishing a system to:

  • provide a sound basis for identifying adaptation options at different levels in Hungary;
  • heighten awareness of adaptation efforts in Hungary;
  • mobilise stakeholders and local-level decision makers;
  • inform and empower actors to develop and implement local strategies; and
  • strengthen climate resilience based on knowledge of local impacts and vulnerabilities.

 

The Adaptation to Climate Change programme had three main components:

  • The National Adaptation Geoinformatic System (NAGiS)
  • Local climate change adaptation capacity building
  • Pilot projects focusing on local-level investments related to climate change adaptation

The programme fostered cooperation between the donor state and Hungarian entities and contributed to strengthening bilateral relations in the field of adaptation to climate change. The DSB's involvement in the implementation of the programme further strengthened its cooperation with the Hungarian ministries and public entities working on adaptation to climate change, as well as with the programme fund operator, the REC.

Four calls for proposals were published for pilot projects intended to provide replicable examples of how resilience can be enhanced at both local and sub-regional level. One additional benefit of this outreach is that local populations will become more aware of climate-related issues and will begin to understand the tangible, local impacts of what are generally regarded as abstract phenomena.

The calls were open to bilateral partnership projects, and entities registered in Hungary were eligible to apply. The main target groups were public institutions, local and regional governments, universities, research institutes, SMEs and NGOs.

Component 1: The National Adaptation Geoinformatic System

This component included five projects. The aim was to develop a multi-purpose geo-information system that can facilitate the policy-making, strategy-building and decision-making process related to impact assessments for climate change and the adoption of necessary adaptation measures in Hungary. The NAGiS is intended to play a key role in addressing the global challenge of climate change and in developing smart adaptation measures tailored to regional and local needs. 

One project was implemented for setting up the IT infrastructure for the NAGiS, developing a methodology for the assessment of climate change impacts and sectoral vulnerabilities, and feeding in large amounts of data into the system. The project promotor was also responsible for maintaining and operating the system in the future.

Two of the projects within Component 1 focused on specific sectors: agriculture (arable cultivation, grassland management), forestry and related ecosystem services; and public health, tourism and critical infrastructure, both of them providing sector-specific information to the NAGiS. Another project analysed the inclusion of social and economic indicators in the climate models. The socioeconomic processes in Hungary up to 2050 were projected using models focusing on demographic and economic development.

The fifth project in this component had the specific aim of improving and developing further climate projections for Hungary.

 

Component 2: Local climate change adaptation capacity building

Two projects were implemented within this component:

Development of a National Climate Adaptation Network (CLIM-NET/HUN)

The project provided adaptation-related capacity-building activities for local authorities, local decision makers and local stakeholders from Northern Hungary, Western Transdanubia, the Southern Great Plains, and the western part of Central Hungary (including the west of Budapest). The project team elaborated a methodology based on available international and national literature and best-practice examples; and developed capacity-building tools/training materials and a communication strategy aimed at raising climate awareness at local level.

 

Capacity Building for Local Adaptation Work

The primary objective of this project was to build the capacities of local authorities, local decision makers and local stakeholders in relation to climate adaptation. At least 140 local authorities and sub-regional stakeholders were involved from Central Transdanubia, Southern Transdanubia, the Northern Great Plains, and the east part of Central Hungary (including the east of Budapest). Project experts provided comprehensive guidance materials for developing local adaptation strategies and encouraging the involvement of local stakeholders. Complex training materials were developed, covering all significant areas affected by climate change that come within the scope of authority of local municipalities.

 

Component 3: Pilot projects focusing on climate change adaptation measures at local and regional level

Three pilot projects were implemented, each with the goal of providing replicable examples of how resilience can be enhanced at both local and sub-regional level. The scope of the projects was improving water management and water balance in the region as a way of addressing the problem of the increasing frequency of heavy rains and lack of precipitation.

The project Adapting to Climate Change in the Homokhat Area aimed to contribute to climate change adaptation by balancing the availability of water resources more effectively through the modernisation of the existing water supply network, thus providing sufficient capacity during drought periods, as well as ample storage capacity during periods of excess rain.

The project Elaborating a Concept for Precipitation Management and Adapting to Climate Change in the Settlements of Tat and Tokod developed a new methodology to provide the basis for planning proper drainage capacity, conducting an impact assessment for extreme precipitation, formulating a priority list of investment tasks to help in decision making, and implementing on-site demonstration measures (e.g. surface drainage ditches, simulations, obtaining water management permits etc.).

The project Oreg-Tur rehabilitation - Phase II aimed to improve the water balance of the river Oreg-Tur during periods of extreme weather and also to provide better irrigation conditions in the whole area by raising low water levels on the upper stretch of the river. Project activities included developing and reconstructing river dams, and developing a new management/operational system that features a monitoring system (by building automatic water level measuring stations and several floodgates to control water levels).

 

The REC also organised a study tour from Latvia to Hungary. A Latvian delegation from the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development and the State Regional Development Agency visited Hungary for two days of meetings with the REC in order to share experiences of implementing adaptation-related programmes in Latvia and Hungary.

The REC also hosted visitors from regional authorities in Norway to discuss potential cooperation between Norway and Hungary.

  • Administrative support
  • Communication
  • Grants management
  • Knowledge transfer
  • Assessment and monitoring
  • Bilateral cooperation

Project Publications