Strengthening Capacities and Resilience in Climate Adaptation
Swissuniversities’ Development and Coordination Network program (SUDAC) promotes collaboration between Swiss higher education institutions and their partners from the Global South who are committed to researching and overcoming global challenges.
A group of network members who have teamed up with researchers from South Asia and the Andes region in South America have been awarded a SUDAC grant for their project which aims to strengthen knowledge on climate change adaption and its translation into practice.
While climate change affects all countries on all continents, it disproportionately affects the developing world, with unprecedented and increasing risks to life, livelihoods and ecosystems. Adaptation to changing and new environmental conditions is therefore of fundamental importance to sustainability and implies interdisciplinary scientific knowledge. However, climate change adaptation (CCA) is not a straightforward but a complex and interwoven process. The current translation from research to CCA practice shows important limitations. Moreover, it is widely recognized that human capacities and knowledge, and thus education, are a critical resource to address CCA, but comprehensive teaching curricula at the university level are missing in Switzerland and countries in the South. This new COFER network addresses this major challenge by developing and implementing dedicated joint teaching programs and introducing new approaches to put research into value for practice and development. For this purpose, it systematically adopt a joint knowledge production (JKP) approach where researchers, policy makers and groups of civil society engage and cooperate in a framework of different forms of knowledge to ultimately negotiate adaptation.
The COFER network brings together multi-disciplinary expertise from Switzerland and from two major world regions, South Asia and Latin America. Swiss institutions are the University of Zurich (Christian Huggel, Veruska Muccione, Ivo Wallimann-Helmer), the ETH Zurich (David Bresch), the Bern University of Applied Sciences (Christine Jurt, Roland Stähli) and the Zurich University of the Arts (Niklaus Hebb, Noemi Chow). From South-Asia, partner universities are the Tribhuvan University (Nepal) and the Jawaharlal Nehru University (India). From Latin America, partner universities are the National University of Colombia, Universidad Centroamericana "José Simeon Canas" (EL Salvador) and the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (Peru).