Resilience and climate adaptation are concepts increasingly used in urban policies and plans.  In the context of cities and towns with high levels of inequality, one might argue that building resilience and investing in adaptation is of urgent important to reduce exposure and sensitivity of vulnerable groups, particularly as these groups frequently have a low capacity to adapt to climate and other risks. Yet, resilience and adaptation that is driven by city actors tends to prioritise system-level issues and often supports the neo-liberal agendas of those in power, rendering justice issues unseen.

Associate Professor Gina Ziervogel  in the Department of Environmental and Geographical Science and Research Chair with the African Climate and Development Initiative (ACDI) at the University of Cape Town will argue that collaborative governance needs to be more firmly established as central to climate adaptation responses.

Increasing emphasis is being placed on the theoretical importance of participation and co-production, yet in practice this is hard to achieve. Using a number of cases, this presentation explores these concepts from different angles including; what the context is in South African cities, how local government and those in informal settlements have been responding to flood risk and how transformative capacity has been built on the ground.  But the question remains as to whether marginal urban residents and city actors might find commensurable measures to move forward collaboratively to address both long-term adaptation goals and short-term socio-economic development priorities.

About Gina Ziervogel

Gina Ziervogel is a geographer by training, with 15 years of experience in the field of adaptation and vulnerability to global environmental change.  Her research focuses on climate adaptation, transformation and development at both the household and municipal level. She is particularly interested in transdisciplinary projects that bring together civil society, government and academics to address these problems collaboratively and creatively.

Gina was a lead author on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special report on Managing the risk of extreme events and disasters to advance climate change adaptation (SREX) and in 2015 won the South African Young Woman in Science Award.

Gina completed her DPhil in Geography at the University of Oxford in 2002 after completing her BSc at the University of Cape Town and her Honours in Environmental Water Management at Rhodes University, South Africa

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Building 15, Level 3, Room 3, RMIT University City campus


8 December 2016