Major Research Project

Guidance for Resilience in the Anthropocene: Investments for Development (GRAID)

Project Leader(s): Prof Reinette (Oonsie) Biggs, Dr Rika Preiser, Dr Laura Pereira, Prof Scott Drimie (Food Systems), Dr Kristi Maciejewski, Luke Metelerkamp

Meeting development challenges in the face of social, political, and financial uncertainties and increasing global environmental risks and interacting social, economic and ecological shocks requires new approaches to development. There is increasing recognition that environmental sustainability is a prerequisite for poverty alleviation and moving towards equitable and prosperous societies and economies. Furthermore, it is clear that development strategies that are viable under turbulent and novel global conditions are needed. The combination of rising risks and the recognition that sustainability is key to development has resulted in a rising interest in integrating resilience as a core strategy of development actions across multiple sectors, scales and regions.

Resilience, as defined by Stockholm Resilience Centre and its global scientific networks, focuses on the integration of social and biophysical systems (the term social-ecological systems is often used), and the capacity to of social-ecological systems to support human wellbeing in the face of unexpected and surprising change. The GRAID program is a partnership between the Stockholm Resilience Centre in Sweden, and the Stellenbosch Hub in South Africa, consisting of the Centre for Complex Systems in Transition (CST) at Stellenbosch University, and the CSIR’s Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services group also based in Stellenbosch. GRAID will serve as a knowledge platform to streamline insights and the latest knowledge on resilience thinking and methods for assessing and approaches for building resilience, as a strategic support to the Global Resilience Partnership (GRP). The GRP is a novel approach to tackle existing and emerging challenges in the developing world, primarily in the Sahel, the Horn of Africa and in South East Asia. The GRAID program aims to support the GRP with relevant knowledge, capacity and global networks of experts.

The CST component of GRAID aims to advance knowledge and practice in four core areas: 1) Advancing social-ecological systems and resilience theory and methods, 2) understanding tipping points and regime shifts of relevance to developing regions, especially their impacts on ecosystem services and human well-being, 3) understanding and facilitating transformations to sustainability, focusing especially on transformations in regional food systems, and 4) building a regional community of practice in the southern African region in partnership with the Southern African Program on Ecosystem Change and Society (SAPECS,

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Collaborating Institutes