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International research initiative on adaptation to climate change announces research awards

Ottawa, Canada, June 2, 2011 The International Development Research Centre (IDRC) together with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) today announce that five research teams have been awarded a total of $12.5 million dollars under the International Research Initiative on Adaptation to Climate Change (IRIACC).

Each team will receive $2.5 million over five years to study how best to protect people, communities and vital economic sectors, like agriculture and tourism, that are most at risk from the effects of climate change. Two teams will focus specifically on vulnerable indigenous populations. Together, the research projects, which will take place in Canada and in developing countries across four continents, aim to address an important gap in our climate change knowledge, namely, how to anticipate, manage, and reduce climate risk vulnerability through adaptation.

The five successful research teams were selected through a rigorous peer-review process. Their projects and respective team leads are:

Coastal Cities at Risk: Building Adaptive Capacity for Managing Climate Change in Coastal Megacities
Anond Snidvongs, Chulalongkorn University and Southeast Asia START Regional Research Center, Thailand
Gordon McBean, University of Western Ontario, Canada

Adapting to Climate Change: Protecting Water Resources in West Africa and Canada
Driss Ouazar, Universit Mohammed V Agdal, Maroc
Taha Ouarda, Institut national de la recherche scientifique, Canada

Partnership for Canada-Caribbean Community Climate Change Adaptation
Murray Simpson, the CARIBSAVE Partnership, Barbados
Daniel Scott, University of Waterloo, Canada

Indigenous Health Adaptation to Climate Change
Alejandro Llanos, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Peru
Shuaib Lwasa, Makerere University, Uganda
James Ford, McGill University, Canada
Lea Berrang Ford, McGill University, Canada

Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Extremes in the Americas
Fernando Santibaez, Universidad de Chile, Chile
David J. Sauchyn, University of Regina, Canada

In announcing the awards, the presidents at the four organizations commented:

"Africa, the Arctic, and other vulnerable regions face an urgent need to adapt to such effects as rising sea levels, extreme weather events, drought and desertification," says IDRC President David M. Malone. "This initiative will help determine how vulnerable populations in Canada and in developing countries can best cope with changes to their health, environments, and livelihoods."

"Aboriginal peoples are particularly at risk, and this initiative offers an opportunity for researchers to combine Western scientific methods with traditional indigenous knowledge," says CIHR President Alain Beaudet. "Research is urgently needed to help these vulnerable populations adapt and even improve their lives in the face of climate change."

"SSHRC-funded researchers have helped build a strong foundation of Canadian innovation and expertise on the human dimension of climate change," says SSHRC President Chad Gaffield. "This international collaboration will enable us to develop new knowledge and capabilities in key areas, as well as to enhance the contributions of social sciences and humanities research to meeting the needs of Canadian and developing communities in the process of adaptation to a changing environment."

"The knowledge and expertise of NSERC-funded researchers will play a key role in finding solutions to the environmental changes that affect the most vulnerable communities in Canada and around the world," says NSERC President Suzanne Fortier. "By collaborating on an international scale, these researchers will be able to strengthen efforts that will ultimately lead to the effective management of, and adaptation to, a changing environment."


Contact: Isabelle Bourgeault-Tasse
International Development Research Center

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