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The short course on navigating climate risk is a CSAG annual winter tradition. It was therefore a huge disappointment that we were unable to present a course in 2022, and I was determined to make sure that 2023’s course was a success! After a grueling selection process, 17 participants were invited to join us for five days at the University of Cape Town to explore the diverse elements of climate risk. The participants hailed from a variety of sectors, including independent environmental consulting, research, market analysis, farming, and agriculture. The structure and content of the course was developed collaboratively by the CSAG team, facilitated with input from 13 highly knowledgeable and valued lecturers from UCT. The course took place from 17 to 21 July 2023 in the Department of Environmental and Geographical Science (EGS).

Some of the areas of study included the physical climate system; sources of climate information and data; climate services and coproduction; climate risk, adaptation and mitigation; climate risk and vulnerability assessments; climate resilient development pathways; and climate justice and equity. In addition to these topics, participants were treated to thought-provoking sessions on ethics, values and choices, and dealing with uncertainty. The week was surely not for the faint-hearted!

The participants were not mere passengers on this learning journey but active participants, engaging in activities, discussions, group work, interactive exercises, Q&A sessions, and case study presentations. The diverse group encouraged thought-provoking and interesting conversations as each participant brought with them a wealth of knowledge and experience that enriched the learning experience of both the participants and the CSAG team.

Our lovely gala dinner was held on the cold and wet Tuesday evening at Quay 4 restaurant at the V&A Waterfront. The lively group connected well in the relaxed (and well-heated) atmosphere inside the restaurant. Socialising over delicious food is always a great way to encourage people to get to know each other and allow them to engage in conversations in a relaxed atmosphere. One of the main highlights of the week was the presentations by the participants on the last day of the course. The presentations were a collaboration of the tasks that they had worked on throughout the week. These tasks were solved as groups and were based on their assigned case studies. The presentations were all thoughtfully developed and thoroughly appreciated.

At the end of the course each participant filled in an anonymous evaluation form. The evaluation results were carefully considered as it provides us with valuable information on how to improve the course for next year. We are very aware of the dynamic nature of the course and allow participants to guide us toward providing them with a rich and fulfilling experience.
Here is what some of them had to say:

“Facilitators are very knowledgeable and passionate about the subject. It was lovely to learn from them.”

“I was able to learn strategies used to navigate climate risk, and also build new relations with colleagues for future collaborations.”

“The issue of ethics and values was really thought-provoking. It made me to assess myself as a researcher, and decide on the kind of individual I would like to be in relation with my work.”

I am super excited and wait in anticipation for the next course. Hope to see you there!

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