Professor Co Verdaas new Delta Programme Commissioner
Co Verdaas was recently appointed as government commissioner for the National Delta Programme and will start his work as Delta Programme Commissioner at the beginning of December: ‘It’s a real honour to be able to contribute to the climate-proof future of our delta in my role as Delta Programme Commissioner. Water has shaped the Netherlands and will continue to do so.’
As dike-warden of the Rivierenland Water Board and professor Urban Area Development with the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment at TU Delft, Co Verdaas has extensive experience in dealing with water issues in the Netherlands and a broad network in the spatial domain. As an independent government commissioner, he monitors the progress of the National Delta Programme in which governments and knowledge institutions work together with civil society organisations and companies to protect the Netherlands against floods and extreme weather in the long term and to ensure sufficient fresh water. Every year on Budget Day (Prinsjesdag), the Delta Programme Commissioner reports on the implementation of the Delta Programme and provides solicited and unsolicited advice to the government on issues relating to climate adaptation.
Minister Harbers: ‘Co Verdaas is an enthusiastic administrator and academic with a lot of experience dealing with the major challenges posed by the changing climate. This includes issues such as extreme weather and rising sea levels. I am sure that Mr Verdaas will be able to put his experience as a dike-warden and provincial representative to good use. There is no one better able to connect the spatial challenges in the field of water to other major challenges we’re facing.’
Co Verdaas believes it is important that water is not seen as an isolated issue and is linked to the challenges related to housing, (delta) nature and making the economy more sustainable. ‘In my role as Delta Programme Commissioner, it will be a real honour to contribute to the climate-proof future of our delta. Water has always shaped the Netherlands and will continue to do so. We have a long tradition of battling against the water and an ambition to live in harmony with it. Within the Delta Programme, I am committed to making a good connection between them.’
In addition to being Delta Commissioner, Verdaas will remain professor Urban Area Development at TU Delft.
Co Verdaas was previously a member of the House of Representatives for the PvdA party, provincial representative of the province of Gelderland and briefly the State Secretary for Economic Affairs in the Rutte II cabinet. He studied spatial planning at Radboud University in Nijmegen, where he also obtained his PhD with the thesis ‘Plannen laten zich niet plannen’ [Planning cannot be planned], a study into the functioning of the planning system in the Netherlands. He will be the third Delta Programme Commissioner after Wim Kuijken and Peter Glas.