The Dutch Adaptation Agenda

The national Adaptation Agenda is the second part of the Dutch policy on adaptation. The most important projects, which need to make the Netherlands climate proof, are placed on the agenda. The projects are chosen because they improve the climate proofing of the Netherlands and the agenda accelerates the realisation of the projects. Beside projects of national importance, projects, which have a regional value, are placed on the agenda as well. The projects need to contribute o the ambitions of the national strategy. These ambitions focus on different issues:

1. Societal themes: safety, economy, quality of the environment and biodiversity;

2. Objectives: prevent societal collapse, minimise undesired effects and utilise chances;

3. Desired changes: increase resistance, increase resilience and increase adaptability;

4. Leading principles: risk management and use of natural processes

In order to be effective the agenda needs to be selective as well. Only guiding projects, which are able to inspire and which are innovative are offered a place in the show-window and gain extra attention. The agenda is the starting point of the transition towards a climate proof Netherlands. Therefore regional partners are encouraged to define their shared ambitions to increase the climate proof quality of the entire Netherlands. The final aim of agenda is that in the future all projects in the Netherlands become climate proof, without extra attention: climate proof projects are the state of the art. The agenda is therefore seen as a temporary impulse. The input or the agenda is done partially by the central government, but is filled for the other part by the regional partners. In five regions of the Netherlands policy makers and decision-makers from business, science, societal organisations and government came up with project-ideas, which meet the ambitions of the strategy.

A selection of projects, which are placed on the Agenda, is presented here (VROM, 2007b):

• Improve the international image of the Netherlands as 'Holland Wetland';

• Development of a framework to judge choices for spatial developments;

• Integration of the climate objectives in the Dutch Water-vision;

• Research the possible adaptation strategies for the coastal zone (Delta commission);

• Start of the national research program 'Knowledge for Climate';

• Support the realisation of so-called climate buffers, which are aimed to increase the climate proofing of natural systems;

• Creation of spatial reservations alongside rivers and the coast;

• Integration of climate adaptation in regional plans, on the basis of climate-atlases;

• Extension and multifunctional use of broad dikes;

• Creation of a so-called sand-motor, which provides along the western coast enough sand to strengthen the coastal defence in a natural way;

• Integrated spatial development of the Eemsdelta region, where climate adaptation is combined with redevelopment of urban functions in order to deal with a shrinking population;

• Research on the possibilities to design climate proof at a local level.

The Dutch adaptation strategy and agenda show an approach that deals with the necessity to adapt to climate change in a way, which focuses on initiating developments and is less focussed on conducting research on its own. Cooperation between several partners is an important characteristic of the approach. Instead of a top-down regulative manner the central government tries to make other partners responsible for taking action. This approach implies that the central government only gives directions and stimulates others, other governments, scientists and businesses, to integrate adaptation in their policies and to realise climate proof projects.

1.3 The British Approach

The British approach focuses on a comprehensive program, the UKCIP (United Kingdom Climate Impacts Program). Central in this overall program is the knowledge program BKCC - Building Knowledge for a Changing Climate., which covers research on several aspects.

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