ISRM Urban Resilience Conference, 30 November – 2 December
The global climate change conference hosted as COP26 by the UK Government in November 2021 was supposed to be the ‘last chance saloon’ for the global community to acknowledge the cliff edge of climate-change impacts that we are collectively facing, and the need for urgent action on a comprehensive and collaborative basis to minimise, mitigate or
manage the impacts and consequences that are already being faced on a planetary scale from the failure to have dealt with these issues in earlier times.
It is already clear that any substantive action will fail to reach the levels required or to match the ‘disaster rhetoric’ that has been part of the on-going dialogue around all aspects of climate change and global impact for at least 30 years. In the first ISRM Crisis 2030 Manifesto, released to mark our launch in March 2019, we took as our leitmotif the words of the World Economic Forum Executive Director Klaus Schwab: ‘Our world currently stands on the brink of a mass political, technological and social shift which will transform our existence in ways we cannot yet possibly know.’
Given that this was written exactly one year before the impacts of a global pandemic and unprecedented lockdown, it is only from the perspective of a world suffering from a range of ‘unthinkable events in inconceivable contexts’ that we can understand the true implications of such paradigm-shifting changes.
It is not too late to get things done. With human ingenuity, community engagement, a global perspective and the combined forces of the almost unlimited resources that we potentially have available – we are not powerless victims of some unseen force but have the ability to take our own destiny into our own hands.
The missing link that is the gap between policy, aspiration and rhetoric on the one hand and the ability to have meaningful influence and impact on the other, is structure and methodology. It is the question of how we bring the solutions that would undoubtedly have significant impact on vast sections of the global community to those people who need them most, and in ways that have meaning and validity within the contexts that they are living in.