IIASA’s RISK and Resilience Program researchers, as part of the Flood Resilience Alliance, collaborated with various partners across development, research and private sectors in a virtual learning event. The annual event took a step in the virtual direction this year due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. IIASA Alliance members pointed out that 'learning and interpersonal connections can take place successfully remotely and that even a multiple-day event can take place online'.

Flood Resilience © Thomas Dutour © | Dreamstime

Between March 17 and 19 2020, the Flood Resilience Alliance, in which IIASA RISK is a core member, organized a virtual learning event for its partners across 9 development, research and private sector organizations: Concern Worldwide, the   International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC), the   International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) - Risk and Resilience ,the   Institute for Social and Environmental Transition-International (ISET-International), the   London School of Economics,   MercyCorps,  Plan International,   Practical Action,   Zurich Insurance.

The annual learning event offers an important opportunity for Alliance members to exchange insights on good practices in building resilience to floods and other climate-related risks, build common understanding and consolidated practical knowledge through peer-to-peer learning and develop community-based evidence to support advocacy and resilience diplomacy objectives.

Usually, the learning event takes place in person, with participants traveling from all corners of the world to meet, exchange and learn. This year, given the current public health situation caused by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, the meeting took a different shape: instead of in-person meetings at the IFRC headquarters in Geneva Alliance members took to the digital space, where the learning-focused sessions took place over Zoom and WebEx. Members of the IIASA Alliance team commented that while we are used to working together remotely, with our project partners in the Flood Resilience Alliance spread across the globe, last week’s meetings were special nevertheless: we showed that learning and interpersonal connections can take place successfully remotely and that even a multiple-day event can take place online.

On Tuesday, the first day, the learning event focused on “Integrating Climate Information into Resilience Programming”, with partners sharing insights from across community projects in the Alliance, and IIASA sharing about the comprehensive risk management approach developed with the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) and applied in communities in Southern India. On the second day, the focus shifted to nature-based solutions and opportunities to more actively leverage natural capital in building flood resilience across the Alliance. The third and last day focused on tools and approaches for advocacy and resilience diplomacy, an important aspect of the joint work in the Alliance, which aims to find practical ways to help communities strengthen their resilience to flood and other climate-related risks and strives to bring decision-makers on board of this objective.

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