International Institute for Sustainable Development IISD

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Bizikova L.,International Institute for Sustainable Development IISD | Metternicht G.,University of New South Wales | Yarde T.,MEAS
Environment, Development and Sustainability | Year: 2017

The 2030 agenda for sustainable development adopted in September 2015 advocates for a balanced integration of the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. Existing multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) can provide guidance for policy-makers to promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, within safe ecological limits. This paper presents a practical approach to mainstream international obligations of MEAs with national development priorities and strategies. It identifies pathways of policy coherence from national strategies to specific instruments and indicators to advance implementation of MEAs and help counties to fulfill agreed obligations. The approach is grounded in the driving forces–pressure–state–impact–response (DPSIR) framework, and it was applied in two national and two regional case studies in the Caribbean. The outcomes from the case studies show that mainstreaming rate of MEAs is low, and linkages across multiple MEAs are rarely considered. The DPSIR framework was useful for addressing national development priorities and those of MEAs in tandem, through adopting a cross-sectoral, multistakeholder perspective. The research shows that addressing environmental degradation and improving MEAs’ implementation requires that international and regional agencies identify linkages among MEAs to assist in creating policy coherence to ensure their integration into national strategies by connecting with policies and strategies in tandem implementation of MEAs for national policy-makers to work with. © 2017 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht

Waldick R.,Agriculture and Agri Food Canada | Waldick R.,Carleton University | Bizikova L.,International Institute for Sustainable Development IISD | White D.,Oregon State University | And 2 more authors.
Regional Environmental Change | Year: 2016

The amount of information required to adapt to climate change is vast: downscaled climate projections, information on environmental impact, sectoral performance, external drivers, regional strategies, policies and practices. It can be argued that most of this information is accessible at the community/regional level, and thus, the important challenges to adaptation are not information gaps, but constraints created by fragmented planning decisions and a sector-by-sector basis for financial and human resource allocations. To strategically address this through adaptation planning, we developed and tested a place-based decision-making framework that creates an integrated platform for considering regional and global sectoral drivers in Eastern Ontario, Canada. Using available socioeconomic and biophysical information from regional authorities, alternative future scenarios were used to describe the range of socioeconomic futures and their vulnerabilities to climate change. We found that: (1) integration of diverse sets of available data (rather than narrowly focused sectoral assessments) helped identify shared common objectives (maximizing the long-term environmental, economic, social well-being within the region), (2) a high degree of congruence existed as the key drivers of change, irrespective of sector, (3) exploring the future scenarios highlighted shared regional priorities and helped identify adaptation priorities requiring more integrated regional planning. © 2016 The Author(s)

Bizikova L.,International Institute for Sustainable Development IISD | Tyler S.,International Institute for Sustainable Development IISD | Tyler S.,Institute for Social and Environmental Transition ISET | Moench M.,Institute for Social and Environmental Transition ISET | And 2 more authors.
Climate and Development | Year: 2015

This article introduces and tests a framework that applies a systems perspective to food security with an assessment of the food system's resilience in the context of climate change. The framework was applied in 20 communities in Honduras and Nicaragua. Our results indicate that contributions from supporting systems, institutions and processes are crucial to ensure overall food system resilience and critical food utilization and access dimensions. These systems include natural resources and their management and critical infrastructure (transport, power, communications, storage, etc.) along with key institutional policies and processes for participation in decision-making. To improve resilience in food systems, it is important to increase household and community subsistence, local markets and food storage in accessing key staple items for good nutrition. At the same time, institutions must be strengthened to build capacities and monitor trends in food security, health and disease, and emergency preparedness. The framework helped to reveal the dependence of community food security, and especially food utilization and access, on decisions at the regional and national levels, beyond the direct control of the communities. Finally, users stressed the usefulness of the framework in structuring complex interactions of resilience features across different dimensions of the food system, which later could be used to inform local and regional decision- and policy-makers. © 2015 Taylor & Francis

Bizikova L.,International Institute for Sustainable Development IISD | Metternicht G.,University of New South Wales | Yarde T.,MEAS
Sustainability (Switzerland) | Year: 2015

Environmental mainstreaming (EM) is a policy instrument to integrate environmental risks and opportunities into planning and implementation. A body of knowledge exists on identifying barriers for EM at the national level. This paper identifies contributions of regional institutions for improving capacities for EM at the national level, using the Caribbean region as a case study. The methodology adopted combines in-depth interviews with senior policy-makers and participatory workshops for medium- and junior-level staffof government agencies. Four barriers for EM are analyzed with specific roles for regional agencies, including weak leadership, insufficient science-policy linkages, deficits in quantity and quality of human resources, and institutional aspects. Research findings identify regional leadership as crucial to supporting the science-policy interface, to share data and knowledge across countries facing similar challenges, to provide assistance with national policy development for EM involving transboundary issues, and to ensure cross-sectoral perspectives in regional initiatives, especially those on economic development. © 2015 by the authors.

Bizikova L.,International Institute for Sustainable Development IISD | Crawford E.,University of British Columbia | Nijnik M.,James Hutton Institute | Swart R.,Wageningen University
Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change | Year: 2014

This paper explores the lessons learned by leaders in agricultural adaptation planning in order to assist other jurisdictions to develop adaptation strategies. It seeks to identify effective institutional, participatory and collaborative processes involved in designing agricultural adaptation strategies at the national and sub-national levels in Germany, Finland, the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada. Its methodology is based on review of agricultural adaptation policy documents, research initiatives, stakeholder engagement processes, and cross-sectoral collaborations as well as interviews with key informants such as leaders and actors in adaptation planning. The gathered data show that early adapters have an improved regional and national understanding of climatic impacts, and of the risks to agriculture before the initiation of the planning process. The results indicate that the interplay between bottom-up and top-down initiatives has been crucial in the development of adaptation strategies. The former has provided rich and robust participation in designing, implementing and monitoring adaptations, while the latter was important for prioritizing and legitimizing the development of strategy. It also provided access to high-level decision makers and funding. The results of the study suggest that fostering cross-sectoral collaborations-especially by focusing on broader questions such as the role of agriculture in society-has become an important part of adaptation planning. Finally, our results also stress that adaptation planning in agriculture could be enhanced by skills development and mutual learning across stakeholder groups, research and policy-makers, and through the ongoing interactive development of institutional capabilities. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

Chasek P.S.,Manhattan College | Wagner L.M.,International Institute for Sustainable Development IISD | Leone F.,International Institute for Sustainable Development IISD | Lebada A.-M.,International Institute for Sustainable Development IISD | Risse N.,International Institute for Sustainable Development IISD
Review of European, Comparative and International Environmental Law | Year: 2016

The United Nations Member States set a very high bar for themselves at the Rio+20 conference in June 2012: reaching agreement among 193 countries on a broad 'post-2015' sustainable development agenda that could enhance international coordination on all aspects of human and planetary well-being. However, at a point in history when States were increasingly failing to reach consensus on key decisions, they made history by agreeing on a course that could 'transform our world', through 'an agenda of breathtaking ambition and scope'. This article reviews the two negotiating tracks to develop the post-2015 outcome - the work of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which originated out of the decision taken at Rio+20; and the agreement to launch a post-2015 development agenda to replace the Millennium Development Goals. The final outcome from these two processes represents a fine balance among competing interests and concerns. The article sets the stage for a closer examination of the results of these negotiations. We begin our examination of the 'original intent' of the post-2015 agenda by reviewing the negotiation of the SDGs and the post-2015 development agenda, with attention to their similarities and differences. The article concludes with a focus on challenges for the implementation stage, based on the themes that emerged during the negotiations. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Bizikova L.,International Institute for Sustainable Development IISD | Nijnik M.,James Hutton Institute | Kluvankova-Oravska T.,Slovak Academy of Sciences
Small-scale Forestry | Year: 2012

Communities with multicultural, ethnically diverse populations located in forest areas of the Carpathian Mountains often face serious social and economic problems, including high unemployment rates, weak social support and institutions with little stakeholder participation in decision-making. In this paper, we apply participatory scenario processes to address the development of multifunctional forestry in these mountains by taking as an example the case study of Slovensky Raj National Park and specifically focusing on the involvement of local communities, particularly the Roma minority, in sustainable forest management (SFM). The paper argues that development of local institutions and promotion of horizontal and vertical participation to increase social capital is necessary for addressing social and economic problems, managing potential conflicts and sustaining multifunctional forestry development. The results suggest that the way forward is the integration of multi-purpose forest management with community development, and that learning, repeated stakeholder interaction, trust-building and cooperation between and within multiethnic local communities are important preconditions for success. The scenario process applied turned out to be beneficial for both the majority and the minority populations, particularly allowing for discussions about future development of mountain regions, their local economies and communities, and for providing some guidance about what are the preferred actions for participation in multifunctional SFM. © 2011 Steve Harrison, John Herbohn.

Bizikova L.,International Institute for Sustainable Development IISD | Nijnik M.,James Hutton Institute
Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change | Year: 2014

This paper explores the challenges of institutional transformation in agriculture countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), and their consequences for adaptation planning. We review key policy and planning documents and processes in CEE and CIS countries and conduct a series of interviews with key experts to analyse trends relevant for adaptation planning in the context of institutional transformation in three countries (Slovakia, Ukraine, and Tajikistan; total number of interviews 159). Our outcomes indicate that adaptation is not perceived as an important priority. Rather, two thirds of the respondents suggested their focusing on ensuring stable land use and ownership and support for infrastructure. The results also show that the importance of national level leadership in adaptation was not supported with regional and local agencies thought as potential key leaders in adaptation. Also, compared to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the European Union (EU) -15 countries of early adaptors (analysed in our earlier paper in this series), the focus in CEE and CIS countries on adaptation is sectorial, instead of looking at the role of agriculture in supporting wider societal needs. There is also limited integration and cooperation between researchers, policy-makers and other stakeholders in adaptation planning, a characteristic that played a key role in early adaptors' adaptation efforts. Finally, our findings imply that the CEE and CIS countries need to develop institutional capabilities at the regional and local level, as well as integrate adaptation actions with on-going efforts of improving the agricultural sector, while accounting for the dynamic nature of property rights, particularly the recent changes in land tenure. © 2014 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

Bizikova L.,International Institute for Sustainable Development IISD | Swanson D.,International Institute for Sustainable Development IISD | Waldick R.,Agriculture and Agri Food Canada
Geomatica | Year: 2011

Integrated landscape management (ILM) is gaining increasing attention among Canadian practitioners for its capabilities to address environmental, social and economic goals simultaneously, while promoting sustainable development. ILM is relatively new in the family of integrated assessment (IA) approaches. This paper focuses on the lessons learned from the longer history of IA and its spatially explicit applications to inform current applications of ILM in Canada. We specifically focus on the role of spatially explicit information in addressing critical issues already flagged by ILM practitioners. In particular, we focus on challenges in defining roles and benefits of participation, linking environmental and social issues in integrated models and, testing and presenting uncertainties in the integrated models. We illustrate how some of these challenges were addressed using case studies from Canada, the United States and Europe. The experiences from these studies show that using GIS and other geospatial information tools can be effectively integrated into IA to enhance the relevance of IA for decision-making and to assist with participatory engagement activities by introducing new ways to explore and present choices and options to practitioners. The use of geospatial tools also enable integrated modelling to occur at spatially disaggregated levels, which increases the context under which external influences may be considered. Despite these benefits, current applications of these tools tend to be limited to technical representation of system conditions and the visualization of biophysical processes. A deficiency of socio-economic indicators and change information, including policy and management actions and impacts, means that outcomes from these tools currently have limited relevance for policy-makers.

Bizikova L.,International Institute for Sustainable Development IISD | Parry J.-E.,International Institute for Sustainable Development IISD | Karami J.,International Institute for Sustainable Development IISD | Echeverria D.,International Institute for Sustainable Development IISD
Regional Environmental Change | Year: 2015

Semi-arid areas are found in a large number of countries and regions of Africa and South and Central Asia. They display high vulnerability to climate change with considerable adaptation needs. In this paper, we review country-level and multi-country projects supported by international agencies. We examine the priorities and goals presented in national adaptation planning documents and in sectorial planning documents. Through this analysis, we seek to compare adaptation needs with current trends in national, regional and global projects and collaborations. Our results suggest that initiatives supported by international agencies play a considerable role in achieving national adaptation priorities, especially in areas such as agriculture and water management. However, compared with specific adaptation options such as drought-resistant species and irrigation (which tend to be the scope of the projects), the analyzed documents tend to see challenges in agriculture more in the contexts of food security, livestock and rural development. They emphasize the strong connection between rural livelihoods and sustainable land and ecosystem management. Priorities listed in the national documents but not captured in current initiatives include human health, pastoralism, security and migration. Our results also show high levels of mainstreaming adaptation into sectorial planning documents, especially those on poverty reduction; however, compared with the focus on the project level, they here emphasize adaptations focused on institutional development and governance. Finally, the outcomes indicate that global, regional and national initiatives are distributed unequally and that countries in Central and West Africa and Central Asia currently exhibit low participation, especially in national projects. © 2015, The Author(s).

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