The concept of community resilience to climate change in the UK is multifaceted and comes with a wide range of associated activities. In order to build the evidence base and help support the development of community resilience to climate change, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has published a review of evidence and practice to explore this varied and contested field.
Community action on climate change in the UK is diverse, “but patchy and fragmented”, the report argues. The current ‘reactive approach’ by the government “focuses on direct shocks, both related and unrelated to climate change.” To be more effective and pro-active though, “governance of community action to build resilience to climate change requires a clear vision from central government of the role of local authorities as enablers of community action, alongside the voluntary sector and members of local communities.”
Effective governance of community action needs to be “in touch with local realities and linked into wider governance networks.” The report stresses that empowerment and engagement of citizens are vital – in order to “develop links and involve committed, confident, proactive stakeholders with a shared agenda.” Simply trying to use local communities as ‘delivery tools’ for top-down inititatives is unlikely to succeed. It is “a joined-up approach between grassroots and top-down interventions” that “can build longer-term community resilience and address the needs of communities more vulnerable to climate change.”