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IDRC at Adaptation Futures 2023

IDRC is joining members of the global climate change adaptation community at the Adaptation Futures conference, being held in Montreal from October 2-6.
Adaptation futures 2023

The Adaptation Futures conference series is the premier international gathering devoted entirely to climate change adaptation, bringing together researchers, policymakers, practitioners, industry representatives and other stakeholders to present their work in adaption, learn what others are doing and build networks. It is the flagship event of the UN’s World Adaptation Science Programme (WASP).

This year’s conference is being organized by Ouranos, in partnership with the Government of Canada and WASP. 

IDRC, a proud sponsor of Adaptation Futures 2023 (AF2023), is actively participating in the event, hosting or co-hosting over 10 panel discussions on a wide range of adaptation-related topics – from Indigenous perspectives on food systems to resilience building, knowledge sharing, climate justice and more. This rich range of panels will draw on IDRC’s long experience in supporting cutting-edge Southern-led research initiatives aimed at tackling the climate change challenge.  

As part of Canada’s international efforts on climate change, IDRC’s innovative programming and collaborative partnerships are responding to the urgent need for climate action. IDRC invests in a diverse portfolio of climate-related development research, including in the areas of adaptation, resilience, equality and justice, and the transition to a low-carbon future with a focus on social inclusion. 

More than 70 IDRC grantees and partners from across the Global South are expected to travel to Montreal to take part in AF2023 and share lessons and evidence from their work, as well as their knowledge on the challenges and opportunities of adaptation. 

This is the 7th Adaptation Futures conference held since 2010, and the first to take place in Canada. 

AF2023 sessions hosted or moderated by IDRC 

Building participatory action research and alliances for climate justice with Indigenous peoples in Latin America 

Hybrid event  
11:00-12:30 (EDT) 

Responses to climate change offer the potential to create or exacerbate inequalities and injustices but also hold the potential to transform society and build more resilient, just and equitable futures. In this session, researchers and Indigenous leaders who are leading participatory action research processes in Latin America will share lessons on efforts to amplify the voices and rights of Indigenous groups on climate justice, climate policy and adaptation plans in Colombia, Peru, Chile and Brazil.   

Hosted by IDRC in collaboration with partners 

Financing adaptation and building resilience: Developing a gender lens climate Investment framework 

14:30-16:00 (EDT) 

There is a growing concern that existing funding commitments to address global adaptation challenges lack a gender and social inclusion lens. This session will discuss how adaptation investments can be made gender sensitive and channeled to key local actors such as women and marginalized groups that face high barriers to accessing finance. 

Hosted by IDRC 

Youth climate adaptation leadership: Insights from capacity-building programs and lessons from the field 

Hybrid event
16:30-18:00 (EDT) 

What can we learn from the recent series of fellowship and capacity strengthening programs that aim to equip research and policy fellows to play leadership roles in advancing the field of adaptation in Africa and in the Global South? How can scholars benefiting from those fellowships work with young entrepreneurs aiming to transform the agriculture and food systems in Africa in a more inclusive and sustainable way? This session will bring diverse representatives together to share views and insights on these and related questions. 

Hosted by IDRC and the African Development Bank

Driving equitable systems change in a world of urgent transitions: Effective knowledge-brokering practices in the Global South 

8:30-10:00 (EDT) 

Addressing climate change is, at its core, a socio-economic, rights-based and governance issue. If society is to respond to the urgent adaptation imperative, researchers and practitioners need to become much more effective knowledge brokers. This session will share cutting-edge lessons about effective approaches to climate knowledge brokering in the Global South. Methods for generating equitable climate action will be shared, from such diverse contexts as Nepal, South Africa and Argentina, using case studies across urban and rural systems. 

Hosted by IDRC and the Climate & Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) 

Driving transformational change through action-orientated research 

14:00-15:30 p.m. (EDT) 

Climate Adaptation and Resilience (CLARE), jointly funded by the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) and IDRC, is one of the world’s largest initiatives in adaptation research. It strives for transformational change in adaptive capacity that will benefit vulnerable communities to tackle weather and climate change in the near and longer term. In this session, representatives from FCDO and IDRC will share lessons learned and facilitate discussion involving leaders from the CLARE consortia on their experiences convening diverse coalitions to respond to initiative’s global call for research ideas. Researchers, practitioners and funders will examine the approaches that enable action-orientated projects that create and nurture diverse, Southern-led partnerships and collaboration. 

Hosted by IDRC and FCDO 

Advancing knowledge brokering for climate action: A collective reflection and learning journey

14:00-15.30 (EDT) 

CDKN’s 12 years of working at the intersection of knowledge and adaptation action has revealed the urgent need to enhance capacities for more effective knowledge brokering. This session will be in the format of an interactive workshop that will start with a brief plenary session comprising an introductory experiential activity as well as a high-level presentation outlining the role of climate knowledge brokers in a world of urgent transitions. 

Hosted by IDRC and CDKN 

Advancing women's leadership in climate action: Lessons from within and beyond adaptation 

Hybrid event
14:00-15:30 (EDT) 

Efforts to advance women’s leadership in climate change adaptation show that sustained commitment is essential for more equitable participation in adaptation scholarship and practice. This session will articulate lessons about advancing women’s leadership, drawing on multiple initiatives within the adaptation research and practice community. It will also bring together the often-siloed research communities in adaptation and mitigation, to advance a shared goal of enhancing women’s leadership in climate action. 

Hosted by IDRC 

Strengthening the resilience of food systems to climate changes through agroecology 

16:00-17:30 (EDT) 

There is growing interest in agroecology and its potential to inform the transformation of food systems towards more resilient and equitable outcomes. This session will explore evidence and perspectives on the potential and the limits of agroecology to guide a food systems transition toward more equitable, healthy and sustainable outcomes in the context of climate change. 

Hosted by IDRC 

Indigenous perspective of climate adaptation in food systems  

Hybrid event
8:30-10:00 (EDT) 

Indigenous and smallholder farmers in climate hotspots are particularly affected by the impact of climate change. New paradigms or models are required to inform the transformation of food systems, reduce inequalities and increase resilience to climate change. This session will explore Indigenous perspectives on food systems and how it may be possible to leverage the knowledge, expertise and vision of these communities to build food systems that are more equitable, more resilient to the changing climate, and better able to contribute to the communities’ health and aspirations. 

Hosted by IDRC, Amawtay Wasi, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, and Promoción de la Sustentabilidad y Conocimientos Compartidos 

A reality check on pastoralist livelihoods in East Africa - Exploring opportunities to support adaptation in the Horn of Africa 

Hybrid event
8:30-10:00 (EDT) 

In the Horn of Africa, climate-related hazards combined with conflicts have led to deep insecurity for pastoralists, particularly women, as they are often displaced and lack any access to basic health, education and extension services. This session will present the current state of pastoralists in the border regions of North-Western Kenya, Somalia and South Sudan. It will review research gaps and opportunities to support adaptation action. 

Hosted by Cowater International (SPARC) in partnership with FCDO and IDR

(Plenary) Rise-up: Partnering for social change in the era of adaptation 

Hybrid event
10:30-12:00 (EDT)  

With a focus on innovating together, AF2023’s underlying goals include accelerating adaptation, learning from Indigenous and local knowledge and actions around the world, and bringing marginalized voices, especially from the Global South, to the forefront in pursuit of climate justice, equity, diversity and inclusion. At the heart of these goals is an aspiration for radical and equitable partnerships. In this plenary session moderated by IDRC, panelists will explore questions that get to the heart of the aspiration for equitable partnerships: Who needs to partner with whom? How and when is power shared, and when is it not shared? When do partnerships work and when do they fail? How can each of us do better, and be better, as partners for climate action? 

Resilience beyond adaptive capacity: How can strengthening loss and damage response contribute to adaptation? 

8:30-10:00 (EDT) 

Women, people with disabilities and other marginalized peoples and ecosystems in many climate-vulnerable countries in the Global South with less adaptive capacity are suffering from unavoidable losses and damages caused by climate change. Drawing on IDRC-supported research on loss and damage (the STRENGTH project), this session will share evidence and insights into the evolving situation in Bangladesh, Nepal, Vanuatu and Senegal, which are all beyond adaptive capacity due to increasingly frequent and intensified extreme weather events. 

Hosted by IDRC, the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD), and the Institute for Study and Development Worldwide (IFSD) 


Other IDRC and partner activities at AF2023  

Masterclass 2: Operationalising Co-creation for Transformation: A Masterclass by the Adaptation Research Alliance and Climate and Development Knowledge Network 

13:00-17:00 (EDT) 

This masterclass builds on the Adaptation Research Alliance and Climate & Development Knowledge Network’s extensive knowledge of and experience in working with diverse stakeholders and knowledge types, with a particular emphasis on the Global South.   

Establishing a globally relevant just adaptation network  

Hybrid event
11:00-12:30 (EDT) 

The need to address layers of injustices in adaptation while foregrounding just, inclusive and dignified processes is starting to be reflected in adaptation strategies and policy. Yet the translation from recognition to locally meaningful practice needs to be rapidly ramped up. This session will engage diverse thinkers and practitioners in the just-adaptation field, with priority placed on a new generation interested in adaptation, including a strong presentation from the Global South. 

Hosted by Curtin University (Australia) 

Towards new models of knowledge exchange for sustainability transformation: A multi-sited dialogue  

Hybrid event
11:00-12:30 (EDT) 

The interruption of international travel as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic spurred considerable learning and innovation in virtual, hybrid and other alternative modes of convening and exchange, but also reminded us of the importance of in-person connections. This session will bring together conference and network conveners and conference participants to collectively discuss how we can re-think, re-design and sustain equitable and impactful knowledge exchange on sustainability transformations, building on lessons learned from recent years.   

Partner organizations: McGill University (Canada), University of Canterbury (New Zealand), ICCCAD (Bangladesh), University of Colorado (USA), Transformations Community (the Netherlands)  

Migration and climate change: Understanding decisions and evaluating outcomes 

8:30-10:00 (EDT) 

Though the impacts of climate change are now identified as one of the key drivers of migration and displacement, knowledge on the interaction between migration decisions and outcomes remain uneven. Through a combination of empirical and conceptual studies, this session will explore how human migration at different spatial and social scales is deployed as an adaptation strategy to environmental stressors.  

Organized by the University of Exeter (United Kingdom) 

From locally led metrics to international adaptation frameworks: Capturing the diversity of adaptation needs and outcomes in communities across Africa and Asia  

Hybrid event
14:00-15:30 (EDT) 

This session will exchange lessons and experiences on metrics for adaptation to build a shared understanding of how local measurement efforts can support an intersectional understanding of adaptation within national and international frameworks.   

Chaired by the Africa Research and Impact Network  

Co-producing adaptation strategies for agriculture supported by interdisciplinary system modeling and empirical studies 

16:00-17:30 (EDT) 

The session will address the challenge surrounding the development of effective agricultural adaptation strategies, which requires close collaboration between decision and policymakers and scientists in the co-production of interdisciplinary science that is complex, evolving, and requires methodological innovations.   

Organized by: the Climate School, Columbia University (USA); International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (Zambia); the University of Ghana; Initiative Prospective Agricole et Rurale (Senegal); Oregon State University (USA); and NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (USA) 

Enabling more effective adaptation decisions through Climate-resilient development pathways: A critical reflection  

16:00-17:30 (EDT) 

Climate-resilient development pathways (CRDPs) have emerged as a key framing through which actors are seeking to marry progress on the Sustainable Development Goals, adaptation, and deep and rapid decarbonization. This panel will bring together speakers engaged in work on CRDPs to explore the potential applicability of the concept to address the challenging set of issues present in climate hotspots. 

Co-chaired by the University of East Anglia (UK) and the Indian Institute of Human Settlements  

Incorporating health and well-being into climate adaptation actions 

16:00-17:30 (EDT) 

Both multi-dimensional wellbeing and the physical and mental dimensions of health and ill-health are under-accounted-for outcomes from adaptation interventions and actions. This session will present new knowledge from across multiple disciplines on new measures, methods and findings on how to account for the health and wellbeing consequences of adaptation, over and above the simple observation that adaptations that draw down climate risk avoid some of the negative consequences of impacts.  

Organized by the University of Exeter (UK)  

The future of maladaptation research and implementation 

8:30-10:00 (EDT) 

Working Group II of the Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently concluded that at least 170 nations have included adaptation in their climate policies and planning processes. Done right, adaptation efforts could soften the blow on billions of lives. Done wrong, they could lead to maladaptation, wasting time and money while leaving people as much or more vulnerable than before. This session asks how we can advance our understanding of maladaptation so that it can be useful for practitioners.  

Organized by the University of Bonn (Germany), the University of Twente (the Netherlands) and Practical Action (UK) 

Assessing climate risks: What is missing and what can be done to enhance knowledge and institutional capacities in the Global South  

8:30-10:00 (EDT) 

This session aims to discuss the findings of multi-country research about knowledge and capacity needs and gaps on the issue of assessing impacts, vulnerabilities and risks of climate change, with an emphasis on gender in the agricultural, coastal marine area, water and tourism sectors.   

Partner organizations: Fundación Avina, FLACSO Ecuador, United Nations University, IDRC 

Climate justice perspectives on planned relocation 

14:00-15:30 (EDT) 

This session will consider the process of planned relocation and issues of climate justice across stakeholder groups as well as government, media and resident framings and experience of relocation processes. Case studies from both the Global North and the Global South will focus on different drivers of relocation, including coastal and riverine flooding, coastal erosion and cyclones. 

Organized by the University of Exeter (UK) and ICCCAD

Adapting to transboundary climate risks: Regional perspectives and actions  

16:00-17:30 (EDT) 

The impacts of climate change, adaptation or mitigation actions within one country can create risks to food security, trade and economic sectors in another and can influence the adaptation options of other countries. This session will explore the implications of such transboundary climate risks for adaptation planning, and the role that regional organisations can play in strengthening cooperation on adaptation and managing cross-border and cascading climate risks through regional adaptation plans.   

Organized by ODI and SPARC  

Migration and habitability issues in the IPCC AR6: The text and the subtext 

16:00-17:30 (EDT) 

This session aims to convene key IPCC authors from the AR6 who worked on the first-ever IPCC cross-report synthesis of findings related to human migration and mobility. The AR6’s treatment of migration represented an important advance for the IPCC, which at its inception was tasked with assessing the climatic conditions, events and variability that could upset habitability and drive displacement and migration. 

Organized by IPCC

The 2023 adaptation finance gap update and emerging lessons and best practice on how to bridge the gap  

8:30-10:00 (EDT) 

This session will present the headline research findings from the updated Adaptation Finance Gap analysis 2023 study. It will present updated estimates, providing details of various evidence lines (costs of adaptation, country financial needs from Nationally Determined Contributions and National Adaptation Plans, adaptation finance flows) and discuss the implications of these new estimates for the adaptation finance gap.  

Organizing institutions include the UN Environment Programme and Paul Watkiss Associates Limited 

Donor coordination fishbowl on adaptation metrics  

8:30-10:00 (EDT) 

In this session, representatives from key development agencies and climate funds will use a “fishbowl” structure to discuss their own approach to adaptation monitoring & evaluation (e.g., success stories, lessons learned) and to find avenues for future collaboration around the use and programming of adaptation metrics that can have far reaching consequences for national and international adaptation planning and implementation.  

Organized by: USAID Center for Resilience; USAID Center for Adaptation Support Activity; the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; IDRC; Kings College London; Kulima Integrated Development Solutions