International Seminar on Response Diversity

As we enter an era of unprecedented turbulence at the planetary level, we urgently need to rethink our crisis management theories, principles, and practices to be fit for purpose in the twenty-first century.

The way we respond to threats to our society is no longer enough for an interconnected, globalised and rapidly changing world. As crises become more complex, their effects can cascade and ripple to all parts of society, the economy, and the environment. They overlap and amplify each other. Their effects are not limited to specific geographical regions or sectors of society, and many continue indefinitely.

Based on the latest scientific evidence, leading experts from across Europe — including the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors to the European Commission — argue that response diversity is one of the key measures needed now.

Response diversity is an important component of resilience and represents the range of different options available to respond to disruptions and threats in general. This is a challenging concept in times when societies often strive to increase efficiency by removing redundancies — but in a dynamic and uncertain world, redundancies and diversity provide multiple options for responding to new and unexpected crises.

The purpose of the event is to discuss how the European Union and its member states could develop proactive measures to deal with multiple and interacting crises, and how the concept of response diversity could be interpreted and implemented in European policy.

Participation in the hybrid seminar is free for European and international policy makers of all levels, professionals active in crisis management and prevention, civil society representatives and academics. For more information Contact Us.

Co-organised by the Environment & Development Resource Centre, the Scientific Advice Mechanism to the European Commission and the Stockholm Resilience Centre

With the participation of the Brussels Dialogue on Climate Diplomacy and GLOBE European Union

Date and Time: 15 November 2023 - 13:00-17:30

Venue: To be announced

Programme: Forthcoming

Background Material:

Books, Papers and Reports 

“Maui fires could taint the island’s waters”. Scientists are investigating Researchers in Hawaii are studying the deadly blazes’ effects on drinking-water quality and how they might affect local marine ecosystems. By Jeff Tollefson, Nature, 30 August 2023 

Hill, Alice, “The Age of Climate Disaster Is Here: Preparing for a Future of Extreme Weather”, Foreign Affairs, 25 August 2023

Samuel R. P.-J. Ross, Owen L. Petchey, Takehiro Sasaki, David W. Armitage, “How to measure response diversity”, Methods in Ecology and Evolution, British Ecological Society, Volume 14, Issue 5, May 2023, First published, 21 March 2023 

Walker et al., “Response Diversity as a Sustainability Strategy”, Nature Sustainability, 30 January 2023 

SAPEA Evidence Review Report and Scientific opinion from the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors to the European Commission  “Strategic crisis management in the EU”, 22 November 2022 

M. Nyström, J.-B. Jouffray, A. V. Norström, B. Crona, P. Søgaard Jørgensen, S. R. Carpenter, Ö. Bodin, V. Galaz & C. Folke, Anatomy and resilience of the global production ecosystem Nature volume 575, pages 98–108, 6 November 2019

Hill, Alice C. and Martinez-Diaz, Leonardo, “Building a Resilient Tomorrow: How to Prepare for the Coming Climate Disruption” Oxford University Press, November 2019

Lozano Basanta, Juan Alfonso, “Disaster Risk Reduction contribution to Peacebuilding programmes”, Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Theology, Department of Theology, Student thesis, 2014 

Thomas Elmqvist, Carl Folke, Magnus Nyström, Garry Peterson, Jan Bengtsson, Brian Walker and Jon Norberg, Response Diversity, Ecosystem Change, and Resilience, Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, Vol. 1, No. 9 (Nov., 2003), pp. 488-494 (7 pages) 

News Articles and Interviews 

“Tested in Greece’s Fires: An Emergency Force for 27 Countries” The European Union deployed firefighters and equipment in what could be a preview of how it handles disasters linked to climate change”, By Matina Stevis-Gridneff, New York Times, 30 August 2023 

“The next pandemic could strike crops, not people: Genetic uniformity is central to modern farming. It leaves us vulnerable to plant disease breakouts.”, by Saima Sidik, GRIST, 22 August 2023 

“Strategic Crisis Management in the EU: How to be ready for wildfires?” with Professor Thomas Elmqvist, SAPEA Communications, YouTube, 24 July 2023 

Interview with Mr. Alfonso Lozano Basanta, Coordinator of the Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) in the European Commission in the context of the Militaries for Civil(Ian) Emergencies - M4CE Project, Foundation for Global Governance and Sustainability (FOGGS), YouTube, 20 November 2021 

Official Documents 

JOINT COMMUNICATION TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL: A new outlook on the climate and security nexus: Addressing the impact of climate change and environmental degradation on peace, security and defence, HIGH REPRESENTATIVE OF THE UNION FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND SECURITY POLICY, European Commission, 28 June 2023 

“The EU Strategic Compass”, European Economic and Social Committee, Adopted on 25 January 2023 

United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (2023). GAR Special Report: Measuring Resilience for the Sustainable Development Goals. Geneva. 

Statement from the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies “Values in times of crisis: Strategic crisis management in the EU” Directorate General for Research and Innovation, European Commission, 2022 


Response Diversity Network The aims of the Response Diversity Network currently include: To organise and accelerate scientific advances about response diversity; To promote the inclusion of response diversity in the monitoring and assessment of biodiversity and ecosystem change; and To provide clear and accessible information about response diversity to relevant individuals and organisations.