From seed to tree: Tackling climate hazards with the European Policy Support Facility

15. September 14:30 - 16:00

As climate disasters happen more often and CO2 emissions continue to rise, adaptation to climate change gains momentum. With the new EU Adaptation Strategy published last year, the European Commission underlines the urgency of accelerating climate adaptation implementation to make Europe a climate resilient continent by 2050. This ambitious goal requires the commitment from European regions and communities. In order to accelerate the process from adaptation planning to action, the European Commission launched the Policy Support Facility within the Covenant of Mayors - Europe. The facility provides a key support to reaching the goals of the European Mission of Adaptation to Climate Change and Societal Transformation.

The European Urban Resilience Forum offers a unique chance to discuss climate adaptation challenges and opportunities to fulfil the European resilience objective. The Covenant of Mayors – Europe organises this session to bring together participants of the Policy Support Facility: international experts, national stakeholders from Member States and, most importantly, European cities and regions, coming together to prepare their adaptation actions. They will discuss challenges and strategies for two cities in different stages of their adaptation journey.

Thessaloniki is looking to create a comprehensive adaptation plan to prioritize their actions towards the infrastructure most impacted by climate hazards. Bologna aims to increase accessibility and scale of green space by engaging citizens to self-manage existing green areas. They are joined by two experts on just transitions and disaster risk reduction. Their discussion sets the scene for an interactive conversation with the audience, while representatives from the European Commission will be present to ensure that unidentified needs and gaps will improve future support to cities and regions.


Stella Psarropoulou

Deputy Chief Resilience Officer, City of Thessaloniki

Stella Psarropoulou, Deputy Chief Resilience Officer, City of Thessaloniki

She works as an officer at the Municipality of Thessaloniki (Greece) for  17 years, and in the recent years as a strategic planning and funding management officer at the Department of Operational Planning and development programs monitoring. Since 2016, she has been team member of the Resilient Thessaloniki office, contributed on the launch and implementation of the city’s Resilient Strategy “Thessaloniki 2030”, while since 2019 is appointed as the Deputy Chief Resilience officer. She is also the Municipality's Project Coordinator for the Finance Contract with the European Investment Bank and project team member of a number of European funded projects (Project Manager of Horizon project Food Trails) relevant to her expertise on urban resilience and sustainable development.

Her background is in Financial Studies, she hold a Master’s degree in “European Integration & Governance”, University of Macedonia (GR) and a second Master’s degree in “Spatial Planning for Sustainable and Resilient Urban Development”, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH), Faculty School (GR) where she has started  in 2021 her PHD research on SDGs.

Piero Pelizzaro

Director Europe and International Department, City of Bologna

Piero Pelizzaro, Director Europe and International Department, City of Bologna

Piero has 13 years of experience in climate change policies and urban resilience planning.

Currently he is the Head of the Europe and International Relation Department at the City of Bologna. Previously was the Milan Chief Resilience Officer and the City Lead for the H2020 Lighthouse project Sharing Cities at the Municipality of Milan. He is an advisor of the Italian Ministry of Ecological Transition for the National Adaptation Plan to Climate Change.

In recent years was the Co-Founder of Climalia, specialised consulting company providing climate services in Italy, where he operates as Resilience Specialist. Piero was an Acclimatise Associate and researcher at the Planning Climate Change Unit at IUAV Venice.

Piero is a member of the SISC Italian Society for Climate Science and European Commission Mayors Adapt Practitioners Work Group. He further specialised in Urban Resilience, Environmental Economic Accounting, Energy Scenario and Climate Change Impact Models through his working experience at the Stockholm Environment Institute – Tallinn Office. In past years he collaborated with EU MP, Umberto Guidoni.

Lorenzo Chelleri

Chair, Urban Resilience research Network (URNet)

Lorenzo Chelleri, Chair, Urban Resilience Research Network (URNet)

Lorenzo Chelleri is the Chair of the Urban Resilience research Network (URNet), director of the Int. Msc. in City Resilience Design and Management at the International University of Catalonia (UIC Barcelona) and senior researcher at the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST). He worked at the European Environment Agency (EEA) and pursuing his PhD on urban resilience theories before conducting in the last 10 years empirical research in Mexico, Bolivia, Morocco, Europe and Asia, authoring more than 50 scientific papers and co-leading with URNet colleagues the urban resilience international research agenda. He is currently principal investigator of different European projects, executive board member of the International Forum of Urbanism (IFoU), and co-leading the creation of the Educational platform of Urban Climate Change Research Network (UCCRNet-EDU). In Barcelona, he founded the Urban Resilience Lab, while advising and supporting local and regional authorities in the framing and implementation of urban climate resilience strategies.

Elena Visnar-Malinovska

Head of Adaptation Unit - DG Clima, European Commission

Elena Visnar-Malinovska, Head of Climate Adaptation & Resilience Unit - DG Clima, European Commission

Elena Višnar Malinovská is currently a Head of the climate adaptation & resilience unit in DG Climate Action of the European Commission leading on the new Strategy for climate adaptation (2021) and the Horizon Europe Mission on Adaptation. She was also responsible for the European Climate Pact as a new major citizen engagement on climate action. She works for 17 years in the European Commission in different positions. As a policy officer in the Secretariat General, she dealt with environment, energy, mobility and climate policies (2005-2010, 2014-2016). In the Cabinet of Commissioner responsible for environment (2010-2014), she spearheaded the review of the air quality legislation as well as oversaw the infringements policy in the environment field. During the Slovak Presidency (2016), she acted as a spokesperson for the Council. She holds a law degree from the Comenius and Thyrnaviens universities in Slovakia and diplomas from European studies (SciencePo in Paris, College of Europe in Poland). An enthusiast cyclist (female winner of VéloMai competition in the Commission in 2018, 2019 and 2022, longest distance in 2020, in 2021 and in 2022), runner, mother of three hockey players, a scout leader and supporter of participatory leadership.

Eefje Hendriks

Assistant Professor, Avans University

Eefje Hendriks, Assistant Professor, Avans University


Luca Arbau

Officer, Urban Resilience and Climate Adaptation, ICLEI Europe


Luca Arbau is an architect and a sustainable urban development practitioner. He works as an Officer at ICLEI Europe and at the Covenant of Mayors - Europe in the field of urban resilience and adaptation to climate change. Previously, he was Research and Communication Officer at Metropolis (Barcelona). Luca also worked in sustainability research and as an architect, focusing on co-design and co-creation of urban spaces. He holds a master degree in international cooperation and emergency architecture from the International University of Catalonia (Barcelona) and a master degree in architecture from the University of Ferrara (Italy). Luca is a native Italian speaker, is fluent in English and Spanish, and has good knowledge of Catalan.

Max Beijneveld

EU Policy Coordinator, Climate Alliance

Max Beijneveld, EU Policy Coordinator, Climate Alliance

Max Beijneveld is an experienced sustainable cities consultant supporting businesses and governmental organizations with their climate mitigation, adaptation and innovation efforts.