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About Us

As the pace of global social and environmental change accelerates, truly sustainable development requires resilient communities. From remote forest villages to new urban slums, local communities depend on networks of resilience to obtain the critical elements of survival: water, food, health, energy, livelihoods, and security.

The Wilson Center’s Global Risk and Resilience Program seeks to support the development of inclusive, resilient networks in local communities facing global change. By providing a platform for sharing lessons, mapping knowledge, and linking people and ideas, GRRP and its affiliated programs empower policymakers, practitioners, and community members to participate in the global dialogue on sustainability and resilience. Empowered communities are better able to develop flexible, diverse, and equitable networks of resilience that can improve their health, preserve their natural resources, and build peace between people in a changing world.

GRRP is an overarching initiative that combines the ongoing efforts of the Environmental Change and Security ProgramMaternal Health Initiative, Polar Institute, and Urban Sustainability Laboratory, integrating and building upon their already substantial contributions to the field. To stay up to date on the program’s issues and activities, follow our blog at

Environmental Change and Security Program

With global population over seven billion and projected to reach at least nine billion this century, natural resource management, human development, and international security are more interconnected than ever before. The Environmental Change and Security Program explores these connections among environmental, health, and population dynamics and their links to conflict, human insecurity, and foreign policy. ECSP works to bring together scholars, policymakers, the media, and practitioners through events, research, publications, multimedia content, and their daily blog, New Security Beat.



Maternal Health Initiative

While many countries have made great progress towards reducing maternal mortality rates, over 500,000 women still die of pregnancy related deaths each year – 90 percent of these deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa and less than 1 percent in more developed regions. The Maternal Health Initiative (formerly the Global Health Initiative) is committed to improving maternal health outcomes by increasing knowledge, understanding, and communication among a range of stakeholders to help facilitate creative interventions that can be integrated into policies and programs worldwide.



Polar Institute

The Arctic is a region of international dialogue and potential competition, of varied challenges and diverse opportunities. It is also a region that is rapidly gaining in geopolitical significance as it undergoes profound environmental, economic, and social change. The Polar Institute is the comprehensive, non-partisan Arctic and Antarctic policy forum in the United States, tracking, analyzing, and making sense of these complex and interconnected dynamics. The Polar Institute aims to holistically address the many critical questions facing, and related to, the polar regions.



Urban Sustainability Laboratory

Half of the world’s seven billion people currently live in cities, and the United Nations projects that the global urban population will expand to as many as five billion over the next two decades. Most of this growth will occur in unplanned and underserved city slums of the developing world. The Urban Sustainability Laboratory (formerly the Comparative Urban Studies Project) uses a multidisciplinary and comparative framework to explore the growing significance of these urban issues.