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Source: Government of the Netherlands

The online international Climate Adaptation Summit 2021 (CAS 2021) will take place on 25 and 26 January 2021. The focus of CAS 2021 will be on finding solutions that enable people to adapt to the effects of climate change, such as extreme rainfall, drought, heatwaves and sea level rise. World leaders such as Angela Merkel, Ban Ki-moon and UN Secretary-General António Guterres will attend the high-level opening session in the Netherlands and launch a broad Adaptation Action Agenda, setting out practical climate solutions and plans up to 2030.

During the summit, world leaders and heads of state and government will join Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte and infrastructure and water management minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen, host of CAS 2021, to discuss how cities can be made more resilient to the changing climate, how agriculture can better anticipate drought and salinisation, and how coastal protection can keep pace with sea level rise. Climate finance will also be an important topic of discussion.
Over the course of 24 hours, governments, companies, scientists, NGOs and young people worldwide will be able to participate in a range of events streamed from time zones across the globe. For example, Minister Kaag for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation is organizing an Africa event on how to accelerate adaptation in African countries, and specific sessions are held on water and infrastructure. Thanks to the online set-up, everyone can take part, no matter where they are in the world. The closing session will be held in conjunction with the Davos World Economic Forum. The provisional programme can be viewed at https://www.cas2021.com/about-cas2021/programme.

Putting adaptation higher on the agenda

The aim of CAS 2021 is to draw attention to the effects of climate change, which are already noticeable, and to underscore the need to change along with it. ‘The impact of climate change, such as periods of prolonged drought, extreme rainfall and rising sea levels, is increasingly noticeable all over the world,’ Ms Van Nieuwenhuizen says. ‘It’s vital that we act now. So I’m proud that our country is organising this Climate Adaptation Summit. We want to show the world how we are reinforcing our coastal protection and building climate-proof infrastructure. And we want to learn from other countries. Through adaptation, we can save lives worldwide, boost economies and better protect our villages, towns and cities.’

Adapt now

CAS 2021 concludes the Year of Action of the Global Commission on Adaptation which was established in 2018 on the minister’s initiative. This Year of Action has led to several concrete results, including stress tests of vulnerable infrastructure in Bangladesh, assisted by Dutch knowledge and funding. According to the Commission, every euro invested in climate adaptation projects (such as dike reinforcement) ultimately prevents up to 10 euros of climate damage.

Young people, mayors and scientists

In the run-up to CAS 2021 various activities are being organised in Groningen and Rotterdam, the host cities of the Global Center on Adaptation. For example, during an online event streamed from Groningen on Friday 22 January 2021 Nobel laureates will share their views on the need to accelerate adaptation. International climate scientists from the UN climate panel (IPCC) will explain what solutions science is proposing for dealing with climate change. These online presentations will be followed by lectures on climate solutions by researchers at Groningen. Young people are a special target group of CAS 2021. During the Youth for Climate Adaptation Conference – also being streamed from Groningen on 22 January 2021 – young people from all over the world will meet up online to develop their input for the Climate Adaptation Summit. This will take the form of a joint statement that will be presented at the CAS 2021 opening session.
In Rotterdam, mayors from all over the world will convene online on 25 January 2021 to discuss the climate problems in their cities. Under the chairmanship of Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb, they will draft a statement that will be presented at the CAS 2021 opening session.

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