Recently 30 young professionals met in Unkel (near Bonn) for a Summer Academy on “World Risk and Adaptation Futures”, jointly organised by Munich Re Foundation and UNU-EHS in collaboration with UN Climate Change (UNFCCC). This week-long academy, which focused on future trends in vulnerability, risk, and adaptation in the context of environmental and climatic hazards, was the first of a series of three consecutive summer academies.
The special focus of the 2018 summer academy was on the interactions between urbanisation and future risk. The 2019 and 2020 summer academies will address demographic changes and social protection, respectively.
“The academy is not just a space where people come together and talk about science”, said Thomas Loster, Chairman of the Munich Re Foundation. “We want it to build capacity and create networks. But most importantly, what makes it successful in our eyes is that it has policy relevance and a real impact.”
Participants included academic scholars, policymakers, and practitioners from a variety of different countries and backgrounds, each able to make a unique contribution to the topic of the academy based on his or her specific expertise.
A unique angle of the summer academy was to not look exclusively at modelling and projecting future trends in environmental hazards (such as sea-level rise or cyclone activity) but to simultaneously investigate how cities are likely to change in the future as well. When future hazards occur, they will be encountered by cities that will look different from today. It is not only the infrastructure that will change, but also the people who live in these cities, due to demographic, economic, and social developments.
In addition to presenting their individual work, participants were able to receive input from renowned experts in the field such as Prof. Mark Pelling (King’s College London) and Youssef Nassef (Director of the Adaptation Programme at UN Climate Change). Fostering collaboration and co-creation between policymakers and practitioners is a key objective of the summer academy series, and it is expected that participants will continue to collaborate on various outputs in the months and years to come.
For more, see the event report on the UNU-EHS website.