Climate adaptation and resilience online events series

Dry field

UKRI, together with our COP26 delivery partners for climate adaptation and resilience in the UK and overseas, will hold a series of online events starting in June.

This is to mark the run-up to the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow in November 2021.

Collaborative international efforts

The aim of the events will be to showcase research that is collaborative, locally led and globally relevant and aligned to the UK COP26 presidency’s adaptation and resilience theme.

Events will be online and co-hosted with COP26 delivery partners based in different countries and regions across the globe.

The events will feed into the COP26 conference by bringing together global communities, businesses, researchers from a range of disciplines and local, regional and national-level policymakers to support solution-driven discussions.

We will focus on sub-themes within the adaptation and resilience research landscape, based on the challenges faced by the host countries and regions.

Together we will:

  • foster open dialogues between key stakeholders around how climate risks and their impacts are understood and managed
  • showcase the collaborative international efforts we are supporting to enhance adaptation and resilience in a wide range of locations impacted by climate change.

Events in the series will produce video summaries and written lessons to build momentum and enable a co-produced message to be presented at COP26.

This will bring local voices from these regions and the UK directly into the conference.

Core questions framing the series

UKRI has convened an expert group of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) lead authors to develop a set of core questions to help frame discussions across the events series.

This will ensure that we deliver coherent messaging at COP26:

  • what research is needed to respond to the adaptation gap?
  • how to evaluate the feasibility of adaptation options and outcomes for resilient and sustainable development?
  • what examples are there of transformative adaptation research enabling action through addressing social justice, capacity building and governance?
  • how can research funders, universities and data managers best champion inclusive, urgent and solutions-oriented adaptation research?

Finale event at COP26

At COP26 itself, we will showcase outcomes and research achievements from the series through a panel discussion around next steps and focus for research in the decades ahead.

This finale event will highlight the importance of inter-and transdisciplinary research.

It will bring together researchers, non-governmental organisations, the broader user community and policymakers alike, as well as the public to inspire the next action-orientated research agenda.

The panel will have live online participation drawing from our regional pre-COP events as well as being live broadcast online.

High-level timeline

A provisional timeline for events in the series is available below.

Further details around these events will be provided in due course.

Co-host country Indicative timing
Global launch 3 June
Pan-Africa launch 29 July
Chile (invitation only) 26 August
East Africa 27 August
GADRI global summit: engaging sciences with action 31 August and 1 September
China 15 September
Building transformational pathways to adaptation in Eastern Africa (self-organised) 16 September
What does the climate of the future hold for insects? (self-organised) 20 September
Ocean and climate change: building adaptation, mitigation, and resilience (self-organised) 27 September
India 29 September
UKRI-Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) resilience portfolio (invitation only) 5 October
West and South Africa 8 October
European Science and Technology Group (E-STAG) 14 October
LATAM event: Brazil, Peru, Chile, Colombia and Mexico (invitation only) 15 October
Philippines 19 October
Thailand 20 October
Health and climate 21 October
STEPP: sustainable transitions to end plastic pollution (self-organised) 22 October
Finale event During COP, 1 to 12 November
Canada, Canadian science policy conference Post COP, 22 to 26 November

In addition to the events co-hosted by UKRI and overseas partners, supplementary events that align with the series will also be self-organised by members of the adaptation and resilience research community.

Details will be added to our timeline as soon as they become available.

Recent events

India event: MoES-UKRI COP26 partnership event: sustainable and inclusive climate adaptation and resilience: local leadership for a global goal

The event was co-hosted by India’s Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) and UKRI on 29 September.

In line with other workshops in the series, the India-UKRI partnership event aimed to identify solutions for locally led, but globally connected, climate adaptation and resilience research funding and practice. It engaged a range of different stakeholders in informing future research priorities.

India’s Principal Scientific Advisor Professor K Vijay Raghavan delivered a high-level statement outlining India’s commitment to partner with the UK on climate change adaptation and resilience research.

This was followed by a cross-government of India panel that explored the gaps, feasibility and opportunities for adaptation and resilience research, focused around the series core question set.

Finally, thematic, interactive breakout sessions were held to further explore the scope for climate change adaptation research from the perspectives of:

  • multi-hazards
  • food and water security
  • energy security
  • health.

Outputs from the discussions will feed into the synthesis report for the series, and also serve as a resource to help shape the future of MoES-UKRI partnerships in climate change research.

View the Padlet where break-out discussions were captured.

Ocean and climate change: building adaptation, mitigation, and resilience

The UKRI-GCRF One Ocean Hub hosted an event on 27 September as part of the COP26 climate adaptation and resilience events series.

Climate change is driving rapid and vast changes to the ocean and consequently the ways that people relate to it. Adaptation and mitigation to these changes will be essential to maintain the services and values that it provides.

The event showcased One Ocean Hub research on climate change impacts and building adaptation and resilience in some of the hub’s focus countries.

The event also explored strategies to build adaptation and mitigation processes; given the complexity of challenges posed by climate change, multidisciplinarity and science and policy engagement are key. There is a pressing need to integrate both marine science and social sciences in ocean research.

Panellists:

  • Dr Bernadette Snow (University of Strathclyde, UK):  building coastal resilience: the case study of Algoa Bay, South Africa
  • Dr John Ansah and Dr Gina Yaa Oduro (University of Cape Coast, Ghana): benefits and cautions around adaptation measures: bringing the voices of marginalised communities
  • Dr Lynne Shannon (University of Cape Town, South Africa), Dr Kelly Ortega Cisneros (University of Cape Town and Nelson Mandela University, South Africa), and Dr Emannuel Acheampong (University of Cape Coast, Ghana): climate change and sustainable fisheries: developing a model for adaptation
  • Professor Murray Roberts (University of Edinburgh, UK): climate change and deep-sea ecosystems
  • Professor Elisa Morgera (University of Strathclyde, UK): the nexus between ocean, climate change, biodiversity and human rights.

Outputs from discussions at the event which relate to the core question set will feed into the overall synthesis report for the series.

Watch a recording of the event on YouTube.

Building transformational pathways to adaptation in Eastern Africa

The workshop, hosted by BIEA-Cambridge-York-IGP was held on 16 September. It brought together a diverse range of scholars and stakeholders involved in different cross-disciplinary projects in eastern Africa spanning the environmental and social sciences and the humanities to explore:

  • examples of successful adaptation strategies
  • the role of research in enabling transformation and building resilience
  • identifying key knowledge and training gaps that need to be addressed to equip the next generation of researchers with the interdisciplinary skills for developing regionally and locally appropriate responses to current climate-driven challenges.

China event: sustainable and inclusive climate adaptation and resilience in a carbon neutral future: local leadership for a global goal

On 15 September, the Administrative Centre for China’s Agenda 21 (ACCA21), affiliated to China Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), and UKRI jointly hosted a workshop to showcase regional climate adaptation and resilience research priorities and strengths.

The event engaged decision makers, local researchers, and practitioners in interactive conversations and gained insights from adaptation and resilience research conducted at a range of scales.

China and UK colleagues welcomed the opportunity to share international views and exchange knowledge in this field.

Key questions discussed included:

  • what are the existing climate adaptation gaps and what research is needed to respond to them?
  • what planning and implementation regimes are appropriate at national, sub-national and local level to make sure accelerated adaptation is also increasing the general well-being of local community?
  • what lessons can we learn from current research on the evaluation of adaptation feasibility and outcomes from multiple viewpoints? How can evaluation research feed into the immediate needs of adjusting current climate adaptation policy, finance and programming?
  • how can adaptation finance meet adaptation needs and what modalities can be used to get finance flow to where it is needed in building resilience urgently and at scale?
  • what key messages around adaptation and resilience would you like to see given at COP?

Intercontinental virtual conference: the fifth global summit of the Global Alliance of Disaster Research Institutes (GADRI)

Overall theme: engaging sciences with action.

This year’s global summit took place on 31 August and 1 September and was particularly attentive to emphasising the importance of the global alliance and its supporting regional alliances in bringing disasters research to bare on the outcomes of COP26.

The fifth Global Summit of GADRI will contribute to COP26 through interrelating research programmes that can provide impetus to climate change and health challenges to influence climate policy in working for disaster resilience and response.

On 1 September, a session was held around exploring solutions to bridge the gaps for implementation of science action, including four focal topics as follows:

  • bridging the collaboration gaps: integrating disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation for a science in action agenda
  • bridging the knowledge gaps: exploring solutions for transforming data into action
  • bridging the science-policy gaps: contextualising governance to explore opportunities for action
  • bridging the generational gap: catalysing science in action by youth engagement.

Outputs from discussions around these focal topics will have relevance to the core question set and feed in to the overall synthesis report for the COP26 adaptation and resilience events series.

Chile event: regional impact and risk assessment of climate change: the role of research

On 26 August, the Science and Innovation Network, in collaboration with the British Embassy Santiago, hosted a discussion with key academics working in assessing the impact and risks of climate change from a local perspective.

This was a closed event with invitations issued directly to a range of academics working in relevant areas of research. Discussions provided really interesting insights into the key climate adaptation and resilience challenges facing Chile and the approaches being taken to address them.

The results from this solution-driven discussion will be brought into the overall report for the series and feed into the finale event.

Launch of Africa-led events: profiling global impacts and upscaling opportunities for climate research in Africa

A string of Africa-led events are being co-hosted by the African Research Impact Network (ARIN) as part of the COP26 adaptation and resilience series.

The events aim to bring together a range of different stakeholders to showcase ongoing adaptation and resilience research based in Africa and gain insights on opportunities for upscaling these.

Discussions between stakeholders will also:

  • generate insights into the landscape, extent and effectiveness of adaptation and resilience initiatives in Africa
  • inform the development of the new Adaptation Research Alliance (ARA).

The core question set has been further re-framed for the African context and will guide discussion throughout the Africa-led events:

  • what are the major adaptation research gaps in Africa and what research is needed to respond to the adaptation gap in Africa?
  • what examples are there of transformative adaptation research enabling action through addressing social justice, capacity building and governance? And why are these considered transformative, for example, what is considered transformative in an Africa context?
  • what forms of research partnerships are required to achieve these transformations? How best should the UK engage African researchers and policy makers in pursuing these transformative opportunities? How has COVID-19 and the resultant shifts in UK funding affected adaptation research in Africa?
  • evidence shows that Africa is registering relatively low presence at the global UNFCCC climate action platforms, such as the Global Climate Action Portal. How can we best profile adaptation research and actions taking place in various African countries to the global scale? And what support is required to achieve this?

A pan-Africa launch event took place on Thursday 29 July, building on outcomes of the COP26 adaptation and resilience events series global launch held on 3 June 2021.

The launch generated key insights to inform more targeted regional workshops in Africa and other regions. At the pan-Africa launch, high-level African and UK representatives gave their perspectives around key research challenges facing Africa in relation to the core question set, through a range of keynote speeches and panel discussion.

Speakers included:

  • Event Chair, Dr Joanes Atela, Convener, ARIN
  • Dr Helen Adams, Head of Science Engagement, COP26 Cabinet Office Unit
  • Dr Sarah Webb, Associate Director, UKRI-NERC International
  • Panel Moderator, Professor Shuaib Lwasa, Global Centre on Adaptation
  • Mrs Mariam Allam, Lead Negotiator, African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change
  • Anand Patwardhan, Adaptation Research Alliance (ARA) Co-Chair
  • Dr Emily Masawa, Climate Change Adaptation Technical Advisor and Negotiator
  • TETRA TECH ARD
  • Dr Funso Samorin, Regional Principal Officer, Climate Change and Green Growth Program, African Development Bank.

Participants then moved into break-out rooms to continue sharing their experiences of climate adaptation and resilience research in Africa and consider the broader strategic lessons for COP26, in relation to the core question set.

A report to summarise the outputs of these discussions will be made available shortly.

Recordings of the event, split into three sessions are also available:

East Africa event

The East Africa Event took place on 27 August 2021 and followed a similar format to the launch, but with presentations and discussions focussed on the East Africa context.

Speakers included:

  • Event Chair, Dr Joanes Atela, Convener, ARIN
  • Chris Kiptoo, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Kenya
  • Professor Fekadu Beyene, Environment, Forest and Climate Change Commission & UNFCCC Focal for Ethiopia Ministry of Environment
  • Laura Scott, UK Collaborative on Development Research (UKCDR)
  • Christophe Bazivamo, Deputy Secretary General in charge of Productive and Social Sectors, EAC
  • Professor Shuaib Lwasa, Global Centre on Adaptation
  • Ms Vera Bukachi, Kounkuey Design Initiative
  • Dr Grady Walker, University of Reading
  • Dr Yuner Huang, University of Edinburgh and Dr Luciano Andriamaro, Conservation International
  • Dr Morten Byskov, University of Warwick.

Following presentations given by the speakers above, the participants took part in break-out groups to consider the four core questions from an East African perspective. The discussions provided useful insights in to real-world examples of adaptation and resilience challenges, and lessons learned for East Africa.

A report and recordings of the East-Africa event will be made available as soon as possible.

A third and final event with regional foci in west and south Africa will take place on 8th October. Details of how to register will be made available shortly.

June 2021 global launch

The kick-off event took place on 3 June.

The event looked at the need to generate global commitment for locally led, but globally connected, adaptation research funding and practice that enables sustainable and inclusive development in the face of climate change.

The event included:

  • keynote talks from prominent members of the UK and international climate adaptation and resilience community
  • UK and internationally led examples of adaptation and resilience research
  • introductions to recent UK-led initiatives focused on adaptation and resilience research
  • reflections and feedback around the pre-event consultation, focused on core questions that will frame events series.

Event agenda

Welcome

Welcome and setting the scene (Professor Christopher Smith, UKRI International Champion).

High level statements

Statements from:

  • Dr Debra Roberts, IPCC Co-Chair Working Group Two
  • Professor Gideon Henderson, Chief Scientific Adviser, UK government Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
  • Dr Madhavan Nair Rajeevan, Secretary to the government of India Ministry of Earth Sciences
  • Dr Huang Jing, Director General, Administrative Centre for China’s Agenda 21, Ministry of Science and Technology
  • Dr Dorsamy (Gansen) Pillay, Deputy Chief Executive Officer for the Research and Innovation Support and Advancement of the National Research Foundation of South Africa
  • Professor Saleemul Huq, Director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development in Bangladesh, IPCC Lead Author
  • Marie Staunton, Strategic Coherence of ODA-funded Research Board Chair.

Read more about high level statement speakers (PDF, 208KB).

Adaptation and resilience research showcase

We showcased a selection of collaborative, locally led and globally relevant research aligned to the UK COP26 presidency’s adaptation and resilience theme, including:

  • resilience of the UK food system, Dr John Ingram, University of Oxford
  • collaboration across disciplines and countries: investigating drivers of biodiversity change, Professor Thomas Meagher, University of St Andrews
  • the use of technology as a catalyst for strengthening stakeholder collaboration in building disaster resilience, Professor Terrence Fernando, University of Salford
  • climate information for adaptation: insights from Africa and India, Professor Declan Conway, London School of Economics and Political Science
  • climate adaptation in China: building resilience for endangered species and vulnerable ecosystems, Professor Jianguo Wu, Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences.
Introduction to recent UK-led initiatives focused on adaptation and resilience research
  • UK Collaborative on Development Research (UKCDR) UK-funded research on climate change and international development review findings, Laura Scott, UKCDR
  • adaptation research alliance, Dr Rosalind West, UK government Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.
Reflections on pre-event consultation and general Q&A

Event facilitators (Realise Europe Ltd) and Dr Sarah Webb, Associate Director NERC International.

Pre-event consultation

The core question set (see introduction above) was shared in advance of the kick-off meeting to allow the community to input thoughts via an online forum (XLeap) in advance of the event.

Points raised within the XLeap online forum were synthesised and fed into the kick-off event.

This marked the start of a global conversation around the core question set, which further events in the series can build upon going forwards.

Launch event outputs

Materials and outputs from the launch event are available via the XLeap Forum, including:

  • video recordings of the launch event plenary sessions: high-level statements, research showcase and introduction to UK-led initiatives
  • video recordings of pre-recorded talks and copies of slides delivered during the launch event, with Q&A
  • key points raised around the core question set through the pre-event consultation
  • detailed points raised around the core question set during break-out discussions held at the launch event. A synthesis report is due to be made available shortly.

Upcoming events

West and South Africa event

8 October, 14:00 to 16.30 (EAT), 12:00 to 14:30 (BST).

The Africa Research and Impact Network (ARIN) in collaboration with UKRI will co-host the final event in the Africa-series, focused on West and South Africa on 8 October 2021.

The aim of the event is to bring a range of different stakeholders together to showcase ongoing adaptation and resilience research based in South and West Africa and gain insights on opportunities for upscaling these.

Discussions between stakeholders will also generate insights into the landscape, extent and effectiveness of adaptation and resilience initiatives in South and West Africa and inform the development of the new Adaptation Research Alliance (ARA).

The event builds on outcomes of the pan-Africa launch event held on 29 July 2021, which generated key continental insights to inform more targeted regional workshops. It will also build on the outcome of the East Africa event, which was held on 27 August 2021.

The South and West Africa event will involve:

  • keynote speeches delivered by high-level representatives and local community representatives
  • a panel session involving presentations from selected projects to showcase transformative adaptation research
  • two high level policy and research panellists will reflect upon the projects presented and discuss the broader strategic lessons for COP26
  • a breakout session will then follow to enable participants from different sectors to share their research experiences in South and West Africa and consider future research priorities and approaches together.

Discussions will be guided by the four core questions that have been further re-framed for the South and West African context as follows.

Key questions to be discussed

  1. What are the major adaptation research gaps in South and West Africa and what research is needed to respond to the adaptation gap in South and West Africa?
  2. What examples are there of transformative adaptation research enabling action through addressing social justice, capacity building and governance? And why are these considered transformative, for example what is considered transformative in South and West Africa context?
  3. What forms of research partnerships are required to achieve these transformations? How best should the UK engage South and West African researchers and policy makers in pursuing these transformative opportunities? How has COVID-19 and the resultant shifts in UK funding affected adaptation research in South and West Africa?
  4. Evidence shows that South and West Africa is registering relatively low presence at the global UNFCCC climate action platforms such as the Global Climate Action Portal. How can we best profile adaptation research and actions taking place in various South and West African countries to the global scale? And what support is required to achieve this?

Please register using the same email address as you plan to use to join the event. The event is open to all, but places at the workshop are limited so please register as soon as possible.

An E-STAG expert engagement with UKRI on adaptation and resilience for COP26

14 October 09.00 – 12.00 CET

This is an invitation only expert workshop for E-STAG members and nominated guests. The focus of discussion will be to identify:

  • concrete cutting-edge research questions
  • examples of successful research and impact and recommendations for action
  • research where science and practice for disaster risk reduction can enhance adaptation and resilience.

Findings from the workshop will be shared with the E-STAG national representatives to capture the views of all, and will feed in to the synthesis report for the events series. Findings from this workshop and wider expert consultation will also be shared with UNDRR for input to the European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction, 24 to 26 November 2021.

Latin America climate-biodiversity webinar

15 October, 16:00 to 18:00 (BST)

UKRI and the British Embassy teams across Latin America will co-host an event as part of the series on 15 October, focused on the impact of climate change on biodiversity within the region.

In an effort to gather a broad view of Latin America’s biodiversity landscape in the context of climate change, the Brazilian, Chilean, Colombian, Mexican and Peruvian British Embassies are inviting a selection of researchers and local biodiversity focused organisations to participate in a two-hour webinar.

We are keen to seek insights from experts at the workshop around the research required to understand how natural ecosystems and the communities that depend on them can adapt to become more resilient and avoid biodiversity loss, in current and future climate scenarios.

The webinar will consist of keynote speeches by different local organisations based across the region, to give an overview of the types of research that have successfully been conducted in each country and priorities for future biodiversity-climate research or collaborations.

The invited researchers will also have the opportunity to consider the four core questions together, from a biodiversity perspective through break-out discussions:

  1. Is there a climate adaptation research gap in your region? If so, what research do you think is needed to respond to it?
  2. In the context of biodiversity, how to evaluate the feasibility of adaptation options and outcomes for resilient and sustainable development?
  3. What examples are there of transformative research enabling action through addressing social justice, capacity building and governance?
  4. How do research funders, universities and data managers champion inclusive, urgent and solutions-oriented adaptation research in your country? Do you believe this approach is enough and if not, what can be changed?

This is a closed event and invitations are being issued directly to a range of UK and Latin American academics working in relevant areas of research.

Philippines event: Building science-based climate change adaptive and disaster resilient nation

Tuesday 19 October

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST-Philippines) and UKRI will be co-hosting a webinar on 19 October 2021 (15:00, Manila Time / 08:00, London Time) with the theme of ‘building science-based climate change adaptive and disaster resilient nation’.

The virtual event will bring together partners from both Philippines and UK, global communities, researchers, and policymakers to showcase relevant research in the Philippines and support solution-driven discussions.

Thailand event: sustainable and inclusive climate adaptation and resilience: local leadership for a global goal

20 October, 15:00 to 17:00 (Bangkok), 09:00 to 11:00 (BST)

The Ministry of Agriculture (MoAC), Thailand Science Research and Innovation (TSRI) and UKRI will be co-hosting a webinar on 20 October 2021 focused on the impact of climate change on agriculture and food security.

The virtual event will bring together partners from both Thailand and UK, global communities, researchers, and policymakers to showcase relevant research in Thailand and support solution-driven discussions.

Due to limited numbers, the event will be invitation only. To register your interest in attending please email international@nerc.ukri.org

Health and climate

21 October, 12:30 to 16:00 (BST)

Climate change has major adverse consequences for human health. These include the hazards of:

  • extreme heat
  • infectious diseases
  • air pollution
  • food security
  • water scarcity and the consequences of floods and other extreme events.

The COP26 Adaptation and Resilience: Health and Climate event has been developed as an opportunity to bring together key stakeholders in the climate and health space to provide input on the four core questions which will be used to develop coherent messaging at COP26.

The workshop will convene stakeholders in climate and health research and will have showcasing keynotes addressing the following themes:

  1. Health risks of a changing climate
  2. Protecting health in the face of climate change
  3. Healthy, secure systems

Following a series of keynote presentations addressing each of the three themes, participants will break into groups. The following questions will be used to guide workshop discussions on each thematic area:

  1. In what ways can health research enable a response to the adaptation gap?
  2. How to evaluate the feasibility of adaptation options and outcomes in ways that take health consequences into account?
  3. How can research funders, universities and data managers best champion inclusive, urgent and solutions-oriented climate or health adaptation research?

The event is open to all.

Plastics, climate and the art of making change

22 October, 10:00 to 12:00 (BST)

As COP26 fast approaches, this is a critical time to highlight how the lifecycle of plastics is a significant environmental pollutant and driver for climate change, and that commitments to ‘turning off the plastic tap’ can contribute to reaching all-important climate targets.

University of Portsmouth researchers and collaborators will discuss the links between plastic waste and climate and give examples from the STEPP project to show how creative methods are being used to tackle the impact of plastic waste in the global south.

This online event will highlight the connections between plastics and climate change and how addressing plastic pollution goes hand-in-hand with climate action.

Panel includes:

The event is open to all.

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