The participants of the 3rd Gibika policy workshop

Third Gibika policy workshop on livelihood resilience

The third Gibika policy workshop took place at the UNU campus in Bonn in June 2015. It brought together researchers, practitioners and politicians from Germany and Bangladesh to share recent findings and experience with the concept of livelihood resilience and research to action.

For the first time in the series of the Gibika seminars, project owners from external institutions such as KfW, BMZ etc. including decision makers also had the chance to present their experience of German-Bangladesh collaboration. The event, which was jointly organised by Munich Re Foundation, ICCCAD and UNU-EHS, aimed at initiating an annual meeting to further strengthen ties between relevant actors for and in Bangladesh. Special guest was the Head of Chancery and Counsellor to the Bangladesh Embassy in Germany, Mohammed Najmul Huda.

Senior Researcher Kees van der Geest and Project Manager Sonja Ayeb-Karlsson from “Gibika” gave an overview of recent project developments. Numerous interviews had been conducted with residents living on the frontline of natural disasters in Bangladesh. The aim was to further explore the vulnerability of local people. The dilemma for people at risk is acting appropriately in an emergency: leaving the home and belongings behind or evacuating to the cyclone shelter. This is a tough decision for some people, given that they might lose their basic source of income, such as boats, productive livestock or the like if they evacuate.

The German agency for international cooperation (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, GIZ), the University of Bonn, the Institute for Technology and Resource Management in the Tropics and Subtropics at the Cologne University of Applied Sciences (ITT), the KfW Group and others gave further insights into their specific efforts on the ground. Presentations ranged from research projects by several local and regional partners addressing climate change impacts, environmental stress and the role of key institutes in the country (cf. downloads on the right-hand side).

Important: resilience and vulnerability co-exist. One has to be aware that there may be undesirable implications of labelling communities as ‘resilient’ too early, as this may lead to a perception that they then no longer need support. Furthermore, focusing on resilience can cause us to lose sight of the root causes of vulnerability, such as inequality, and this should be avoided.


NSCH 16 July 2015