“I myself am hugely results-oriented and PINO has the same focus on delivery.”

Mr. Prof. Dr. Patrick Verkooijen, CEO of the Global Center on Adaptation

The collaboration between the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA) and PINO dates back to the launch of the GCA at the Ridderzaal in The Hague in 2018. Since the founding of this international organization based in the Netherlands, their mission has been to prepare countries worldwide for the consequences of climate change.

The consequences of climate change are already being felt worldwide: floods, drought, heat stress. We are hardly surprised anymore. And this is only the beginning of the extreme climate consequences that await us. In short, it is imperative that we arm ourselves against it. In practice, however, the concrete application of climate-proof solutions in many countries is still in its infancy. An important task of the GCA is therefore to convince governments and funders of the usefulness and necessity of making these climate-proof investments now. This is economically more profitable than the ultimate damage of a climate disaster afterwards. But the reality is more difficult: not all countries are thinking a few steps ahead to make these smart investments right now. The question then is how to reach a tipping point.

By bringing together global players who can learn from each other which climate-proof solutions work and for which funding needs be found. PINO helps the GCA organizing these ‘action forcing events’ linking governments with development banks, the private sector and civil society organizations. PINO spoke with prof. dr. Patrick Verkooijen, CEO of the GCA, about this sustainable partnership and the organization of these events.

Why do you enjoy working with PINO?

‘I am extremely results-oriented and PINO has the same focus on delivery. Given the urgency of the climate issue, this is crucial. Every high-level meeting we organize should have a concrete translation into specific projects. It is therefore important that these meetings are meticulously planned. The time of participating government leaders is obviously very precious – and this requires a very sharp delineation in the preliminary stage. How do we set up the meeting? What is technically possible? How can we keep this within budget? Communication with PINO is very direct and that is very pleasant. However, limits are set. If a PINO project manager indicates that something really is impossible, then it is what it is and I’ll let it go. We have a very business and executive relationship where certain goals need to be achieved, with a certain budget and time where various high level officials need to be involved. PINO is very strong in setting up that process according to customer needs.

In addition, like the Global Center on Adapation, PINO is very adaptive and flexible. PINO can switch very quickly. If one way turns out not to be the solution, they immediately look for another way and a new solution. It is very nice that you can simply outsource things and that a relationship of trust has been built. Where I know, It’s gonna be okay.’

Which project together with PINO are you most proud of?

‘As far as I’m concerned three events stand out, these were all high impact events. First of all, the opening of our Rotterdam office, the largest floating office in the world, on 6 September 2021. More than forty high-level international guests were invited, including His Majesty The King Willem-Alexander.

Action forcing events

The day was split into two parts: there was a substantive part, but also a ceremonial part. Content, strategic design and protocol had to fit together exactly. PINO managed that really fantastically. And that in a very short lead time of less than three weeks, because due to covid it was unclear for a long time whether the event could take place.

In October we launched our flagship report in Kenya. This major scientific report addressed the status and trends in adaptation in Africa. The report was presented in the presence of the Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, several high level international guests and the President of the International Monetary Fund. I myself was present at the venue in Kenya to deliver the annual inaugural lecture. With a room of thousands of people physically there others were linked to the dialogue online. And that in Africa where logistics are uncertain. Nevertheless, this hybrid event went incredibly well and ultimately led to the launch of the largest adaptation programme in Africa to date.

In the same week, I welcomed Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada, to our Floating Office in Rotterdam. By invitation of the Canadian government, we organized a roundtable meeting at which the private sector and knowledge institutions discussed with the Canadian Prime Minister about the stakes of the climate summit in Glasgow. Trudeau and I took the results with us to Glasgow, where climate adaptation was high on the political agenda for the first time. This roundtable meeting was an important building block on the road to Glasgow and without PINO we would certainly not have been able to organize this meeting in this impactful way, also given the very limited preparation time.’

What do you find remarkable in the cooperation with PINO?

The projects we work on are always large, which also means that large sums of money are involved. The cooperation is very result-oriented, which is very important to me. I just need to know what happened at the end of the line: will it be delivered or not? With PINO, I know it can be done and they deliver time and time again.’

What reactions did you get from the target group at the events?

Very positive! Each time our international guests are amazed by the professional character of the meetings. Especially now that we mainly organize hybrid events in connection with covid. It is a completely different reality in which we navigate, we are now not just in a room with speakers and audience. You connect the participants in the room with the wider world through digital means. This is an approach that PINO has very quickly mastered. It’s not just a Zoom call but truly a professional production. I am therefore very impressed with the quality that PINO delivers and look forward to further cooperation in the near future. The climate agenda is far from complete.’

Mr. Prof. Dr. Patrick Verkooijen | CEO of the Global Center on Adaptation

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