Government and market join forces to make the Netherlands climate-proof

Governments, market parties, civil society organisations, knowledge institutes and educational establishments have joined forces to ensure that by 2050, our urban areas will be better equipped to tackle the consequences of heat, dry spells and flooding. This ambition has been set out in a Declaration of Intent that was signed during the Spatial Adaptation Festival. The more than 90 signatories to the Declaration of Intent on Spatial Adaptation represent 10,000 companies and institutions in the Netherlands. By sharing knowledge and experience among one another, they have made a start on fleshing out this ambition. The festival, an initiative of the Delta Programme Spatial Adaptation sub-programme, took place in Utrecht on 9 October.

Thinking together about solutions

A high-quality living environment is essential to achieving an attractive business climate and well-functioning cities. Floods and an increasing chance of heavy rainfall, dry spells and heat affect this quality. This summer, the effects of extreme rainfall were clearly visible to the citizens of the Netherlands. It is important that we design our country in the most climate-proof and water-robust manner, both within and outside the dikes, at the regional and the local levels. The Delta Decision on Spatial Adaptation which was presented on Prinsjesdag (the state opening of Parliament in September), encourages and commits all authorities actually to do so.

Declaration of Intent on Spatial Adaptation

By signing the Declaration of Intent on Spatial Adaptation, not only the authorities but also market parties, civil society organisations and knowledge institutes have expressed their participation in a coalition of the willing. In order to ensure that cities and villages will be climate-proof by 2050, the parties aim to have climate-proof and water-robust design integrated in their policies and actions no later than 2020. In addition to the general Declaration of Intent, ten regional and local Declarations of Intent have been signed as well. This goes to show that the parties are determined to take concrete measures together.

Sharing knowledge and experience

The Spatial Adaptation Incentive Programme was set up to share knowledge and experience. It comprises, for example, a knowledge portal (www.ruimtelijkeadaptatie.nl) providing a great deal of topical information, methods and examples. Throughout the country, people are working on climate-proofing cities and villages. This experience is valuable for those who have yet to start. In addition, a team of experts is ready to help people on their way with climate-proof and water-robust design; for example, by conducting a climate stress test, formulating goals and adaptation strategies, and embedding the goals and strategies in policy and projects.

Peilstok

During the festival, 16 projects were spotlighted that participate in the Peilstok (sounding rod). This is an award for completed or nearly completed projects aimed at making the Netherlands climate-proof and water-robust. The nominations will be announced during the Delta Conference on 6 November. The Peilstok award will be presented on 28 November during the national event entitled Hitte in de delta – opdrachtgeverschap en ontwerp in een veranderend klimaat (Heat in the Delta – Commissioning and Design in a Changing Climate).