Water and Resilience

Towards fair and effective responses to climate change

Policy relevance

Climate change increases the risk of flooding, heat, drought, amongst others, which poses enormous risks to people’s health and safety and to local and global economies. Countries need to adapt to climate change and increase resilience to extreme weather and slow-onset events. Adaptation comprises a combination of technical and social measures and interventions. For instance, urban areas could be made more climateresilient by creating community gardens, which are often maintained by local residents.

Climate adaptation increasingly rely on local citizens to take part in these adaptation efforts. The most recent report from the International Panel for Climate Change observes that the effectiveness of these measures are contingent on the specific social-cultural contexts and the capacities local residents have, which are currently not fully considered in climate adaptation policies. For an illustration, see the following excerpt from Neelke Doorn’s inaugural address (cross ref to text 9), where she describes the successful creation of a community park but where she also raises questions about social justice.

In this project, we focus on climate adaptation efforts that rely on the involvement of citizens and we will study what conditions those efforts are likely to be effective ánd socially just. Social justice is important as not all people have the same capacity and resources available to take part in these adaptation efforts.

By investigating specific case studies, this project aims to shed light on what makes climate adaptation efforts successful in both being effective and paying due attention to aspects of social justice. The project will integrate these findings and develop more general actionable guidelines for policy makers and practitioners.

Please contact us if you have suggestions for studying particular cases, as we are eager to collaborate with you.

Essay on the ethics of wastewater surveillance

In view of the use of wastewater data for monitoring of the SARS-CoV-2 (Corona) virus, team member Neelke Doorn was asked by the Foundation for Applied Water Research STOWA, the centre of expertise of the Dutch Water Authorities, to write an essay on the ethics of...

Case: Truus Mastpark

Case: Truus Mastpark

 Although this case has not been studied in the project, it provides a clear illustration of how adaptation efforts focused on strengthening the climate-resilience of a neighbourhood can be successful, but at the same time prompt questions of distributive justice. The...

NWO logo