Producing enough food for a rapidly growing population, and taking care of our planet are two of the world's biggest challenges.
Displaying 1-20 of 121 key documents
Source: International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies | 2009
The 2009 edition of the World Disasters Report, published annually by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, focuses on early warning systems and the potential for such systems to inform early action as crucial aspects of disaster risk reduction.
The report stresses the need to recognise early warning not just as a technology, but as a system; it also stresses the need for a "people-centred" approach to these systems. This approach suggests that communities at risk of disaster have high levels of understanding of the threats to their own survival, and knowledge about social networks that offer information-sharing potential. The report argues that scientific and other institutions must provide communities with the right support to strengthen this knowledge and build resilience.
Recommendations and case studies detail the benefits and opportunities for communities to get involved at different stages of the early warning system. In addition to outlining the people-centred approach, the report explores its relevance to climate change and food insecurity. Annexes in the report include statistics on disaster patterns over the last 20 years, as well as progress in implementing risk-reduction measures.
Source: UN Environment Programme | 2012
This report provides an inventory of existing early warning systems, organised according to the type of environmental threat. It covers a range of hazard types — differentiating between rapid- and slow-onset events — and spans developing as well as developed nations.
The report introduces basic concepts behind early warning systems, including the policy and operational aspects; looks at the role of earth observation in these systems; describes existing systems for several hazards; and presents gaps that remain in spite of improvements in scientific knowledge and technology, future perspectives and a global multi-hazard approach to early warning.
It concludes with recommendations for strengthening the capacity for early warning, with specific reference to developing regions. Suggestions include expanding the geographical coverage of systems, improving prediction capabilities, developing warning infrastructures and promoting education programmes on disaster preparedness.
Source: UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction | 2006
This report synthesises the findings of a global survey that identifies gaps in early warning systems, which was carried out by the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) in collaboration with a multi-party working group.
It comments on mixed progress made in each of the UNISDR's four elements of early warning systems: risk knowledge; monitoring and warning service; dissemination and communication; and response capability. The report highlights areas where considerable advances have been made — for example in developing the knowledge and tools required to assess risks and communicate predictions and warnings — as well as where significant inadequacies still exist, such as basic equipment and skills.
The report also discusses challenges that need to be overcome for each of the above elements of early warning systems. It identifies cross-cutting issues, including insufficient coordination and a lack of participatory approaches, and concludes with a summary of recommendations for the next steps towards creating a comprehensive global early warning system for all natural hazards.
Source: IISD | June 2012
This paper gives an overview of the financing needs of smallholder farmers, their current sources of financing, and ways to deliver these funds to help them achieve the triple dividends of enhanced food security, increased resilience to climate change, and reduced emissions of greenhouse gases. It offers recommendations for mobilising investment to enable further progress towards this goal.
The authors argue that there is no silver bullet or one-size-fits-all solution, and suggest that adaptation funds and the private sector could be a source of additional support, in the absence of public sector financing for agriculture or a carbon market for smallholders. They conclude with recommendations for policymakers, such as building on prior experience and knowledge, and creating an enabling environment for climate-smart agricultural investment.
This report presents the results of a study of six African agricultural carbon projects and identifies institutional innovations — such as financial management and carbon monitoring systems — that have helped make them successful. It also puts forward emerging research questions and discusses the future of the project.
The study found that direct carbon payments to farmers were low, but non-cash benefits were received after careful management. The projects successfully established systems for financial management, agricultural extension, and carbon monitoring, using a complex set of partnerships. They also found that mechanisms for settling conflict over land and benefits were crucial, as were methods for managing power dynamics to ensure equitable decision-making and participation.
Source: OECD-FAO | June 2012
This is the eighteenth edition of the Agricultural Outlook, which outlines projected market trends (from 2012 to 2021) for major agricultural commodities and biofuels, and presents recent developments and uncertainties associated with those markets. It focuses on the challenges of meeting the rising demand for food alongside input costs, resource constraints, environmental pressures and the impacts of climate change.
The report finds that world prices for many agricultural crops are expected to remain high over the long-term, in spite of a short-term decline. It highlights progress in improving the sustainability of agricultural practices, and calls for the private sector to take a leading role in creating the right environment.
The report concludes by arguing for better agronomic practices and commercial, technical and regulatory environments, and strengthening agricultural innovation systems, as essential policy challenges. It calls for developing countries to invest in agricultural infrastructure in rural areas and in human capital, and to put in place policies for reducing food loss and waste.
Source: The International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP) | June 2012
This report presents a new index, which could become an alternative to gross domestic product (GDP) and the Human Development Index as a means of assessing a country's economic development. The Inclusive Wealth Index (IWI) measures nations' wealth by taking into account natural resources and ecological conditions, and a long-term view on wellbeing and sustainability.
The IWI was applied to 20 countries — representing over half the world's population and three quarters of global GDP — revealing changes in inclusive wealth between 1990 and 2008. The report found that an accurate representation of development depends on accounting for factors such as population change, the effect of global variables, and the price of natural or social capital. It recommends that governments integrate the IWI into planning, development and economic policies; protect their natural capital; and establish research initiatives to help evaluate natural capital components.
The report will be published every two years, offering policymakers practical frameworks and encouraging more holistic approaches to economic development assessments.
Source: Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) | June 2012
This report examines how refugees and displaced people from several countries in the East and Horn of Africa have perceived, experienced and responded to climatic variability and the negative impacts of climate change. Through interviews and focus groups, and supported by a literature review, the report assesses how people manage the impact of climate change and environmental stress, how these factors affect livelihoods and vulnerability, and to what extent they influence people's decisions to move from their homes.
Key findings include that climate change had negatively impacted farming and livestock husbandry, and triggered conflict by further exacerbating existing resource scarcity. However, people tended to employ a wide range of adaptive strategies, only moving home as a last resort. The report also states that migration was often viewed as temporary, and very rarely occurred across national borders. It concludes that political conditions, civil disorder and state oppression inhibited people's coping strategies.
Source: World Agroforestry Centre | June 2012
This book compiles the findings of over a decade of ecoregional research and methodological innovation by the Africa Highlands Initiative, drawing on case studies from Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania. It describes the experiences of stakeholders involved in integrated natural resource management (INRM) activities in the eastern Africa highlands.
The book showcases innovative tools and practical methods for putting INRM into action, and tangible results from these efforts in five countries. It shows the importance of an integrated approach to managing agro-ecosystems, and includes lessons learned on what works, where and why. It also shows that achieving sustainable agricultural development in the region is a complex task, and requires combined efforts and commitment by individuals and institutions with complementary roles.
Source: UN Food and Agriculture Organization | June 2012
This report argues that more sustainable use of forestry resources can help reduce poverty and hunger, mitigate the impacts of climate change, and create more sustainable sources of bio-products and bio-energy. It was released at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), where many of these challenges were discussed.
The report highlights that 350 million of the world's poorest people depend on forests for survival, and that investing in wood-based enterprises creates jobs and improves livelihoods. It argues that when sourced sustainably, wood products can store carbon and be easily recycled, and highlights that sustainable forestry offers a renewable, alternative source of energy. It says that more resources need to be invested in creating small and medium forest-based enterprises that benefit local communities.
The report concludes that promoting a sustainable forest-based industry can both improve local economies and meet sustainability goals. But this will require policies, programmes and incentives.
Source: UNESCO and UNU | June 2012
This report highlights scientific literature relating to the contribution of indigenous and traditional knowledge to understanding climate change vulnerability, resilience and adaptation. It aims to strengthen consideration of indigenous knowledge in the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), due for release in 2014.
The report, written for climate policymakers, includes topic overviews that include the identification of indigenous communities, understanding climate risks, vulnerabilities and adaptation, and the role of traditional knowledge in analysing vulnerability. It includes chapters on indigenous knowledge and science, and challenges in correlating indigenous and scientific observations.
Its authors note that despite the recognition of traditional knowledge as a vital tool for developing adaptation strategies, indigenous knowledge has remained largely outside the scope of IPCC assessments. Yet indigenous knowledge, practices and coping strategies can reinforce the adaptive capacity and resilience of communities. They warn that policies that undermine this capacity should be avoided.
Source: Forest and Climate Change Programme of FAO | May 2012
This report presents the results of the survey of forest stakeholders, soliciting their views, opinions and observations on issues that influence the ability of forest managers to respond to climate change. It is aimed at forest managers, policymakers, researchers, communications specialists and those interested in forests and climate change.
The survey was conducted to develop guidelines to help forest managers respond effectively to climate change challenges through actions consistent with sustainable forest management. Survey questions covered a range of areas including climate change impacts, adaptation and mitigation measures, laws and regulations, and relevance of existing guidelines. The respondents indicated how much support they receive, and how much they need, in order to implement adaptation and mitigation measures. A complete set of the results are available on the FAO Forests and Climate Change Programme website.
Source: Centre for Global Development | May 2012
This report introduces FCPR (Forest Conservation Performance Rating), a system of colour-coded ratings for tropical forest conservation performance. The ratings reward tropical forest conservation by giving a green rating to countries, states and provinces that are on track to zero tropical forest clearing in 2025; yellow when progress is better than expected but insufficient to achieve the 2025 target; and red when performance is worse than expected.
The report describes how the system was used to rate the quarterly conservation performance of 27 countries, which were responsible for 94 percent of tropical forest clearing during 2000–2005, as well as 242 of their states and provinces that contain tropical forests.
Results include a 'green' rating for Latin America, largely accounted for by Brazil; a yellow rating for the Asia-Pacific region, because 'green' Indonesia is counterbalanced by 'red' Malaysia, Cambodia and Papua New Guinea, and 'yellow' Myanmar; and a 'red' rating for Africa.
Source: The Department For International Development (DFID) | February 2012
This report looks at the contribution of models to identify the characteristics of livestock systems which are likely to lead to the emergence of zoonoses hotspots, with emphasis on developing countries.
It focuses on mathematical and economic models, and includes a short review of the current usage of models — and particularly network and agent-based methods — in studying zoonotic disease outbreaks.
The report concludes that most models capture outbreaks over a relatively short time and largely ignore socioeconomic and climate change drivers. It suggests that a new modelling framework is needed, along with improved data collection and uncertainty analysis and communication.
Source: Forest Peoples Programme | 2012
This report provides estimated figures for indigenous and forest peoples' populations across the world.
It seeks to raise awareness and recognition of indigenous and forest peoples, and their role in the management and use of forests and its resources. The report includes estimated figures according to type of forest dependence, region and country. It aims to serve as a useful reference in advocacy for the recognition of forest peoples' legal and human rights.
The figures were collected from a range of sources, including publications from UN bodies, national governments, nongovernmental organisations, human rights, and environmental institutions and academia. The report highlights the lack of accurate and up-to-date data on indigenous and forest peoples and argues the critical need for further research to improve estimates.
Source: UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) | January, 2009
This report — summarising a UNESCO innovation for development workshop — examines the role of innovation in development, and the contribution of knowledge, research and development to innovation. It focuses on knowledge in science, engineering and technology.
The report outlines analytical and theoretical frameworks as well as current innovation efforts and innovation policy. Major issues discussed at the workshop are highlighted in an action agenda, which suggests the need for more research and statistical indicators, dissemination of projects, human and institutional capacity building, better policy design and the need to increase awareness of innovation.
A separate report, which is included in the document, consolidates several themes that emerged from the talks, including the need to improve policy coherence, the difficulties of comparing innovation across countries or different points in time, the importance of capacity building, and the role of technology transfer in generating new knowledge. It also identifies challenges facing policymakers, the research community and international donors in achieving these goals. The report includes keynote speeches and links to Powerpoint presentations given at the conference.
This report reviews the achievements made by the 'Promotion of Grassroots Innovation in Asia-Pacific Countries' project, which aims to build capacity for member countries to source, document and disseminate grassroots innovation and traditional knowledge as a means of economic and social development.
The first section documents the theory and practice of grassroots innovation using case-studies of existing organisations, such as the Honey Bee Network. It illustrates the diversity of approaches used to engage with this type of innovation, as well as the ethical aspects of informed consent before obtaining knowledge from local populations. The second part describes advances made during national and regional workshops on the subjects of capacity-building, promoting grassroots innovation and creating partnerships.
Source: Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change (CSACC) | March 2012
This report lays out a set of policy recommendations for the sustainable intensification of agriculture and reduction of food waste to create a resilient global food system. Based on a review of scientific evidence, it pinpoints seven actions that policymakers — including those attending the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) — should adopt to foster sustainable agriculture and efficient food supply chains.
Recommendations include integrating food security and sustainable agriculture into global and national policies;
intensifying agricultural production while reducing negative environmental impacts; and creating comprehensive, shared, integrated information systems.
This policy roadmap will require the reshaping of food production, distribution and consumption patterns, and empowering vulnerable populations to build a sustainable global food system.
Source: UNESCO | March 2012
The report provides a global overview of water resources and their importance for development. It also outlines how major global changes, risks and uncertainties interact with water resources.
The report aims to encourage all stakeholders including water managers, government, civil society and businesses to engage early in decision-making about managing water to ensure successful implementation.
It consists of three volumes covering issues around managing water under uncertainty and risk; the state of knowledge about water; and facing the challenge of coping with pressures on resources. The chapters cover a range of issues including water management; regional differences and demands; and approaches for managing water under changing conditions. The report highlights the need for political, social, economic and technical changes to promote more responsible action by water users.
Source: UNEP | February 2012
This report presents important environmental events and developments of 2012, and provides an overview of the status of key environmental indicators. It highlights the benefits of carbon storage in soil and the decommissioning of nuclear power plants as issues of emerging significance, and aims to strengthen science policy in these areas.
According to UNEP's executive director, although these may seem like separate issues, they go to the heart of questions about ensuring enough food and fuel while combating climate change and handling hazardous waste.
The report points out that the draining of peatlands is producing carbon dioxide emissions that amount to around six per cent of man-made greenhouse gas emissions; and their degradation is occurring 20 times faster than peat is accumulated. It also suggests that the nuclear industry needs to develop safer, faster and cheaper decommissioning of nuclear power plants.