On 31 August in Utrecht, seven knowledge organisations – besides KWR, they are Utrecht University, University of Twente, Climate-KIC Benelux, KNMI, RIVM and NIOZ – signed agreements to establish the Netherlands Consortium on Climate Change Adaptation (CCCA). The consortium will bundle the strengths and integrate the knowledge and expertise from various sectors and disciplines. This will allow for a more effective response to complex policy questions raised by rapid global warming, within the context of the pursuit of global sustainability goals.
The bridging function between science and practice, which the consortium envisages, dovetails perfectly with KWR’s ambition. KWR has the relevant expertise across a wide spectrum of subjects, including governance (City Blueprint) and drinking water and sanitation (PREPARED). As is the case of the other participants, KWR researchers will also contribute their extensive international network to the consortium.
Direct and indirect impacts of climate change
According to the 2015 Paris climate agreement, the world will need to adjust to the serious consequences of global warming: rising sea levels, extreme heat, droughts, storms and extreme rainfall. Indirect consequences will affect all sectors and activities in society: from spatial planning and infrastructure to banking and insurance, from agriculture and food security to safety and public health, from economic development and tourism to global migration.
All these indirect consequences, and possible adaptation measures, will influence each other as well. Effective adaptation measures tailored to one sector (such as water management) may work out less favourably in another sector (such as agriculture or public health). While adaptations on a national scale, such as water infrastructure projects, may actually cause problems on a local scale.
For this reason, there is a great need for policy advice that combines and integrates knowledge from different fields, sectors and government levels. Smarter advice could result in measures that actually reinforce each other. These could tie in more closely with the concrete needs of government and companies in the Netherlands and Europe, as well as those in Asian, African and American countries that will be greatly affected by global warming while having much fewer resources. Over the coming decades, global investment in well-founded adaptation projects will amount to many hundreds of billions of euros.
CCCA: a broad coalition of experts
The CCCA brings together a wide spectrum of experts and disciplines. The growing list of consortium members and partners includes leading Dutch universities, institutes and companies that focus on climate change. All these members and partners collaborate with colleagues abroad, which considerably extends the knowledge consortium’s reach.
The consortium will found its work on eight themes and cross-cutting issues, which range from water management, infrastructure and urban planning to public health, finances, law and governance.
At its launch the consortium involves fourteen organisations, a number that will grow in coming years. Seven of them will give the consortium formal shape by means of a ‘field office’ that will create joint projects. Within these projects, the field office will ensure that knowledge and practical experience of the various partners, sectors and disciplines will be combined, integrated and tailored to the needs of local and national governments, companies and NGOs, both in the Netherlands and the rest of the world.
The following organisations have joined the consortium as members:
- Climate-KIC Benelux (part of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology)
- KNMI (Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute)
- KWR Watercycle Research Institute
- NIOZ (Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research)
- RIVM (National Institute for Public Health and the Environment)
- University of Twente (Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation)
- Utrecht University (consortium co-ordinator)
The following organisations have signed on as associated partners:
- Climate Adaptation Services (CAS)
- Sweco Nederland
- Weather Impact