LET'S TALK RESILIENCE! was the theme of the third edition of the Australia-Netherlands Water Challenge. Building on two successful editions in previous years, the 2015 program was unique in many ways: more universities, more companies and mentors, a plenary session at the Floodplain Management Association National Conference, an award ceremony at Brisbane City Hall and a 3-week traineeship in the Netherlands for the winners!
The challenge focused on a key area in which Australia and the Netherlands want to work together which is to strengthen the resilience of their countries in the face of climate extremes, particularly floods and droughts. There is a great opportunity to learn from each other’s experiences given the similarities ánd differences between both countries.
For good reasons, Australia and the Netherlands have been responding to climate extremes in very different ways: Australia has been more focused on disaster preparedness and recovery while the Netherlands has focused more on prevention, i.e. keeping disaster out. As we have come to understand: neither approach is and will be sufficient. Both are needed - and more. Across all (new) measures that are being planned in both countries, there is one common theme between them: making their nations more resilient.
Few concepts have been more enthusiastically embraced in recent years than resilience and that's hardly surprising: the ability of people themselves – as individuals, as a community, as a society – to withstand and recover from adverse events and to emerge even stronger than before - is a very attractive and powerful notion. However, there is no easy recipe to building resilience.
In the 2015 program, we invited students and young professionals to come up with innovative and original ideas that can make a real contribution to strengthening resilience in Australia and/or the Netherlands.
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