Resilience: The ability of a system and its component parts to anticipate, absorb, accommodate, or recover from the effects of a hazardous event in a timely and efficient manner, including through ensuring the preservation, restoration, or improvement of its essential basic structures and functions. IPCC
Resilience provides a unifying theme for this year’s Forum. Describing the desired end-point of adaptation as it applies to natural, human, economic, engineered and island community systems, each of the following Forum streams will cover the means by which each of these systems may be enabled.
Discussions will be explored from a number of perspectives, including:
- Policy, legislation and institutions
- Planning, designing and implementation
- Science and assessment
- Technologies and practices
RESILIENCE IN HUMAN AND SOCIAL SYSTEMS
Human societies have long demonstrated resilience in the face of ever-changing environmental, political and technological circumstances, although climate change is testing our capacity to adapt, particularly where communities are also struggling to address poverty, environmental degradation and conflicts over land and resources. Resilience strategies must further reflect inter alia the special considerations associated with gender and the special needs of highly vulnerable groups in society (children, elderly, differently abled). This stream will focus broadly on evidence of how specific actions and strategies can deliver resilience benefits, emphasizing the linkages between governance (institutions), policy, technology and finance. How resilience of human and social system can be enhanced and build on demonstrated resilience in other areas. Important sub-themes include climate change and food security, health, education, migration and conflict resolution at scales from household to region.
RESILIENCE OF NATURAL ECOSYSTEMS
Natural ecosystems, when wisely managed, can support human resilience through a range of functions and services. Ecosystems are themselves under threat from climate change and variability, and wise management of existing ecosystem as well as human induced modification can improve ecosystem resilience. Reciprocal resilience-building provides the basis for ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) and other nature-based approaches, which can be implemented as stand-alone resilience strategies or in synergy with infrastructure-based approaches (“grey-green”). Potential benefits include disaster risk reduction, livelihood and food security, community health and economic diversification in both urban and rural settings. Significant learning has taken place in recent years within the region concerning the effectiveness of EbA and nature-based resilience strategies, and sessions under this theme will explore that evidence.
RESILIENCE OF INDUSTRY AND THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT
Asia-Pacific’s rapid urbanization, catalysed by economic growth and increasing demand for goods and services, represents both concentration of risk and opportunity to invest in resilience-building at large scale. Many organizations are currently working to understand what makes the economic sectors and the built environment - including critical infrastructure - resilient to a changing climate, and are putting this knowledge into practice. Examples of approaches already under implementation in Asia and the Pacific include water-sensitive-, “sponge -” and green cities. Development banks and bilateral development finance organizations have also established extensive portfolios of climate-resilient infrastructure investment. Sessions under this theme will take stock of these experiences and good practices to support climate resilience investment in the built environment.
RESILIENCE OF ISLAND COMMUNITIES
International assessments consistently find that island states and communities are among the most vulnerable to climate change and disasters. Islands are highly exposed to stronger cyclones, sea level rise, saline intrusion, and coastal erosion among other impacts. At the same time, these communities have shown time and again their remarkable capacity to survive and rebound from catastrophe, and to adapt and thrive under new conditions. In this way, island communities can be seen as learning “laboratories” of adaptation practices and approaches. With the active involvement of Forum hosts the Republics of Palau and of the Philippines, sessions will address such issues as destination resilience, loss and damage, strengthening commitments and action, and enacting targeted efforts tailored to specific challenges and needs to enhance adaptive capacities.