AGU updates position statement on resilience to expand beyond natural hazards


In June, the AGU Board and Council approved updates to the position statement: “Building resilience requires partnerships between scientists, policymakers and communities,” which previously only addressed resilience to natural hazards.

Resilience is the ability of systems — including people — to anticipate, respond, recover and adapt to disruptions, which can include acute events, such as floods, hurricanes, wildfires or earthquakes, and long-term events, such as pandemics, social unrest, food shortages and climate change. These disruptions can overstress crucial systems, like the water supply, food distribution, waste collection, supply chains, communications and emergency services, resulting in cascading, unanticipated consequences.

The revised statement recognizes that resilience will continue to be challenged as climate change, urbanization, population growth, climate migration and deforestation exacerbate the impacts of disruptions. It specifically argues that:

  • Improving resilience requires solutions that are centered on the needs of disproportionately impacted communities.
  • Solutions for building resilience must recognize the need to adapt to the effects of climate change that are already impacting systems and communities.
  • Funding models for resilience initiatives should include incentives for both researchers and communities.
  • Interdisciplinary science must be incorporated into research and training to build resilience of interconnected social, technological and environmental systems.
  • Participatory research should be utilized to ensure that outcomes are implemented by local and regional decision makers.

AGU position statements—created, revised and approved by members—are what enable AGU to take adaptive stances on significant policy issues, ranging from climate change to national security. As part of a recurring four-year process, AGU’s Position Statement Committee reviews existing statements to decide which should be reaffirmed, retired or revised. Members can propose new position statements via this form.

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