By Seth Schultz, Resilience Rising CEO

The climate deal struck at COP28 after two weeks of tense negotiations in Dubai signals a global shift towards a low-carbon energy system. In addition to transitioning away from fossil fuels, the final text also emphasizes the importance of the global goal on adaptation of enhancing adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience and reducing vulnerability to climate change, and calls on parties to increase the resilience of infrastructure and human settlements to climate impacts. These are promising developments that will have positive implications for Adaptation and Resilience outcomes, accelerating solutions that build resilience to climate impacts and advancing adaptation efforts. However, for many representatives from frontline communities, including indigenous people, climate justice groups and small island nations, the 2023 climate deal does not go far enough and many question how it will help us avoid the worst impacts yet to come. 

Resilience Rising and Partners at COP28

COP Resilience Hub

Resilience Rising was proud to be a Managing Partner of the Resilience Hub again this year, working alongside other partners to mobilize action on resilience and adaptation at COP28. The Hub held over 80 sessions, welcomed over 10,000 attendees from around the world virtually and in person, and collaborated with more than 60 organizations across sectors. Each session is now available on demand here and daily recaps can be viewed here.

The mission of our work with the Hub is to elevate a diversity of perspectives and examples of resilience in action, identifying opportunities for collaboration that can create the systemic approach to resilience and adaptation we know is needed. 

We welcomed Indigenous leaders from around the world, Nobel Laureates, Presidents, artists, poets and musicians, farmers, engineers, Chief Negotiators, small businesses, multinational businesses, doctors and healthcare organizations, community organizers, urban planners, architects and a wide variety of other participants, all sharing resilience solutions and knowledge. 

COP28 Implementation Lab on enabling private finance for adaptation

A year on from the announcement of the Sharm El-Sheikh Adaptation Agenda, Resilience First, together with Resilience Rising and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) convened a high-level roundtable discussion on the critical role of private finance for advancing action on adaptation and resilience during COP28 in Dubai.

The Global Climate Action “Implementation Lab”, delivered in partnership with the Race to Resilience Campaign and the Marrakesh Partnership, explored current challenges and real-world innovative solutions being piloted by the private sector to mobilize capital for adaptation in alignment with the Sharm El-Sheikh Adaptation Agenda’s outcomes.

Overall, the discussion highlighted the need for collaboration, innovation, and a collective effort from businesses, philanthropy, government, and other stakeholders to address the increasing gap between global adaptation needs and private finance.

Take a look at outcomes from the session here

Championing nature with ICSI at COP28

The International Coalition for Sustainable Infrastructure (ICSI) was once again involved with the Resilience Hub, where they co-led on the theme of Disaster Risk Management and Humanitarian Action, as well as contributing to other activities in the Hub and beyond. A constant theme throughout ICSI’s engagements was the need to address challenges through a natural ecosystem lens – i.e., to prioritize and protect nature in our solutions to climate challenges and to ensure that we integrate nature into our thinking in order to advance solutions that are sustainable, resilient and just for all. A secondary prominent theme was the role of youth – particularly young engineers – in advocating and implementing the kind of infrastructure that will improve resilience outcomes.

A key highlight was the launch of The Climate Resilient Infrastructure Report: A Focus on Nature. The Climate Resilient Infrastructure Report series was first launched in May 2023 in an effort to report progress on the state of climate-resilient infrastructure and showcase best-practice case studies and initiatives from around the world. ICSI has now launched Issue 2 of the series which takes a closer look at nature-positive infrastructure that is rooted in an approach that builds with nature, as opposed to around it, and in turn, works to halt and reverse nature loss.

ICSI also launched the #EngineeringChange campaign alongside WFEO Young Engineers/Future Leaders Working Group on Climate Action (WFEO YE/FL SDG13). The campaign is a global initiative to empower young engineers to participate in sustainable development in their workplaces, communities, and networks.

Read ICSI’s full reflections on COP28 here.

Systems thinking for holistic climate action: nature-driven engineering, policy and finance solutions

This official UNFCCC Side Event, co-hosted by WFEO and the Engineering Leadership Group (ELG), aimed to foster transdisciplinary and systems thinking for inclusive, effective, nature-positive infrastructure and climate solutions in the context of the Global Stocktake. A range of built environment professionals, academics and sustainability experts came together to demonstrate examples of holistic climate action and showcase nature-driven engineering, policy and finance solutions. Tangible examples showcased how a systemic approach can be put in practice from the very early stages of project development, when considering nature-positive and nature-based approaches. 

As participants considered the need to scale up nature-based solutions,  they also explored opportunities for new funding sources such as the Inflation Reduction Act and Loss & Damage Fund. Additionally, the discussion emphasized the importance of educating and training the next generation of nature-based engineers and assisting communities in developing resources to address these issues.

Sue Brown, ELG Representative, shared how the ELG – which brings together leading engineering companies – is working to answer the urgent call of people and planet to advocate for solutions that will build a more resilient, sustainable future.

In closing, I am encouraged by the progress made at this year’s conference while remaining mindful of the challenges that lie ahead. It was brilliant to connect with so many changemakers on the ground and I feel more determined than ever to drive collaborative efforts across private and public sector voices.

Thanks again to our partners and friends of Resilience Rising who have contributed to building on this crucial work throughout 2023 – I can’t wait to see what we achieve in 2024. Let’s continue the journey toward a more resilient future!

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