On 1 September 2017, the province of Utrecht and the municipality of Utrecht will submit a bid to house the Global Centre of Excellence on Climate Adaptation (GCECA) on the best accessible location in the Netherlands. Utrecht is convinced it has the best bid for the GCECA to be newly established: a location in the Beatrix Building of the Jaarbeurs, which is at only half an hour from Schiphol Amsterdam Airport and next to Utrecht Central Station. Additionally, the region provides the ideal scientific climate, with the close proximity of Utrecht University, where globally leading climate research is conducted, and several national scientific institutes in the fields of climate, meteorology, water and subsoil.
According to the European Commission, Utrecht is the most competitive region in Europe, with a favourable climate for new inhabitants and businesses and a highly educated population. Provincial Executive member Pim van den Berg: “Utrecht boasts world-class educational institutes, such as Utrecht University, which is known for its globally leading climate research and which is a knowledge partner of our own Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment. Due to the knowledge institutions in Utrecht and surrounding municipalities like Zeist and De Bilt, we can really speak of an ideal cross-fertilisation situation.”
“Climate and health are inextricably bound up with each other. As a city, we set great store by companies and knowledge institutions that make an active contribution to Healthy Urban Living in Utrecht. The GCECA fits in perfectly well,” says alderman Jeroen Kreijkamp.
Networking is in the DNA of the Utrecht region. The region has always been focused on connecting; it is used to collaboration and to being part of networks. For a theme like Climate Adaptation this is essential, for it is a multidisciplinary challenge. This is why Utrecht is the best environment for the GCECA. The international school, the knowledge institutions at the Utrecht Science Park, our hotels and conference centres, and Schiphol Amsterdam Airport at only 30 minutes contribute to making Utrecht ideal for living, working, and doing research.
Utrecht climate approach
Climate adaptation is high on the agenda of the province of Utrecht, and the Utrecht approach is innovative. Provincial Executive member Jacqueline Verbeek-Nijhof: “With our participative approach, we demonstrate at a local level that we can be successful in dealing with these global issues. We work with residents, companies, knowledge institutions and the government to prepare Utrecht and the world for a water safe future.”
This is put into practice in the large-scale transformation of the Railway Station Area for instance, where the international tone is set for healthy and sustainable top locations. Making apartments and the public area in Kanaleneiland climate-proof as part of renovation, shows that great results can be achieved by intensive cooperation with many parties.