As 2021 draws to a close, the world is facing numerous crises. The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. The climate crisis is here. Droughts, heatwaves and floods are increasing. Despite the challenging situation, we can change course by moving from despair to action.
This year we came together (online) and talked about solutions. We shared knowledge and success stories to better prepare for disasters. We reached out to young people, women and vulnerable communities to give them a voice and place at the decision table.
For this last issue of the year, I have compiled a list of our events, with GIFs for visual impact.
I hope next year will bring you good opportunities too.
1. We inspired world leaders
More than 30 world leaders expressed their firm support for climate adaptation at the international online Climate Adaptation Summit (CAS) 2021, hosted by the Netherlands.
During the high-level opening, various concrete initiatives and enhanced ambitions from governments, development banks, institutions and cities were launched to drastically enhance climate adaptation worldwide during the coming decade. To turn ambitions into reality, speakers committed to significantly raising adaptation finance.
The new US Climate Envoy, John Kerry, assured world leaders in his first public appearance on the international stage that the Biden-administration has made international climate action a top priority and will help promote more ambition in adaptation and resilience.
"We are proud to be back," Kerry said. "We come back with humility for the absence of the last four years and we’ll do everything in our power to make up for it." He announced the US will focus on better climate data, more funding for adaptation and resilience, improving adaptation programs and promoting cooperation between the private sector and affected communities. "Only together, we will be able to build resilience to climate change."
At Nextblue, we produced four videos about case-studies in delta regions across the world and one comprehensive, long-duration video for this international conference on climate adaptation.
2. We took the social media route
We completed unique programmes with our partners following our three-step approach: Training local journalists to produce water and climate stories; Co-produce articles and videos; Share their stories during live events and online campaigns for meaningful climate actions.
Therefore we create content for social media that inspires you. Like this GIF above that shows why we share stories about WATER, the primary medium through which we feel and will continue to feel the effects of climate change.
So, actually the climate crisis is a water crisis. Nine in ten natural disasters are water-related and the risks and impacts of climate change continue to grow in magnitude and frequency.
3. We focused on gender equality
The water sector is still a man's world. We should be able to include more diversity in panels on water and climate change. The quality of conversation improves when diverse voices are included. That's why we made the Top Women in Water list for upcoming events, to help you find women water experts. These inspiring women are pushing the water sector forward.
(Any woman water professional who would like to be added, tag us in your Tweet. Nominate others too!)
4. We increased our training capacity
We conducted several online storytelling trainings for our partner organisations. A big thank you to Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), Water in Sight, WUR, IHE Delft, NWO, Earth Journalism Network and Internews. We look forward to continuing our works.
5. We premiered Me and Mekong
"The Dutch national weather service presented its latest report on sea level rise recently, based on the IPCC report from August.
It's stated very clearly: If we don't succeed in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the sea level along the Dutch coast will rise up to 1.2 metres by the end of this century — compared to the beginning of this century. This may rise even further to 2 metres if the melting of the Antarctic accelerates.
What happens when the water rises even more?"
This is how I started my speech during the premiere of our film Me and Mekong at the Watersnoodmuseum in Zeeland, the Netherlands in October this year, and elaborated the consequences. It was a unique, physical event during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are organising a Week of the Mekong Delta in 2022 to screen and discuss Me and Mekong. We will keep you updated!
6. We started a programme on wetlands
We recently started a new programme with our partner organisations AIT and WWF in Thailand. It's about protecting our landscapes, waterways and biodiversity.
Why wetlands matter?
- They remove pollutants
- Mangroves shield coastlines
- Peatlands store 30% land-based carbon
- Wetlands store water
- People make a living from wetlands
- 40% of all species live or breed there
- Wetlands attract people for recreation
7. We were sustained by small kindnesses
It was a tough year. The second year of COVID-19. The people we love went into quarantine with us. When we were going through a particularly dark month and couldn't see anyone in person, you sent us kind emails. We all need these little messages. It keeps our heart beating.
We share the same passion to empower the voices of communities in the heart of delta regions around the world.
Let's increase our impact together.
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See you in a new calendar year!