From tragedy to action

July 2021. Belgium suffered the most devastating floods of its modern history. 39 people dead, more than 100,000 citizens affected. Estimated total cost: close to €2.57 billion.

As the damage became clear so did the urgency for more proactive measures to better understand, anticipate, and adapt to climate change consequences.

20 October 2021. In response to this disaster and in light of the multiplication of climate and environment hazards, the Council of Ministers decided to create a new independent federal center. This center is dedicated to the analysis of climate and environment risks in the middle and long term, with a focus on Belgium’s national security and resilience.

This focus on security and resilience was further reinforced in December 2021 with the publication of Belgium’s first National Security Strategy. The release identified the preservation of our natural environment as one of Belgium’s vital interests, especially in relation to climate change and biodiversity loss.

Our vision and mission

CERAC aims at creating a future where Belgian citizens, territory and society are safer and more resilient to climate and environment risks, as well as the impacts of the transition.

Evaluate climate and environment risks

We will produce independent risk assessments to evaluate Belgium’s exposure and vulnerability to climate and environment hazards in the middle and long term.

This includes potential impacts arising from the necessary transition to a low-carbon and more sustainable society. How? By coordinating and synthesizing research and expertise from different stakeholders including government institutions and academics.

Provide information and recommendations

Based on those risk assessments, we provide Belgian policy makers with relevant information and recommendations. Our goal? To help them develop policies to anticipate and adapt to climate and environment risks.

We report primarily to the National Security Council, with a focus on risks for the national security and resilience, and to the Federal government. Our reports and recommendations will also be available to other federal and regional policy makers, citizens and other stakeholders.

International networking and cooperation

Given the global nature of climate change, we emphasize the importance of international cooperation within frameworks and international treaties where Belgium is obliged to (UN, EU, NATO, Benelux Union, ..). Examples are the EU Green Deal and the UN Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction in which Belgium will give an extensive input in 2024, but also older legislation such as the article 222 of Treaty on the functioning of the EU: Member States are obliged to act jointly where one of them is the victim of a terrorist attack or a natural or man-made disaster.

CERAC highly values the interaction with similar centers in Europe and beyond to exchange best practices and learn lessons. These centers although have a difference since they in most cases do not yes assess the other planetary boundaries, nor directly advise their National Security council.

Pointed out in the 2023 report by the Belgian experts on crisis management to the Belgian Minister of Internal Affairs: a network approach is the best option to address the coming challenges / crises on climate and environment as best as possible.

Read more in our section on plans and policies