Mainstreaming climate objectives in EU Cohesion Policy - a guidance briefing

The 2014-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) is characterised by a range of policy innovations, some of which are highly relevant with regards to the environment and climate change. Importantly the Council and the Parliament have for the first time endorsed a specific spending objective for climate related activities, amounting to 20 per cent of the overall MFF. The main approach in achieving this objective is via the ‘mainstreaming’ of climate change objectives across different EU funding instruments, which is particularly important for the future EU Cohesion Policy.

Nevertheless, there is a question for managing authorities how to implement this approach  on the ground, how to translate it into effective investment priorities, procedures and good practice tools that will ensure that climate objectives are integrated along the different programme and project phases.

Summing up relevant insights and experiences from a range of projects, this paper outlines a framework and approach to climate mainstreaming that can provide practical guidance for managing authorities. It reviews the new legislative framework for the 2014-2020 Cohesion Policy, presents good practice examples of climate mainstreaming in the past Operational Programmes and provides a set of questions for managing authorities, which can be used as a checklist during programming and implementation activities and can help to operationalise climate mainstreaming at each stage of the programme and project cycle.

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