Speech by Prime Minister Mark Rutte at the Climate Vulnerable Forum Partners and Leaders Event, Madrid

Ladies and gentlemen,

None of us can escape the consequences of climate change. 
None of us can turn a blind eye to what is happening right now, and what will happen in the future. 
All of us have a responsibility to tackle the causes of climate change and adapt to its impact. 
All of us – together.

The Dutch people feel very strongly about this. 
That’s hardly surprising. 
Rising sea levels pose a direct threat to our very existence. 
Much of the Netherlands, on the North Sea coast, lies below sea level. 
And several thousand kilometres to the west, the Caribbean islands of our Kingdom are facing even more severe climate shocks. 

Fighting the elements and trying to hold back the water is a common theme in our history. 
And today it’s more urgent than ever. 
That’s why the Netherlands feels such a bond with the countries of the Climate Vulnerable Forum and the V20. 
That’s why the Netherlands is home to the Global Center on Adaptation, which is also managing partner for the Climate Vulnerable Forum. 
We stand shoulder to shoulder in tackling this shared climate challenge.

Of course we will have to reduce carbon emissions drastically to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees. 
But even if we achieve this ultimate goal of the Paris Climate Agreement, we’ll have to tackle the consequences of a changing climate. 
We need to adapt. 
In the Netherlands, we invest billions of euros in adapting our own country to the changing climate. 
And all over the world, Dutch water professionals are working to promote a safe, resilient future. 
From Bangladesh to New York, and from Jakarta to the Yangtze Delta in China. 

Now we must take climate adaptation to the next level. 
That’s why we’ve launched the ‘Year of Action’ of the Global Commission on Adaptation. 
A year in which we are going to speed up adaptation around the world. 
And I’m proud to announce the first-ever global Climate Adaptation Summit, bringing together Heads of Government from around the world to step up climate adaptation efforts. 
It will be held in Amsterdam on the 22nd of October 2020. 

We would be honoured and delighted to have you there with us. 
Because we need to team up. 
To fight climate change. 
And to adapt to its impact. 
All of us – together. 

Thank you.