The United Nations has been the major international body that has researched and documented global challenges and needs. Most recently 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), were developed, following the 2015 deadline of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
These SDGs challenge its 193 member countries to transform the world by unifying under a common agenda on sustainable development (UN, 2015). The challenges, most of which are exacerbated by a changing climate, range from poverty and hunger to clean water and energy concerns. The goal is to overcome these challenges by the year 2030.
Therefore, using these global challenges as our basis, the Center of GRS will work on building resilient communities by focusing on the four inter- related themes of water, infrastructure, energy, and climate, over the first few years of the Center’s tenure.
These themes offer an opportunity to encourage collaboration not only across the schools in Norwich’s College of Professional Studies (CoPS), but also across the university with faculty experts in allied areas as we consider not only the environmental and economical resilience in view of climate change impacts, but also the political, psychological, and sociological considerations in our designs and solutions.
The Center for Global Resilience and Security intends to fulfill a niche; that of including security in the same context as climate change. A number of departments, institutions, and centers research climate change impacts from various perspectives, but Norwich is uniquely positioned, to take on this complex challenge because of the following factors:
- The nature of our institution, partners, and student body, where service, and leadership are ingrained, and where academic silos and bureaucratic processes are This allows for ease of collaboration and quick and timely action on pressing matters.
- Leaders like our first Distinguished Leader in Residence, GEN Gordon R. Sullivan, who are not only able to envision climate change impacts beyond the traditional scientific ones, but have the connections and perspectives to help the Center and Norwich engage in the necessary research activities and make them available to the global communities that seek climate resilient solutions.
- Expertise within the College of Professional Schools (CoPS) in areas ranging from legal and technical water quality/quantity, SCADA systems, smart grid, transportation systems, sustainable and resilient construction, on both large and small scales, to health, finance, business, innovation, entrepreneurship, etc.
Resilient Vermont Network (RVT) Coordination
The Center for Global Resilience and Security (CGRS) is taking over the role of coordinating the Resilient Vermont Network from the Institute of Sustainable Communities (ISC). Norwich University co-hosted the first Resilient Vermont Conference with ISC in May 2016.
There are three aspects to our role:
- Serve as the point of contact for the various entities interested in or doing resilience work in the state. The CGRS website will be set up to provide the most current information on various resilience initiatives, talks, funding opportunities, as well as collaborative research or educational activities across resilience happening primarily in the state but also outside Vermont, based on the information provided by the various groups in the network, including state agencies, non-governmental organizations, and others.
- Offer professional development events on CGRS themes, and host relevant conferences, such as the 2016 RVT conference that Norwich University cohosted with ISC. In April 2017, CGRS will host Vermont’s Community Resilience Officers (CROs) for a day of information exchange and professional workshops.
- Create an Academic Resilience Collaborative (ARC) within the RVT network to bring together teachers, researchers, and students, across Vermont’s educational campuses, interested in resilience related work.