All tiers of the Dutch government will be investing heavily in boosting the Netherlands’ resilience against the impact of climate, i.e., climate adaptation. To this end, Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen (Infrastructure and Water Management) signed the Administrative Agreement on Climate Adaptation today, together with municipalities, district water boards, and provinces. In the years ahead, some €600 million will be set aside under this agreement to accommodate investments in climate adaptation.
To cope with waterlogging caused by extreme downpours, urban areas will be depaved, more greenery will be planted, and water collection facilities will be created. Both rural and urban areas will be provided with additional water storage; such water buffers can be used during prolonged periods of drought.
Minister Van Nieuwenhuizen: ‘This is a real “get down to work” agreement. It is important that we start taking additional steps in redesigning our streets, gardens, and our living environment to accommodate the impact of climate change. The weather extremes that we have experienced over the past year have made this abundantly clear. The driest and warmest summer in forty years caused a water shortage, whereas at other times, severe downpours flooded streets and houses.’
By signing the agreement, the national government on the one hand and the provinces, district water boards, and municipalities on the other have each pledged to set aside €300 million in the years ahead in the purview of climate adaptation. By 2020, regional plans will indicate, on the basis of stress tests, how and in which projects this €600 million impetus can be used most efficiently. According to an earlier Deltares study, the damage caused by extreme rainfall and prolonged drought in cities may rise to approx. €71 billion by 2050.
Extreme weather and water crises pose a worldwide threat. In addition to earmarking additional funds for climate adaptation in the Netherlands, Minister Van Nieuwenhuizen has also initiated the international Global Commission on Adaptation which commenced its duties last month. At next year’s UN Climate Summit in New York, the Commission Chairs – Ban Ki-Moon (former United Nations Secretary General), Bill Gates, and Kristalina Georgieva (CEO of the World Bank) – will present an action programme to improve the resilience of vulnerable areas in the world. In 2020, the Netherlands will host a major international Climate Adaptation Action Summit, at which we will show what the Commission has already achieved and what further actions it is planning to take.