The conferences will focus on the state of the planet, ways to halt deforestation, protect coral reefs, avoid fish stock collapse, make food more healthy for both people and planet, and build climate resilient cities. Researchers will present new solutions to provide food, water and energy for a global population set to reach 10 billion by 2050.

World's centre for global sustainability

“For one week, Stockholm is the world’s centre for global sustainability,” says Professor Johan Rockström, director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University and an organiser of the Resilience 2017 conference.

“Our common heritage and every child’s birth right is a stable and resilient planet. This is the new global commons and it is now at risk. A single species, us, is altering Earth’s life support system in an uncontrolled experiment and time is running out,” he adds.

Politicians and society need urgent solutions

Dr Lisen Schultz, member of the Resilience 2017 scientific committee and researcher at the Stockholm Resilience Centre says, “Politicians and society need urgent solutions to a growing number of unprecedented planetary challenges, like climate change, biodiversity loss and soaring inequalities. This is why resilience science is one of the most rapidly expanding areas of research and Stockholm is a global hub of knowledge.”

Resilience 2017 is followed by the International Conference on Sustainability Science, a conference focusing on new approaches to solving humanity’s grand challenges. The conference is based around the research of Future Earth, a major international programme for global sustainability science.

Forum for scientists and decision makers

“We need scalable solutions fast. We have selected some of the most innovative ideas from around the globe on how to deal with sustainability challenges,” says Wendy Broadgate, director of Future Earth’s global hub in Sweden. “The conference is a forum for these ideas to be discussed among scientists and decision makers and turned into action.”

Armed conflicts, use of antibiotics and coral reefs on the programme

Conference highlights include:

  • A three-decade analysis of the links between armed conflicts globally, existing ethnic tensions within countries, and droughts and heatwaves and other climate factors. The researchers say, “about 23% of conflict outbreaks in ethnically highly fractionalized countries robustly coincide with climatic calamities.” (Jonathan Donges, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Potsdam, Germany and Stockholm Resilience Centre.)
  • Cold Turkey: after decades of overuse, dangerous bacteria are evolving to beat our strongest antibiotics. This is one of the most severe global threats facing our species. Stricter regulations on antibiotic use plus global awareness campaigns are essential to protect this essential global commons, say researchers. (Peter Søgaard Jørgensen, Stockholm Resilience Centre and Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics.)
  • Planetary health: individual health and the health of our planet are now intimately linked. Increasingly, evidence shows that a healthy diet is also good for the planet with reduced greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation and biodiversity loss. In fact, research shows that we can feed 9 billion people without further deforestation and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Not only that but people will be healthier, live longer and save money (Line Gordon, Stockholm Resilience Centre)
  • Can warm-water corals reefs survive in the 21st century? This is an open question. Researchers are exploring the safe limits of the world’s reefs and how to make them more resilient to the combined threats of rising temperatures, ocean acidification, pollution and overfishing. (Albert Norström, Stockholm Resilience Centre)
  • Future climate-proofing New York. In 2012, Hurricane Sandy devastated parts of New York City. About 130 square kilometres of the city went under water affecting 443,000 New Yorkers and killing 44.  Five years on, what have we learnt about how a mega city responds to a climate catastrophe? And will the new strategy be enough to increase resilience and reduce future risk? (Timon McPhearson, New School, NY and Stockholm Resilience Centre.)
  • SDG Labs. On 24 August, the outcomes of a series of Sustainable Development Goals Labs will be presented. The labs aim to solve a particular challenge, for example sustainable consumption and production, new financial systems for a sustainable planet, and how design influences behaviour. (Owen Gaffney, Stockholm Resilience Centre and Future Earth.)

Resilience conferences held on triennial basis

Following previous resilience conferences held on triennial basis since 2008, “Resilience 2017: Resilience Frontiers for Global Sustainability” takes place in Stockholm 20-23 August. More than 1000 participants from various scientific fields together with people from politics, business and NGOs, will gather to discuss resilience – the capacity to deal with change and continue to develop – as a key lens for the emerging field of sustainability science.

The international gathering will take place at the Stockholm Waterfront Congress Centre in the heart of the Swedish capital.

Keynote speakers include:

Brigitte Baptiste (Colombia), General Director of the Alexander von Humboldt Biological Resources Research Institute, Colombia. Educational backbone in biology and Latin American Studies.

Sundaa Bridgett-Jones (USA), Senior Associate Director, International Development, at The Rockefeller Foundation, where she leads initiatives that contribute to global discourse on international development trends.

Katrina Brown (UK), Professor of Social Science at the University of Exeter, working at the interface between international development, environmental change and resilience.

Marten Scheffer (Uruguay /the Netherlands), Professor, leads the Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management group at Wageningen University and the South American Institute for Resilience and Sustainability Studies’ SARAS.

Frances Westley (Canada), JW McConnell Chair in Social Innovation at the University of Waterloo, Canada. Her research focuses on the dynamics of social innovation, and institutional entrepreneurship in complex adaptive systems.

Johan Rockström (Sweden), Professor in Environmental Science at Stockholm University, and the Executive Director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre.

Carl Folke (Sweden), Professor and Science Director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre and the Director of the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

International Conference on Sustainability Science and Stockholm Act festival

During the same week, Stockholm Resilience Centre will also co-host the 7th International Conference on Sustainability Science (ICSS). It will be held in Stockholm, and be co-hosted with Future Earth, an international research initiative on global environmental change and sustainability transformations.

As a bridge between the two conferences, an Ideas and innovation forum on the 24th of August will feature results from a series of “Sustainable Development Goal Labs (SDG Labs)”. These labs have brought together participants from a range of research disciplines and sectors of society, including media and communications, to develop prototype solutions for complex problems connected to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Stockholm Resilience Centre will also be one of many contributors to the Stockholm Act festival - a week full of cultural activities linking science, arts and business, 21-27 August.