The Prairie Climate Centre opens its doors

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A joint initiative of the University of Winnipeg and the International Institute for Sustainable Development, the Centre will help governments, businesses and community members identify and anticipate risks, take advantage of emerging opportunities, build capacity, and enhance economic and environmental resilience to climate change.

The Prairie Climate Centre opened its doors in June 2015 as a response to the urgent need for planning capacity to adapt to the impact of climate change on the Canadian Prairies.

The Centre is much needed. Until now, adaptation planning and implementation on the Canadian prairies has been limited, making our economy, infrastructure, social systems and natural environments more vulnerable to the adverse consequences of our changing climate. And we have arrived at this point mainly due to a lack of resources and expertise available to planners, policy-makers and the general public.

The Prairie Climate Centre will address this gap. It will support the transition from knowledge to action by providing stakeholders in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta with up-to-date and high-quality data, maps and toolkits to understand climate risks and opportunities. It will also provide local governments, the private sector, civil society organizations and other practitioners with the practical information they need to engage in effective planned adaptation. For example, the Centre will provide detailed climate data and hydrological mapping that will better enable farmers, municipalities and governments to plan effectively for future floods and other extreme weather-related events.

The Centre be making the most of the best scientific, engineering, communication and planning capacities available to us on the Prairies to:

  • Engage different communities of practice on the relevance of climate change adaptation to their work and achievement of their future plans and goals.
  • Improve access to the knowledge and tools that relevant decision makers need to translate awareness into action.
  • Disseminate relevant best practice guidance to municipalities, industry and other practitioners so they can integrate climate adaptation considerations into their planning and decision-making processes.
  • Provide training opportunities to meet critical capacity needs.

Initial funding for the Centre has been provided by Great-West Life and the Government of Manitoba.