Resilience Academy in South Asia: Inspiring participants to share their perspectives

A special supplement of Climate Tribune in Bangladesh published reflections on loss and damage from the 2022 participants of the academy.

Written by: Sumaiya Binte Selim
GRP Areas of work: Knowledge Theme: Climate change

The South to South Resilience Academies were established to democratise knowledge generation by providing a platform for Southern-based partners to share local insights into resilience, improve South-South collaboration, and promote the flow of knowledge from the South to North. In 2021 as part of the South to South Resilience Academies, the International Center for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) launched the Climate Resilience Academy for LDCs (CRAL) with an aim to bring practitioners as well as academics together to share their thoughts and experiences on climate change, losses and damages, and resilience. The participants collaborated through a series of workshops.

In 2022, the second cohort of the academy focused primarily on the losses and damages in South Asia. The participants of the academy were chosen in competitive process from South Asian region. The participants came from different background with a common interest in gathering and sharing knowledge on losses and damages. A group of experts on losses and damage including government negotiators from different countries mentored the participants. The guidance workshop was divided into four segments of Economic Losses and Damages, Non-Economic Losses and Damages, Financing Losses and Damages, and Adaptation Features in Losses and Damages. And after a year of supervision and working together, the participants of the academy produced a number of observational articles as well as a first-hand study on loss and damage scenario in South Asia. 

A special supplement of Climate Tribune (a monthly online newspaper on climate change, based in Dhaka, Bangladesh) published reflections from the 2022 participants of the academy. Participants of the academy reflected different issues through the len of losses and damages and shared their country and global perspectives. Some participants reflected on the economic condition of South Asia and how these issues create pressure on the people of these countries stating:

“Often these countries are poor and face multiple problems at domestic and international scales”

On the other hand, participants tried to reflect on how people in these countries are becoming more adaptive and cope with the increasing losses and damages issues. They also mentioned the priority of financial resources:

“Communities must have adequate access to financial and physical resources, as well as risk-transfer mechanisms, in order to reduce economic risks.”

Some participants drew attention to their climate action and how climate change impact can cause infringements on human rights around the world. Other participants drew attention to how important biodiversity conservation and sustainable agricultural practices are needed to tackle climate change impacts.

Participants also used their background knowledge and connected this with the climate change and losses and damages issues. A participant who is an expert on finance reflected on the financing mechanism of losses and damages and the journey from conceptualisation to fund allocation. In her article she pointed the importance of allocation of funds. She reflected: 

 “The objective of the InsuResilienece Global Partnership is to enable more timely and reliable disaster response through the use of climate and disaster risk finance and insurance solutions, reducing humanitarian impacts, helping poor and vulnerable people recover more quickly and strengthening local resilience over time”

Even though South Asia’s geographical size is not the largest, its population and the vulnerabilities it faces is still significant. Some of the most climate vulnerable countries of the world are situated in this area including Bangladesh and the Maldives. To build resilience for the people of this region, the losses and damages that they face needs to be properly addressed, which is what the academy aimed to highlight.

A participant concluded:

“Whether our journey through our climate changed world will be a pilgrimage towards illumination or a dive further into an apocalypse will be determined by how quickly we are able to convert intent into action.”