Speech minister Van Nieuwenhuizen – soft launch local office Global Commission on Adaptation – Miami, Florida, USA

“We call for global leadership on climate adaptation to create safer, stronger, and thriving communities around the world.
Our work is just beginning. We hope you will join us in our efforts to adapt our world.”

…said minister of infrastructure, Mrs. Van Nieuwenhuizen during the soft launch of the new regional office of the Global Commission on Adaptation, Miami, Florida, September 23rd 2019.

Mayor Suarez, ladies and gentlemen, I’m honoured to be here today.

And I’d like to express my gratitude to my colleagues in the Global Commission on Adaptation for having me here. We share the same ambition, which has brought us together in the Commission.

And that is the ambition to accelerate adaptation action. To not only acknowledge that climate change is upon us, but also to show that we have to act. To ensure that our societies can withstand the impact of climate change.

Sixty-six years ago my country experienced a devastating flood. In the storm surge of 1953, more than 1,800 people lost their lives.

We learned the hard way that long-term safety is not about combating the effects of the previous disaster, but about preventing the next one. And so we learned to adapt.

Today we know that climate change will affect us all.

Here in Miami you are also dealing with the consequences of rising sea levels and other forms of climate impact. I believe we face many similar challenges: how to cope with rising sea levels, how to withstand flooding and how to make cities more resilient.

You regularly have to deal with heavy rainfall, coupled with high tides that can overload current stormwater infrastructure and prevent proper drainage. Hurricane intensity and rainfall amounts are projected to increase as the climate continues to warm up.

The plight of the Bahamas and the region hit by Hurricane Dorian is very much on our minds.

Mr. Mayor,

You have taken bold steps to respond and adapt to climate change through robust planning, investing in resilient infrastructure, further strengthening of land-use and building policies, advancing new mobility solutions and communications and outreach.  

Addressing both the effects and causes of climate change is integral to enhancing the city’s resilience in the face of current and future challenges and conditions.

Florida is home to America’s third-largest state population and its fourth-largest economy. There’s a lot at stake for this region.

When it comes to adaptation, the Netherlands has plenty of experience. But I am deeply impressed by your Miami Forever Bond, whereby your citizens and companies jointly invest in climate resilience.

And that is why your city, Mr Mayor, is such a suitable location for a GCA Americas Office. The Global Center on Adaptation, as an international organisation hosted by the Netherlands, shares the Global Commission’s ambition to accelerate adaptation action.

The GCA will take our ambition further – beyond 2020 and beyond the Commission’s work, towards a climate-resilient future. But that cannot be done without regional anchoring, without expertise and without the commitment of government and the private sector.

The challenge we face does not recognize borders. The need to act is urgent. Together, we can make real progress.

We call for global leadership on climate adaptation to create safer, stronger, and thriving communities around the world.

Our work is just beginning. We hope you will join us in our efforts to adapt our world.

There’s an old saying: ‘Time and tide wait for no man.’ So let’s not wait to act!

Thank you.