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Aims and vision

Resilience, as the capacity to deal with change and continue to develop, relates to ecological dynamics and governance questions associated to specific resource systems (agroecosystems, fisheries, forests, rangelands, marine and freshwater ecosystems), and to global issues such as biodiversity conservation, urban growth, economic development, human security and well- being. Human societies are an integral part of the biosphere and sustainable social development depends on the continuous generation of essential ecosystem services. Thus ecosystems change is often considered as one factor decreasing social and ecological resilience. over the past century we have entered a new era where human activities have emerged as a main force shaping the biosphere from local to global scales, as reflected by climate change, vulnerability in the economic system, large losses of biodiversity, and irreversible changes in ecosystems.

This is also a time of unprecedented development challenges: intransigent poverty and inequality constitute a major threat to human welfare and to planetary sustainability. There is an increasing interest in the transformability of social ecological systems i.e., the capacity of society to change the system’s state variables when current trajectories become untenable. But a critical dilemma faces humankind: how can more equitable and beneficial social development paths be stimulated in light of these challenges?

The objective of resilience 2014 is to explore and reinforce the multiple links between resilience thinking and development issues. The concepts of adaptation, Transformation and development are central and common to several research communities, including resilience in social and ecological systems, ecological economics, environmental change, Farming Systems (among others). Besides, the term resilience is now being used more widely in policy circles and policy debates. Beyond the academic sphere, business and development communities are increasingly using the resilience concept in their discourses. By now they have built their own sets of notions and practices of resilience, although these meanings sometimes may be at odds with scientific interpretations of resilience. Focusing on resilience, but firmly rooted in the belief that a diversity of approaches can inform each other, the conference will offer the opportunity to articulate and debate their specific paradigms, concepts and methodologies. complex problems require diverse approaches that can generate a constructive debate, and eventually lead to more suitable solutions.

During this conference the diverse perspectives on resilience held by representatives from government, large international organizations, the business sector and other major actors from various countries will add to the academic debate on the challenges facing social development.

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