Resilience and Climate Change

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On January 22, 2014, members of the Canadian Coalition on Climate Change and Development (C4D), and other international development practitioners, academics and policy makers met to explore how the concept of “resilience” can inform our policies and practice in community-based adaptation to global climate change.

This policy forum was organized by C4D with financial assistance from Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC). C4D is a coalition of international development and environmental organizations working together to share knowledge and take concerted action to address climate change.

Purpose & Objectives:

Policy makers and development practitioners around the world are increasingly using the language of resilience to describe the goal and methodology of international development work. But what does resilience bring to the debate around climate change adaptation in particular? 

In this policy forum, we explored different perspectives on resilience as understood in ‘the field’ and through research. The event informed the policy dialogue on resilience in Canada, and helped to build the capacity of international development organizations to implement resilience frameworks in their programs.

Together, we:

  • Explored the concept of the resilience and how it informs our understanding of climate change adaptation
  • Reflected on the experiences of donor agencies integrating resilience into policy development and international development CSOs implementing community-level, resilience programming
  • Identified the implications of climate change resilience for field level implementation, including food security/agriculture programming, gender, private sector engagement, disaster-risk reduction, and program measurement.

Presentations & Resources

To read a Report with highlights of the Policy Forum, click here Unpacking Resilience-C4DPolicyForumReport.

Please click below to access the slides from the resource people who have permitted us to post their presentations.

Keynote Presentation

Susan Walsh, Executive Director, USC Canada
Susan Walsh’s Keynote Presentation Slides / Susan Walsh’s Notes to Accompany Presentation.

After working with British Colombia’s Justice Institute in the early ’80s on gender and mediation programming, Susan shifted to international development work. A Canada World Youth contract in India in1994 whet her appetite for more and she returned to Canada to take up a program officer position with USC Canada from 1985-1990. In 2004, Susan returned to the agency as its Executive Director, determined to apply lessons learned from a year of doctoral research among Indigenous potato farmers. In the interim, Susan served at the helm of Canada’s World Food Day Association and as the Director for Latin America Programs with Canadian Lutheran World Relief. In 2003, she completed her doctoral degree in development anthropology and will soon have a book out, entitled Trojan Horse Aid, that draws on her field research.

Morning Panelists

Julia Sanchez, Moderator, President and CEO of the Canadian Council for International Cooperation
Julia Sanchez  came to this position with more than 18 years of experience in top‐level international development management, including 13 years working in developing countries. Prior to joining CCIC, she served as Regional and National Campaigns Director for the Global Campaign for Climate Action (GCCA/ and previous to that worked for 14 years at the Centre for International Studies and Cooperation (CECI), one of Canada’s oldest and largest international development agencies. Julia completed a double major in Political Science and Economics at McGill University (1985) and returned to McGill for an MA in Economics (1996). Her specialization is in development and international economics.

Simon Lucas, Department for International Development (UK) (by video)
DFID – Resilience and climate (slides)

Simon Lucas is the UK Department for International Development’s (DFID) Team Leader on Climate Adaptation and Water Resources. His current role is to lead on DFID’s policy on climate adaptation informing the UK’s positions at International Climate negotiations, the Post 2015 sustainable development goals and UK International climate spending on adaptation. He has 20 years’ experience working in development, renewable energy and the environment, most recently climate and growth work in Nepal and Vietnam with DFID.

Carla Hogan Rufelds, DFATD
DFATD’s Approach to Resilience & Climate Change (Presentation not available)

Carla Hogan Rufelds is the Director for the Global Environment Division in the Global Issues and Development Branch, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada. Carla graduated from the University of New Brunswick in 1983 with a B.Sc. in Forestry (Resource Management). Prior to her current appointment, Carla served in several roles at CIDA, including: Director for Food Security and Environmental Sustainability, Director for Sustainable Economic Growth and Environmental Sustainability and working in the Canadian Partnership Branch on Strategic Planning and Policy Coordination. Her team is responsible for strategic policy development and implementation related to environmental integration, compliance with Government of Canada environmental laws, the management of renewable natural resources and climate change in the context of international affairs, trade and development.

Afternoon Breakout Sessions

Livia Bizikova, International Institute for Sustainable Development
Resilience Indicators (slides)

Livia Bizikova is a senior researcher with experience in the fields of sustainable development and climate change adaptation, including integrated assessment, indicator systems, scenario analyses and facilitation, and capacity-building for land-use planning in agriculture and forestry. From September 2005, Livia was a postdoctoral fellow and a Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) fellow working on the linkages between climate change and sustainable development with the Adaptation and Impacts Research Group, Environment Canada, based at the University of British Columbia. Her recent work is focused on participatory scenario development and capacity building in projects by the European Union, the United Nations Environment Program, the United Nations Development Program, World Bank and others. In this capacity Dr. Bizikova has worked in Africa, Asia, Europe, Central America and the Caribbean and across Canada.

Yuri Chakalall, Caribbean Development Bank (by video)
Reflections on Caribbean Climate Change and Resilience : Ground-level Perspectives  (Awaiting permission)

Yuri Chakalall is currently serving as Disaster Risk Management Specialist to the Caribbean Development Bank. He is a Development Professional with 19 years of combined experience in coastal resources management, environmental planning, disaster risk reduction and humanitarian assistance. During his career he has a served as: an UNDP international disaster reduction advisor in Nepal; a Senior Development officer with CIDA; Regional Director of Smith Warner International and Coastal Planner for Barbados. Mr. Chakalall is a graduate of the Faculty of Natural Sciences and a post graduate of the Marine Resource & Environmental Management Programme, Centre for Resource Management & Environmental Studies (CERMES), University of the West Indies, Barbados.

Lauren Ravon, Oxfam Canada
Resilience in the face of food crises. Bringing the experience of women’s organizations to the table (slides)

Lauren Ravon is the Senior Policy Advisor at Oxfam Canada. She leads Oxfam’s policy work on a range of issues, in particular women’s rights, food and climate justice, and resilience. Over the past year, Lauren has led an IDRC-funded research initiative to explore how women’s organizations define and contribute to building resilience in the face of shocks and stresses in the food system. Prior to joining Oxfam, Lauren worked for five years at the International Center for Human Rights and Democratic Development (Rights & Democracy) where she was responsible for managing programs in the Americas. She has also worked on programs to tackle gender based violence and promote women’s reproductive rights with Planned Parenthood in Sub-Saharan Africa and the International Rescue Committee in East Timor. She holds masters degrees in international affairs from Columbia University and the Institute of Political Science in Paris (Sciences Po).

Angie Dazé, Independent Consultant, Climate Change Adaptation
Climate Resilience in Practice: Insights from Sub-Saharan Africa (slides)

Angie Dazé is an independent consultant specializing in climate change adaptation and resilience building in rural communities, primarily in Africa. For the last year and a half, she has provided technical assistance and program development support to international NGOs, primarily in East Africa and the Sahel. Previously, Angie worked for CARE International as a Senior Advisor on climate change adaptation, learning and knowledge management and for CIDA as a Climate Change Specialist. Her past experience includes postings in Ghana, Bangladesh and Nepal, where she worked on a variety of rural development projects related to climate change adaptation, livelihoods and water resource management.

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