Climate adaptation and mitigation, resilience, circular economy, renewable energy, sustainable cities: topics high on the agenda on a global scale and for which global solutions are being sought. Five years ago, the United Nations established the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and reaching these goals is crucial in creating a liveable planet. In Paris in 2015 an agreement was reached to limit the Countries have submitted their Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the Paris Climate Agreement to outline their commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and strengthen resilience to climate change. Chile and the Netherlands are both countries with active and ambitious commitments to these goals and contribute to the solutions in different ways. A close cooperation between our countries on public, private and academic level supports the development and implementation of effective, efficient and innovative solutions
The Netherlands is strongly committed to the Paris Agreement. Our National Climate Act states that the Netherlands needs to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 49% in 2030 and by 95% in 2050. Our national ambition on circular economy is to have a fully circular economy by 2050. And so, sustainability is a main driver of what the Netherlands has to offer in Chile. It is a cross cutting theme of our activities in other sectors (water, ports & logistics, agriculture).
One of the key aspects in fighting and adapting to climate change is working towards a Circular Economy. This new business model not only helps to mitigate the impact of climate change by using less resources and generating less emissions, it is also convincing from an economic standpoint, and creates opportunities for both large established and small start-up companies. Chile has developed multiple initiatives that support the national strategy on Circular Economy, such as Extended Producer Responsibility, a Plastic Pact, and a Circular Economy Roadmap. There are many opportunities in this area, particularly in Waste Management, Agriculture and Water. Looking at Waste Management the recycling rate in Chile is still very low, only 2% of municipal solid waste, whereas The Netherlands is sending only 2% of municipal waste to landfills. Building on opportunities in packaging, recycling, waste-to-energy, eco-design and more would accelerate the transition towards a Circular Economy.
Due to its geography with the hot and dry Atacama Desert in the North and the numerous lakes and glaciers in the South, Chile could be considered a natural laboratory when it comes to solar, wind and hydraulic energy. When applied to the production of hydrogen Chile is a very promising source of Green Hydrogen, one of the focus points of the Chilean government. The Netherlands has a strong track record in renewable energy and is currently experimenting with (green) hydrogen initiatives already on a commercial scale.
Cities worldwide are getting denser. More traffic adds greater pressure on public space. At the same time, cities need more green areas, less congestion and less pollution to improve the environment and decrease the level of air pollution, enrich biodiversity and to improve the water storage issues in cities. Chile has several cities that experience these challenges, in particular the capital Santiago but also larger cities throughout the country. Being one of the most densely populated countries in the world, the Netherlands has always found ways to make optimal use of all its land and come up with sustainable solutions. Thanks to multi-functional design, the use of advanced technology and smart transportation, Dutch smart and sustainable city concepts are known to be integrated and circular. By combining (new) technologies within our current infrastructure, the Netherlands is (re)developing large scale neighbourhoods that contribute to climate efforts thereby enhancing the quality of life of our citizens. Creating circular concepts for sustainable cities requires a new approach in managing the ‘key resources’, such as remaining worldwide stocks of natural resources, energy, space and irreplaceable organisms, an approach that keeps the natural circular system of cleaning up and reusing running.
Thanks to the collaboration of public and private sectors and the research community, the Netherlands has become a living lab for key enabling technologies. Dutch initiatives are often a result of co-creation the government, private sector, academic institutions and citizens, where each party plays a certain role:
- Government: procurement, regulation and setting standards
- Businesses: development of business-cases
- Knowledge institutions: generate intellectual capital by independent research
- Citizens: offer insights into the real need of society
The Netherlands is strongly committed to combat climate change and to achieving a circular economy, already putting it into practice on large scale through legislation, incentives, specific policies, and specific initiatives developed by the public and the private sector. Circular economy is becoming more and more the standard business model of the Dutch companies. The Netherlands are experts on the following topics:
- Circular and climate-neutral buildings
- Climate adaptation
- Smart and Green Mobility and Infrastructure
- Feeding the city
- Urban Healthy Living
- Safety and Security
- Renewable energy, in particular offshore wind and solar technology
Dutch companies have developed technological gems in the areas of integrated and circular solutions, implementation techniques and system breakthroughs.
The Netherlands starts by looking at social challenges and designing integral solutions for it, instead of a push of individual technologies
An approach of learning by doing, sharing and an open source mindset
The Netherlands has strong expertise to build ecosystems involving government, private sector, academic institutions and citizens around social issues in cities abroad.
When you look at the relation between the public and the private sector, leadership is needed from the public sector, but real innovation comes from the private sector. The challenge is to get incentives in the right place. Hereby some examples of actions of the Dutch government:
- Mandate that from 2020 forward, all new construction in the Netherlands will be climate neutral.
- Closed an agreement with mobility providers that from 2025 onwards, all new busses used in public transportation have be zero emission.
- Established our country as a testing ground for self-driving cars that invests heavily in electric vehicles, moving the Netherlands further away from dependency on fossil fuels.
- Adapted the law in order to create living labs. By pointing out specific projects or developments as an experiment, it can be allowed to deviate from certain regulations.
We have to collaborate to combine existing technologies and shape new solutions to create a better future and a better world. The world’s (urban) challenges call for international cooperation wherein every voice is important. The Netherlands is supporting Chile in the following areas:
- In Sustainable Mobility and in particular bicycle infrastructure several instances of knowledge sharing between the countries have been organised.
- Support with the development of the Chilean Circular Economy Roadmap by sharing experiences and best practices from this same process that has taken place in The Netherlands.
- Ongoing dialogue between Dutch and Chilean ministries to exchange knowledge on climate adaptation and searching for areas to cooperate.
- Exploring of the potential for Green Hydrogen in Chile combined with the Dutch advanced technology and position as large importer of hydrogen, the gate to Europe.
- Chile and The Netherlands cooperate in multilateral fora to strengthen climate ambitions.
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