Title: Workshop 7: Resilience, Uncertainty and Tipping Points
Event type: Workshop
Date: 2010-09-09
Time: 09:00 - 17:30
Convenor: Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI)
Co-convenor: Challenge Program on Water and Food (CPWF), Stockholm Resilience Centre, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization – Institute for Water Education (UNESCO-IHE) and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)
Room: K22

Event Description
Global environmental change is contributing to shifts in droughts and floods patterns. Increasing environmental pressures, such as pollution, diminish the capacity of lakes, rivers and coastal zones to cope. There is increasing evidence that many aquatic systems can pass thresholds where sudden and surprisingly large changes in their functions takes place. Examples include the rapid development of hypoxic areas in coastal zones and lakes that switch from clear water to turbid water, referred to as regime shifts. When these changes occur, many of the benefits that society derives from these systems, such as fisheries and places for recreation, can be lost. It is often difficult, costly, and sometimes impossible to reverse these situations once a certain threshold is crossed. Although we know these types of regime shifts happen and have important consequences, we still have limited knowledge on: 

1) how ubiquitous they are
2) where particularly vulnerable regions exist, and
3) how we can build resilience to avoid undesirable tipping points. 

Current research, policy-making and management therefore face new challenges. This includes issues such as: how to improve our predictive capacity to understand when thresholds are approached and and how to adapt accordingly; how to deal with the large uncertainty involved; and how to improve management and governance to build resilience in order to avoid regime shifts.

The workshop will focus on how to assess and manage resilience of social-ecological systems related to water quality challenges. It will examine the existence of regime shifts and tipping points in aquatic systems, how these regime shifts can be predicted and/or anticipated, and which strategies need to be adopted when faced with the risk of regime shifts. Particular focus will be on tools that can be useful to deal with uncertainty, such as adaptive management and scenario planning, to improve land and water management interventions.


Chair: Dr. Johan Rockström, Stockholm Resilience Centre/Stockholm Enviroment Institute
Co-chair/Commentator: Prof. Michael McClain, UNESCO-IHE 
Rapporteurs: Dr. Line Gordon, Stockholm Resilience Centre Prof. Hubert Savenije, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands
Keynote Speakers: Dr. Alain Vidal, Director, Challenge Program on Water and Food, CGIAR and Ms. Reinette Biggs, Stockholm Resilience Centre


Introduction. Dr. Johan Rockström, Stockholm Resilience Centre/Stockholm Enviroment Institute


Keynote Speaker. Tipping over the edge: Understanding and managing regime shifts in environmental systems. Dr. Reinette Biggs, Stockholm Resilience Centre


Spring-fed stream benthic macroinvertebrate communities as early biological indicators of groundwater tipping points. Ms. Rosemary A. Burk, University of North Texas, USA


Developing a 'sustainability framework for the protection of aquifers'; A paradigm shift in policy design, recognizing the need for resiliency. Ms. Deborah Jarvie, University of Lethbridge, Canada




Coffee Break


Keynote Speaker. Transformative management for more resilient food-producing social and ecological systems. Dr. Alain Vidal, Challenge Program on Water and Food


Companion modelling for resilient water management: gaming and simulation to integrate stakeholders' perceptions for collective learning and action. Dr. Guy Trébuil, GREEN, CIRAD, France


Uncertainty, risk, and possible futures of the world water system. Mr. William Cosgrove, Woled Water Assessment Program, Canada






Summary from morning session


Incorporating uncertainty to climate change into governance assessments: Lessons learnt from 2 case studies in the Alps and Andes. Ms. Margot Hill, University of Geneva, Switzerland


The Upper Guadiana Basin: Is it possible to align changes in ecological systems with changes in social systems? Dr. Elena Lopez-Gunn, FMB Water Observatory, Spain


Climate change adaptation & resilience building through sustainable water management systems. Mr. Amit Kumar, Earthwatch Institute, India


Evaluation of socio-economic consequences from regime shifts; Strategies to minimize the vulnerability from Asian monsoon. Mr. Sirisena Meegasmullage, Ministry of Irrigation and Water Management, Sri Lanka


Final Discussion / Conclusions


Close of Workshop Session

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