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The Resilience Dialogues: Connecting Communities with Scientists and Practitioners

A new beta online consultative service will help communities find, use, and understand information, tools, and programs to support their climate-resilience needs.

Communities across the Nation and around the world are increasingly seeking to develop and implement strategies that enhance their resilience to the impacts of a changing climate. Effective climate-resilience strategies require place-based and sector-specific scientific information on potential risks and opportunities posed by increasing climate variability and change. The Obama Administration has worked extensively with State, local, and Tribal decision makers, businesses, non-profit, and philanthropic entities to develop climate-information products and technical assistance. Given the number and diversity of technical and programmatic resources now available, communities often struggle to know which resources are most relevant to them, what information to use, and how best to use scientific information to manage climate risks and inform investments and other decisions.

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy is announcing the launch of a public-private collaboration designed to address this need. Today, a diverse set of private, governmental, academic, and non-profit collaborators are launching a beta version of the Resilience Dialogues, an online service that allows community leaders to engage in facilitated, expedited, and tailored consultations with scientists, resilience practitioners, and other subject-matter experts.

This service was developed over the past year through a collaborative co-design process among Federal agencies, local governments, and civil society. The service uses an online platform, developed by Massachusetts’s Institute of Technology’s Climate CoLab, to provide customized consultation to communities seeking support in climate assessment and resilience planning. It builds on the proven success of online consultation services in other fields, including medicine and education.

The Resilience Dialogues is a public-private collaboration led by a team of climate-resilience practitioners from Federal agencies and civil society. It will be co-managed by the American Geophysical Union (AGU) and the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP). 

In the spring of 2016, the Resilience Dialogues team ran a series of pilots with five communities in the United States: Coral Gables, FL; Dubuque, IA; Knoxville, TN; Minneapolis, MN; and the Mid-America Regional Council/Kansas City Metro Area, MO. Scientists and other subject matter experts from more than 22 public and private organizations worked with these communities in a set of facilitated online dialogues. These dialogues helped each community define its own resilience challenges; explore the economic, social, and environmental risks of increasing climate variability and change; and identify the resources that can be applied to address on-the-ground challenges. The beta version of the Resilience Dialogues, being announced today, is based on the successes and lessons learned from these initial pilots. 

This beta service is being rolled out with the support of the Kresge Foundation and in coordination with a number of community-based networks. The service will initially be available to communities in these networks, with the goal moving forward to expand the service to all communities interested in participating in a dialogue. Interested communities and leaders can submit their interest in participation by visiting the Resilience Dialogues website

We encourage you to explore this new service and see how you can get involved.

Amy Luers is Assistant Director for Climate Resilience and Information at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Mike Kuperberg is the Executive Director of the U.S. Global Change Research Program.