By Mike S Payton, Contributing Reporter
MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA – Last month the City of Miami and Dutch government officials finalized an agreement that will bring the Netherlands-based Global Center on Adaptation’s (GCA) first U.S. office to Miami.
Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management Cora van Nieuwenhuizen joined Mayor Francis Suarez in Miami to sign the joint declaration. The GCA’s new Miami regional office will join branch offices that opened in the Dutch cities of Rotterdam and Groningen last year.
“Collaboration lies at the core of the Global Center on Adaptation model for advancing long-term solutions to many of our most crucial resiliency challenges,” said Mayor Suarez.
“This joint declaration signals, yet again, how the issue of climate adaptability continues to unite us and foster cooperation among organizations and countries, like the Netherlands, from across the globe to pave the way as climate solution leaders.”
The GCA operates as a knowledge broker to assist countries, regions and cities to develop solutions aimed at improving their resilience to the changing climate, such as the rising sea level and prolonged periods of drought.
The new GCA Miami Office will be fulfilling this role for Miami, which is on the frontlines of climate change, and for the entire North American continent.
“As is the case in the Netherlands, its low elevation is facing Miami with the need to reinforce its coast in order to cope with the rising sea level, and to redesign vulnerable sections of this metropolis,” said Minister Van Nieuwenhuizen.
“By accommodating this new climate expertise office with a Dutch touch, Mayor Suarez once more underlines his message that timely investments to mitigate climate damage will be more efficient and cheaper than having to clean up the damage afterwards.”
Mayor Suarez joined the Global Commission on Adaptation as a member last year as the only mayor in the United States selected to the Commission.
This international commission was set up on the initiative of Minister Van Nieuwenhuizen; it is chaired by former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva and Microsoft founder Bill Gates.
Its goal is to convince countries and regions of the need for timely investments in adaptation to the impact of the changing climate, as well as the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
In addition to the experience that the City of Miami will be sharing from this regional office, its staff will also disseminate practical climate solutions from other continents. Earlier this year, the GCA opened an office in Beijing, which will service the Asian region.
The new Miami office was announced just a couple weeks before the Global Commission on Adaptation brought over 75 agents from government, international development banks, civil society and the private sector together at the Climate Summit in New York.
There they released a report that detailed how investments of US$1.8 trillion in these five sectors from 2020 to 2030 could avoid as much as US$7.1 trillion in future losses, through economic gains in innovation, and additional social and environmental benefits.
In additional collaboration, Henk Ovnik, the first-ever ambassador for water worldwide, came to Miami-Dade County to discuss sea level rise in May. The Miami-Dade County Office of Resilience and the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands hosted a student workshop and press conference on seal level rise adaptation
Also, in June, Miami-Dade County, and the cities of Miami and Miami Beach came together on Thursday to announce the long-awaited Resilient305 Strategy. The Mayors of the three municipalities emphasized the multilateral teamwork that led to the Strategy, and that will continue during the hard work of implementation.