23 December 2009

Shaping Australia’s Resilience: Policy Development for Uncertain Futures

Conference to be held at Australian National University, 18-19 February 2010

From Australia21 conference announcement:

'Resilience is rapidly gaining attention in government, industry and academia all over the world. What does it mean and why is it important? How will it impact on the decisions made in the private, public and community sectors in coming decades?

Briefly stated, resilience is the capacity of complex systems to respond to external shocks and insults without losing their essential functions and identity. This capacity is not a fixed entity, and resilience can be lost or enhanced in various ways, including changes in the composition of the system. The concept is increasingly being applied to man-made and social systems, having grown from new understandings about complex adaptive systems, many of which have come from the natural world.

Resilience is not always a good thing. Sometimes a complex system needs to adapt and transform in response to external shock. Better understanding of complex systems, feedback loops and resilience thinking is urgently needed as the human world confronts the interwoven challenges of overpopulation, climate change, peak oil, and the fragility of man-made economic systems.

Australia 21 has in recent year’s undertaken exploratory work on the application of resilience thinking to Australian society. Several Australia 21 publications have laid the groundwork for this first national conference, which will bring thinkers, researchers and policy makers together to determine how a resilience lens can help to build a brighter future in deeply uncertain times.
For this first meeting we have invited experts and thinkers from many domains of Australian life and from overseas to assist policymakers at all levels of Australian society to develop their ideas on the application of resilience thinking. We expect that one outcome of the meeting will be the development of a set of principles that are widely understood and shared as a policy basis for our future as a nation.

The four parallel workshops on Day 2 of the conference will be an opportunity for policy makers who are relatively new to the resilience concept, to explore with others the application of resilience thinking to their own field of expertise.'

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