Resilience Lab at COP26

Highlights from Resilience Lab

8 November 2021 | Glasgow, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Managing Transboundary Issues Equitably

The Resilience Lab is showcasing eight novel pathways which envision a global transition away from extractive economies towards a world where humanity and the biosphere co-exist in regenerative resilience. On Monday, 8 November, the Lab focused on its fifth pathway addressing transboundary issues. This pathway imagines a world where cooperation is promoted over competition, aiming to establish effective transboundary relationships that prioritize the regeneration of ecosystems spanning borders.

Tia Kansara, CEO of Replenish Earth, introduced the pathway and said humanity requires a conscious shift to recognize and restructure the boundaries which affect both the individual and the planet. She used game theory, which analyzes interactive behavioral strategies, to explain how societies transition from promoting individual gain to promoting planetary gain, which is crucial for impactful climate action. She asked participants how one can ensure that, in the competing forces of life, the planet always “wins.” Participants stressed the need to break the borders between different groups and collaborate. Using the tragedy of the commons as an illustration of boundary-related issues, she queried what it would take to be able to equitably govern communal spaces. Participants spoke about shifting self-centric mentalities to mutual thinking and including all stakeholders when managing resources.

The following session was a youth-led event moderated by Gail Sant, United Nations Association Climate and Ocean Youth Ambassador. The interactive event featured four stories from: Daniel Cáceres Bartra, Latin American Representative for the Sustainable Ocean Alliance; Dominica Una, Coordinator for the Women in Renewable Energy Association; Luciana Verastegui, Coordinator for the United Nation’s Youth Constituency’s Ocean Group; and Alexandria Villaseñor, Founder of Earth Uprising. They shared personal stories about how political borders, which are invisible in reality, have restricted them by complicating immigration statuses. They also highlighted the effects of unjust, extractive resource use. A storytelling segment was followed by a group discussion on the role of boundaries in a resilient world. Participants debated whether a world without boundaries could exist, with some suggesting they should exist to restrict excessive privilege, such as through wage caps, but stressing boundaries should be eliminated where they restrict vulnerable communities. The general discussions revolved around the need to create space for collaboration at a regional, national, and international level.

Youth speakers sharing their stories
Youth speakers sharing their stories

Vositha Wijenayake, Executive Director, Sri Lankan Youth Climate Action Network (SLYCAN) Trust, moderated a session exploring opportunities for transboundary collaboration. The panel consisted of: Adessou Kossivi, Regional Coordinator for the Global Network of Civil Society Organisations for Disaster Reduction (GNDR); Nigel Brook, Partner at Clyde and Co LLP; Stephen Reicher, University of St Andrews; and Kit Vaughan, Senior Climate Adviser at Save the Children UK. Discussing boundaries in a resilient world, panelists said that the capacity for solidarity should not be limited to geographic boundaries, lamenting that this is too often the case. Reicher highlighted the need for inclusion, pointing out that the ability to think of communities as a collective in an extended space is critical for global climate action. Panelists spoke about ways to build narratives around cooperation rather than competition, and the fundamental connection between human beings. Kossivi stressed the Resilience Lab’s core aim which underlines the need to fundamentally rethink our systems and find new ways of living where everyone has the space to contribute to the collective capacity to co-exist. Panelists spoke about addressing political division through scaling up transboundary partnerships and creating global democratic spaces where everyone feels able and safe to participate in solidarity.

Panel discussing opportunities for transboundary collaboration
The Panel discussing opportunities for transboundary collaboration. L-R: Adessou Kossivi, Regional Coordinator, GNDR; Nigel Brook, Partner at Clyde and Co LLP; Kit Vaughan, Senior Climate Adviser at Save the Children UK; and Stephen Reicher, University of St Andrews.

The final session considered an example of best practice aligned with the future-focused values. Resilience Frontiers calls these innovative projects “Bright Lights.” Gayle Schueller, Chief Sustainability Officer at 3M, shared her organization’s pledge to apply sustainable production methods throughout the company’s production and market bases.

Gayle Schueller, Chief Sustainability Officer at 3M
Gayle Schueller, Chief Sustainability Officer at 3M

Throughout the day, participants considered transboundary issues from different angles, with many zeroing in on the importance of inclusive collaboration. Exploring the foundations of the world’s functions, many participants at the Resilience Lab recognized that to create true climate action and move towards a resilient world, the “I” needs to shift to a “we,” bringing together the diverse knowledge and skillsets required to combat transboundary existential threats.

Participants’ reflections from the youth-led session
Participants’ reflections from the youth-led session

On Tuesday, 8 November, the Resilience Lab will discuss the sixth of the eight Resilience Frontiers pathways towards a regenerative future: applying a holistic, ecosystem-centered approach to optimise future health and wellbeing. The programme of events is as follows:

Resilience Lab Day 7 Programme of Events
Resilience Lab Day 7 Programme of Events

For more information about the Resilience Frontiers at COP 26, the programme of events and any updates, visit their website, and follow them on Twitter and Instagram.


National governments
Non-state coalitions