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Adaptation Futures 2016

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - AF16 (Adaptation Futures 2016)

Reporting period: 2016-01-01 to 2016-07-31

What is Adaptation Futurues 2016?
Adaptation Futures is the biennial conference of the Global Programme of Research on Climate Change Vulnerability, Impacts and Adaptation (PROVIA). In 2016 the European Commission and the Government of the Netherlands hosted the fourth edition, from 10-13 May 2016 in the city of Rotterdam. Adaptation Futures 2016 is where scholars, practitioners and policymakers go to connect, learn and inspire. It highlights adaptation practices and solutions for people, governments and businesses.

Why is it important for society?
Adaptation Futures 2016 intends to lead to major progress in climate change adaptation. It fosters an active exchange of new and practical ideas, experiences and insights among governments, businesses, researchers and civil society from around the world. The conference combines discussion of the latest adaptation research with an Adaptation Expo. At the Adaptation Expo knowledge based supply will be connected to practitioners’ demand. It will contain stands, matchmaking facilities and signing ceremonies. At the Expo cutting edge adaptation projects are shown.

What is the overall objective?
The overall objective of this action is to support the preparation and implementation of the 'Adaptation Futures 2016’ conference. The specific objectives are to contribute to the coordination of the conference planning, the overall and local organisation of the programme and venue, the participation of delegates from economically developed and less/least economically developed countries, and the organisation of the 'Adaptation Expo': a networking event aimed at business, including SME, organised around an exhibit of adaptation projects from all over the world.

The objectives of the conference are:
1. Connect science and practice
2. Present innovative ideas, products and services
3. Create opportunities for developing partnerships
4. Demonstrate the business case behind adaptation

The conclusions of the action are:

Adaptation Futures 2016 brought together over 1700 experts from 103 countries to share their adaptation practices and solutions. They included more than 600 adaptation scholars, 400 policy-makers, 100 people from the business community and about 400 practitioners. In between Adaptation Futures 2016 and its predecessor, Adaptation Futures 2014 (Fortaleza, Brazil), the world witnessed a climate landmark: the Paris Agreement. Governments unanimously expressed their ambition to limit climate change and recognised that, like mitigation, adaptation is a global challenge. COP 21 also reconfirmed the important role that non-state actors, such as business, play in addressing climate change. Adaptation Futures 2016 was the first of its kind to engage actively with the private sector, with over 90 companies participating.

As historic and ground breaking as the Paris Agreement might be, it would be nothing but a piece of paper if it did not inspire more action. The world needs to move forward decisively from making the case for climate adaptation (“why is it important”) and planning for adaptation (“how do we do it”) to taking action now. Adaptation Futures 2016 marked the beginning of a new, more solution-oriented phase in climate adaptation. We now invite and encourage all conference participants to put the lessons learned into practice, and ensure that communities and ecosystems are prepared to face the impacts of climate change.

Impressions by the Practice and Science Advisory Committees of Adaptation Futures 2016

With an explicit focus on practices and solutions, Adaptation Futures 2016 helped to shape an inclusive, innovative and influential global adaptation agenda. Climate adaptation has gained momentum, but the work is only just beginning. For example, the effective use of climate information, and related uncertainty, continues to be a challenge to policy-makers, and it remains challenging to connect scholars and practitioners. The lessons learned in the
During the reporting period the following work was performed:
- Select a Professional Congress Organiser (PCO)
- Constitute a Science Advisory Committee (SAC)
- Constitute a Practice Advisory Committee (PAC)
- select a venue for the Conference
- with the help of the SAC, we selected scientists in different fields to assess the scientific abstracts
- Set up a plenary programme, invite speakers and get confirmations
- Organise a call for abstracts and sessions
- Organise a meeting of the PAC and the SAC to assess the submitted session proposals
- Set up a draft programme
- Define criteria for participants from LIC/LMIC, early career scientists and start-up SMEs to apply for a grant for travel and lodging
- set up a registration system and open the registration to participants
- set up a media plan and start effectuating it (set up social media channels, elaborate a press strategy)
- set up an excursions programme for the final (forth) day of the conference
- set up a dedicated business programme for the 2nd day, aligning the general programme. Several business oriented elements were added to the general programme. This includes an executive breakfast, a business round table, and a major company CEO as high level key note speaker.

All preparations came together in the week of 9 to 13 May 2016. We welcomed 1,800 participants from over 100 countries. There were plenary sessions, with high level speakers like HM Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, there were 150 parallel sessions covering a broad range of adaptation subjects and perspectives. The business day added energy and an extra layer of interaction to the event.

Also from an organisational point of view, the conference was a success. There were no major shortcomings or omissions to the programme or the logistics. Many participants expressed their positive experience with the quality of the organisational part of the event.

The results of the conference are:
- A meeting report, including written reports of all plenary and parallel sessions
- all presentations, speeches and posters used in all sessions
- a photo album covering all three days of the conference
- videos of the plenary sessions

These results are published through the conference website, which will remain online until after the next Adaptation Futures conference in 2018.
The plenary programme is of a very high level. Confirmed key note speakers include a member of the Dutch Royal Family, 2 Euro-commissioners, 3 member of the Dutch Government, as well as high level representatives in the field of adaptation science, adaptaton finance and business. This high level plenary programme contributes to the visibility of the conference. We expect to attract above average media attention.

The number of 1,800 participants clearly exceeded our expectations (we aimed at 1,250 participants). In addition, the heterogeneity of the audience - from 103 countries - was beyond our expectations.
Ibrahim Thiaw (UNEP) addresses the audience during the Tuesday Plenary
At the Adaptation Expo, innovative ideas and solutions were presented
A high level panel discussion including representatives of EU, WMO, GEF and the World Bank
Interaction on practices and solutions
The PAC and SAC members present at the proposal assessment meeting in Rotterdam, Oct 29 and 30 2015
Discussion and interaction during one of the parallel sessions
The speech of HM Queen Maxima of the Netherlands was one of the highlights of the event
An impression of one the 160 sessions during AF2016
An impression of the Adaptation Expo
UNFCCC's Executive Director Christiana Figueres receives a royal decoration from the Dutch governmen
WTC/Beurs Rotterdam was selected as the venue
One of tht presenters at a parallel session