Research, outreach and resilience during the pandemic – EPICC 2020 highlights

01.02.2021 - EPICC News: In this article we present how EPICC adapted to the new realities posed by COVID-19 pandemic and highlight research, outreach and capacity building work of the project in 2020.
Research, outreach and resilience during the pandemic – EPICC 2020 highlights
Image: EPICC

2020 has been a challenging year, forcing people across the globe to adapt to new realities. Research and outreach activities of the EPICC project were also inevitably affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in various ways. In-person scientific exchange activities such as research stays, for example, had to be put on hold, the same is true for workshops and meetings in the partner countries. This was challenging at times since EPICC’s work is based on collaboration with stakeholders in our three partner countries Tanzania, Peru and India, with the goal to co-produce user-oriented climate services to better adapt to climate change. Whenever possible, activities were conducted online and we found new ways to communicate and collaborate, both internally and externally.

While we value these experiences along with the fact that we could rely on our strong international network, there are limits to what can be achieved in online formats. Furthermore, the ongoing pandemic left little room for exchange on climate change adaptation with political partners. Despite these challenges, the team of EPICC that consists of about 17 scientists from diverse fields, has been able to achieve remarkable results in its research and outreach in 2020.

Here are some of the highlights of EPICC’s work in 2020:

  • In April 2020, EPICC was invited by the Peruvian Ministry of Environment (MINAM) to contribute scientific evidence on climate risks in Peru to the development of the country’s National Adaptation Plan (NAP). The exchange continued with a training on climate change and migration conducted by EPICC PhD candidate Jonas Bergmann in July. The training, part of the ongoing consultation for Peru's Action Plan on Climate Migration and the NAP, brought together 40 staff members from three Peruvian ministries and was the second training workshop conducted on the topic in Peru. The first training workshop on climate migration in 2019 was addressed to 15 diplomats from 12 Latin American countries, including Peru.
  • In December, EPICC and its Indian project partner, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), organized a webinar as part of the Adaptation Futures 2020 Webinar Series, which explored the linkages between climate change, adaptation and migration. The panel discussion with key experts from UNHCR, IDMC, IOM, NIUA and PIK provided valuable insights on the implications of climate change on affected communities and their adaptation challenges.
  • Another December highlight was an online climate visualization workshop held by the visualization working group of EPICC together with Tanzanian partners. The session addressed scientists and public stakeholders in climate and agricultural sectors and their needs for climate information. The working group presented integrated visualization prototype for Tanzania based on the web portal, introduced climate data available for Tanzania, and trained the participants to access and analyse the data based on three exemplary tasks.

Despite travel restrictions, EPICC also remained in close contact with its Advisory Board Members in Tanzania, Peru and Germany. The country-specific Advisory Boards support the project in context-sensitive planning, research and outreach. The Boards consist of 7-11 members with diverse areas of expertise, including public policy, research and development cooperation, who have project-relevant insights on climate impacts. EPICC’s Advisory Board meetings in 2020 took place online. The Members of the Advisory Boards and the EPICC team discussed research progress, possible cooperation modes in times of the global pandemic with regards to scientific cooperation, strengthening science-policy networks for policy advice, capacity building and knowledge transfer.

All in all, EPICC was able to remain in contact with its network and the team has learnt to adapt to the COVID-19 crisis. We are reassured that any global crisis demands rapid action and new solutions and cannot be resolved without strong commitment. More than ever, we are driven by the objective to strengthen resilience against disruptive weather phenomena and climate change at national, regional and local level in our partner countries. We are very thankful for the efforts of our team members and partners and looking forward to contribute to better adaptation solutions in times of climate change.

For further information please contact:

EPICC Project Management