WEBINAR: Adaptation Pathways - From Concept to Practice

30 Sep 2016 - 11:45


WHEN: Friday 14th October 
@ 09h00 GMT

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For more information, please contact: Laura Louw laulouw@cariaa.net


Mainstreaming climate change into decision-making to achieve ‘climate compatible development’ is a pressing challenge. This process is complicated by the uncertainties in climate change projections and impacts and the necessity for cooperation between public and private actors across multiple sectors. In addition, other drivers such as population growth, increasing economic volatility and modernisation interact with climate change to generate non-linear and unexpected outcomes and shocks, requiring novel thinking about development planning. 

By focussing on how decision-makers can account for future uncertainty, the recent construct of adaptation pathways provides a potentially useful approach. Its core principles are the recognition of multiple stakeholders and their competing values, goals and knowledge, the need to identify and implement both incremental and transformative strategies, and the sequencing of decisions over time to avoid foreclosure of options and to minimise risks of mal-adaptation.


09h00 Introduction to ASSAR and the webinar
09h15 What are ‘adaptation pathways’? Russel Wise, CSIRO
09h35 Questions & answers
10h00 Putting pathways into practice - James Butler, CSIRO
10h20 Development pathways that define adaptation futures – Sumetee Pahwa, Indian Institute for Human Settlement (IIHS), ASSAR
10h30 Questions & answers
10h50 Lessons learned and concluding remarks


Dr. Russell Wise

Dr Russell Wise is a sustainability economist passionate about working with people to help understand the challenges caused by rapid technological and environmental change and economic development and to develop approaches that enable learning and decision making under uncertainty. Core areas of Russ’s research include: Further developing economic theory and analytical approaches to help structure adaptation problems and inform the evaluation of trade-offs in resource allocations under uncertainty; exploring how concepts such as adaptation pathways can be used to build shared understanding of complex problems and generate responses over time; and developing ways to support individuals and agencies learn and adapt through 'smart failures' that build confidence and capacity to make decisions under risk and uncertainty. Photo and text: CSIRO website

Dr. James Butler

Dr. James Butler is a sustainability scientist with a background in agricultural economics, terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecology gained in southern Africa, Europe and Australia. He joined CSIRO in 2006, and is based in Brisbane, where he leads the Livelihoods and Adaptive Development Team. His research analyses complex development problems in the Asia-Pacific region, with a focus on trans-boundary issues linking northern Australia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. He applies concepts of social-ecological systems, resilience, transformation and well-being to explore alternative livelihood development pathways and trade-offs through participatory action research. Photo and text: CSIRO website

Dr. Sumetee Pahwa Gajjar

At IIHS, Dr Pahwa conducts research on vulnerability as it is experienced in rural, urban and peri-urban areas in India. Sumetee is interested in translating research on urban sustainability into practice and policy. Her doctoral thesis examined business decisions aimed at corporate environmental sustainability, including reduced carbon emissions. Sumetee’s current engagement on the CARIAA research programme allows her to delve into dynamic rural and urban connections in semi-arid regions, in the context of a changing climate. Photo and text: IIHS website


The webinar is part of the Global Climate Change Week, held from 10 ‒ 16 October 2016.


CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) is Australia’s national science agency. It covers multiple areas of inquiry, from energy to agriculture to health and biosecurity. In CSIRO Land and Water, we focus on sustainable development and management of natural resources. The Climate Risk and Resilience Group in CSIRO Land and Water carries out integrative science to support stakeholders’ decisionmaking about future development pathways. Our work is carried out primarily in Australia, the Pacific and Southeast Asia. For more information, visit www.csiro.au