New centre for climate risk reduction on the Prairies

The centre will focus on building 
community resilience

The University of Winnipeg and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) are forming a centre to identify risks and build community resilience to climate change.

The Centre for Climate Risk Reduction on the Prairies will be a network offering research, advice and policy development to governments, businesses and community members on the pressing and increased impacts of climate change, an IISD release says.

Until now, adaptation planning and implementation has been limited, increasing the vulnerability of our economy, infrastructure, social systems and natural environments to the adverse consequences of a changing climate, the release said. A tangible example of the co-ordinated research the centre will provide includes detailed climate data and mapping to allow farmers, municipalities and governments to plan more effectively for floods and other weather-related events.

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“University of Winnipeg’s Richardson College is establishing itself as a centre of excellence in applied research and policy in climate change, including climate change mitigation and adaptation,” said Annette Trimbee, president and vice-chancellor, University of Winnipeg. “Working together with government, industry and leading environmental organizations, we can mobilize knowledge to develop relevant public policy and real-world solutions.”

Scott Vaughan, president and CEO of IISD said climate change is presenting unprecedented challenges worldwide, from record-breaking droughts in some regions to increased flooding and severe storms in others.

“There is an urgent need to understand the impacts of climate change at scale in communities and sectors, and to design and implement adaptation plans,” he said. “The centre will work with Manitobans to craft the solutions they need to respond to these challenges, helping to bolster our resilience now and in the future.”

Great-West Life is the first donor to support establishment of the centre, pledging $250,000 over the next five years.

The centre is expected to be up and running by the fall.

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