The largest-ever international conference on adapting to climate change 'Adaptation Futures 2016' has advanced climate change adaptation issues along a range of themes, including: cities and infrastructure; food, forestry and rural livelihoods; fresh water availability and access; public health; ecosystems and ecosystem-based adaptation; disaster risk reduction (DRR); the Arctic; risk assessment, adaptation planning and evaluation; institutions and governance; and finance, investment and business.
13 May 2016: Adaptation Futures 2016, the fourth biennial worldwide conference on climate change adaptation, advanced climate change adaptation issues along a range of themes, including: cities and infrastructure; food, forestry and rural livelihoods; fresh water availability and access; public health; ecosystems and ecosystem-based adaptation; disaster risk reduction (DRR); the Arctic; risk assessment, adaptation planning and evaluation; institutions and governance; and finance, investment and business. The Conference aimed to move climate change adaptation forward by promoting public, commercial and policy solutions across sectors, borders and communities.
The Global Programme of Research on Climate Change Vulnerability, Impacts and Adaptation (PROVIA) organized Adaptation Futures 2016, which convened from 10-13 May 2016, in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The European Commission (EC) and the Government of the Netherlands co-hosted the conference. It brought together over 1,700 representatives from governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the business community as well as scientists and practitioners from over 100 countries.
Dutch Minister for Infrastructure and the Environment, Melanie Schultz van Haegen, highlighted the need to ‘stay ahead’ by making economies and countries resilient on the Conference’s opening day. “For every dollar we spend on prevention,” she said, “we save seven on clearing the debris after a disaster.”
Addressing the conference in her capacity as the UN Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development, Queen Máxima of the Netherlands emphasized financial inclusion as “vital in improving resilience both for individuals, households, communities and businesses, especially smallholder farmers and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which are the backbone of any given economy.”
The conference comprised a variety of plenary and parallel sessions, round tables, field trips, a project exhibition and business expo as well as an ‘adaptation tool shed.’ Three types of sessions took place: science; practice, including policy practice; and science-practice.
Sessions on cities and infrastructure considered, inter alia: regional perspectives on vulnerability and adaptation; integral adaptive concepts applied in urban deltas; city resilience strategies to support safe, inclusive and smart development; urban design and flood management in resilient cities; helping local implementation of the Sendai framework for DRR; and climate risk management and adaptation in ports.
Under food, forestry and rural livelihoods, participants discussed: rural livelihoods and smallholder farming systems; climate change adaptation with mitigation co-benefits in forests and woodlands; and societal responses to climate change in agriculture, among other issues.
Discussion themes on fresh water availability and access included: fresh water availability under drought conditions as a potential driver for water conflicts; green water utilities; implementing climate-resilient water management projects to increase adaptive capacities and food security and avoid conflict over resources; and experiences with practical tools and interactive methods to enhance community resilience to droughts.
Public health sessions addressed, among others: limits to human health system adaptation; climate risks for infectious diseases; early warning systems in public health; and vulnerability and adaptation analysis as a tool for climate change adaptation planning in the health sector at national and local level.
Ecosystems and ecosystem-based adaptation sessions focused on, inter alia: ecosystem services for climate change adaptation; implementing ecosystem-based approaches for adaptation; scaling up the role of wetlands in climate change adaptation; and exploring the potential of ecosystem-based adaptation and ecosystem-based DRR.
The topics covered in the DRR sessions included: measuring and enhancing resilience; tools and approaches to assess disaster reduction strategies; linking climate change adaptation, DRR, and loss and damage; climate risk management through integrated risk transfer solutions; and ways to integrate climate change adaptation and DRR policy and practice at different governance scales.
Sessions on the Arctic considered, among other issues: scenarios, governance and adaptation in the region; the role of narratives and discourses in shaping adaptation, adaptive capacity and mitigation to climate change; and connecting Arctic researchers and industry.
Adaptation Futures 2016 addressed risk assessment, adaptation planning and evaluation; institutions and governance; and finance, investment and business as cross-cutting issues. On risk assessment, adaptation planning and evaluation, participants considered a range of issues, including: multi-sector integrated assessments of impacts and adaptation; adaptation pathways and maladaptation; gender and adaptation; advancing city adaptation monitoring, evaluation and reporting; country experiences in mainstreaming climate resilience into development planning, including lessons learned from the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR), a funding window of the Climate Investment Funds (CIF); and applying adaptation pathways practice for resilient and sustainable development. Themes considered under institutions and governance related to, among others: science and policy interfaces for adaptation; governance and implementation challenges; institutional economics of adaptation; and indigenous climate change adaptation.
Finance, investment and business sessions included discussions on: sectoral perspectives on climate finance, investment and business; climate change adaptation and SMEs; making climate finance accessible to women; adaptation finance for the private sector; liquid assets and adaptation futures; and adaptive value chains. [Conference Programme] [Conference Website] [Conference Results] [Dutch Minister for Infrastructure and the Environment Statement] [Queen Máxima of the Netherlands Statement]