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A long period in Canada, working on climate change adaptation in the developing world

(15 October 2018)

From mid 2016 until recently, I had the privilege to spend two years in Canada working for the International Development Research Centre. IDRC is a unique institute: it is part of the Canadian international development effort, focusing fully on the support to researchers in developing countries to do academic-level development research. I was invited to lead and further build up their global Climate Change program in three continents. The research we supported targeted the analysis of complex socio-environmental systems and the identifications of barriers to and opportunities for adaptation solutions. This covered various themes, ranging from integrated watershed management to adaptive city planning, from integrated climate smart agriculture to mitigating heat stress and from disaster risk reduction to adaptation finance. This was done all over Latin America and the Caribbean, South and South-East Asia and in West, East and Southern Africa. In total, our team of 20 managed a portfolio of almost 100M CA$ from Canadian, UK and Dutch ODA funding. In this period, I learned a lot about the global development challenges in relation to climate adaptation and I got a much better understanding of the African and South Asian context; areas that I had only visited marginally before. I am particularly proud that we managed to mobilize funds to relaunch the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN), now fully managed by institutions from the global South. But most of all, I enjoyed to work with dozens of passionate researchers from all over the world and see how they developed top-class socioeconomic, policy and environmental research.

(here more on IDRC and here more on CDKN)