Henk Ovink Special Envoy on International Water Affairs for the Kingdom of the Netherlands

Ovink was appointed by the three Ministers of Infrastructure and the Environment, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation and Economic Affairs, Ovink as the first Special Envoy for International Water Affairs. As the Ambassador for Water Ovink is responsible for maintaining good relations with foreign governments, knowledge institutions, umbrella organizations, coordinating and representative bodies, the business community and civil society organizations around the world. Henk Ovink was Senior Advisor to both the former US Presidential Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and the White House Director of the Office of Management and Budget and Principal of 'Rebuild by Design’. He led the long term innovation, resilience and rebuilding efforts for the Task Force and started, developed, and led the ‘Rebuild by Design’ competition (RBD). RBD was developed to ignite innovation for a new standard of regional resilience in design and development, in building and rebuilding in the light of climate change, sea level rise and future economic, ecological and cultural demands. RBD was named #1 in CNN’s 2013 top 10 of most innovative ideas. Before joining the Task Force Ovink was both Acting Director General of Spatial Planning and Water Affairs and Director National Spatial Planning for the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)

Rasmus Valanko is a manager for Climate & Energy with the Geneva-based World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). In this role he coordinates private sector cooperation aiming to create and scale-up business solutions across the main mitigation levers and resilience building measures. Prior to joining the WBCSD, Rasmus worked 7 years for Royal Dutch Shell on global climate change and CO2 policy as well as their alternative energies strategy. With 20 years of thought-leadership on sustainability within business, the WBCSD has been working with member companies on understanding the effect of climate change on business as well as how to build resilience to these effects; both within companies own assets and operations as well as within their wider stakeholder groups.

Mr Valanko will provide a multinational perspective on climate change and resilience through the launch of the WBCSD’s latest report on building resilience in global supply chains as well as the findings from their prior work on building resilience in the power sector. The report highlights, through case studies in contrasting sectors, the lessons to be learnt across business activities and different kinds of supply chain.


Professor Dr. Hans von Storch

Prof. Dr. Hans von Storch is director of Institute of Coastal Research of the Helmholtz Zentrum Geesthacht (HZG), professor at the Meteorological Institute of the University of Hamburg, and guest professor at the Ocean University of China. From 1987 - 1995, he was Senior Scientist and leader of the "Statistical Analysis and Modelling" group at the Max Planck-Institute for Meteorology. His research interests are climate diagnostics and statistical climatology, regional climate change and its transdisciplinary context. He has published twenty books, among them “Statistical Analysis ion Climate Research” with Francis Zwiers and “Die Klimafalle” with ethnologist Werner Krauss, and numerous articles. He contributed in different roles to the last four  IPCC-reports. He chairs efforts for the climate change assessment for the Baltic Sea Catchment (BACC). In 2014, he received the Award of the Baltic Sea Fond, and in 2008 a honorary doctorate of Göteborg University.

He will present the core findings of the new BACC book “Second Assessment of Climate Change for the Baltic Sea basin” (BACC II). The second BACC book is published today, again with Springer, as Open Access. This time, 141 authors from 14 countries have contributed. New aspects like a look back at the past 12.000 years, sea level change, impacts on urban areas, and an attempt to pinpoint regional drivers (regional attribution) were included. Comprehensive summary booklets will be produced from the material in all languages or the Baltic Sea region, to reach local decision makers and the general public. Again, the results are used by HELCOM. A more detailed look at the results of BACC II will be presented in the Session “Adapting the Baltic Sea region to a changing climate” on Thursday morning.

Sarah Hendel-Blackford
leads the team that has designed and is currently implementing the Mayors Adapt initiative. She is a Senior Consultant at Ecofys UK and specialises in climate change impacts and adaptation. She has worked in policy development at European, national, regional and sub-regional level as well as created adaptation tools and guidance for specific sectors for over 13 years. Sarah has undertaken stakeholder consultation for the European Commission on the Adaptation Green Paper, the subsequent Assessment of Impacts for the Adaptation White Paper, and has worked on climate inputs for adaptation cost curve development in the UK.



Linda Romanovska
is a member of the Mayors Adapt team and responsible for providing adaptation expertise and knowledge support to urban municipalities. As Policy Expert at Fresh Thoughts Consulting in the field of adaptation to climate change Linda has worked on topics of adaptation in key sectors such as urban areas, energy, transport, infrastructure, water and social issues on EU, regional and local levels. Prior to joining Fresh Thoughts Linda was a member of the EU adaptation policy team in DG Climate Action of European Commission, contributing to the development of the EU Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change.



Claus Kondrup
is Acting Head of Unit in the European Commission's Directorate-General for Climate Action ("DG CLIMA"), team leader for climate mainstreaming into Regional Policy funds and programmes, coordinating climate mainstreaming into European Structural and Investment Funds, and contributing to the development of EU policy on the adaptation to climate change. Claus Kondrup has a background in civil engineering and broad experience with climate action, including the resilience to extreme weather and climate events.

Cities and local authorities are essential players in the efforts to enhance the resilience to climate impacts. The Mayors Adapt initiative supports European cities in adapting to climate change. It aims to increase support for local activities, provide a platform for greater engagement and networking by cities, and raise public awareness about adaptation and the measures needed. Mayors Adapt is part of the EU Strategy on adaptation to climate change, which the European Commission adopted in 2013. Cities signing up to the Mayors Adapt initiative commit to contributing to the overall aim of the EU Adaptation Strategy by developing a comprehensive local adaptation strategy or integrating adaptation to climate change into relevant existing plans. After a general presentation of the EU initiative by Claus Kondrup from the European Commission, Linda Romanovska will introduce the online knowledge support and guidance provided by Mayors Adapt to its signatories, with special focus on the Urban Adaptation Support Tool and the urban adaptation knowledge database in the Climate-ADAPT platform. Sarah Hendel-Blackford will outline opportunities for signatories to learn directly from each other through knowledge transfer activities planned throughout 2015, such as city twinning and workshops, also highlighting research into cities’ needs to implement adaptation and knowledge transfer. Adaptation practitioners at the local level will gain insights into the relevance of Mayors Adapt to their work, whereas scientific and private sector communities will be presented with opportunities to showcase their work and contribute to the online Urban Adaptation Support tool. Cities will be encouraged to share their experience and needs after the session. 

Professor Jens Hesselbjerg Christensen (KU and DMI)

Adjunct Professor, Niels Bohr Institute, Copenhagen University. Scientific Head, Danish Meteorological Institute. In 1986, I achieved my master degree in Physics and Mathematics from the Niels Bohr Institute (NBI) at the University of Copenhagen and later on, in 1990, my PhD in Astrophysics from the same place. Shortly thereafter, I was employed at the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) as a research associate. During the last 18 years I have been a leading scientist at the Danish Meteorological Institute, and since 2005, I have led climate science first at the Danish Climate Centre at the Danish Meteorological Institute and now formally as scientific head of regional climate change in the R&D department. During this period climate science at DMI has established itself as the Danish focal point for climate change information, in particular with respect to future changes. In the early 2000s, I was coordinating a very successful European framework project on regional climate change using multiple RCMs with a European focus. It had 21 participating institutions, and was named PRUDENCE (2001-2004). After PRUDENCE, I have been the PI in several large EU Framework Programme consortiums, including ENSEMBLES and WATCH. In the last 5 years I have been directing a multi-disciplinary national (Danish) center without walls, Centre for Regional Change in the Earth System (CRES) that has received praise as a leading national research centre in climate research. I have participated in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and the very recent 5th Assessment Report of the IPCC, WGI, in the latter two cases as coordinating lead author; in either case with a focus on projections of future regional climate change. This way, I have been contributing to the award of the Nobel Pease Prize for 2007  to the IPCC. I have received support for a large scale project on the role of Arctic sea ice in controlling the developments of the Greenland Ice Sheet. The project ice2ice is funded from a so-called ERC-Synergy grant under EU. 

CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere are now unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years, and they rise more than 100 times faster than during the past 20,000 years. This is caused by anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases by burning fossil fuels and land use change with consequent changes in the entire Earth System. The newest comprehensive assessment Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change documents a rapidly and profoundly changing Earth System and provides the latest understanding of changes ahead of us. Highlights from the state of knowledge about the physical climate system will be provided with a view to consequences and plausible future impacts for society and natural systems that calls for action whether in order to adapt to ongoing and future changes or in order to mitigate the projected changes if CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere continue to grow throughout this century and possibly beyond.

Panos Fetsis,
LIFE Communications Team NEEMO GEIE - AEID

Working as a Climate Change and Energy Expert in the LIFE Communications team, Panos is responsible for the active analysis and dissemination of the results of the LIFE Programme.Due to his concern over environmental degradation, he sought to combine his background in economics and 4 years of work experience at Ernst & Young with environmental and sustainable energy generation projects. At Piraeus Bank, as a coordinator in the first “Green Banking branch” in South-Eastern Europe, he provided consulting services in the field of environmental technologies, including economic, technical and policy advisory. Moreover, he significantly contributed to the environmental training and communication assignments regarding the contents and the administration of the “Green Library”, the “Green Banking Portal”, the “Green Journal” and the “Social Media”, by providing presentations and newsletters with up to date green technologies supplemented with the economic and technical analysis, the environmental benefit and the international policy framework. He actively participated in the elaboration of various EU environmental projects at Epsilon International, Salfo & Associates and Piraeus Bank, mainly focused on three areas: socio-economic impact of natural resource management; climate change economic risks and opportunities; climate change mitigation technologies. Panos holds a Master degree in Economics for Natural Resource and Environmental Management.

The LIFE Programme – Over 20 Years Promoting Environmental Sustainability in the EU. I will present the contribution of LIFE - the European funding tool for the environment- as one of the instruments of the EU promoting initiatives, best practices and innovative technologies on Climate Change Adaptation in Europe.

Professor Jean Palutikof
, Griffith University

Professor Jean Palutikof is Director of the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility at Griffith University, and Co-Chair of the Scientific Steering Committee for PROVIA. She moved to Griffith University in 2008, having previously managed the production of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report for Working Group II (Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability), while based at the UK Met Office. Prior to joining the Met Office, she was a Professor in the School of Environmental Sciences, and Director of the Climatic Research Unit, at the University of East Anglia, UK, and a Lecturer at the Department of Geography, University of Nairobi, Kenya. Her research interests focus on climate change impacts and adaptation, and the communication of knowledge to adaptation decision-makers. A particular interest is extreme events and how to manage these in a changing world. She was a Lead Author for Working Group II of the IPCC Second and Third Assessment Reports, and a Review Editor for the Fifth Assessment.

Adaptation sits at the coalface of climate change action. As we singularly fail to make progress with climate change mitigation, and are faced with the increasing necessity and urgency of managing the impacts, a whole range of challenges emerges which seems to prevent action.  In this talk, I will explore some issues around the knowledge-adaptation interface, and the contribution, actual and potential, of research to adaptation. I am involved with two organisations that seek to develop and deliver research and knowledge for adaptation. They function at two very different spatial scales. The first is PROVIA, the Global Programme of Research on Climate Change Vulnerability, Impacts and Adaptation. Its goal is to support the global community of researchers in the field through four objectives: 1) coordinating research on climate impacts, vulnerability and adaptation, 2) guiding investment in research, 3) communicating high-quality scientific information to governments and international agencies, and 4) building research capacity, especially in developing countries.  The second is NCCARF, the National Adaptation Research Facility, based in Australia, which currently works with local councils in the coastal zone to manage sea-level rise and the risks of climate change. I will use my experiences in these organisations to explore three issues around the research-policy-action intersection. These concern:

 - The role of research and knowledge in planning and implementing adaptation;
- The role of communication in the transfer of knowledge;
- The role of research in understanding the outcomes of adaptation.

Amanda Cockroft

Having worked as a manufacturing and development engineer for BAE Systems throughout the Nineties, Amanda went on to become company design authority on precision demolition systems and led various multi-disciplinary development teams. Between 1999 and 2003, she established her reputation as the force behind the design initiative, Dundee by Design, which boosted the regional economy by raising awareness and facilitating the integration of, design and product development into SMEs.

As a skilful developer of innovation, Amanda has been invited to contribute to programmes, consultations and advisory groups, by key influencers including UK and Scottish government - she was a member of the the Ministerial Working Group on the Creative Industries in Scotland as well as a contributor to The UK’s Cox Review of Creativity in Business.

Amanda has worked with a range of leaders of the powerful creative industries sector - including with The Lighthouse, Scotland’s Centre for Design, Architecture and the City, developing national strategies and creating results-focused business communities.  She was also involved with the creation of new research centres at The Glasgow School of Art – The Glasgow Urban Lab and The Institute of Design Innovation.

Amanda established herself in Copenhagen after receiving an invitation to become UNICEF’s first Innovation Chief at the Supply Division HQ, where she oversaw the establishment of a state-of-the-art Innovation Lab, and the development of an innovation system. 

Amanda brings a broad knowledge of the development of innovation in a range of related sectors – including the creative, manufacturing, engineering, aerospace, automotive and humanitarian industries – to  her role as Deputy Director of Innovation at Climate-KIC.  Her approach is always practical and she endeavours to bring the very latest thinking in innovation to all of her projects. Amanda enjoys keeping fit and healthy, cooking and entertaining, travel and current affairs.

Connie Hedegaard, Chair of KR Foundation and Chair of the OECD Round Table for Sustainability

Former EU Commissioner for Climate Action (2010-2014), Denmark's Minister for the Environment (2004-07) and for Climate and Energy (2007-2009), former MP first elected to the DK Parliament 1984. Left Parliament in 1990 for Journalism. Have hold different positions in written press, Head of Radio News, Danish Public Radio and TV (DR), anchor DR2 program Deadline.

Dr. Bente Pretlove
, Director for Climate Change at DNV GL

Bente Pretlove is the Programme Director for Climate Change at DNV GL Strategic Research and Innovation.  She is a member of the Board for the Climate Change research program “Klimaforsk” at the Norwegian Research Council and a member of the Transdisciplinary Advisory Board (TAB) for JPI Climate.  She represents DNV GL in the Climate and Energy leadership group of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).  Bente is also the Project Director for DNV GLs strategic partnership with UNEP to support the implementation of a Climate Technology Centre and Network under the UNFCCC Technology Mechanism.

Bente has an academic background in Chemical & Bioprocess Engineering and a Ph.D. in Environmental system analysis and cleaner production. She has also attended the DNV GL executive technology program, Top Tech, at University of California Berkeley.

From Climate Information to Private Sector Decision Making

DNV GL’s central purpose is to safeguard life, property and the environment and through this to positively impact the safety and sustainability of business and society.  We are contributing with knowledge and tools that support the needed transformation to a low carbon future as well as adapting and building resilience to a changing climate.  Through our risk-based approaches we are working to translate climate information to an actionable decision basis for the private sector.  The presentation will focus on DNV GL’s work to develop tools and best practices; taking a systems approach and acknowledging that technology, human behaviour, socio-ecological systems and impacts are closely inter-related.

Prof. Jiang Tong, National Climate Centre, Beijing, China

Dr Jiang has spent nearly 20 years working on climate change, water resources management and floods/drought analysis in the National Climate Centre under the China Meteorological Administration.Dr Jiang is specialised working in assessment of climate induced hazards in Asian larger Rivers, in particularly in flood loss assessment in the Yangtze River Basin. He is also leading or involving several programmes, e. g. water governance in the larger Asian river basins of the South and Central Asia Water Initiative funded by World Bank with a framework of past Abu Dhabi Dialogue,Wold bank/GEF program for climate technology needs assessment of the Chinese disaster forecast and weather Monitoring Sector, German GIZ program for disaster risk financial transfer and feasibility of weather index-based insurance in developing countries, for those, first production of commercial weather index based insurance in China was approved by China Insurance Regulation Committee in 2012. Dr. Jiang is an Associate editor for Hydrological Sciences Journal (2005-2010) and Atmospheric Research (2011-2014). Dr. Jiang is a leading author for IPCC AR5 WGII CH3: Fresch Water Resources. He is also one of leading authors of National Climate Change Program (2014-2020), 2nd and 3rd China National Climate Change Reports, and China National Assessment Report on Risk management and Adaptation of Climate Extremes and Disasters.

Building a Resilience Society through adaptation, climate services for risk management in China and Asian Countries   -   focus particularly on China and EU cooperation

Recently,  in order to build a resilience society for China and Asian Countries, a book with a title of "China National Assessment Report on Risk management and Adaptation of Climate Extremes and Disasters" has been published in China the aim of this report is to provide recommendations and suggestions to decision makers to implement a resilience society through climate change adaptation and climate services for reducing future climate related risks. Detailed suggestions can be presented in this talk. The Chinese experiences for strategy of building resilience society can be transfer to Asian counties, in particularly for Central and Southeast Asian counties, as those countries have been connected with China through several larger international trans-boundary rivers. Finally, several cooperation programmes in term of China-EU cooperation are listed and briefly introduced


Prof. Frans Berkhout, King College London

Frans Berkhout is Professor of Environment, Society and Climate in the Department of Geography, King’s College London and Interim Director of the Future Earth programme based at the International Council for Science in Paris. Between 2004 and 2012 he was Director of the Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM) and the Amsterdam Global Change Institute (2010 to 2013) at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Before that he held posts at SPRU (Science and Technology Policy Research), University of Sussex (UK), and was Director of the UK Economic and Social Research Council’s (ESRC) Global Environmental Change and Sustainable Technologies programmes.  Berkhout holds a Geography BSc (University of Leeds, 1983) and a PhD in Science and Technology Policy Studies (University of Sussex, 1989). He did post-doctoral research at Princeton University (US).  Among other advisory roles, Professor Berkhout is a lead author in the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (2007) and an international member of the Research Evaluation Framework (REF) of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). He sits on the editorial boards of Research Policy, Global Environmental Change, Journal of Industrial Ecology and Current Opinion on Environmental Sustainability. Adaptation grows up: Paris 2015 and what it means for the debate about climate resilience

The UNFCCC COP20 in Lima in December 2014 marked another important step in international policy attention for adaptation in the face of climate change. As the outlines of a new climate agreement, to be agreed in Paris at the end of 2015, become clearer - allowing a large measure of discretion to countries to determine their own contributions to emissions reduction – much greater emphasis is being placed on adaptation and building resilience. The talk will try to assess the current state of the international policy debate on adaptation and loss-and-damage, what this means for the Paris agreement and look forward to implications for adaptation action and research.