Research on the resilience of social-ecological is becoming increasingly significant within sustainability research. However there is still work to be done in getting policy makers to include it in policy dialogues and governance strategies.
To better bridge resilience research with policy and practitioners, the centre has invited the SwedBio Programme to the centre. The aim of the programme is to promote resilient ecosystem management and governance through development of policies and methods that are more sensitive to the fundamental interactions between social and ecological systems.
Facilitates dialogue and develops ideas
Originally established in 2002 under the name Swedbio, the aim of the programme is to facilitate and support strategies that can safeguard biodiversity and ecosystem services for sustainable livelihoods in developing countries.
"The programme provides financial support to a number of strategic initiatives, programmes and networks that work with sustainable equitable management of biodiversity. It aims to contribute to the development of ideas, methods and policies regarding biodiversity, ecosystem services and resilience to contribute to local livelihoods and poverty alleviation," says Programme director Maria Schultz.
The programme is already actively involved in several of the core international processes related to biodiversity and ecosystem services, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Intergovernmental science-policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the Climate Convention.
A trust builder
SwedBio staff have also been part of the Swedish delegation to the UNFCCC to work with Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) issues.
It has also contributed to results in negotiations regarding safeguards for maintaining high biodiversity and governance of natural forests and rights for indigenous and local communities.
"Over time, we have been building trust and positive relations with a broad range of stakeholders, and become internationally known and recognised as a strategic and well-respected partner in developing international policy and methods," Schultz says.
"By hosting dialogue seminars, round table discussions and acting as advisors, we play a unique role in facilitating dialogue between different stakeholders of civil society, governments and indigenous and local communities, to name a few."
Crucial for enhanced understanding of resilience
A major contingent of the programme's success has been its collaborative work with international partners supporting initiatives in the developing world. One example is the South-East Asia Regional Initiatives for Community Empowerment (SEARICE).
The work of SEARICE on agricultural biodiversity and participatory plant breeding in five countries in South-East Asia has increased on-farm rice genetic diversity and benefits to the farm households.
Adopting seed varieties developed and selected by farmers, and improved access to good quality seed of these varieties, has reaped dividends, according to Schultz:
"The decentralisation of institutional plant breeding under the SEARICE programme, and the strengthening and development of local seed systems, have decreased risks for farmers and increased income as well as food security in rural areas."
Will help raise awareness
Centre director Johan Rockström is delighted the former Swedbio programme is now under the auspices of the centre. He believes it will give international political action a boost when it comes to developing more resilience-based policies on global sustainability.
"Despite the significant scientific consensus regarding the existence and impact of global change, substantial action is still at a minimum. Very few policy makers are aware of the importance of biodiversity for resilient ecosystems and associated communities. The Resilience and Development programme will help raise this awareness," Rockström says.
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