Conference 'Be adaptive to become resilient'
The conference 'Be Adaptive to become resilient’ (June 4th 2020) lived up to its title in many ways. Not only because of the content of the conference, but also in the way the conference was held. Due to Corona measures we had to organize an online conference in a short time frame. This turned out to be a great success. Nearly 200 people from the North Sea Region joined us online to bring the discussion about how to adapt to climate change one step further.
The reason for this conference was that the EU Interreg VB North Sea region projects Building with Nature and FAIR both have come to an end and C5a reached its halfway point. The conference focused on the importance of adaptation to become resilient to climate change and transnational cooperation to achieve that. Apart from that we gained new ideas for how to move forward in future projects.
The importance of transnational cooperation
The conference was hosted by Rijkswaterstaat who is lead partner in all three projects. Rijkswaterstaats Director General Michèle Blom opened the conference. In her speech she emphasized what the Interreg programme is about. She said: ‘It’s not just about gaining knowledge, but about transnational cooperation and learning from each other’. This appeared to be very useful for countries in the North Sea region that have the same vulnerability when it comes to flood risk.
Dare to think the unthinkable
This vulnerability is also the case in New Orleans, which became very evident in the key note speech of Steve Mathies, Global Practice Leader, Coastal Restoration at Stantec (USA). He shared a story about the time when hurricane Katrina came ashore and what this has meant for New Orleans not just from a hydraulic engineering point of view, but also from a personal perspective. He pointed out the weather extremes like floods and droughts that have occurred and will occur again. “It is not a matter of ‘if’, but ‘when’. Dare to think the unthinkable!”, he emphasized in his story.
Actively pursue to engage youth
That truth may be more extreme than fiction emphasizes why it is even more important to engage youth on the topic of climate change. NSC President Kerstin Brunnström mentioned this in her keynote speech and pointed out that the CPMR North Sea Commission is actively pursuing youth involvement. She displayed this in the light of the European Union Green Deal and other developments that influence the North Sea Region. This went beyond climate adaptation and illustrates the need for interdisciplinary and transnational activities and coordination to keep a lively and liveable North Sea Region.
In workshops that took place during the day several topics were discussed that helped to bring the knowledge that was gained in FAIR and Building with Nature to a next level. Examples of topics are: business case development, future projects in the NSR and stakeholder engagement. The conference was closed with a visual report in drawing which gives a very good summary of the contents and atmosphere of the day. The C5a project will adopt the outcome of this day and make sure its value will be used in their integrative approach.
Were you unable to attend? Please have a look to see the visual report and the recordings of the presentations and discussions.
Bart Vonk (project manager FAIR)
Michèle Blom (Rijkswaterstaats Director General)