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Home > Announcements > Events > CPWF @ Stockholm World Water Week: Resilience and tipping points

CPWF was a convener for the workshop on “Resilience, Uncertainty and Tipping Points” together with the Stockholm Resilience Centre, UNESCO-IHE and WWF.   Dr. Alain Vidal made a keynote presentation at the workshop. His presentation focused on linking resilience theory to three practical examples from CPWF work 1) one on the re-greening of the Ugandan Cattle Corridor 2) Payment for environmental services in the Andes 3) Sluice Gate Management in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam.

The presentation showed that improved water management, both on quantitative and qualitative aspects is key to increasing resilience of such systems. Often neglected is the water quality that supports food-producing communities. It also shows how the concept of resilience and regime shifts can be used to inform management not only about the persistence of systems, but that it is also very useful for thinking about the potential of transformation of social and ecological systems to more resilient and productive states.

The workshop brought together a range of actors involved in resilience. Three key observations can be made. First, in an increasingly changing world there is a need to look at development through a resilience lens that can frame solutions in a new way and help us deal with unforeseen surprises which are becoming more common. In this sense resilience is NOT a substitute for sustainability; but provides a unique perspective on how to deal with, and “motivate when needed” non-linear change in Bio-physical, social and linked social-ecological systems.

Second, here still remain scientific challenges when it comes to understanding resilience and regime shifts, what drives them and determining the exact thresholds at which they occur, but because of the severity, if they happen, we need to start identifying indicators and uncertainty zones, which is a political process. Act now while science is developing!

Finally, many examples of positive change given in the session were triggered by crises, but positive outcomes occurred only when response plans were prepared ahead of the crisis.

Being in Stockholm was also the opportunity to tighten links with SEI (Stockholm Environment Institute), and its close emanation, the Stockholm Resilience Centre, and to launch our cross-basin Topic Working Group on Resilience, that will be co-led by Line Gordon and Elin Enfors, both with the Stockholm Resilience Centre.

For more information on the workshop, please contact Elin Enfors.