Accelerated climate change and increasing climate variability present very serious global risks that demand an urgent global response (Stern, 2006). The risk types likely to occur are known, but only in broad terms. That they are produced by human action is accepted (IPCC, 2007). But their scale, severity, longevity and frequency are not known. The risks generated by climate change and increasing variability can be termed ‘produced unknowns’, driven by human actions and, at this juncture, with unknown outcomes. Produced unknowns are a category of ‘wicked problems’ where answers are incomplete, contradictory and set against changing requirements (Richey, 2007). There
are no direct solutions to the problems of produced unknowns. But there are approaches that can build effective responses to produced unknowns. That shift is to a focus on preparedness which requires recognition of the need for change and a change in mindset and behaviour. It is the nature of the shifts and the principles needed to shape the process that are evaluated in this paper. The threat to global welfare is real and there is recognition within the sustainable development, climate change and risk reduction discourses of their common interest in risk reduction. What is lacking is a unifying conceptual approach. Resilience can be used as a tool for policy development for effective and comprehensive responses to produced
unknowns. Resilience is not argued as a paradigm but as a tool or common reference point. Conceptually, resilience can be used to develop a set of principles for building responses to produced unknowns. Adaptation is the starting point for this process.
KOMAL RAJ ARYAL and ZAINA GADEMA
Newcastle, United Kingdom