The Policy & Practice of Climate Change & Water

Adaptation Futures Conference

The Needs of the Adaptation Community

This guest blog was written by AGWA member Benjamin Denjean (Icatalist - Beijing Forestry University).

Thousands of professionals assembled to present their work, exchange ideas, and try to decipher the best way forward. This was the 2016 Adaptation Futures Conference — a magnet for climate adaptation professionals to feel of where the winds of change will blow next. But as the amount and variety of information forbid any real wrap up of the event, it is valuable to pause for a moment and reflect on the conference participants and the evolution of our common jargon.

As was highlighted at the opening keynote speeches, adaptation needs to shift to the implementation realm. But who will carry on this task? In the myriad of methodologies and frameworks presented, most were illustrated by on the ground data, gathered usually by the researchers or NGOs that developed those tools. And here we arrive to what appears to be the Gordian knot of the adaptation community — participants all understand the needs to move forward (as ecological professionals already understood the power of Ecosystem Services thinking) but they still evolve in a closed circle. Indeed, finance of all those innovations still comes from two main sources: research funding and international institutions. While those were crucial for the development phase of the sector, neither of them is fitted to mainstream innovation. Instead, they are best suited to demonstrate potential through pilot projects.