Monsoon Academy 2019 -- kick-off and jump into the topic


Day 1

We have kicked-off the 2019 Monsoon Academy today with a highly engaged group of participants. Coming from different organizations in India and Bangladesh, participants bring a variety of academic and professional experiences as well as areas of work to the group.

The course's learning framework is built around five areas that shape resilience: policy, system, governance, context, and science. Within these areas, the group narrowed down seven questions and objectives that they feel strongly about.

In a session on climate risk and uncertainty, we reviewed science and scenarios of climate change. Experiencing uncertainty themselves, through a dice game, the participants allocated funds to flood and/or drought protection and development, highlighting the importance of planning for climate risk in mainstream development. The group then reviewed their own use of resilience terminology and the challenges practitioners face when communicating with colleagues and communities. We may all use the same terms, but our understanding is often based on varied experiences and contexts.

Participants shared their professional resilience insights and the tools and methods they use. This was a good opportunity for junior practitioners to learn from their more senior counterparts. Tools and methods for diverse contexts and issues were mentioned, as well as existing gaps. While a lot of sectoral resilience work is being done, the need for an integrated and "big picture" perspective was pointed out. For example, participants agreed that planning for urban resilience should not stop at the city limits but needs to include peri-urban areas that have strong links with the city itself.

As a practical example of change in the coastal ecosystem, the group went on a guided walk along the beach of Betalbatim (south Goa). They explored the influence of policy as well as shifts in local knowledge and practices on the coast's landscape, vegetation and wildlife. Large sand dunes that used to stretch along this coast, protecting the area from flooding and saltwater intrusion have completely disappeared in the past decades.

It has been an engaging first day, and we look forward to the next two days at the Monsoon Academy 2019!

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