During the first day of the Climate Adaptation Summit, both Dutch Prime Minister Rutte and Minister Kaag of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation showcased the Dutch Fund for Climate and Development (DFCD) as an example of concrete action that can move climate adaptation forward, and urged other governments with the financial and political means to follow suit.
In his opening speech, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte highlighted the urgency of climate change and the need to invest in climate adaptation projects: “Climate change is happening as we speak. It is already affecting the lives of hundreds of millions of people. If we don’t adapt, the consequences will be disastrous.”
He went on to explaining how the Global Commission on Adaptation’s flagship report Adapt Now shows how investing in climate adaptation can deliver many positive returns. Returns in terms of climate safety, resilience, innovation, economic growth, and o the protection of ecosystems. Rutte: “An investment of $ 1.8 trillion to scale up climate adaptation over the decades could deliver $ 7.1 trillion in net benefits. So climate adaptation is the right thing to do. And it is the smart thing to do. It’s good value for money, which is why it makes sense to put climate adaptation at the heart of the COVID-19 response as economic recovery will be, I believe, more resilient and more effective with climate adaptation build in.”
Rutte added: “In 2019 we launched the Dutch Fund for Climate and Development which is using over 160 million euros in public funding to mobilize private investment worth half a billion euros. It even has a target of 65% for climate adaptation finance.” In conclusion, Rutte expressed the hope that more countries will raise their finance for climate adaptation to match their financing for mitigation.
You can watch the full opening speech (just over 6 minutes, DFCD at 3.56) here:
Similarly, Minister Sigrid Kaag of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of the Netherlands urged other governments that have the financial capital to follow the Dutch government’s example of the Dutch Fund for Climate and Development. “We need to help partners develop bankable projects”, she said as Chair of the two-hour session ‘Accelerating African Adaptation’.
One of her key takeaways from the debate with African leaders was that ‘we need to discuss forcefully the issue of the integrity of climate finance, that means access to finance and the availability of large-scale financing that is sustainable’. Additionally, Kaag noted that more public finance needs to be allocated to climate adaptation projects. “This is the future. And we need to take action now.”
Her third point on climate finance focused on the need for more bankable projects. “We might have identified the problem, and know what to do, but if there are no bankable programs or projects available, partners cannot really account for this. There is often a gap. Through the Dutch Fund for Climate and Development, which I’ve launched, we try to bridge between communities, partners, and the big finance institutions. We can help by building the bankable projects, and also provide bridging financing. I would urge more partner countries that have the financial and political means to follow suit.”
Minister Kaag’s remarks are after 1.06 hours into the recording, which you can find here: