We often style climate adaptation as navigating landscapes of resilience. Every now and then we see images that resonate with the emotions of navigating complexity. This arrived in a new year greeting. To me it hints at a shadowy world on the left, partly seen and filtered through various lens in the middle with a person on the right. I don't know if the artist had this in mind! And you may see it differently too.
Our approach is rooted in complexity--navigating complex landscapes, making decisions when outcomes are unknown, learning from practice. A few years ago we pioneered an approach to M&E that extends our practice to managing project performance recognizing quite diverse contexts. John Colvin led our contribution on this them for a UNEP/GEF report, under the auspices of Anand Patwardhan (GEF STAP member). The synthesis paper will be out later this year. We also have an earlier booklet.
The approach recognizes different contexts: what you can learn depends on the context, as does what you monitor to support learning and future practice.
So, I enjoyed reading the report to the GEF Council that cites this work as one of the major contributions of STAP to changing the world (if we take that as the GEF mission). Kudos to all the contributors who shared insights and helped shape the way forward in a field that is both technical and contextual.
What is climate resilience? A global definition that covers every possible situation is impossible. We do need a working language that recognizes that there is no single answer to all the challenges we face, now and in the future.
We view adaptation as a continuum of action. The sense of many different adaptations is essential to our adaptation toolkit. No one solution--or framing--fits all contexts. Here are three animations that we use in our Adaptation Academy and with stakeholders to quickly capture a common starting point.