The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) provides a clear definition of resilience[1] as: “The capacity of social, economic and environmental systems to cope with a hazardous event or trend or disturbance, responding or reorganizing in ways that maintain their essential function, identity and structure, while also maintaining the capacity for adaptation, learning and transformation.

The Forum will be built around four streams on: a) inclusive resilience; b) nature-based resilience; c) economic sector resilience; d) and community and local resilience.  

a. Inclusive Resilience

Human societies have long demonstrated resilience in the face of ever-changing environmental, political, and technological circumstances, although climate change is testing human capacity to adapt, particularly where communities are also struggling to address poverty, environmental degradation and conflicts over land and natural resources. Resilience strategies must tackle the social drivers of vulnerability, further reflecting inter alia the special considerations associated with gender and the special needs of highly vulnerable groups in society (children, elderly, differently abled, indigenous groups, migrants, among others).

This stream will focus broadly on how specific actions and strategies can deliver resilience benefits, emphasizing the linkages between governance (institutions), policy, technology, and finance and how resilience of human and social systems can be enhanced and build on demonstrated resilience in other areas. Important sub-themes will include climate change and food security, health, education, migration, and conflict resolution at scales from household to region.

Key aspects under this topic may include gender perspective; indigenous communities and local knowledge; disabilities; human right-based approaches; equity; migration; social protection; health; education.

b. Nature-based Resilience

Natural ecosystems can support human resilience through a range of functions and services; however, ecosystems are themselves under threat from climate change and variability. Wise management of existing ecosystem as well as human induced modification can improve ecosystems’ 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 exchange has taken place in recent years within the region concerning the effectiveness of EbA and nature-based resilience strategies. Sessions under this theme will explore that evidence.

Key aspects under this topic may include food systems and food security; disaster risk management and reduction; urban resilience; biodiversity and ecosystems management; benefits of nature-based adaptation for mitigation; water systems and resources; restoration.

c. Economic Sector Resilience

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.

Key aspects under this topic may include climate-proofing infrastructure (such as ports, roads, power, sanitation, sewer, and communications systems); labour market; industrial development; economic diversification.

d. Communities and Local Resilience

International assessments consistently find that island states and rural 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 over time and again their remarkable capacity to survive and rebound from catastrophe, and to adapt and thrive under new conditions. In this way, island and rural communities can be seen as learning “laboratories” of adaptation practices and approaches.

Key aspects under this topic may include: tourism and destination resilience; integrated landscape management; rural and coastal communities; community participation and grassroots movements, including volunteerism; indigenous communities and local knowledge.

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[1]  IPCC, 2014, Annex II: Glossary:  https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/2019/01/SYRAR5-Glossary_en.pdf