Rotterdam Hosts ‘Deltas in Times of Climate Change’

Deltas in Times of Climate Change

Floods in Bangkok and the Thames delta, salt intrusion in Egypt and Bangladesh; these are just some examples of rising risks to coastal river deltas and delta cities driven by rapid urbanization, subsidence and climate change.

How to manage the growing risks for population and industry in the deltas will again be debated at the second edition of leading conference ‘Deltas in Times of Climate Change II’.

The conference will take place in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, from 24 – 26 September and is hosted by Rotterdam Climate Initiative, Research program Knowledge for Climate, Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group.

Coming to grip

The first conference in 2010 focused on raising awareness for the specific challenges in these very dynamic and vulnerable coastal areas.

This year the emphasize of the conference is more on actions and investments to enhance resilience and reduce risks.

“It will be about coming to grip with the growing risk in urban deltas,” said co-initiator and chair of the conference, professor Pier Vellinga of the Dutch national research program Knowledge for Climate.

Vellinga mentioned explicitly the rapid urbanization and growing exposure in the already densely populated low lying river deltas.

He stated that already at this moment many coastal areas are not adequately prepared for extreme weather events.

“Climate change is an additional risk,” said the Dutch professor. “Accelerating sea level rise and more extreme weather events is what we should expect in the coming decades. But to start with: we should recognize the existing and growing problems due to subsidence, wetland degradation, plastic pollution and diminishing fresh water resources.

Conference agenda

The conference agenda has four main blocks:

– Round tables: three discussions by ‘high level’ practitioners: If mayors ruled the world, Financing climate adaptation and Community based adaptation;

– Delta in depth: scientific sessions on 11 themes, including flood risk management, urban adaptations, wetlands, port development, governance, finance and decision support tools;

– Deltas in practice: workshops on 8 themes, including risk assessment, adaptation strategies, capacity building, urban designing;

– Delta sessions: sessions on current status and future development of innovative approaches and projects in Indonesia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Mozambique, Myanmar, USA, Colombia, Egypt and the Netherlands.

September 22, 2014