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New Centre for Climate Risk Reduction on the Prairies to be established

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WINNIPEG—June 23 2015—The University of Winnipeg and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) are pleased to announce a new joint initiative—The Centre for Climate Risk Reduction on the Prairies.

This new initiative will be a network offering research, advice and policy development to governments, businesses and community members on the pressing and increased impacts of climate change. The goal is to identify and anticipate risks to increase community resilience to climate change.

The Centre is much needed. Until now, adaptation planning and implementation has been limited, increasing the vulnerability of our economy, infrastructure, social systems and natural environments to the adverse consequences of a changing climate. A tangible example of the coordinated research the Centre will provide includes detailed climate data and mapping to allow farmers, municipalities and governments to plan more effectively for floods and other weather-related events.

“UWinnipeg’s Richardson College is establishing itself as a centre of excellence in applied research and policy in climate change, including climate change mitigation and adaptation,” said Dr. Annette Trimbee, President and Vice-Chancellor, UWinnipeg. “Working together with government, industry and leading environmental organizations, we can mobilize knowledge to develop relevant public policy and real-world solutions.”

“Climate change is presenting unprecedented challenges worldwide, from record breaking droughts in some regions to increased flooding and severe storms in others.  There is an urgent need to understand the impacts of climate change at scale in communities and sectors, and to design and implement adaptation plans.  The Centre will work with Manitobans to craft the solutions they need to respond to these challenges, helping to bolster our resilience now and in the future.  We are very grateful to Great-West Life for their support of the establishment of this Centre,” said Scott Vaughan, President-CEO of IISD.

Great-West Life is the first donor to support establishment of the Centre, pledging $250,000 over the next five years. The company made a contribution of $75,000 in 2004/05 to help set up IISD’s Innovation Fund, established to allow IISD researchers to nurture their creativity and develop projects outside of the realms of their traditional research.

“Alongside our own efforts to manage the environmental impact of our operations, we’re pleased to support IISD as it coordinates a broad risk-management response to the complex issues around climate change,” said Paul Mahon, President and Chief Executive Officer of Great-West Lifeco Inc. “Our new funding is intended to spur debate, dialogue and innovation to inform insights and action around climate change.”

"Manitoba has long valued research based solutions and risk mitigation actions," said Premier Greg Selinger. "Our government is committed to working with all parties to support the establishment of this new centre."

The intent is that the Centre for Climate Risk Reduction on the Prairies will be operational in the fall of 2015 -- subject to approval by The University of Winnipeg's Senate and Board of Regents.

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About the International Institute for Sustainable Development

Established in 1990, the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is a non-partisan, charitable organization specializing in policy research and analysis, and information exchange. Through their head office in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and their branches in Ottawa, New York, Geneva and Beijing, the Institute champions sustainable development around the world through innovation, partnerships, research and communications. It is dedicated to engaging decision-makers in business, government, non-government organizations and academia on issues around economic and legal frameworks, energy and climate change, water, resilience, and knowledge.

About UWinnipeg’s Richardson College for the Environment

The Richardson College for the Environment at the University of Winnipeg is, by design, a place where people and ideas converge to address some of the most important issues of the day, especially those related to the frequently overlapping issues of urban environments, climate change, Indigenous development, water resources and the North. It is home to Institute of Urban Studies, the Department of Indigenous Studies, the CN Indigenous Resource Centre, offices of the Masters in Development Practice program, the Cisco Innovation Centre, two Canada Research Chairs, and a number of externally-funded projects. It is the home base for the Prairie Regional Adaptation Collaborative (PRAC) funded by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), and also a variety of federally-and provincially-funded projects evaluating the nature and impact of climate change in the prairie provinces, with emphasis on the development of appropriate and adaptation strategies.  It is a frequent host and sponsor for special lectures and workshops, and in 2014 it was host to the University’s inaugural Research Chair in Environmental Sciences through the Fulbright Scholarship program (Dr. Stephanie Kane of the University of Indiana Bloomington).

About Great-West Life

Great-West Life, together with subsidiaries London Life and Canada Life, offers a broad portfolio of financial and benefit plan solutions, and serves the financial security needs of more than 12 million people across Canada. Responsible and ethical management is an intrinsic value of the companies and is essential to long-term profitability and value creation. As an Imagine Caring Company supporting the principles of corporate citizenship and benchmarks for community investment established by Imagine Canada, the companies donate a minimum of one per cent of average pre-tax profits to non-profit, charitable and community organizations each year.

Learn more about the organization’s corporate social responsibility.


About the International Institute for Sustainable Development

Established in 1990, the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is a non-partisan, charitable organization specializing in policy research and analysis, and information exchange. Through their head office in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and their branches in Ottawa, New York, and Geneva, the Institute champions sustainable development around the world through innovation, partnerships, research and communications. It is dedicated to engaging decision-makers in business, government, non-government organizations and academia on issues around economic and legal frameworks, energy and climate change, water, resilience, and knowledge.

For more information, please contact: Sumeep Bath at sbath@iisd.ca or +1 (204) 958 7700 ext. 740

IISD contributes to sustainable development by advancing policy recommendations on international trade and investment, economic policy, climate change and energy, natural and social capital, and the enabling role of communication technologies in these areas.