Theme III: Climate change adaptation

Higher temperatures, droughts, sea level rise, extreme precipitation and storms: we increasingly experience the impact of climate change. Without sufficient mitigation measures, humanity and nature will increasingly be affected by climate change, so adaptation to these changes will be a dire need. Many areas in the world are already at great risk of flooding: at the coast, near rivers and in urbanised areas, due to heavy rainfall. This risk will increase in the future and it will not be evenly distributed, also strongly due to economic and population growth.

The urban heat island effect is aggravated by climate change. With European cities going well beyond 40 degrees in summer, more strategies are needed that can significantly cool the city and simultaneously support the sustainable energy transition. And with sea levels projected to rise beyond 1 metre, more severe measures might be needed, in the form of spatial planning in flood-prone areas and serious water retention strategies. In two flagship programmes we address these issues.

To manage climate change risks it is essential to coherently look at coastal protection, river discharge, water management, salt intrusion, urbanisation and the governance thereof. This will lead to drastic spatial planning interventions, new resilient infrastructures and nature-based adaptation techniques, as well as measures for implementation, awareness and empowerment.

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