The 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon opened the Groningen office of the Global Center on Adaptation in Groningen on Wednesday 17 October, acknowledging the rich history and local knowledge of adaptation in the province.
The Global Center on Adaptation is an international organization that advances bold actions to help societies around the world become more resilient to climate-related threats. It builds on, improves, and accelerates breakthrough solutions that catalyze transformation at scale and at speed. Groningen and Rotterdam jointly submitted the best plan to host the Center’s offices in the Netherlands. Groningen's existing knowledge and activity related to energy and climate issues and the international playing field of researchers working in the area played a key role in the selection. The office will be located at the Energy Academy Europe from the University of Groningen (UG), the most sustainable educational facility in the Netherlands, located at the Zernike Campus. In preparing the plans, the City of Groningen collaborated intensively with Hanze University of Applied Sciences Groningen and UG.
“Adapting to climate will require a complete transformation of policies, programs, and projects across governments, the private sector, and civil society to ensure the well-being of humanity. The expertise and resources in Groningen are significant and will help us achieve this critical goal,” said Secretary-General Ban.
Mr. Ban is also a leader, with Bill Gates and Kristalina Georgieva, of the Global Commission on Adaptation (GCA), an initiative launched on October 16 that has been convened by 17 countries and features 28 global commissioners. The GCA will accelerate adaptation by raising the visibility of the need and focusing on solutions. The managing partners of the GCA are the Global Center on Adaptation and World Resources Institute (WRI). Secretary-General Ban also serves as Chairman of the Board of the Global Center.
Dr. Patrick Verkooijen, CEO of the Global Center, said “We are working with experts all over the world and partnering with collaborators and institutions across the globe. By bringing together governments, the private sector, civil society, intergovernmental bodies, and knowledge institutions we can address the obstacles slowing down adaptation action and surface innovative, breakthrough solutions. We are delighted to include our partners in Groningen in our mission.”
At the ceremony to open the Groningen office, Dr. Verkooijen announced a new Young Leaders Program which will provide an opportunity for advanced students to engage with and contribute knowledge to the work of the Global Center, especially its mission to advance bold actions.
Around the world, damaging climate change impacts are being felt now, much sooner and more powerfully than expected. Recent climate-related extremes, such as heat waves, droughts, floods, cyclones, and wildfires, show just how vulnerable our ecosystems and society are to the impacts of climate change.
The Global Center’s work will focus on specific adaptation challenges. Addressing these challenges will help the world accelerate solutions and overcome the obstacles that are slowing down the implementation of scaled up, effective adaptation action.
The opening of the Global Center office in Groningen acknowledges Groningen’s pioneering role in achieving national and international objectives for climate adaptation. The municipality, province and knowledge institutes announced that they will contribute to the aims of the Global Center by organising a Climate biennale starting in 2020.
Peter den Oudsten, Mayor city of Groningen said “For me, it is very natural to host the Global Center, since Groningen is well known as the place in the Netherlands where the words “international”, “sustainability” and “creative” go hand-in-hand. Groningen is a truly international town. A factor that gives our city a highly appealing ambiance. Young, vibrant, creative, innovative, multicultural. Thanks to the more than fifty thousand students – our future - Groningen is both the youngest and the brainiest city of the Netherlands.”
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