Displaying 1-20 of 59 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: World Health Organization (WHO) | June 2012
This report gives an overview of the last 40 years of work carried out by HRP, the Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction, which was established in 1972, following a World Health Assembly resolution.
HRP aims to advance sexual and reproductive health. The organisation is the central mechanism within the United Nations system for research into human reproduction — bringing together policymakers, scientists, healthcare providers and community representatives to identify and address priorities for the sexual and reproductive health agenda.
The report highlights key achievements, including helping to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV; promoting human rights and gender equality in sexual and reproductive health; and widening access to family planning.
Source: DFID | July 2012
This report presents the results of a project that aimed to harmonise approaches to the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of climate change adaptation in Africa. The project also aimed to test ways of improving training materials on selected methodologies, and to develop a strategy for outreach. It was implemented by a core group of representatives from regional and sub-regional organisations, climate change adaptation initiatives and funding agencies.
The authors conclude that the project successfully facilitated an increased understanding of M&E practices, methods and tools in the context of climate change adaptation, and encouraged improvements to stakeholder organisations. The report recommends that the resulting M&E toolkit should be disseminated in Africa.
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: 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: European Journalism Centre and the Open Knowledge Foundation
This online book, an initiative of the European Journalism Centre and the Open Knowledge Foundation, is a resource for anyone interested in becoming a data journalist. It outlines what data journalism is, why it is important, and how to do it.
The book covers 'life in a newsroom', a series of case studies, and sections on how to gather, understand and deliver data. It also looks at data visualization tools available on the web, and how they can be used effectively to both breaking news — at the location of an accident, for example — or to produce feature stories.
The guide includes contributions from data journalists at the BBC, the Chicago Tribune, the Guardian, the Financial Times, the New York Times and the Washington Post.
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: Overseas Development Institute | July 2011
This guide, published by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), was a result of a project designed to build capacity for science communication at the Vietnamese Academy of Social Science. It draws on international good practice and discusses how three tools — the policy brief, the research brief and the story of change — can be used to communicate research through print media. The guide presents case-studies that illustrate policy processes in Vietnam; describes the principles and process of communication, and offers advice on how to write effectively and how to develop policy briefs. The guide is presented as a 'working document' that will be revised to incorporate users' views, and stresses that practice is the best way to improve writing skills.
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: The International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) The Earth Institute at Columbia University | 2011
This report highlights advances in the use of climate information to predict and prepare for climate-related natural disasters. It draws together 17 case studies that capture the current state of knowledge within the humanitarian community, and identifies research innovations. It presents the challenges and opportunities that disaster risk managers face in using climate science with a three step approach: indentifying the problem, developing tools, and taking action.
The results show that effective partnerships are crucial and can help to build the information needed for effective response. They also suggest how the use of this information can be improved — for example by focusing on immediate opportunities for action in countries and regions more likely to benefit. Recommendations also include developing realistic expectations, in order to maintain trust in the information and those who provide it, and encouraging national meteorological services to tailor their information to the problem at hand.
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: Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability | May 2010
This academic paper explores the Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) system within the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The authors highlight the principle challenges facing non-commercial biodiversity research scientists, in particular the tight regulations that restrict access to genetic resources in many countries and ultimately hinder the generation of knowledge vital to implementing the CBD.
Source: Japan Council for Science and Technology Policy | May 2008
This report, written by Japan's Council for Science and Technology Policy, provides recommendations to Japanese ministries for promoting science and technology diplomacy. Suggestions include pursuing research collaborations with developing countries and boosting capacity building efforts in these nations, fostering young researchers and engaging with global collaborative science projects.
Source: Nature | May 2010
In this Nature article, three members of the Royal Society call for an advisory group and a network of international laboratories to lay the groundwork for nuclear disarmament and international collaboration. Scientific collaboration has already helped nuclear negotiations, say the authors. But now, the technology needed to support disarmament must be developed.