24 Apr, 2023
From Reactive to Proactive: Upcoming forum places adaptation at the forefront
Next month, we’ll be gathered in Winnipeg (and online) for ClimateWest’s inaugural forum. With climate action on our minds, we eagerly await the opportunity to come together with our expanding network to discuss some of the most pressing climate issues in the Prairies—and how we can take early action to adapt to them.
Why a forum and why now?
Climate change is a complex, far reaching issue. We know that its impacts on communities, organizations, sectors, and regions are often context specific, with unique sets of challenges, barriers, and considerations. However—we also know that these different perspectives and experiences create opportunities for sharing and learning. The forum will provide a space to advance knowledge and collaboration across the Prairies, as well as inspire future adaptation actions.
The latest IPCC report makes it abundantly clear that ambitious action is necessary in order to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all. In the Prairies, climate change impacts are being observed through extreme weather events, flooding, and fires—threatening livelihoods, wellbeing, and the health of diverse ecosystems. A 2020-21 regional survey posed to Prairie communities revealed that while at least 75% of respondents shared significant concern over climate risks and impacts, few communities had completed a formal adaptation planning process. In the same survey, communities cited barriers to initiating and completing adaptation planning, including financial support and technical capacity.
Progress on adaptation planning and capacity has been made since then with programs such as the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre’s resilience capacity building program and the Manitoba Climate Resilience Training Program.
ClimateWest is working to advance planning and training even further by continuing to provide free help desk services and promoting training to communities and organizations in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.
“The Canadian Prairies is a hotspot for climate change – not just within Canada, but across the world. Our provinces are projected to warm much faster than the global average,” states Kerra Chomlak, ClimateWest’s Executive Director. “With this in mind, it is crucial that we pull together and work toward a more resilient future. We want Prairie communities to thrive, not just survive, in the face of a changing climate.”
Kerra discusses the objectives of the upcoming forum: “We’re excited to bring together many esteemed speakers to share their knowledge which will help attendees to make informed decisions in their communities. One of our objectives is to provide people with a better understanding of the projected costs of climate change, as well as the benefits of proactive adaptation.”
Adaptation planning is essential for preparing for an uncertain future, and ClimateWest is here to help chart the next steps.
The Forum in a Snapshot
The hybrid event will take place on May 3 and 4 at the Inn at the Forks, Winnipeg, Manitoba as well as online. It will bring together a diverse set of actors across Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, including municipalities and governments representatives; businesses; Indigenous communities and organizations; consulting firms; practitioners; non-profit organizations; and those working in agriculture.
The forum will feature presentations on a range of topics around the benefits of early adaptation actions. Danny Blair and Brett Huson from Prairie Climate Centre will be kicking things off with a discussion about climate impacts on the Prairies and diverse knowledge systems. Joined by Chris Rol, from the Insurance Bureau of Canada, Ryan Ness from the Canadian Climate Institute, Richard Boyd from the All One Sky Foundation, and Amber Bennett from Re.Climate, we’ll explore the costs of climate change and how to turn this knowledge into action. We’ll also have a session that makes the case for nature-based solutions as a cost-effective adaptation measure, featuring Joanna Eyquem from the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation, Dimple Roy from the International Institute for Sustainable Development, and Paige Englot from ALUS. Additional sessions will focus on Canada’s National Adaptation Strategy, ensuring that investments in adaptation are equitable, and stories of adaptation action. Breakout groups, Q&A periods, and discussions on case studies will complement presentations throughout the 1.5 day event.
Take a look at our full agenda here.
Reserve your spot!
We’re pleased to provide a hybrid structure for the upcoming forum. This format offers the opportunity for face-to-face collaboration as well as an accessible option for those who cannot travel or would prefer to limit carbon emissions, but still want to be a part of these meaningful conversations.