2020 Summer Academy
World Risk and Adaptation Futures – Social Protection
Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the format of “World Risk and Adaptation Futures – Summer Academy 2020” has been adjusted. Preparatory virtual events on social protection, the theme of this academy, will take place during September 2020. The in-person academy will now take place in the first quarter of 2021. The notification of acceptance to the selected candidates will be provided as soon as the new dates of the academy are finalized. We kindly ask for your patience. Ensuring sound health and safety of everyone involved is our prime concern and we will continue monitoring the situation. The online events will be open to the public. Further information will be provided on respective websites as soon as possible. For any assistance, you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
A leading global challenge today centres on the capacity to make appropriate decisions that will navigate countries and communities towards a safe, sustainable future. Uncertainty about future risk trends plays a central role in whether or not policy makers and practitioners can make decisions that help society adapt to climate risks and capture the opportunities ahead. Their decisions need to be informed by data assessments of future changes in social protection as it has a substantial influence on the future trajectories and patterns in exposure and vulnerability towards climate change hazards. This is especially true in highly dynamic developing countries and emerging economies. Changes in social protection systems including the insurance regimes will also greatly influence future levels of vulnerability.
In spite of this pressing need, decision makers often do not get the full picture about future risk trends and adaptation pathways. This is in part because science that supports decision-making focuses primarily on modelling and projecting future trends in environmental hazards, such as sea level rise and cyclone activity and tends to neglect social and economic transitions and their effects on future exposure and vulnerability trends.
The “World Risk and Adaptation Futures – Social Protection” Summer Academy 2020 is being jointly organized by United Nations University’s Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS), Munich Re Foundation (MRF) in collaboration with the UNFCCC. The Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich (LMU), Germany and Munich Climate Insurance Initiative (MCII) are associate partners for the 2020 summer academy. Starting with the question “What do decision makers in policy and practice need to know about risk and adaptation futures?” each partner contributes to the unique environment of the summer academy for generating science and knowledge contributions back into policy and practice.
Objectives of the Summer Academy
First, the programme aims to foster co-creation of decision support at the science-policy-action interface. The design of the academy starts by understanding the needs of decision makers in policy and practice – such as the UNFCCC process. Academy participants engage with these needs and then contribute the created knowledge and reflections into UNFCCC discussions around national adaptation planning, closing adaptation knowledge gaps, planning and creating contingency arrangements, research dialogues, relevant committee work programs and other policy outlets. Academy participants similarly have the opportunity to interact with communities of practice engaged with decision making that impacts on comprehensive risk management and sustainable development.
Second, the academy aims to advance the scientific understanding for assessing future exposure and vulnerability trends towards environmental and climatic hazards. The Summer Academy programme convenes leading researchers and other key stakeholders in order to collect, discuss and jointly advance the latest approaches in this field. In doing so, it aspires to cover different thematic foci, spanning across a range of the most relevant sectors, scales and world regions. The academies aims to also address and debate methodological schools from different directions, e.g. integrated assessment modelling, forecasting, backcasting, visioning, and participatory scenario techniques.
Third, the programme aims to apply these methods to advance the actionable knowledge on potential trends in future exposure and vulnerability. Over the three years, the focus has been in particular on understanding the feedbacks of future exposure and vulnerability with three core dimensions of socio-economic change: urbanization, demographic change and social protection.
Format and outcomes of the academy programme
The central element is a set of three sessions of the Summer Academy on World Risk Futures and Adaptation, the first and second academies were held in 2018 and 2019 respectively and the third academy will be held this year. Similar to the past academies, this year’s academy will be working towards the cross-cutting theme of supporting decision making through actionable knowledge regarding future risk pathways. Each of the summer academies has a different thematic focus relevant to policy and practice. Each summer academy is designed to convene 20-30 participants. These shall include researchers (a mixture of PhD students, post-docs, junior professors, mid-career researchers), risk practitioners (e.g. from national, sub-national and international risk management agencies, concerned ministries or the insurance sector) and selected policymakers.
In addition, the summer academy will feature 2-3 invited high-level speakers/mentors. Each summer academy is foreseen to lead to the coordinated production of a number of publications, ranging from academic papers to technical guidelines and policy briefs. The contributions are meant to provide specific scientific inputs as well as supporting the climate change adaption related policy formulation and implementation mechanisms of relevant stakeholders.
The academy series is designed to directly inform the application of scientific knowledge and methodologies in policy and action. The targeted domains include the global institutions for risk reduction and adaptation (e.g. the management of the Adaptation Fund and the Green Climate Fund), national ministries behind adaptation policies and disaster risk reduction, or local decision makers (e.g. at city scale). Besides state organizations, transfer and application of methods and knowledge is also directed at other actors from the private sector (e.g. insurers) and civil society (e.g. non-profit associations or philanthropic foundations).
Summer Academy 2020: Social Protection
The summer academy 2020 aims to look at the emerging trends in social protection from the climate change adaptation perspective. Social protection is of key importance for shaping human vulnerability towards floods, droughts, storms and other hazards. It includes important elements such as health insurance, cash transfer assistance, disability benefits or food assistance programmes. All of these are of key relevance for mitigating vulnerability and buffering the effects of future climatic hazards. At the same time, they are currently under a massive transformation in many countries, mostly with uncertain outcomes and unclear effects on vulnerability. The existing methodological toolkits and bodies of knowledge are, however, strikingly thin to date, calling for substantially increased scientific efforts. Assessing plausible scenarios of future trajectories in social protection – and especially its breadth and depth – is therefore of great urgency.
Our approach to social protection starts with the understanding of the socio-economic consequences of climate change from the social protection perspective. This includes understanding the future risks and vulnerabilities that jeopardize peoples’ well-being and the challenges for social protection schemes that arise from the focus-shift from individual shocks to the increased consideration of covariate shocks. Therefore it is pertinent to understand how these challenges impact the design and effectiveness of social protection schemes, from both research and practitioner (case studies etc.) perspectives.
It is equally important to understand how social protection mechanisms can support the transfer and reduction of climate and disaster risks and how it does look in different regions of the world. The academy is interested in focusing on how the social protection schemes are meaningfully tackling adverse climate change impacts. At the same time, we aim to explore the role of climate risk insurance in a climate-sensitive social protection approach.
The other pillar of social protection from the academy’s perspective relates to the governance challenges of social protection and climate change, especially looking at the governance challenges that may arise from the integration of social protection, disaster risk management and climate change adaptation. This can further allow us to highlight the building blocks (e.g. M&E) that exist to successfully operationalize climate- and disaster- sensitive social protection.
This year’s summer academy aims to bring together young researchers and practitioners as well as other relevant actors including policy makers and NGOs to jointly assess the aforementioned and to inform policy formulation processes, especially with regard to the preparation of National Adaptation Plans (NAP), Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) and supporting mechanism for availing the Green Climate Fund (GCF).
Applications are invited to address the future risk scenarios of climate change adaption relating to different aspects of concerns of social protection:
a) Socio-economic consequences of climate change and its implication for social protection
b) Social protection mechanism for climate change adaptation, including risk sharing and transfer
c) Governance of social protection from the climate change perspective
What do we offer:
- Unique network and discussion with UN delegates, government officials and delegates to the UNFCCC climate negotiations
- Financial assistance to deserving applicants
We are looking for researchers and practitioners with documented experience of working on at least one (preferably two) of the aforementioned aspects of social protection. Successful candidates are qualified women and men with profiles such as doctoral researchers in the final stage of their research, post-doctoral fellows, lecturers, assistant professors, practitioners working in ministries, implementing agencies and organizations related to the theme of academy. Particular attention will be given to outstanding candidates from least developed countries. Successful candidates are expected to fully participate before and during the academy, and contribute to the network products. These include but are not limited to contributing to research papers, policy briefs, participation in events, policy engagement, etc.
Advanced English language skills will be necessary.
10 March 2020: Call for applications
03 May 2020: Application deadline (extended)
01 June 2020: Notification of acceptance
Important documents needed for application
In addition to the general information, the application portal asks for:
- A short motivational letter (400 words maximum) including one concise paragraph describing how your work relates to the Summer Academy 2020 theme.
- A concise abstract (300 words max.) of the work you would like to present, covering the rationale, approach/methods and key findings (or perceived findings) of your work. This work can be based on research or practice (or both) and should be very closely related to the theme of this year’s academy as explained in candidate profile and if selected would serve as your initial contribution towards participation.
- An up-to-date CV, including a list of publications and/or concluded projects if available.
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The Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) is one of 15 worldwide operating research and training centres and programmes of the United Nations University (UNU). Its mission is to contribute to efforts to resolve the pressing global problems that are the concern of the United Nations and its member states. UNU’s current activities regarding research and training are mainly focused on the environment and sustainable development on the one hand and peace and governance on the other. UNU disseminates the knowledge gained in its activities to the United Nations and its agencies, to scholars and to the public, in order to increase dynamic interactions in the world-wide community of learning and research.
Munich Re Foundation (MRF) is a non-profit foundation established by the Münchener Rückversicherungsgesellschaft Aktiengesellschaft in Munich (“Munich Re”) on the occasion of its 125th anniversary in 2005. People are ultimately at the core of what MRF’s work is all about. MRF’s task is to minimize the risks to which they are exposed. It supports science and provides support, also in developing countries. MRF’s aim is to prepare people to cope with risk and to improve their living conditions in relation to water as a resource and risk factor, population development, poverty, urbanization and megacities, disaster prevention, environmental and climate change.
The UNFCCC secretariat (UN Climate Change) was established in 1992 when countries adopted the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The secretariat to the Convention, located in Bonn, Germany, is the United Nations entity tasked with supporting the global response to the threat of climate change. The UNFCCC secretariat supports a complex architecture of bodies that serve to advance the implementation of the Convention, the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement. The secretariat provides technical expertise and assists in the analysis and review of climate change information reported by Parties and in the implementation of the Kyoto mechanisms. It also maintains the registry for Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) established under the Paris Agreement, a key aspect of implementation of the Paris Agreement.
Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich (LMU) is recognized as one of Europe's premier academic and research institutions. The Teaching and Research Section on Human-Environment-Relations within the Department of Geography works on issues of sustainable development and transformations in coupled human-environment-systems. Key areas of work include climate change and environmental risks. The section develops, tests and imparts inter- and transdisciplinary methods for the assessment of future risk trends as well as for the multi-criteria evaluation of potential strategies risk reduction and climate change adaptation. While pursuing a global perspective, the section’s empirical research is particularly focused on Europe, Asia and Africa. Next to fundamental research, the section is keen to deliver scientific knowledge that is of high practical and policy relevance and provides decision support. The section therefore collaborates closely with decision makers and stakeholders from the local to the global level, e.g. urban administrations or United Nations programs.
The Munich Climate Insurance Initiative (MCII) was initiated as a non-profit organization by insurers, research institutes and NGOs in April 2005 in response to the growing realization that insurance solutions can play a role in adaptation to climate change, as suggested in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol. This initiative is hosted at the United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS). As the leading think tank on climate change and insurance it is focused on bringing solutions for the risks posed by climate change to poor and vulnerable people in developing countries.