The bay of Cala Millor becomes the setting for a pilot project on adaptation to climate change

The Government of the Balearic Islands presents, together with partners, the European project LIFE AdaptCalaMillor, a pilot initiative supported by the LIFE instrument of the European Union, to strengthen the resilience of Cala Millor to current environmental challenges

The Government of the Balearic Islands, together with partner entities, presents in the Auditorium Sa Màniga the LIFE AdaptCalaMejor project in a public event of free attendance for citizens. It is a pilot project based on citizen participation and governance to promote long-term adaptation to climate change of the beach system and the urban area of the bay of Cala Millor.

With the support of the European Union, the award of the LIFE AdaptCalaMillor project supports the development and preservation of Cala Millor as a sun and beach destination, through the generation of scientific, inclusive, sustainable and stakeholder-focused guidelines.

This project is promoted by the Ministry of Enterprise, Employment and Energy, through the Directorate General of Circular Economy, Energy Transition and Climate Change, in coordination with SOCIB; IMEDEA; UIB; Tourism Consortium of Son Servera and Sant Llorenç des Cardassar, Hotel Association of Cala Millor and sa Coma; CONAMA Foundation; Hydraulic Institute of Cantabria and University of Cantabria, and LANDLAB.

The initiative has a final investment of 2,294,047 euros, of which 1,376,424 will be co-financed by the LIFE program of the European Union. It is expected that the results can be transferred to other tourist destinations of similar characteristics, making Cala Millor an example for other urban beaches in the Mediterranean.

“From the Government of the Balearic Islands we are fully aware of climate change and that is why we work in a transversal way with initiatives like this,” says the general director of Circular Economy, Energy Transition and Climate Change, Diego Viu.

“Based on science, we must anticipate future scenarios and project public-private action plans in the medium and long term. LIFE AdaptCalaMejor will serve to lay common foundations in the fight against climate change in the Balearic Islands,” he concludes.

The LIFE AdaptCalaMejor

LIFE AdaptCalaMejor will validate new science-based methodologies and participatory and governance schemes to increase the resilience of urban beaches. Thus, the application in Cala Millor will lead to the definition of a long-term adaptation project that is based on the understanding and agreement of a wide range of stakeholders sharing interests and competences in this bay. The implementation of this project would avoid the physical, environmental and socio-economic impacts expected for this stretch of the coast of Mallorca. LIFE AdaptCalaMillor will propose a long-term transformation of the beach system and urban area to increase the resilience of infrastructure, ecosystem services and socioeconomics to these predicted impacts


Long-term adaptation projects should include as alternatives soft measures, they need an integrated multidisciplinary approach with a solid scientific basis to have an important resolution at the local level, and thus build the decision making process on solid predictions.

Thus, in the geographical scope, which reaches 1.5 km² of the semi-enclosed bay micromareal beach, a perimeter of 5 km and a width of 1.5 km from the shoreline to approximately 20 m depth, maps of hazards, vulnerabilities and risks will be produced for the physical, environmental and socio-economic dimensions related to the scenarios for the medium and long-term scales of 2030 and 2050.

Then, following an ad hoc integrated multidisciplinary methodology, impacts and associated risks will be combined and assessed for the elaboration of multi-hazard maps that will serve to decide on integrated adaptation strategies at the local level. This methodology will include compatible urban, legislative, socioeconomic, physical and environmental measures. In addition, the project will conclude with the drafting of a conceptual plan and preliminary urbanization project for the Cala Millor coastline, which will involve a total estimated surface area of 85,795.4 m² and executive projects for the construction of measures ready for implementation.

This process of defining adaptation strategies and specific development projects will be the result of a progressive participatory and multi-government process that will be carried out throughout the project

Impact forecasting

It should be noted that the impacts of climate change on the coastline of the Balearic Islands based on projections for 2050 and 2100 point to the loss of beaches and the impact on buildings and infrastructures. Specifically, in Cala Millor, as in many coastal locations in the Balearic Islands and other Mediterranean regions, this will affect the main economic activity, since tourist services are located on the coastline in typical “sun and beach” destinations.

According to the former PIMA ADAPTA COSTAS project, the urban beach of Cala Millor would be affected by a loss of dry beach of between 33 and 66% in 2100, both scenarios considering the least favorable climatic conditions. In other scenarios, the loss of beach area would be less than 33%. The erosion process would be for any event irreversible, because the bottom of the beach is limited by the promenade and because the physiography and human uses make its retraction impossible.

As for the socioeconomics, about 74% of the inhabitants of Cala Millor work in the service sector and the rest work in the construction sector, closely related to tourism. At the end of the summer season, profits can amount up to 75 million euros in this location alone. For these reasons, the socioeconomic impacts of the effects of climate change in the municipalities of Sant Llorenç des Cardassar and Son Servera will be critical. Thus, they will be affected by the loss of the recreational ecosystem service offered by the beach. All climate scenarios and time scales, including the current one, present losses in this service, with a significant impact on Sant Llorenç des Cardassar.

In this municipality, the loss would vary between 16 million euros in the current scenario and 136.3 million for the most adverse situation. For Son Servera, losses go from 5.4 million euros in the current scenario to 26.7 million according to estimates for 2100, scenario of climate change and adverse conditions. This proposal will be incorporated to the competent national, regional and local authorities of the coastal area to be informed and trained on science-based risks and integrated adaptation solutions for Cala Millor.

The working group created will be the main tool to articulate governance, as it will bring together at least 16 public administrations that share competences in the coastal area, such as: the Spanish Office of Climate Change and Directorate General of Coast and Sea, the general directorates of the Autonomous Administration of Circular Economy, Energy Transition and Climate Change; Natural Spaces and Biodiversity; Water Resources; Territory and Landscape; Coasts and Coastline; Labor, Economy and Health; Tourism; Ports and Maritime Transport; the departments of the Council of Mallorca of Urbanism and Territory, Sustainability and Environment and Tourism; and the municipalities of Sant Llorenç des Cardassar and Son Servera. The government process will also include the private sector, which will be represented mainly by the Cala Millor Tourism Consortium -CONSORCIO- and the Cala Millor Hotel Association. For his part, the general director of Coasts and Coast, Carlos Simarro, valued this tourist enclave and highlighted its suitability to carry out studies to measure the effects of climate change and implement sustainable and efficient solutions. “From the Govern we have a wonderful scenario, with activities of this type, to address the challenges of the present and, above all, of the future,” he said.

The event was also attended by the Insular Director of Tourism for Governance and Sustainability, Pedro Mas

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