Speech Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans at the first Forum on the Mission Adaptation to Climate Change

(Source: European Commission)

“Check against delivery”

Good morning to you all. I’m very pleased to open this first forum, and to take stock of the great progress made on the Mission Adaptation over the last nine months.

With the first signatories to the Mission Charter in, we can now look forward to an important acceleration in climate adaptation action across Europe.

It cannot come soon enough. As we’ve seen again in the IPCC’s latest reports, the gravity of the climate crisis demands rapid and transformational change across all sectors, systems and parts of society. We must all work together: European, national, regional and local authorities; researchers, businesses, and civil society.

As human beings, we excel at adapting – we have a track record that spans back thousands of years. By using innovation, we have managed to flourish in an incredible diversity of climates. Now, we must continue to use innovation to reduce our vulnerability to climate challenges.

Many solutions are already being put in place. Take the use of trees and green areas to temper Mediterranean city climates, take temporary flood water storage in agricultural areas in Hungary, or take green roofs quickly expanding across European cities.

The EU Missions build on these examples and accelerate our green transition. As such, they help promote a more climate-resilient way of managing and developing our societies.

To tackle the climate crisis, above all, we must rapidly cut our greenhouse gas emissions. But that should not stop us from adapting to impacts that can no longer be avoided. And that’s why the EU Mission on Adaptation to Climate Change is so timely.

Adapting to climate change means reducing the human suffering already caused by climate and weather disasters. The Mission is about unlocking and seizing those opportunities.

A cross-cutting element of the Mission is harnessing nature and its ecosystems to make cities, regions, coastlines, river basins and forests more resilient. We can improve so much by listening to nature’s needs, restoring and protecting it, so we protect ourselves. Nature-based solutions really offer great potential for progress.

Today, you will hear great examples on regenerating natural floodplains and wetlands, greening cities and transforming intensely farmed land into models of modern agro-ecology.

Many European regions are already acting to protect biodiversity by implementing innovative solutions. Let’s consider how to replicate these initiatives. This, of course, is exactly what the Mission does: creating a community of practice to accelerate our journey towards climate resilience.

Speaking of community, it is a particular pleasure to welcome the first signatories to the Mission Charter! You’ll be at the forefront of our work and will – we hope – spark the interest of many more by promoting your work at the heart of the Mission’s community.

This community will be the foundation of our work on adaptation at European level. It will allow all of us to learn from each other, to share, to listen to individual needs, to spur innovation and support new initiatives.

Let me end by encouraging you all to lead the way and be the champions of adaptation in Europe!

Thank you all for being here today, for showing that you care and that you want to help change the planet for the better. On behalf of all our children, grandchildren and future generations, thank you.

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