COP24: Inspiring examples of climate adaptive cities

In 2018, world leaders were trying to agree on global challenges during the COP24 climate conference in the Polish city of Katowice. Climate and water resilient cities were leading themes at Katowice, concludes NWP’s Edyta Wisniewska. NWP made a big contribution to this.

Edyta Wisniewska: “Climate adaptation is of the utmost importance, especially in urban areas. More people live in cities nowadays than in rural areas. The concentration of people and assets means that the impact of natural disasters and a changing climate on society and the economy can be devastating. While national leaders often struggle with protracted negotiations, city leaders have started working on concrete projects.”

Urban Day
In Katowice there was every reason to hold a dedicated Urban Day on 8 December, co-organised by NWP. It featured high level speakers including Elena Visnar-Malinovska (European Commission), Diane d’Arras (International Water Association), Barney Dickson (Global Center on Adaptation) and Torgny Holmgren (Stockholm International Water Institute).

The interest shown in Urban Day expressed the widely shared belief that cities should share more knowledge and experience. IWA President, Diane d’Arras, underlined the importance of supporting cities to achieve water related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Climate agreements more quickly. This could be done through sharing a common language that strengthens City to City learning and implementing projects with multiple stakeholders.

More people live in cities nowadays. Climate adaptation is of the utmost importance.

Urban Day

8 December was dedicated to ‘Urban Day’. At the Polish pavilion a workshop was held, co-organised by NWP, focusing on the Cities for Climate theme.

First step towards European Urban Water Partnership
At COP24 Polish and Dutch organisations took the initiative to collaborate on the development of holistic change and concrete actions for ‘climate adaptive cities’ as a first step towards a European Urban Water Partnership. This collaboration was initiated, facilitated and supported by NWP within the framework of the Dutch Government’s Partners for Water Programme. The initiative is an important follow up to NWP’s efforts at the City Leaders Forum at the Amsterdam International Water Week (AIWW) 2017 and the AIWW Summit 2018, where several international partnerships on climate adaptation were established.

Edyta Wisniewska: “COP24 proved that true progress was made, especially when it comes to urban climate adaptation. A strong foundation with concrete plans has been laid and implementation is now within reach. We can really get started in 2019. I am counting on the fact that in 11 months’ time, during the Amsterdam International Water Week 2019, we can conclude that we have taken big steps.”

Besides Breda, Wroclaw and Zwolle, urban planning and design offices KuiperCompagnons and KCAP, knowledge institute Deltares, engineering consultancy Arcadis, the Climate Campus and Polish water utility MPWiK and NGO Sendzimir are involved in the cooperation. A key element in the cooperation is ‘learning by doing’ – working together on each other’s urban climate adaptation projects. One or more projects in each city will be selected to showcase rainwater management and the designing of green-blue infrastructure as steps towards creating a resilient urban environment.

A strong foundation with concrete plans has been laid.

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