Building Resilience to Climate Change Courses (BRCC) Introduction

The 2015 summer courses will be delivered simultaneously in multiple UN-CECAR partner institutes such as Australia, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, India and Vietnam synchronized through the video conferencing tools.


The United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS), Tokyo, invites applications for the intensive three week postgraduate programme on Building Resilience to Climate Change. The courses have been developed under the framework of the University Network for Climate and Ecosystems Change Adaptation Research (UN-CECAR). UN-CECAR is a joint initiative of more than 20 leading universities across Asia. It is committed to developing postgraduate educational and research programmes on climate and ecosystems change, adaptation and sustainability science. UNU-IAS acts as the Secretariat for UN-CECAR.

The courses, conducted at UNU-IAS, cover a range of issues on sustainability and adaptation to climate and ecosystems change. Topics include climate and atmospheric science, impacts assessment, climate and society, ecosystems resilience, risk and uncertainty, integrated solutions for mitigation and adaptation, mainstreaming adaptation into development planning and community based adaptation.

The assessment will be based on a research paper, presentations, class participation, and intermediate tests. The courses are practically-oriented and will be taught by a highly qualified and diverse team of natural and social science scholars. Each course is equivalent to a regular 2 credit postgraduate course in Japan. Credits also can be transferred to the UNU-IAS Master of Science in Sustainability, Development, and Peace Programme.

Target applicants:

  • Students who are currently enrolled in a postgraduate programme, in any discipline;
  • who wish to deepen their knowledge on, and gain practical training in, building resilience to climate and ecosystems change; and
  • who desire a future career as a climate change specialist.


The current and likely future impacts of climate change are considered among the most important issues faced by human beings. Countries, regions, economic sectors and social groups differ in their degree of vulnerability to the impacts of climate change. People in least-developed and developing countries are among the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, yet have the least capacity to cope with those impacts. Rapid and holistic actions based on mutual understanding and international cooperation are required to address the vulnerability of these groups. Such actions should be focused on building the adaptive capacity and resilience of the most vulnerable so that they can adapt to the impacts of climate change in ways that minimize those impacts. In addition, integrated climate change mitigation efforts are required in various sectors in order to minimize the risk of dangerous rates of global warming and climate change.

The aim in this programme is to provide the foundations for developing future global leaders with the necessary breadth of understanding of the challenges and solutions to climate change, and with a commitment to mainstreaming climate change into decision and policy making in all sectors of our societies and economies. Such leaders will be committed to increasing the adaptive capacity and resilience to climate change of the most vulnerable countries, regions, economic sectors and social groups. The programme, provides students with an understanding of the fundamental science and impacts of climate change and of the context, key concepts and issues associated with vulnerability, adaptation and resilience. Special emphasis is placed on contemporary methodologies and approaches in the rapidly-developing field of climate change adaptation, especially in building community-based resilience to climate change.

Expected competencies/learning outcomes:

  • Understanding of the science and impacts of climate change.
  • Understanding of the key issues, context and concepts of adaptation and resilience.
  • Understanding of methodologies and approaches in climate change adaptation.
  • Resilience competencies in climate change-relevant contexts, including teamwork, communication and problem solving.
  • Ability to synthesize multi-disciplinary information and develop problem solving strategies using integrative approaches and systems thinking.

Course Information

Each course will run for three weeks from a given date in June/July given below. Course I focuses on Science, Impacts and Vulnerability, and Course II focuses on Approaches to Adaptation.

  • Course I start date: 14 July 2015
  • Course II start date: 27 July 2015 (Change may occur!)

Students who successfully complete the course will be awarded a certificate of completion and a transcript from UNU-IAS. Each course is designed to be worth 2 credits and comprises of 36 hours of teaching time. While a number of universities have negotiated credit transfer agreements with UNU-IAS, ultimately the decision on whether credits are transferrable will be made by the student’s university. Please note that the topics listed below may be subject to change.

Course Description

Daily Schedule

There will be one, two or three sessions of courses each weekday:

  • India, Sri Lanka: 07:00–09:00, 10:00–12:00 and 12:30–14:30 hours
  • Indonesia, Thailand: 08:30–10:30, 11:30–13:30 and 14:00–16:00 hours
  • Australia, Malaysia: 09:30–11:30, 12:30–14:30 and 15:00–17:00 hours
  • Japan: 10:30–12:30, 13:30–15:30 and 16:00–18:00 hours

Faculty and Learning Environment

Students will benefit from working closely with an expert teaching faculty comprising distinguished UN-CECAR scholars and practitioners, and UNU-IAS academic staff. Because it shares a building with many UN agencies, UNU-IAS offers a unique learning environment.

The UNU Library offers access to a wide range of academic books, over 10,000 electronic journals, World Bank and OECD publications, and official UN documents. All students will receive a comprehensive library orientation session at the beginning of the course.

An online learning tool will be provided for students to access lecture notes, reading lists and other materials specific to each course, as well as a message board and forum to facilitate discussion among faculty and students.


Admission details are available on and applicants can apply at