“With adaptation, we need to combine the love of science with the recklessness of the entrepreneur.”
- Melanie Schultz van Haegen, Dutch Minister for Infrastructure and the Environment
“Think about the women, men and children. Think about the individuals. Because that is where we need to make a difference. The question that we need to wake up to every morning is: have we made the life of these people any easier and more liveable? That is what we need to answer, that is what adaptation is about.”
- Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
These were some of the quotes that keep echoing to me after the Adaptation Futures Conference. With the growing recognition of the impacts of climate change on lives, ecosystems and livelihoods, adaptation has assumed centre-stage within the development discourse. Therefore, a conference with a focus on finding practical and effective adaptation strategies to build resilience to climate change was timely.
This conference was different from most local conferences I have attended. The blend of practitioners, researchers, policy makers and entrepreneurs in the event sparked lively, insightful and interesting discussions among participants. Impressed by the calibre of presenters, I was overwhelmed by the amount of knowledge I gained within such a short space of time.
I got confused each day as to which of the parallel sessions to attend, because I did not want to miss out on anything! I actually wished I could be in more than one place at one time! Besides exchanging knowledge, there were amazing opportunities for networking and I could not leave this event without updating my contact list with new names for future engagements.
Above all, I got my inspiration back! I’m now reinvigorated to actively contribute to providing the developmental needs of vulnerable people. I now wake up every day with the gentle memory of the voice of Christiana Figueres whispering ‘…have we made the life of these people any easier and more liveable?’ Though haunting, these words are forceful enough to propel me to action each day. I hope as the ASSAR consortium develops, many lives will be improved through our collective efforts.