The Netherlands will host a new Global Centre of Excellence to help countries, institutions and businesses to adapt to a warming climate with the support of the Japanese government and UN environment programme (UNEP).
The project is geared towards helping countries across the world understand how they can cope with the impacts of climate change.
The Global Centre of Excellence on Climate Adaptation will bring together international partners, including leading knowledge institutes, businesses, NGOs, local and national governments, international organisations and financial institutions.
The Centre is set to open in the Netherlands by the end of 2017, and was inspired by the recent surge in extreme weather events.
These preparations are especially crucial for vulnerable and developing countries given the projected impacts of climate change, highlighted in a 2014 report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) climate science panel.
According to the panel: “It is very likely that heat waves will occur more often and last longer, and that extreme precipitation events will become more intense and frequent in many regions. The ocean will continue to warm and acidify, and global mean sea level to rise.”
Backed with €1 million from the Dutch government and further support from Japan and the UNEP, the project is being billed as “an adaptation skills-hub.”
Other key areas of focus are expected to include climate resilient crops, water management as well as the use new technologies to aid agricultural efficiency.
The Dutch Minister for the Environment, Sharon Dijksma said: “Many around the world are hit hard by global warming. The ground-breaking Paris Climate Change Agreement puts climate change adaptation on par with mitigation.”
According to a Climate Policy Initiative study in 2016, only $27 billion of the $367 billion allocated to climate-related projects in 2014 was dedicated to climate adaption.
Dijksma went on to say: “Failure of dealing adequately with climate change will increase a multitude of risks such as natural disasters, social and economic disruptions and increasing political tensions. Many people are looking for good practices and guidance with regard to climate change adaptation. I am convinced the Global Centre of Excellence on Climate Adaptation can help addressing these challenges.”
Ibrahim Thiaw, Deputy Chief of UNEP, said: “Our survival depends on learning to live on a hotter planet with more extreme weather, erratic rainfall and rising sea levels. This Centre is a welcome step, but other countries need to follow this example and urgently invest in climate adaptation.”
The signing of the Paris Agreement has elevated climate change adaption to a top global priority and the Global Centre of Excellence on Climate Adaptation will be a vital step to deliver on that commitment.