Addressing systemic risks in social-ecological systems: mountains as contexts for evidence and action

Organizer: Carolina Adler
Format: Online, Evening

Home to millions of people worldwide, mountains offer concrete contexts through which challenges and opportunities of global change are experienced, not only locally but also in areas affected further downstream. Some of these cascading impacts can and do result in net losses for affected people and ecosystems, which call for a broader and interconnected systems approach to identify root causes of risks and address them as part of the solution space, whilst simultaneously addressing sustainability objectives. Combining knowledge streams across the natural and social sciences, as well as with broader society via processes of co-production that account for local priorities and values, are increasingly called for in response to this call. However, in taking a systems and transdisciplinary approach in pursuit of these knowledge needs, questions around which relevant aspects and components of the system to include, and for which and whose purpose, inevitably arise. This session highlights examples of how key components of risk are accounted for in mountain contexts (hazard, exposure, vulnerability), with a view to also explore the complex interactions and feedbacks that ensue when these are explored across the relevant components of the system. By taking existing definitions on systemic risks, we seek to showcase cases and research results that provide insights on how systemic risk is conceptualized and explored in context, as well as offer a critical view to methodological advances that bring clarity on their usefulness (or not) in distilling evidence on ‘what works’ and that can be translated to tangible action on the ground, be it through nature-based solutions or other measures. This session seeks to respond to knowledge gaps on systemic risks identified in the IPCC’s Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate, and simultaneously respond to input needs identified for the upcoming UNDRR Global Assessment Report 2022.

Themes: Knowledge-to-Action