Proceedings Report: 3rd Environmental Innovators Symposium - Innovation Resilience for and Transformation

Event Proceedings

Proceedings Report: 3rd Environmental Innovators Symposium - Innovation Resilience for and Transformation

ORGANISER: Environmental Innovators Programme, Keio University, Japan, Asia Pacific Adaptation Network (APAN), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Strategic Fund for the Promotion of Science and Technology
AUTHORS: Environmental Innovators Programme, Keio University, Japan


February 2013


On 21 and 22 December 2012 some 120 people gathered to discuss the issue of resilience from the perspective of several fields, including architecture, policy and climate science.

The growth of resilience as a touch-point for fields as distant as economics, architecture and population politics reflects a shared concern about our capacity as governments and individuals to cope and adapt to change, regardless of its cause. The ability to bounce back from hardship and disaster is essential to all our futures, but if it is to be done sustainably, innovation will need to be a core practice. Which is of course easier said than done.
In Japan the context for resilience remains the ongoing recovery from the series of disasters that struck the northeast coast in March 2011. The disasters triggered an honest re-assessment of many of the policies and social standards the country has taken for granted for decades. A more resilient society could be built as part of the reconstruction process, but there is no clarity yet about which direction the reconstruction should go, and what resiliency might mean. The question remains open as to whether we should be rebuilding defensively or if we might be better off aiming for a deeper transformation. As the reconstruction proceeds there is also growing uncertainty about where and how change can be implemented. Although the challenges do not arise directly from global climate change, they share much with the problems expected from extreme weather events, as we are all too keenly reminded of by the massive storms and floods and the related damage and power outages experienced around the world.
The largest gap is that between assessment and action. While we understand the situation better and better, the way forward is still hard to imagine. In the third annual Environmental Innovators symposium the aim is to clear some of the uncertainty around the topic of resilience by bringing together practitioners who are testing new methods and taking action in the field with significant projects. Its position is that while there can be no single answer it is the accumulation of knowledge in practice that will stimulate the innovation needed to realize transformative goals.
The Proceedings of the Symposium can be downloaded from the left side.