Pan-European partnership helping communities prepare for disasters The TCPA continues its contribution to and learning from European projects in this new project on European Partnership for Innovative Cities within an Urban Resilience Outlook (EPICURO). It is a two-year programme starting from February 2017 to January 2019 and funded by DG ECHO, Directorate-General of the European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO), more specifically under its prevention policy area. The main objective of EPICURO is to promote the sharing of good practices in urban prevention and facilitate the access to specific knowledge and expertise on the issue of climate change adaptation, by involving a partnership at European level which are cooperating and working on the enhancement of urban resilience and can therefore bring visible added value to the debate and to the solution development process. It has one specific objective, relevant to the interests and expertise of the TCPA, to detect best practices so far developed at EU and international level and related to urban resilience to disasters and to contribute to the development of shared adaptation strategies at local, national and EU level. It aims to achieve these through identifying good practice, developing Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threat (SWOT) analyses, forming strategic resilience partnerships, developing Local Adaptation Strategy Plans and piloting actions, and undertaking local training activities. All in the space of 2 years. Box: The EPICURO Partnership Set in the historic and completely pedestrianised centre of Vicenza, the partnership met for the first time in March to plan for and agree on actions to implement. What was remarkable about the composition of the partnership was that these are not the usual suspects of major metropolitan cities of north western European cities like Malmo, Amsterdam or Copenhangen but the small provincial cities in southern and eastern Europe such as Salaspils in Latvia, Alba Iulia in Romania, Skopje in Macedonia and Vicenza in Italy, as well as Vejle, the ninth largest city in Denmark a tenth of the size of Copenhagen, and the Province of Potenza responsible for about 100 municipalities. However although these cities differ significantly, they face similar issues in terms of institutional, policy and practical challenges around land use planning, building regulations, stakeholder engagement and training, governance and leadership. The impression was that these areas have not only just committed to building resilience to natural disasters ranging from earthquakes to flooding for the benefit of their local communities and economies, they also recognise the need for external support and inspiration to address their respective challenges. Tackling these issues is exactly the benefit that pan-European projects such as EPICURO can bring to these areas. The added value and unintended benefit of such a diverse partnership would be the exchange of knowledge and expertise from the most experienced cities to the least experienced. For example the City of Vejle is one of the 100 Resilient Cities supported by the Rockefeller Foundation through capacity building support and funding. The TCPA can make an important contribution with the technical expertise gained through its leading partner roles in the GRaBS project on adaptation (2008-2011), the LEAP project on leadership in energy planning (2011-2013), and the SPECIAL project on integrating spatial and energy planning (2013-2016). Closer to home, the TCPA’s campaign activities through the Planning and Climate Change Coalition can help partners maximise the benefits of collaboration with stakeholders in building meaningful resilience mechanisms. As a Partner in EPICURO, the TCPA has three specific tasks: Prepare guidelines for SWOT analysis for each partner city to identify main climate related challenges prepare guidelines for Local Adaptation Strategy Planning (LASP) for each partner city to develop its own LASP, and monitor their implementation. Host a final project conference in London in January 2019. Michael Chang, TCPA’s Project Manager for EPICURO attending with TCPA European Advisor, Diane Smith, says “It is an exciting project to be involved in and the prospect of continuing to learn from practices across Europe. I can already envisage significant potential for sharing learning with those towns and cities in the UK outside the main metropolitan areas”. More details about EPICURO will be available soon from the Lead Partner, but have a look at the EPICURO Facebook group and watch this space for future updates and details of the final London conference in January 2019.