Extreme Events - Building Climate Resilient Societies

Herrenhausen Palace
Researchers and Professionals

The relations between climate extremes and sustainable development goals will be discussed at the Herrenhausen Conference on October 9-11, 2019, in Hannover, Germany.

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At the Herrenhausen Conference international experts discussed how development towards reaching the SDGs may enhance societal resilience against climates extremes. (Photo: Nirut Sangkeaw- stock.adobe.com)
International experts discuss how development towards reaching the SDGs may enhance societal resilience against climates extremes. (Photo: Nirut Sangkeaw- stock.adobe.com)

Link to conference documentation

Extreme climate events, such as heatwaves, droughts and storms, have been identified as a top threat to human well-being by the United Nations and independent bodies, such as the World Economic Forum. At the same time, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been globally agreed on as a key target with a timeline until 2030 (Agenda 2030).

Development and transformation for achieving the SDGs can be severely threatened by catastrophic events triggered by climate extremes. Yet, at the same time development towards reaching the SDGs may enhance societal resilience against such extremes. There is an urgent need to discuss strategies to reach the Sustainable Development Goals and societal resilience, specifically considering changes of climate extremes which are likely to happen according to repeated reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Thus, the overall objective of the conference is to elucidate the relations between climate extremes, societal resilience, and sustainable development goals. In particular, with a global perspective, we will identify the major obstacles for building climate resilience across regions and sectors, and identify priorities and means to address these obstacles. We aim to develop both strategic agendas for research and for best-practice design and implementation.

Researchers and professionals from business and administration with a link to climate extremes from all fields (e.g. history, climate science, data science, economics, ecology, health, mathematics, psychology, sociology, risk assessment, political sciences) are welcome to attend the conference. Correspondingly, we have confirmed attendance from international players as key note speakers and session chairs, covering a broad range from academic sociology to insurance industry. 

"Extreme Events: Building Climate Resilient Societies" is part of the Herrenhausen Conference Series initiated by the Volkswagen Foundation. The steering committee consists of Markus Reichstein (Max-Planck-Institute for Biogeochemistry, Jena), Mojib Latif (GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research, Kiel), Petra Mahrenholz (German Environment Agency, Dessau), Katrin Rehdanz (Environmental and Resource Economics, Kiel University), Jürgen Scheffran (University of Hamburg) and Gerrit Jasper Schenk (Technische Universität Darmstadt).

Herrenhausen Conference
"Extreme Events: Building Climate Resilient Societies"
October 9-11, 2019
Herrenhausen Palace, Hanover, Germany


A detailed program can be found in the download section.

Parallel Sessions

Parallel sessions will address the following topics in relation to climate extremes:

Session 1:    Challenges of Extreme Events for Resilient Infrastructures
Session 2:    Climate Extremes and Food Security
Session 3:    Climate Extremes and Security
Session 4:    Data Science for Human Well-being
Session 5:    Response to Compound Events

The parallel sessions will be guided by the following research questions:

I) Which impacts are expected to be caused by extreme climate events (incl. compound events, impacts cascades and feedbacks) across ecosystems, infrastructures and society?

II) What are key obstacles (e.g. financing, governance, data & system knowledge) towards societal resilience across sectors and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?

III) What knowledge is needed to remove these obstacles and how can research, teaching and learning support the transformation towards SDGs while facing climate extremes?

Confirmed Speakers Include

Virginia García Acosta, CIESAS, Center for Research and Advanced Studies in Social Anthropology, Mexico City, Mexico; Stephane Hallegatte, World Bank; Peter Hoeppe, Munich Re, Germany; Shuaib Lwasa, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda; Ilan Noy, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand; Lisa Schipper, University of Oxford, UK; Sonia Seneviratne, ETH Zurich, Switzerland.

Travel Grants for Early Career Researchers

There was a call for travel grants for interested early career researchers. Application deadline was March 28, 2019. It is no longer possible to submit applications.

Registration / Waiting List

Please note that the conference is booked out and there is a waiting list. There are no fees for attendance but registration is essential. If you would like to attend the conference, please register by clicking on the "Registration" button in the column on the right.


The conference language is English.

Venue and public transport

The conference is held at Herrenhausen Palace, a modern conference center in Hanover, Germany. You can reach the venue by tram: Take line 4 or 5 and get off at "Herrenhäuser Gärten".

Accommodation for participants

Please note that you are responsible for booking your accommodation. As Hannover is a city that hosts many fairs, we recommend booking a hotel as soon as you register.


Please cancel your registration if you cannot attend the conference. We can offer your place to another person if you cannot attend. Simply use the registration tool to cancel or send us an email.

Herrenhausen Conferences

The Herrenhausen Conferences, organized by the Volkswagen Foundation at Herrenhausen Palace, a modern convention center, focus on scientific topics of high social impact that are of particular relevance to the present and future. The Herrenhausen Conferences address unanswered questions and unsolved problems and their relevance for society. They provide international experts as well as junior researchers with a platform for an intense interdisciplinary dialogue on exciting new areas of research and innovative methodological approaches.