New Book: ‘Handbook on Climate Change and Human Security’

Redclift, M.R. & Grasso, M. (2013). Handbook on Climate Change and Human Security. Edward Elgar Publishing. 

Description: The Handbook on Climate Change and Human Security is a landmark publication which links the complexities of climate change to the wellbeing and resilience of human populations. It is written in an engaging and accessible way but also conveys the state of the art on both climate change research and work into human security, utilizing both disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches. Organized around thematic sections, each chapter is written by an acknowledged expert in the field, and discusses the key concepts and evidence base for our current policy choices, and the dilemmas of international policy in the field.

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New Article: “‘Climate Finance Issues’: Implications for Climate Change Adaptation for Food Security in Southern Africa”

Hofisi, C., Chigavazira, B., Mago, S., Hofisi, M. (2013). “Climate Finance Issues”: Implications for Climate Change Adaptation in Food Security in Southern Africa”. Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences. 4(6): 47-53.

Abstract: Global development has been asphyxiated by climate change as evidenced by significant repercussions on the world economy.While agriculture is the backbone of most developing economies in the global south, this sector is extremely vulnerable to climate change. Grim statistics point to a bleak future if the risk posed by climate change is not tackled.The impact of climate change has generally seen precipitation increasing in the Global North while the same has decreased in the Global South resulting in both wetter and drier scenarios. This scenario has meant that global food security is under threat.It is against this background that climate change adaptation becomes significant in averting the climate change induced food crisis. However, the UNFCCC “funding streams” for climate change adaptation strategies have been criticised for being financially and technically inadequate for meeting the adaptation needs of poor countries that are more vulnerable to climate effects. The disbursal of climate change is inefficient and more costly. African countries have also been clamouring for direct access to climate finance. Therefore, the ravaging impact of climate change on global development lingers. While there are debates on climate finance for effective adaptation, the resolution of issues involved is key if the battle against climate change is to be won. It is important that adaptation is mainstreamed in government policies, mainly, in the developing countries for effective financing of climate change adaptation to be realised while the poor and most vulnerable in developing countries should be given priority.

Available for download with subscription here.

New Report: “Global Problems, African Solutions: African Climate Scientists’ Perspectives on Climate Change”

Edwards, L. (2013). Global Problems, African Solutions: African Climate Scientists’ Perspectives on Climate Change. The Centre for International Governance Division (CIGI), Africa Initiative Discussion Paper Series No. 7.

Abstract: This paper offers a preliminary survey of Africa’s climate scientists’ views on the critical problem of climate change, which has been described as an “out of Africa” problem crying out for “made in Africa” solutions. Based on interviews with these scientists, this paper presents their views on the state of African climate science; discusses the challenges of undertaking scientific research in Africa and ways that research could be done better; identifies the impacts of climate change on contemporary African society and its potential impacts in the future; identifies gaps in the current research agenda on energy, urbanization and migration; and explores the links between climate change and other environmental problems, such as water pollution and deforestation. Finally, while Africa’s scientists value their involvement in international scientific assessments, they would welcome more opportunities to collaborate with their peers on the continent, more dialogue with African policy makers and a broader program of public education, to better equip Africans to take practical actions to meet the challenges of climate change.

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New Report: “The Complexities of Climate Change Adaptation in South African Agriculture”

Findlater, K. (2013). The Complexities of Climate Change Adaptation in South African Agriculture. Backgrounder No. 50. The African Portal. 1-8.

Summary: 

  • Agriculture is a complex and politically contentious industry in South Africa, given its connection to food security, water, health and land reform, and the historic resource imbalances between black and white farmers.
  • As a large country with many fully allocated water basins, different parts of South Africa will face unique challenges related to climate change.
  • Given the varying levels of adaptive capacity between large-scale commercial operations and emerging smallholder farms, South Africa’s national policy response must be prioritized to ensure cohesive and nuanced support for climate change adaptation.

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Special Report: “Natural Disasters as Threats to Peace”

Tipson, F.S. (2013). Natural Disasters as Threats to Peace. United States Institute of Peace. Special Report 324. 1-17.

Summary: 

  • Natural disasters and extreme environmental events are expected to increase in number and severity on a global scale, elevating levels of economic, social, and political stress that could provoke both civil and international conflicts.
  • Population growth, urbanization, economic fragility, and climate change are major factors in an interactive pattern of growing global vulnerabilities, compounded by widespread political inaction to address them.
  • Enlarged urban and coastal populations in strategically important locations are at heightened risk of massive casualties, political strife, and increased regional tensions from major earthquakes, floods, and disease.
  • Large natural disasters could also degrade key dimensions of the global economy—food, water, energy, medicine, supply chains, livelihoods—arousing widespread popular anxieties that could provoke preemptive protective measures.
  • Intelligence agencies, think tanks, and academic specialists should increase their focus on the potential for major disasters in various parts of the world to cause economic, social, and political “ripple effects” that lead to deadly conflicts.
  • Reducing the direct harm of such disasters will require initiatives in three areas: increasing local resilience, improving relief capabilities, and, where unavoidable, facilitating relocation from the most vulnerable areas.
  • Avoiding adverse secondary consequences to political stability and human security will require both national and international collaboration to elevate the priority of preventing violent conflicts that could arise from these “natural assaults.”

For more information click here.

New Article: “Securing Ocean Benefits for Society in the Face of Climate Change”

Ruckelshaus. M. et al. (2013). Securing Ocean Benefits for Society in the Face of Climate Change. Marine Policy. 40: 154-159.

Abstract: Benefits humans rely on from the ocean – marine ecosystem services – are increasingly vulnerable under future climate. This paper reviews how three valued services have, and will continue to, shift under climate change: (1) capture fisheries, (2) food from aquaculture, and (3) protection from coastal hazards such as storms and sea-level rise. Climate adaptation planning is just beginning for fisheries, aquaculture production, and risk mitigation for coastal erosion and inundation. A few examples are highlighted, showing the promise of considering multiple ecosystem services in developing approaches to adapt to sea-level rise, ocean acidification, and rising sea temperatures.

Ecosystem-based adaptation in fisheries and along coastlines and changes in aquaculture practices can improve resilience of species and habitats to future environmental challenges. Opportunities to use market incentives – such as compensation for services or nutrient trading schemes – are relatively untested in marine systems. Relocation of communities in response to rising sea levels illustrates the urgent need to manage human activities and investments in ecosystems to provide a sustainable flow of benefits in the face of future climate change.

Available for download with subscription here.

New Report: ‘Water Security and the Global Water Agenda: A UN-Water Analytical Brief’

Bigas, H. (2013). Water Security and the Global Water Agenda: A UN-Water Analytical Brief. United Nations University - Institute for Water, Environment & Health. 

Foreword: It is fitting that the topic of water security, through the launch of this Analytical Brief, figures among the many celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of World Water Day on 22 March 2013 and the 2013 International Year of Water Cooperation. In recent years, the issue of water security has been gaining traction in the global political agenda and earning attention from national governments at the highest level, in particular for its links to peace and national security, but also for its implications for development issues.

Several recent events and discussions have highlighted these links between water security and international peace; most notably, the High-Level Roundtable Discussion on Water, Peace and Security jointly hosted by the United States, the European Union and UN-Water that took place during the 67th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in September 20121. As highlighted by then U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, water security is key for ensuring peace and security, but also for human development. Secretary Clinton highlighted that water security offers opportunities: for cooperation, collaboration, and for addressing challenges in a multi-disciplinary and cross-sectoral way in order to reduce risks for potential conflicts and manage continued sustainable development and growth.

With this Analytical Brief, UN-Water aims to provide a starting point for discussion on the range of issues that collectively fall under the umbrella of water security, identifying the challenges that lay ahead, the necessity of relating water security to policy development, and offering possible options for responding to these challenges. It underlines the important role that cooperation will play in addressing water security challenges, including collaboration between different stakeholders and across all levels, from local to international. The collaborative nature of UN-Water Members and Partners on the Analytical Brief sets an example for cooperation across the UN System for addressing the shared challenges of water security.

The production of this Analytical Brief on water security is timely as the international community prepares for a post-2015 development world through the development of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To this end, this Analytical Brief provides an important input into the discussion on the possible inclusion of an SDG on water, a process to which UN-Water is actively contributing.

For more information click here.

New Book: ‘Cities at Risk: Living with Perils in the 21st Century’

Joffe, H., Rossetto, T. and Adams, J. (2013). Cities at Risk: Living with Perils in the 21st Century. Springer.

Description: With the major growth of the world’s population over the past century, as well as rapid urbanisation, people increasingly live in crowded cities. This trend is often accompanied by proliferation of poorly built housing, uncontrolled use of land, occupation of unsafe environments and overstretched services.  When a natural hazard strikes such a city many people are vulnerable to loss of life and property.  This book explores what these people think and feel about the threats that they face. How do they live with perils ranging from earthquakes to monsoons, from floods to hurricanes, in the 21st century?

The authors are drawn from a large range of disciplines: Psychology, Engineering, Geography, Anthropology and Urban Planning. They also reflect on how perils are represented in multiple cultures: the United States, Japan, Turkey, Bangladesh, the United Kingdom and New Zealand. The book therefore not only brings to light the ways that different cultures represent natural hazards but also the different ways in which various disciplines write about living with perils in the 21st century.

The book is addressed both to researchers and to organizations involved with risk management and risk mitigation.

For more information click here.

New Article: ‘Crises in the South African Abalone and Chilean Loco Fisheries: Shared Challenges and Prospects’

Hauck, M., & Gallardo-Fernández, G.L. (2013). Crises in the South African Abalone and Chilean Loco Fisheries: Shared Challenges and Prospects. Maritime Studies. 12 (3); 1 -20.

Abstract: Worldwide there is an increasing realisation that there is an inextricable link between the natural and human systems, and there is a need to integrate these into the governance of small-scale fisheries. The critical importance of adopting such an approach is argued in this paper by exploring the challenge of resource over-exploitation in the abalone fishery in South Africa and the loco fishery in Chile, both of which faced unsuccessful fishery closures and the implementation of Territorial Use Rights in Fisheries (TURFs). By exploring similarities and differences in fisheries context and approaches, these case studies highlight that although management strategies have been progressive on paper, they are compromised, to different degrees, by a lack of understanding of the socio-economic and political factors that are influencing the fisheries system. We argue that unless a more integrated approach is adopted to understand the social-ecological system as a whole, few long-term benefits will be secured for both the resources and the livelihoods of fishers.

Available for download with subscription here.

New Article: ‘Women and fisheries: Contribution to food security and local economies’

Harper, S. et al. (2013). Women and fisheries: Contribution to food security and local economies. Marine Policy, 39: 56-63.

Abstract: The substantial role of women in fisheries is overlooked in management and policy. Fortunately, it is gaining recognition despite a lack of quantitative data describing the scale of participation and contribution. This work summarizes existing knowledge on women’s participation in marine fisheries globally, and estimates their contribution in the Pacific. Continue reading

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