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No. 1, 2013

Dear Reader

We are pleased to share updates with you on activities of START programs and projects on:


Call for Papers: Challenges of Urbanization & Development in Africa in the Context of Climate Change

Games for a New Climate

Hot off the press!: ACCFP Special Journal Issue

Recent Events

CORDEX: Decision making on adaptation in peri-urban areas

Global Observation of Forest Cover & Land Dynamics

2012 Board of Directors Meeting

Advanced Institute on Data for Coastal Cities at Risk

Research & Assessments

Announcing the 2013 Grants for Global Environmental Change Research in Africa teams!

Research and Learning Forum on Global Environmental Change

We appreciate your continued interest and support!


Call for Papers: International Conference on "Challenges of Urbanization and Development in Africa in the Context of Climate Change"

The Centre for Climate Change Studies (CCCS) of the University of Dar es Salaam, in collaboration with The Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH), Tanzania Meteorological Agency (TMA), The Ardhi University of Tanzania (ARU) and International START Secretariat is organising the three-day International Conference to be held 24 – 26 July 2013 at the Mount Meru Hotel (Arusha – Tanzania). The organizers of the Conference, which is entitled “Challenges of Urbanization and Development in Africa in the Context of Climate Change”, now invite submission of paper abstracts by those individuals interested to participate. Abstracts are due no later than 03rd May 2013 to be eligible for consideration. Please continue reading for more information.

To download the full call for proposals, click here.

Games for a New Climate: Experiencing the Complexity of Future Risks

The Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future at Boston University has released a new Task Force Report titled Games for a New Climate: Experiencing the Complexity of Future Risks. The report is a collaborative effort of the 12-member Task Force that START participated in. The taskforce was convened on behalf of the Pardee Center by Visiting Research Fellow Pablo Suarez, in collaboration with the Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre.

The report provides a detailed exploration of the current and potential ways in which games can be used to help a variety of stakeholders – including subsistence farmers, humanitarian workers, scientists, policymakers, and donors. The report discusses how games can help stakeholders both understand and experience the difficulty and risks related to decision-making in a complex and uncertain future.

Hot off the press!: ACCFP special journal issue

In close collaboration with SCOPE and Elsevier, START recently published a special thematic issue of the journal Environmental Development. The issue, entitled "Climate change risk management in Africa", is a compilation of contributions from research, education and training initiatives that have been conducted in Africa, for Africa, by Africans and enabled by research-driven capacity building efforts facilitated by START and other partners in recent years. Many of the articles are authored by alumni of the African Climate Change Fellowship Program, one of START's flagship programs in Africa. Several other contributions are authored by research teams originally supported by the Climate Change Adaptation in Africa program and individuals who participated in START's 2010 Forum on Education, Capacity Building and Climate Change. The issue addresses a spectrum of research questions, and related results and recommendations strengthen the body of knowledge on climate change, adaptation and development in Africa. Contributions also offer tangible examples of best practices in research, communication and risk management that are applicable elsewhere in Africa and beyond.

The thematic issue is published online and can be accessed at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/22114645 or view the Table of Contents here. Contact Clark Seipt for more information: (cseipt@start.org).

Recent Events

CORDEX workshop for decision making on adaptation in peri-urban areas

START and the University of Cape Town's Climate Systems Analysis Group (CSAG), in collaboration with CDKN, recently convened a collaborative learning workshop to enhance skills in applying climate information to decisioin making on adaptation in peri-urban areas. The workshop took place in Dar es Salaam on 13-15 February and involved teams of experts from Addis Ababa, Kampala, Dar es Salaam, Maputo and Lusaka. The teams, which consisted of a mix of climate and sectoral experts from universities, government agencies and NGOs, examined critical peri-urban elements through the lens of non-climate and climate stressors that interact to influence the vulnerability of people and systems in rapidly transforming peri-urban areas. These elements included food production, water resource management, infrastructure and vital socio-economic services, where sensitivities to increasing climate risks are high.

The workshop allowed participants to gain better understanding of how to apply climate projections information to decision making and to be aware of where potential limitations lie in using climate data. For START and CSAG, the workshop provided a mean to identify entry points for engaging people of diverse expertise and perspectives in using climate data. This workshop is part of a larger effort under CORDEX-Africa to develop exemplar frameworks for appropriate use of climate information to support decision making on adaptation.

For more information about CORDEX, click here.

Global Observation of Forest Cover and Land Dynamics (GOFC-GOLD)

In recent months, START supported young scientists to attend meetings in South America, Asia, and Africa with funding from NASA:

Two of these meetings, one in Santiago, Chile, and the other in Morogoro, Tanzania, focused on fire. At the end of October 2012, the Latin American Network for Remote Sensing and Forest Fires (RedLatif) met in Santiago, Chile, to build skills in the use of global observation data for detecting fires and hot spots, and share data on land use change and vegetation studies from across the region. In February 2013, the Southern African Fire Network (SAFNet) met to discuss issues related to fire around southern Africa.

In January, a meeting was convened in southern India to focus on land cover and land use change dynamics as they relate to water resources in coastal zones, as well as agriculture, forests, biomass burning and urbanization. The meeting included a training workshop for early career scientists in the use of geospatial tools to study land cover and land use change.

For more information about this program, please click here.

2012 START Board of Directors Meeting

In December 2012, the Board of Directors of START International, Inc. convened for its third annual meeting in Washington, DC USA. Meeting participants included Board members, regional representatives from START's centers and partners in Africa and the Asia-Pacific and staff of the International START Secretariat. The three-day meeting began with special opening remarks from invited guests Mr. David Allen, Program Coordinator for International Research and Cooperation at the US Global Change Research Program and Dr. John Furlow, Director of the Global Climate Change Office at the US Agency for International Development. Priority meeting business included the 2012 START Annual Report and and discussion of the Future Earth initiative and potential entry points for START. Meeting participants also considered opportunities for restructuring START regional structure in Africa and Asia and developing a long-term funding strategy for the organization.

At the meeting, START welcomed two new Board members: Dr. Heide Hackmann, Executive Director of the International Social Sciences Council and Prof. Mohamed Hassan, Co-Chair of IAP, the Global Network of Science Academies and Chairman of the Council of the United Nations University. After many years of dedicated service, Dr. Graeme Pearman rotated off the Board of Directors.

START wishes to thank all of the meeting participants as well as those who sent updates from the regions. We look forward to collaborating with you in 2013.

Advanced Institute on Data for Coastal Cities at Risk

Much of the world’s rapid population and economic growth is occurring in large coastal cities that are at high risk from a changing climate, including sea level rise, intense precipitation and heat stress. With the increase in population in coastal areas, there is an increased potential for loss of life and property. Physical risks and vulnerabilities in these regions are often accompanied by a deficit of adaptive capacity (i.e., the ability to cope with the risk and vulnerabilities posed by climate change) as the cities generally lack necessary resources – financial, human and institutional – as well as access to relevant scientific information.

Addressing this deficit requires integration of research and policy-making across all hazards, disciplines and geographic regions. The 2012 Advanced Institute on Data for Coastal Cities at Risk provided 29 international participants from Asia and Africa with the enhanced understanding, skills, and resources to use and collect data for coastal cities related studies in their own countries. The 6-day intensive training event included educational modules, hands-on interactive exercises and field visits. Click here to learn more about this event, view the Institute program and browse the participant directory.

The Advanced Institute on Data for Coastal Cities at Risk was organized by START and the IRDR International Centre of Excellence (ICoE) in Taipei, together with IRDR International, ICSU and Taiwan’s National Science and Technology Center for Disaster Reduction (NCDR). Funding for the Institute was provided by the IRDR ICoE in Taipei.

Research & Assessments

Announcing the 2013 Grants for Global Environmental Change Research in Africa teams!

This year, START Grants for Global Environmental Change Research in Africa will support 11 research teams across the continent to conduct research related to the 2013 theme: global environmental change, agriculture and food security, with an emphasis on creating an understanding of how those subjects are linked to ecosystem services and sustainable livelihoods. Each project addresses both the natural and social sciences, drawing on the expertise of interdisciplinary teams of researchers.

START is please to announce the 2013 research teams:

Linking agriculture and socio-economic drivers to assess vulnerability and food security in Morocco for the horizon 2030

PI: MESSOULI, Mohammed, University of Cadi Ayyad, Morocco

Vulnerability of settled Fulani agro-pastoralists' livelihoods to climate change and emerging innovations for adaptation and land accessibility in southwest Nigeria

PI: FABUSORO Eniola, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Nigeria

Modeling the potential impacts of afforestation on mitigating climate change and extreme events in southern Africa

PI: ABIODUN J. Babatunde, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Heat stress of sheep: Livestock monitoring in the Suid Bokkeveld of South Africa

PI: HETEM Robyn S., University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

Coping with global environmental change: Resilience and adaptability of rural communities on the West Coast of South Africa

PI: PALMER Anthony, Agricultural Research Council, South Africa

Implications of climate change on agricultural practices and food security in fragile mountain ecosystems: A case study of Mt. Elgan in Eastern Uganda

PI: BAMUTAZE Yazidhi, Makerere University, Uganda

An assessment of gender roles and traditional knowledge systems in enhancing climate change adaptation and household food security in Lake Victoria Basin, Uganda

PI: LEJJU Julius Bunny, Mbarara University of Science & Technology, Uganda

Enhancing resilience to climate change and variability: Cassava and sweet potatoes in Uganda

PI: OTIM-NAPE William George, Africa Innovations Institute, Uganda

Trade-offs and synergies in climate change adaptation and mitigation in coffee systems

PI: VAN ASTEN Petrus J.A., International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Uganda

Assessing adaptation capacity of crop management strategies for small holder farmers in Zimbabwe

PI: MHIZHA Teddious, University of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe

Integrating indigenous and empirical knowledge to stabilise household food security in a changing climate in smallholder communities of Zimbabwe

PI: NEZOMBA Hatirarami, University of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe

To learn more about this program, please click here.

Research and Learning Forum on Global Environmental Change

A Research and Learning Forum on Global Environmental Change (GEC) research was convened in Accra, Ghana, from 14-16 November 2012. Organization of the Research and Learning Forum created a space to present research, and catalyze knowledge sharing, creative strategizing and future collaboration through face-to-face interactions among recipients of 2011 GEC grants and other regional and international experts. Targeted training was designed to strengthen future research design and promote increased and more effective communication between communities of science, policy and practice. Click here to view the Research and Learning Forum program, participant directory and research presentations.

The GEC Research and Learning Forum was organized by START in partnership with University of Ghana. Funding was provided by Climate Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) and US National Science Foundation.

© 2011 START International, Inc.

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