International START Secretariat

Washington, DC, United States

International START Secretariat

Washington, DC, United States
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O'Brien K.,University of Oslo | Reams J.,Norwegian University of Science and Technology | Caspari A.,Mindshift Integral | Dugmore A.,University of Edinburgh | And 11 more authors.
Environmental Science and Policy | Year: 2013

This paper considers the changes in education and capacity building that are needed in response to environmental and social challenges of the 21st Century. We argue that such changes will require more than adjustments in current educational systems, research funding strategies, and interdisciplinary collaborations. Instead, it calls for a deeper questioning of the assumptions and beliefs that frame both problems and solutions. We first discuss the challenges of transforming education and capacity building within five key arenas: interdisciplinary research; university education systems; primary and secondary education systems; researchers from the developing world; and the public at large and politicians. Our starting point is that any type of revolution that is proposed in response to global change is likely to reflect the educational perspectives and paradigms of those calling for the revolution. We differentiate between a circular revolution (as in the " plan-do-check-act cycle" often used in change management) versus an axial revolution (moving to a different way of thinking about the issues), arguing that the latter is a more appropriate response to the complex transdisciplinary challenges posed by global environmental change. We present some potential tools to promote an axial revolution, and consider the limits to this approach. We conclude that rather than promoting one large and ideologically homogenous revolution in education and capacity building, there is a need for a revolution in the way that leaders working with education and capacity building look at systems and processes of change. From this perspective, transformative learning may not only be desirable, but critical in responding to the challenges posed by global environmental change. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Habtezion S.,International START Secretariat | Habtezion S.,University of Nairobi | Adelekan I.,University of Ibadan | Adelekan I.,University of Nairobi | And 30 more authors.
Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability | Year: 2015

Traditional approaches for understanding environmental governance. -. such as environmental policy analysis or natural resources management. -. do not adequately address the gamut of human-natural system interactions within the context of the complex biogeophysical cycles and processes of the planet. This is perhaps more so in the African regional context where the complex relationships between modern and traditional governance systems and global change dynamics are arguably more pronounced.The Earth System Governance (ESG) Analytical Framework encompasses diverse systems and actors involved in the regulation of societal activities and behaviors vis-à-vis earth system dynamics. The concept encompasses a myriad of public and private actors and actor networks at all levels of policy and decision-making. The existence of, and interaction among, these diverse actors and systems, however, is under-researched in the African context. Various research approaches taken to address crucial global environmental change (GEC) challenges in Africa have proven to be inadequate because they tend to overlook the complex interactions among the various local actors, players, and indigenous conditions and practices vis-à-vis GEC system drivers and teleconnections. Similarly, the regional peculiarities in terms of governance typologies and socio-cultural diversity highlight the need for nuanced understanding of the complex interactions and nexuses among multiple actors and interests and Earth system processes. However, this diversity and complexity has often been lost in generalized enquiries. We argue that examination of the governance-GEC nexus through the aid of the ESG Framework would provide a much broader and more helpful insight. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.

PubMed | Center for Development Research, WorldFish, Colorado State University, University of Saskatchewan and 9 more.
Type: Editorial | Journal: Ambio | Year: 2016

This synthesis article joins the authors of the special issue Gender perspectives in resilience, vulnerability and adaptation to global environmental change in a common reflective dialogue about the main contributions of their papers. In sum, here we reflect on links between gender and feminist approaches to research in adaptation and resilience in global environmental change (GEC). The main theoretical contributions of this special issue are threefold: emphasizing the relevance of power relations in feminist political ecology, bringing the livelihood and intersectionality approaches into GEC, and linking resilience theories and critical feminist research. Empirical insights on key debates in GEC studies are also highlighted from the nine cases analysed, from Europe, the Americas, Asia, Africa and the Pacific. Further, the special issue also contributes to broaden the gender approach in adaptation to GEC by incorporating research sites in the Global North alongside sites from the Global South. This paper examines and compares the main approaches adopted (e.g. qualitative or mixed methods) and the methodological challenges that derive from intersectional perspectives. Finally, key messages for policy agendas and further research are drawn from the common reflection.

Agency: GTR | Branch: NERC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 1.10M | Year: 2015

East Africa (EA) has one of the worlds fastest growing populations, with maxima around water-bodies and rapid urbanisation. Climate change is adding to existing problems increasing vulnerability of the poorest. HyCRISTAL is driven by EA priorities. EA communities rely on rainfall for food via agriculture. EAs inland lakes are rain-fed and provide water, power and fisheries. For EAs growing cities, climate impacts on water resources will affect water supply & treatment. HyCRISTAL will therefore operate in both urban & rural contexts. Change in water availability will be critical for climate-change impacts in EA, but projections are highly uncertain for rain, lakes, rivers and groundwater, and for extremes. EA Long-Rains are observed to be decreasing; while models tend to predict an increase (the EA Climate paradox) although predictions are not consistent. This uncertainty provides a fundamental limit on the utility of climate information to inform policy. HyCRISTAL will therefore make best use of current projections to quantify uncertainty in user-relevant quantities and provide ground-breaking research to understand and reduce the uncertainty that currently limits decision making. HyCRISTAL will work with users to deliver world-leading climate research quantifying uncertainty from natural variability, uncertainty from climate forcings including those previously unassessed, and uncertainty in response to these forcings; including uncertainties from key processes such as convection and land-atmopshere coupling that are misrepresented in global models. Research will deliver new understanding of the mechanisms that drive the uncertainty in projections. HyCRISTAL will use this information to understand trends, when climate-change signals will emerge and provide a process-based expert judgement on projections. Working with policy makers, inter-disciplinary research (hydrology, economics, engineering, social science, ecology and decision-making) will quantify risks for rural & urban livelihoods, quantify climate impacts and provide the necessary tools to use climate information for decision making. HyCRISTAL will work with partners to co-produce research for decision-making on a 5-40 year timescale, demonstrated in 2 main pilots for urban water and policies to enable adaptive climate-smart rural livelihoods. These cover two of three areas of need from the African Ministerial Council on Environments Comprehensive Framework of African Climate Change Programmes. HyCRISTAL has already engaged 12 partners from across EA. HyCRISTALs Advisory Board will provide a mechanism for further growing stakeholder engagement. HyCRISTAL will work with the FCFA global & regional projects and CCKE, sharing methods, tools, user needs, expertise & communication. Uniquely, HyCRISTAL will capitalise on the new LVB-HyNEWS, an African-led consortium, governed by the East African Community, the Lake Victoria Basin Commission and National Meteorological and Hydrological agencies, with the African Ministerial Conference on Meteorology as an observer. HyCRISTAL will build EA capacity directly via collaboration (11 of 25 HyCRISTAL Co-Is are African, with 9 full-time in Africa), including data collection and via targeted workshops and teaching. HyCRISTAL will deliver evidence of impact, with new and deep climate science insights that will far outlast its duration. It will support decisions for climate-resilient infrastructure and livelihoods through application of new understanding in its pilots, with common methodological and infrastructure lessons to promote policy and enable transformational change for impact-at-scale. Using a combination of user-led and science-based management tools, HyCRISTAL will ensure the latest physical science, engineering and social-science yield maximum impacts. HyCRISTAL will deliver outstanding outputs across FCFAs aims; synergies with LVB-HyNEWS will add to these and ensure longevity beyond HyCRISTAL.

PubMed | International START Secretariat, Clark University and Basque Center for Climate Change 3
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Ambio | Year: 2016

Most current approaches focused on vulnerability, resilience, and adaptation to climate change frame gender and its influence in a manner out-of-step with contemporary academic and international development research. The tendency to rely on analyses of the sex-disaggregated gender categories of men and women as sole or principal divisions explaining the abilities of different people within a group to adapt to climate change, illustrates this problem. This framing of gender persists in spite of established bodies of knowledge that show how roles and responsibilities that influence a persons ability to deal with climate-induced and other stressors emerge at the intersection of diverse identity categories, including but not limited to gender, age, seniority, ethnicity, marital status, and livelihoods. Here, we provide a review of relevant literature on this topic and argue that approaching vulnerability to climate change through intersectional understandings of identity can help improve adaptation programming, project design, implementation, and outcomes.

Tao B.,Auburn University | Tian H.,Auburn University | Chen G.,Auburn University | Ren W.,Auburn University | And 7 more authors.
Global and Planetary Change | Year: 2013

Tropical Asia has experienced dramatic cropland expansion and agricultural intensification to meet the increasing food demand and is likely to undergo further rapid development in the near future. Much concern has been raised about how cropland expansion and associated management practices (nitrogen fertilizer use, irrigation, etc.) have affected the terrestrial carbon cycle in this region. In this study, we used a process-based ecosystem model, the Dynamic Land Ecosystem Model (DLEM), to assess the magnitude, spatial and temporal patterns of terrestrial carbon fluxes and pools in Tropical Asia as resulted from cropland expansion and land management practices during 1901-2005. The results indicated that cropland expansion had resulted in a release of 19.12 ± 3.06. Pg. C (0.18 ± 0.029. Pg. C/yr) into the atmosphere in Tropical Asia over the study period. Of this amount, approximately 22% (4.18 ± 0.66. Pg. C) was released from South Asia and 78% (14.94 ± 2.40. Pg. C) from Southeast Asia. Larger land area was converted to cropland while less carbon was emitted from South Asia than from Southeast Asia, where forest biomass and soil carbon were significantly higher. Changes in vegetation, soil organic matter, and litter pools caused emissions of 15.58, 2.25, and 1.71. Pg. C, respectively, from the entire region. Significant decreases in vegetation carbon occurred across most regions of Southeast Asia due to continuous cropland expansion and shrink of natural forests. When considering land management practices, however, less carbon was released into the atmosphere, especially in South Asia where land management practices contributed to an approximately 10% reduction in carbon emission. This implies that optimizing land management practices could greatly reduce the carbon emissions caused by cropland expansion and might be one of important climate mitigation options in Tropical Asia. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

Davis S.K.,Colorado State University | Thompson J.L.,Colorado State University | Schweizer S.E.,International START Secretariat
Human Dimensions of Wildlife | Year: 2012

Rapid advances in tablet technology and the increasing availability of electronic survey applications provide opportunities to streamline on-site human dimensions data collection. This article compares response rates and cost efficiencies of an iPad interface used for on-site survey administration to other types of human dimensions of wildlife survey administration response rates and expenses. Results also illustrate respondents' interface preference from a recent survey administered at National Wildlife Refuges and National Parks across the United States. Refuge and Park visitors enjoyed taking on-site surveys on iPads more than traditional paper surveys, and indicated a preference for taking future surveys on iPads instead of paper (t = 21.64, p <.001, η =.39); iPad survey administration was more cost efficient for large (over 1,350) survey samples, and garnered a higher than average response rate than online and mail surveys, but similar to average response rates for on-site intercept survey administration. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

Furlow J.,United States Agency for International Development | Smith J.B.,Stratus Consulting Inc. | Anderson G.,URS Corporation | Breed W.,United States Agency for International Development | Padgham J.,International Start Secretariat
Climatic Change | Year: 2011

The topics of climate change and of what to do about it have been the subject of discussion for over two decades. Much of the focus has been on mitigating greenhouse gas emissions to reduce the rate and magnitude of changes. Adapting to the impacts of those changes has received much less attention. In recent years, the development assistance community has recognized that climate change poses a stress on economic and social development in poor countries and has turned its attention to addressing climate stress. The US Agency for International Development developed a methodology of working with stakeholders to identify sources of climate related vulnerability and approaches to reducing that vulnerability. The methodology was developed iteratively with several pilot studies looking at vulnerability and adaptation in different sectors and settings. © 2011 U.S. Government.

Agency: GTR | Branch: NERC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 256.40K | Year: 2015

The problem: Building climate change resilience necessarily means building urban resilience. Africas future is dominated by a rapidly increasing urban population with complicated demographic, economic, political, spatial and infrastructural transitions. This creates complex climate vulnerabilities of critical consequence in the co-dependent city-regions. Climate change substantially complicates the trajectories of African development, exacerbated by climate information that is poorly attuned to the needs of African decision makers. Critical gaps are how climate processes interact at the temporal and spatial scales that matter for decision making, limited institutional capacity to develop and then act on climate information, and inadequate means, methods, and structures to bridge the divides. Current modalities in climate services are largely supply driven and rarely begin with the multiplicity of climate sensitive development challenges. There is a dominant need to address this disconnect at the urban scale, yet climate research in Africa is poorly configured to respond, and the spatial scale and thematic foci are not well attuned to urban problems. Most climate-related policies and development strategies focus at the national scale and are sectorally based, resulting in a poor fit to the vital urban environments with their tightly interlocking place-based systems. Response: FRACTALs aim is to advance scientific knowledge about regional climate responses to anthropogenic forcings, enhance the integration of this knowledge into decision making at the co-dependent city-region scale, and thus enable responsible development pathways. We focus on city-region scales of climate information and decision making. Informed by the literature, guided by co-exploration with decision makers, we concentrate on two key cross-cutting issues: Water and Energy, and secondarily their influence on food security. We work within and across disciplinary boundaries (transdisciplinarity) and develop all aspects of the research process in collaboration with user groups (co-exploration).The project functions through three interconnected work packages focused on three Tier 1 cities (Windhoek, Maputo and Lusaka), a secondary focus on three Tier 2 cities (Blantyre, Gaborone and Harare), and two self-funded partner cities (Cape Town and eThekwini). Work Package 1 (WP1) is an ongoing and sustained activity operating as a learning laboratory for pilot studies to link research from WP2 and 3 to a real world iterative dialogue and decision process. WP1 frames, informs, and steers the research questions of WP2 and 3, and so centres all research on needs for responsible development pathways of city-region systems. WP2 addresses the decision making space in cities; the political, economic, technical and social determinants of decision making, and seeks to understand the opportunities for better incorporation of climate information into local decision making contexts. WP3, the majority effort, focuses on advancing understanding of the physical climate processes that govern the regional system, both as observed and simulated. This knowledge grounds the development of robust and scale relevant climate information, and the related analysis and communication. This is steered explicitly by WP1s perspective of urban climate change risk, resilience, impacts, and decisions for adaptation and development. The project will frame a new paradigm for user-informed, knowledge-based decisions to develop pathways to resilience for the majority population. It will provide a step change in understanding the cross-scale climate processes that drive change and so enable enhanced uptake of climate information in near to medium-term decision making. The project legacy will include improved scientific capacity and collaboration, provide transferable knowledge to enhance decision making on the African continent, and in this make significant contribution to academic disciplines.

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