Resilience Academies to connect climate change research, policy and practice

News, 10 September 2013
International research centres have joined forces to create a series of Resilience Academies, which will support new research and build links between scientists, policymakers and development workers.

The academies will focus on how to strengthen the resilience of livelihoods in a changing climate.

Over two-dozen climate change researchers, practitioners and policy workers – out of nearly 400 who applied -- have won places at the first annual Resilience Academy, which will take place in Bangladesh from 15-21 September.

Its organisers are the International Centre for Climate Change and Development at the Independent University, Bangladesh, the Institute for Environment and Human Security at the United Nations University in Bonn, Germany and the Munich Re Foundation.

As well as starting new studies, those attending the Academy will contribute to a new action-research agenda and original research on livelihood resilience.

They will highlight the actual political needs, practical experiences, discuss the latest state of the art scientific issues related to resilience and adaptation to climate change and will also conduct fieldwork. The outcomes are expected to be a high level international scientific publication on Resilience to Climate Change and to stimulate the dialogue between academia, policy and praxis.

Future Resilience Academies will take place between 2014 and 2017, with the venue alternating between Bangladesh and Germany. Outputs from year two will include a special issue of an academic journal and a policy brief on livelihood transformation in the United Nations University policy series.

One cohort of participants will attend the first and second Academies, a second cohort will attend the third and fourth, and the fifth and final Academy will bring the two cohorts together. In each cohort, the participants will begin projects in the first year, and continue them into the second year.

"This model will give the participants the opportunity to deepen their individual competence as well as strengthen their networks," says Saleemul Huq, director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development, and senior fellow at IIED. "The academies will provide practical knowledge that will enable policymakers to make choices about how to protect and enhance livelihoods despite all that climate change will bring."

"Climate change threatens to overwhelm livelihoods and this fundamentally challenges the ability of human systems to deliver on development goals," says David Wrathall of the Institute for Environment and Human Security at the United Nations University. "Without livelihoods, there is no upward socio-economic movement from generation to generation; but rather impoverishment. So when we think about the transformation that these Academies can promote, livelihood systems in the most vulnerable places is one place to start."

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