In May, 18 C40 cities from around the world gathered in Rotterdam at the Adaptation Futures Conference, the largest adaptation conference of its kind. Over 1,700 city experts, policymakers, scholars and business people from over 100 countries gathered to connect, learn and inspire one another on adaptation practices and solutions. The topics of climate risk and adaptation couldn’t be more timely: C40 research shows that 70% of C40 cities are already experiencing the effects of climate change.
Adaptation Futures showcased the efforts of C40 cities all over the world, including Accra, Copenhagen, Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta, London, Melbourne, New Orleans, New York, Rio, Rotterdam and Washington DC.
Topics of discussion included mainstreaming adaptation through government and collaboration across sectors, using green and nature-based solutions to dealing with the impacts of climate change, and reporting, and monitoring and evaluating on adaptation actions.
The Netherlands is a forerunner in helping cities around the world prepare for climate change and Her Majesty Queen Máxima (left), UN Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development, gave an opening address underscoring the need to provide equitable financial services to ensure individual and community resilience. Netherlands Infrastructure and Environment Minister Melanie Schultz van Haegen (right) highlighted the benefits of investment in adaptation.
C40 Executive Director Mark Watts joined UNFCCC’s Christiana Figueres, IPCC’s Debra Roberts, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s Roger Pulwarty and Acclimatise’s John Firth on the opening plenary panel to set the scene for the discussions on best practices and solutions that would be featured throughout the conference. The group concluded that in 5 years we must bend the climate curve and bridge the gap between the Paris Agreement and locally contextualized solutions. Click the picture to watch the discussion.
A number of city representatives arrived in Rotterdam a few days early for side meetings of the C40 Connecting Delta Cities and Climate Change Risk Assessment Networks. The meetings provided city staff with a forum to discuss their current adaptation challenges and share ideas and common goals.
It was appropriate to hold Adaptation Futures in Rotterdam, one of C40’s most active innovator cities and widely considered one of the world’s leading cities when it comes to climate risk adaptation. Rotterdam’s adaptation initiatives include pilot projects such as the floating pavilion, Benthemplein water square within the soon-to-be Climate Proof ZoHo (Zomerhofkwartier) district, Europe’s biggest urban rooftop farm, a combined parking garage-water retention reservoir and the Katshoek rain(a)way garden.
The next Adaptation Futures Conference will take place in Cape Town, South Africa in 2018. Notably, Cape Town won a C40 Cities Award in the Adaptation Implementation category at the 2015 C40 Awards ceremony in Paris, where Rotterdam was also awarded for their Adaptation Strategy.