China and the Netherlands have announced a new initiative to accelerate action to make China and the region more resilient to the reality of the climate crisis on its fragile ecological environment. China is experiencing more frequent and higher intensity extreme weather events. Floods, heat waves, droughts and dust storms, which were once rare, now happen on a regular basis causing great harm to health and society.
In recognition of these challenges, the Premier of the People's Republic of China, Li Keqiang, has accepted an invitation from Mark Rutte, Prime Minister Mark of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, to work together to accelerate action against the impacts of climate change being felt across the country.
Both governments, also as conveners to the Global Commission on Adaptation, recognize that this is not an alternative to a redoubled effort to stop climate change through mitigation but an essential complement to it.
With the launch of the first regional office of the Global Center on Adaptation in China, the two countries have agreed to work closely together to accelerate action on adaptation to support greater resilience and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. The regional office will support scaled-up and transformative adaptation initiatives across Asia and is the first of a planned global network of GCA offices and representatives positioned around the world to facilitate knowledge sharing and action across different territories.
On the occasion of the launch of the Global Center on Adaptation office in Beijing, Premier Li Keqiang said: "We are happy to see the opening of the China office of the Global Center on Adaptation and we believe it will give a strong boost to cooperation between China and the Global Commission on Adaptation and will also help China, as the largest developing country in the world, together with other countries in the global community in meeting the climate challenge. On behalf of the Chinese government, I would like to extend congratulations on the launch of theChina office and let me also express our heartfelt appreciation for the support from Prime Minister Rutte and Ban Ki-moon for China's efforts in meeting the climate challenge. The Chinese government takes the issue of climate change very seriously. Climate change is a global challenge which requires global co-operation. It is important for us to enhance capacity in both mitigation and adaptation. China will also continue to provide help to other developing countries, especially small islands states, in enhancing capacity in coping with climate change under the framework of South-South cooperation. The Chinese are serious about commitments made and China will continue to keep its word made to the international community and contribute our own share in global response to climate change."
Prime Minister of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, said: "Much of the Netherlands lies below sea-level. For us it has always been self-evident that mitigation and adaptation must go hand in hand. But with more people around the world living with the impacts of climate change every day, practical solutions must be put in place to help those who are suffering the most. The Netherlands stands ready to share our experience in China and other parts of the world on how climate-informed choices can help ensure the benefits from these investments, as well as avoid billions of dollars in losses from future extreme storms, droughts, and other climate impacts."
8th Secretary General of the United National and Chair of the Global Center on Adaptation, Ban Ki-moon said: "The world is not on the path to meet the climate targets of the Paris Agreement. The international community can no longer afford to leave climate change as an afterthought; it is already a daily reality for many people the world over. I am calling on other countries and leaders to follow China's example in facing up to this stark reality. We must start preparing for large changes even while fighting to avoid them. There are actions that must be taken in all parts of the world, but we must start to build that resilient future now."
Minister of Infrastructure and Water, Cora van Nieuwenhuizen said from the Netherlands: "Adaptation will lead to better growth and development. Beyond preventing loss, it will drive innovation and create opportunities. Adaptation is not a separate agenda – effective adaptation is about integrating climate risk into what political and economic decision-makers do at every level, such as budgeting, investment design, and program implementation. The Netherlands has a long experience in how to build a resilient future."
Patrick Verkooijen, CEO of the Global Center on Adaptation said: "The impacts of the climate emergency could push more than 100 million into poverty by 2030, and hundreds of millions of people could face major food shortages worldwide. I am delighted that China will host the first regional office for the Global Center on Adaptation. They have recognised that while mitigation alone is not enough, the costs of adaptation are less than the costs of doing business as usual. There are many bright spots where adaptation efforts have begun – but more urgency, innovation and scale is needed to avoid climatic impacts that are getting more severe with each passing year."