Displaying 1-17 of 17 key documents
This report gives an overview and analysis of early warning technologies and capacities in the developing world, including the basic concepts of early warning systems and the role of earth observation for disasters and the environment. While focusing on existing systems, it also addresses gaps in monitoring, communication and response that need to be filled to improve timely decision-making for slow-onset emergencies.
The authors highlight that much more needs to be done before a global multi-hazard system can be developed. Recommendations for filling operation gaps include: improving existing technologies and systems; building infrastructure and capacities in developing countries most at risk; and bridging science and decision making.
Source: SustainUS | June 2012
This guide provides an overview of water-related topics up for discussion at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20). It aims to introduce the Rio+20 process and facilitate relevant stakeholder participation.
It gives an overview of global water commitments, emerging issues related to water resources such as sound management and sustainable urban development, and an outline of where water features in the draft document prepared for the summit. It concludes with policy recommendations which include national strategies that recognise the human right to water, and the establishment of gender indicators that strengthen women's participation in governance. The authors say that a strong unified front from the water community is required to ensure a positive result from the agreements made at Rio+20.
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: 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.
Source: Environmental Politics | June, 2011
This paper offers a theoretical approach to combining innovation and community action as a way to bridge the gap between grassroots activities and mainstream technological innovation. It discusses how grassroots innovation differs from mainstream business reform, and how the United Kingdom's sustainable development strategy reflects this.
Using an example of communal housing, the authors show how technological innovation is intimately linked to social innovation. The paper characterises social needs and ideological commitments as key drivers of grassroots innovation, and describes the benefits and problems associated with grassroots activities. It concludes by stating that grassroots activities are neglected, and lays out a research and policy agenda to help address the problem.
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: AMCEN Secretariat | November 2011
This guidebook translates current knowledge on climate change and international climate policies into practical options for mitigation and adaptation in Africa, outlining the links with sustainable development. It is aimed at policymakers, decision-makers and other interested practitioners such as environment and climate change negotiators.
The guide focuses on potential climate change impacts on key sectors in Africa, such as small-scale farming. It highlights tools, methodologies and literature available to help countries assess mitigation and adaptation needs.
The authors outline the governance, technological, financial and capacity-building opportunities to take action on climate change, and how they can benefit development. The guidebook also includes sources of financing, and case studies on mitigation and adaptation, including rainwater harvesting, coastal zone adaptation, fisheries and restoration of degraded lands.
Source: UNEP | February 2012
This report, which is part of the UN Foresight Initiative, describes the 21 most pressing emerging global environmental issues — those recognised as very important to well-being by the scientific community, but are not yet receiving enough attention from the policymakers. These cover a range of themes, from food security to biodiversity, energy and technology.
One of the most important cross-cutting issues identified in the report is the need to rethink international environmental governance. Other areas in need of improvement include the science–policy interface, and coping with incremental damage to the environment.
Improving food security in light of changing climate is also high on the list of priorities, with the report suggesting a need for more comprehensive early warning systems, support for smallholder farmers, efforts to reduce food waste and increasing agricultural efficiency. Other issues highlighted include managing the impacts of glacial retreat; improving ocean governance; accelerating the implementation of renewable energy systems; and considering the environmental implications of nuclear reactor decommissioning.
Source: Health Research Policy and Systems
This paper discusses how researchers promote the use of research in policy by examining the practices of 'boundary organisations' that cross the boundary between science and politics to facilitate evidence-based policies and programmes. It identifies key lessons for organisations looking to engage policymakers and decision-makers.
The study focuses on the Regional Network on AIDS, Livelihoods and Food Security (RENEWAL), a regional 'network of networks' active in Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, and Zambia which engages government officials on programmes that could inform policies on food, nutrition and HIV/AIDS. It describes the challenges and successes of efforts to promote research in these areas; challenges include adherence to scientific principles while maintaining close relationships with political authority, and ensuring accountability to the communities within which the research is conducted.
The paper offers recommendations to strengthen efforts to get research into policy, and concludes that the concept of a boundary organisation can help researchers engage people and processes that have decision-making power.
Source: ASSAf | 2011
This booklet, published by the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), aims to inform policymakers about how Inquiry-Based Science Education (IBSE) — an educational tool that uses learners' experiences for practical teaching — can encourage girls to participate in science and mathematics. It addresses current misconceptions about girls' aptitude for science, and ineffective teaching methods at primary schools in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The report provides an overview of girls' education in Sub-Saharan Africa and describes IBSE, its features, and where it has been implemented. It suggests that integrating IBSE into the school curricula can help to increase girls' participation in science and mathematics. The Academy urges policymakers to endorse IBSE and offers guidance on how they can support pilot projects to implement it in primary schools.
Source: LEAD Africa
This report, published in English and French, looks at the unique responsibilities of African regional institutions in leading the continent on climate issues.
The report makes six recommendations for action by regional institutions: provide technical advice to African climate negotiators; help develop a coherent continental framework for action against climate change; play a 'bridging' role between pan-African organisations and national ones; improve the availability of climate data on the continent by sharing information; and compare strategies for adaptation to inform policymaking.
Source: Overseas Development Institute (ODI) | December 2009
This article, published by the Overseas Development Institute, summarises the findings of a study on the challenges of incorporating science, technology and innovation into policy in developing countries and highlights the role of science in promoting effective climate change adaptation measures.
The study, commissioned by SciDev.Net and the UK Department for International Development, included investigations of how to improve structures and institutions for delivering climate change adaptation and how to integrate adaptation measures into developing country policies as a critical priority.
The article suggests finding innovative ways to embed scientific knowledge into national policy through, for example, placing researchers in government bodies or creating citizen juries to judge adaptation measures.
Source: Africa Progress Panel
This policy brief, prepared by the Africa Progress Panel, African Development Bank and UN, outlines the implications of climate change for Africa, emphasising the need for a strong and cohesive negotiating position at the December 2009 climate talks in Copenhagen.
The authors argue that African governments must define practical steps for the international community to address the climate crisis. Three areas require urgent action: clear emissions targets and an adaptation fund; energy-saving technologies through additional financing and technology transfer; and improving long-term frameworks such as the Clean Development Mechanism and reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD).
To achieve this, argue the authors, African heads of state and ministers of finance, planning and environment must collaborate on a practical strategy position to generate maximum buy-in from the rest of the world. This must be achieved in time for high-level meetings in the second half of 2009.
Source: The Haworth Press | 2005
The mass media is an effective way of getting policymakers interested in a research issue, but only if communicators are able to make the issue attractive. Ways to increase the media appeal of research policy related news are suggested, as is the need to equip researchers and analysts with improved communication skills that will help bridge the research-policy gap.
Source: Forum on Science and Technology for Sustainability
Anil Gupta, Founder Coordinator of the Honey Bee network and Founder President of the Society for Research and Initiatives for Sustainable Technologies and Institutions, describes the barriers to communication that stand between researchers, policy-makers, policy analysts and the public. He deplores how "big" (formal) science fails to appreciate "small" (local knowledge-based) science, and particularly the part it plays in creating sustainable lifestyles. Other barriers include a reliance on jargon, problems with communicating about risk, and a lack of science funding.
Based in India, Gupta specialises in providing support for small technological entrepreneurs.
The text is also downloadable in Word format.
Source: The International Food Policy Research Institute
In this paper, G. Pascal Zachary, an experienced development journalist, discusses the challenges to quality development reporting from both developed and developing countries.
He explores the different interpretations of what development is, whether it is positive or negative and how journalists can and should navigate different opinions and ideologies to produce objective pieces, be they in print, web, radio or television.
Though not with specific reference to science journalism, Zachary discusses many issues that are common to all forms of development journalism: issues of free speech, corruption, sensationalism, condescension, the influence of the media, and the importance of giving a voice to the voiceless — the poor that development is trying to reach.
Many of the challenges are shared by Western and developing country journalists alike, others are more specific. Zachary provides suggestions on how these challenges can be overcome, with six other development journalists giving their views on his guidance and adding recommendations of their own.