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REGILIENCE team meets in Vienna for the first time

The REGILIENCE team, made up of IEECP, ICLEI Europe, Fedarene, F6S, REGEA, FC.ID, adelphi, Fresh Thoughts Consulting and R-Cities, held its first in-person meeting in Vienna on 18-20 May 2022.

REGILIENCE team meets in Vienna for the very first time.
Vienna was specifically selected to host this event due to the fact that climate adaptation is at the core of its climate policy and an inseparable part of its Climate Protection Programme (KliP), first created in 1999 and last updated in 2009. The goal of the programme was to make Vienna a model city and reduce CO2 emissions. In 2022 the Smart Climate City Strategy Vienna was adopted to define climate mitigation and climate adaptation actions for Vienna becoming a climate resilient city until 2040. In the last decades climate change has deeply affected Vienna’s local climate, causing the local temperature to rise by more than 2 degrees in the last 40 years. This in itself has caused catastrophic events such as heavy rainfall, draughts, storms and high summer temperatures and is the reason why Vienna has launched the “Adapting to Climate Change” initiative in 2017.

As part of the trip, the REGILIENCE members had the unique opportunity to take a bike ride around the Danube. Vienna is a visionary when it comes to adaptation to urban flooding. The city has adopted a defense system during the 70’s and 80’s which can protect the city from flooding. The system allows for the sluice gates of the Danube to lift during a flood allowing the excess water, debris and tree branches to rush into a man-made side channel. 

Vienna has also been artificially raised with the help of soil excavated from the channel’s river. Biking trails, beaches and meadows have been created for people to gather.
During these sunny days, it was impressive to see how the citizens take advantage of the floodplain as a meeting point for recreation, sunbathing and socializing, increasing their quality of life and wellbeing.

Another thing which our REGILIENCERS were extremely pleased to discover was that the Wiener Linien, Vienna’s public transport operator, has converted tram and metro stations into greenhouses. They have used climbing flowers to create a completely new ecosystem – all of this in the heart of the city! Apart from being beautiful and looking like an urban oasis, the greenery creates shadow and cools down the commuters. The plants are also a habitat for insects and bees, promoting the health of the ecosystem.

The trip was very fruitful and informative. The REGILIENCE partners had the opportunity to leave their footprint to climate resilience as well – the whole trip was under the frame of CO2 reduction and sustainability. During the Management Board Meeting there was a strict no computers rule. Funnily enough, laptops and computers emit CO2 and using them excessively or leaving them turned on overnight can in fact add to global warming.

Other things, which our environment friendly team did was to hold its meeting outside and thus, not use electricity, air conditioning and projectors. The team also cycled everywhere, consumed drinking water from fountains, therefore reducing their use of plastic. They also ate local vegan food, delivered by bike, and stayed in a hotel close to the meeting venue, reducing the commuting time and the need for transport.

Vienna has been a unique experience! In 2020 the city was ranked as the greenest metropolis and is occupying the leading positions in regards to:

  • Parks and green spaces;
  • Public transport – available everywhere around the city;
  • Recycling;
  • Renewable resources.