What does it mean to be climate resilient?
Experts in Ethiopia, Nepal, Jamaica and Uganda explain how they are preparing for future global warming impacts.
Ask a meeting of 50 climate change specialists what they mean by “resilience” and you’re likely to get 50 different answers.
Like “sustainability”, it is a word much abused by the media, policymakers and big business.
But as extreme weather events linked to climate change start to bite around the world, the importance of resilience will grow.
What’s important says Dennis Bours, a Bangkok-based climate consultant, is that the term no longer simply applies to infrastructure.
“I think resilience means you don’t just look at climate action, which in the past you would talk about hard measures like sea walls,” he says.
“Instead you must look at a complete picture including policies, governance and management structures on a national and community level, and a combination of hard and soft measure that you look at as a complete package. It’s not just about one intervention.”
It’s a sentiment delegates attending a Global Environment Facility climate evaluation conference in Washington last week repeatedly stressed.
Communities best placed to cope with extreme weather are not simply those with the best flood defences.
The best protection is often local radio or the mobile phone, provided there’s a working network.
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