Wrap-up of the Second Plenary Session
After a full and inspiring start to the conference, participants gathered for the second day in the World Trade Center in Rotterdam to soak up the insights and the energy from the plenary speeches and other proceedings on today’s agenda.
Proceedings kicked off with presentations by the seven finalists in this year’s International Climate Adaptation Business Challenge. When it was all over, it was smiles and congrats all around as Priska Prasetya and Jelmer van Veen of Dutch start-up AQGRI+ were named winners for their cutting-edge project idea, which is all about getting value from treated wastewater for agricultural use, such as on coffee plantations, in Vietnam. They will now be able to go to Vietnam to continue building relationships with partners and potential customers, and pursue their five-year business plan, which calls for the creation of up to 20 AQCRI+ stations across the country.
Innovation and adaptation were also right up there as themes in both of today’s plenary speeches. First was Stéphane Hallegatte, Senior Economist in the Climate Change Group at the World Bank, whom the Conference was pleased to have on hand, as he had just flown in from the UN Climate Summit in New York. In his remarks, Stéphane focused on the global economics of climate change and adaptation and the opportunities they offered, even as he cautioned: 'The summit in New York may not lead immediately to major change. But rather than focusing on the negative, what we need to do is to build on the momentum.'
Stéphane also threw down a challenge to those gathered. He contended that, in order to make adaptation work in practice, we need an entirely new narrative - a new way of conceiving of adaptation: “Policymakers need another story than ‘We need to prevent a disaster!’ The real story of adaptation is that it leads to improving things. We have to help people recognise the benefits.' He also stressed the importance of doing more than just adapting what is already there.' 'It is the poor, not the rich, that are heavily affected by climate change. Developing countries need help to develop in a robust way. And there are a lot of investment opportunities out there.'
This focus on innovation in adaptation was also echoed by Stephan Ritter, CEO of ARCADIS Continental Europe. His remarks to the plenary session were full of keen insights. 'Spotting moments of change, such as big developments in cities, can make things happen that you did not expect. If we get institutional investors on board, big steps with profitable revenue can be made. HafenCity University in Hamburg is a good example of climate-proofing - that is, strengthening the adaptive capacity of cities and making a profitable investment.'
Read more >>
- Stéphane Hallegatte, The World Bank, Washington, USA ,The economics of climate change impacts and adaptation (video)
- Stephan Ritter, CEO ARCADIS Continental Europe, Germany, How companies can contribute in implementing solutions (video)
- Award ceremony International Business Challenge, presentation by Rens de Jong, BNR radio (video)