Minister Van Nieuwenhuizen: dire necessity for worldwide policy to combat weather extremes and the impact of climate change

Increasing damage caused by extreme weather and not being prepared for changes in the climate: according to the new Global Risk Report 2019, these are the two largest global risks. The report was presented on the eve of the World Economic Forum in Davos. Yesterday, Dutch Prime Minister Rutte and Minister Van Nieuwenhuizen (Infrastructure and Water Management) made a case in Davos for increased global attention to these risks and for expediting the implementation of measures to counteract such risks. This is also what the Global Commission on Adaptation (GCA), initiated by the Minister, advocates: placing resilience to the changing climate – i.e., climate adaptation – high on the international agendas and translating such resilience into concrete measures.

To this end, GCA chairs Bill Gates, Ban Ki-Moon, and Kristalina Georgieva have scheduled meetings with world leaders in Davos, which will be attended by the members of the Commission, among whom Minister Van Nieuwenhuizen. ‘In terms of climate adaptation, some redeeming features are already manifest across the globe: infrastructure being adapted to cope with extreme heat, agriculture being geared to prolonged drought, and residents of vulnerable coastal regions being protected. However, there is no denying that efforts should be expended faster and on a larger scale than what we are seeing today,’ Mr Ban Ki-Moon commented.

Minister Van Nieuwenhuizen: ‘Climate resilience opens up opportunities; that is the message I am conveying here on behalf of the Commission. In the Netherlands, the aggregate governments have recently made available 600 million euros for measures to ensure our continued protection against flooding, extreme weather, and periods of drought. Such agreements among governments and with businesses boost the efficiency of investments in climate solutions and help to raise the resilience of nations. Climate-proofing a country will not just ensure the safety of that country; it also provides a basis for its continued liveability and economic prosperity.’

The Climate Commission was launched in October last year during a special meeting in the Ridderzaal in The Hague. Seventeen countries have already joined the climate initiative, under which thirty commissioners are working on the acceleration of climate adaptation. In September, during a special UN Climate Summit in New York, the GCA will present an action programme aimed at raising the resilience of vulnerable areas in the world. Subsequently, in October 2020, the Netherlands will host the international Climate Adaptation Action Summit, which will focus on the implementation of this action programme.