Date: 31 October 2019 (Thursday)

Time: 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Venue: Chancellor Room 1, 4/F, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, Wanchai


  • Mr. Henk Ovink, Special Envoy for International Water Affairs for the Kingdom of the Netherlands
  • Professor Chris Zevenbergen, Chair Professor of Flood Resilience Group, IHE Delft and TU Delft, the Netherlands


Time Activity

10:40 a.m.


11:00 a.m.

(5 mins)

Welcome speech

11:05 a.m.

(20 mins)

Challenges and opportunities from an international perspective

Speaker: Prof. Chris Zevenbergen

11:25 a.m.

(20 mins)

Action/intervention for driving transformational change to build climate resilience

Speaker: Mr. Henk Ovink

11:45 a.m.

(45 mins)

Interactive group discussion:

  • Being prepared - Setting short-term horizon with leeway for novel action/intervention
  • Prevention - Setting long-term horizon with appropriate action/intervention

12:30 p.m.



Moderator: Mr. Henk Ovink

12:45 p.m.

Signing Ceremony of MoU between IHE Delft and DSD



Many countries are currently revisiting their flood (disaster) risk management strategy. There is a shift in focus from reacting to and preparing for singular extreme events to anticipate trends in this type of events. This long-term focus is inherently coupled with large uncertainties as we are uncertain about how physical (climate change) and economic conditions will change, what research and innovation will bring, how societal preferences will develop, etc. Moreover, long lead times of flood protection infrastructure and transformative change of urban infrastructure are prompting governments to take a long-term horizon. 

This notion of taking a long-term perspective calls for an adaptive strategy and is prompting governments to consider the impacts of climate change on their strategies and operations. Governments are increasingly aware of these implications to be relevant not in the long-term, but for decisions made today.

In this workshop, we will share international experience from other countries such as The Netherlands.  We will also explore challenges and opportunities of an adaptive strategy for Hong Kong and address the question of “What are the major features of an adaptive strategy taking a long-term perspective and assuming that climatic conditions will drastically change for Hong Kong in the future and what is needed for its implementation?”.


Biography of Speakers

Henk Ovink

Henk Ovink

Mr. Henk Ovink was appointed in 2015 by the Cabinet of the Netherlands as the first Special Envoy for International Water Affairs. As the Ambassador for Water, he is responsible for advocating water awareness around the world, focusing on building institutional capacity and coalitions among governments, multilateral organisations, private sector and NGO’s to address the world’s stressing needs on water and help initiate transformative interventions.

Mr. Ovink is Principal for Rebuild by Design, the resilience innovation competition he developed and led for President Obama's Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force.

In January 2018, Mr. Henk Ovink was awarded for his ‘global water work’ an honorary membership of the Royal Instítute of Engineers of the Netherlands.

Mr. Ovink teaches at the University of Groningen, the London School of Economics and at Harvard GSD. His last book “Too Big. Rebuild by Design: A Transformative Approach to Climate Change” explores the recovery work post Hurricane Sandy as an opportunity to learn from.


Chris Zevenbergen

Chris Zevenbergen

Chris Zevenbergen is a Professor at the Water Engineering Department of IHE Delft Institute for Water Education and at the Department of Hydraulic Engineering, Faculty of Civil Engineering of the Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands. He is a visiting professor at the Southeast University (SEU), China.

In the past 20 years Prof. Zevenbergen has accumulated extensive national and international research experience with integrated approaches to manage floods in urban environments. His research interest is specifically on:

  • innovative concepts to mitigate urban flood impacts
  • on flood proofing building designs and technologies
  • on decision support tool development in urban planning with practical application in urban flood management

He has a strong affinity with the ecological, socio-economic, institutional aspects of urban planning and water management. He has worked extensively on application of theories of resilience to flood risk management systems, including the theory of socio-ecological resilience.

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