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No. 2, 2012

Dear Reader

We are pleased to share news of new programs and update you on activities of START programs and projects on:


Highlights from CORDEX Africa

ACCFP Alumni meet with USGCRP

GEC Africa Project Fosters New Network

Southeast Asia Science-Policy Dialogue

Capacity Building

Advanced Institute on Forensic Investigation of Disasters

Research Partnership Enhancement Awards

Research & Assessments

Graduate Student Research Awards on Climate Risk Management

Disaster Risk Reduction & Climate Change Adaptation in South Asia

We appreciate your continued interest and support!

New Program

"Future Earth - Research for Global Sustainability" Launched at Rio+20

A new 10-year international initiative on global environmental research for sustainability was successfully launched at the Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro on June 14, 2012. Future Earth will provide a cutting-edge platform to coordinate scientific research designed and produced in partnership with governments, business and society. The initiative is scientifically sponsored by an alliance of partners, including the International Council for Science (ICSU), the International Social Science Council (ISSC), the Belmont Forum of funding agencies, UNU, UNEP and UNESCO, with the active engagement of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

By integrating across disciplines and sectors, Future Earth research will answer fundamental questions about how and why the global environment is changing; what are likely future changes; what the implications are for the wellbeing of humans and other species; what choices can be made to enhance resilience, create positive futures, and reduce harmful risks and vulnerabilities; and how this knowledge can support policy decisions and sustainable development. Unveiled in March 2012 at Planet Under Pressure in London, Future Earth will begin operations in 2013, following consultations and workshops to be held online and throughout Africa, Asia and Latin America to broaden the scope of co-design to key stakeholders.

For more information about Future Earth, please visit www.icsu.org/future-earth.


Highlights from CORDEX-Africa

A CORDEX-Africa workshop was held 20-24 February 2012 at the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in Trieste, Italy. The workshop, led by the University of Cape Town's Climate Systems Analysis Group and supported by START, brought together 13 African scientists to participate in a writing and synthesis retreat. Peer-review publications produced through this writeshop will contribute to knowledge about climate change processes in Africa and will be considered in the IPCC 5th Assessment Report.

A climate-health workshop to examine how climate information can be better utilized to inform the management of climate-sensitive diseases in West Africa was held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, from 28 May to 1 June 2012. The workshop involved 35 participants from 12 African countries, and featured a range of expertise including climatology, meteorology, hydrology, disease epidemiology, public health management and mass media/communications. The workshop was co-organized by START, the Climate Systems Analysis Group-University of Cape Town, UNDP's Africa Adaptation Program, ACMAD, AMMA and ICSU. The workshop was supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency through a grant to ICSU, and the US National Science Foundation, and was intended to advance the Global Framework of Climate Services in Africa as well as contribute to ICSU ROA Program on impacts of global environmental change in Africa.

For more information or to download the workshop report, please visit: http://start.org/programs/cordex-af.

ACCFP Alumni and US Federal Agencies Convene for Climate Adaptation Dialogue

African Climate Change Fellows from more than 10 African nations convened at the US Global Change Research Program's National Coordination Office in Washington, DC, in February 2012 to discuss their experiences applying scientific knowledge to climate change adaptation efforts in Africa. The event provided a forum for ACCFP alumni to engage in open dialogue with representatives from USGCRP and other Federal agencies, including USAID, NSF, NASA, USDA, the Department of State, and the Department of Energy on climate adaptation challenges and prospects in Africa. More information on this dialogue can be found here at the US Global Change Research Program's website.

Global Environmental Change Research Project Fosters ECOVANGUARD NIGERIA Network

The START Grant for Global Environmental Change Research project, Community-based Management of Ecosystems and Natural Resources for the Improvement of Rural Livelihoods and Food Security in the Nigerian Savannah, held a stakeholder workshop in May 2012 led by Principal Investigator Dr. Mayowa Fasona of the University of Lagos.

The workshop engaged representatives from 14 communities and 9 local government agencies in Nigeria, including the Ministry of Environment, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Old Oyo National Park, academia and non-governmental organizations. The workshop provided a forum for Dr. Fasona and his team to present research findings to the community and determine how they could collaborate to address the problems of ecosystem degradation and food insecurity in the region.

As an outcome of this participatory workshop, the ECOVANGUARD NIGERIA Network was co-created to promote awareness and understanding of the relationships between climate change and food security, livelihoods, and the availability of natural resources. The network is committed to improving the resilience of rural communities and promoting the use of evidence-based knowledge for adaptation measures and innovations in natural resource management to ensure sustainable food security.

Science-Policy Dialogue on Challenges of Global Environmental Change

The International START Secretariat collaboratively planned, organized and conducted a Southeast Asia regional science-policy dialogue in partnership with APN and the SEA START Regional Center. The science-policy dialogue, Meeting the Challenges and Opportunities of Climate Change - Vulnerability, Adaptation and Risk Management was held in Bangkok, Thailand, from 19-21 July 2012. The workshop engaged APN National Focal points and associated national government agency representatives to strengthen interaction between scientists and policy-makers and to promote informed decision-making to reduce global environmental change vulnerability. More information on this event can be found here on SEA START Regional Center's website.

Capacity Building

Advanced Institute on Forensic Investigation of Disasters (FORIN)

One of the initial research components of the Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (IRDR) program is a set of internationally organized, in-depth case studies (the Forensic Investigation of Disasters (FORIN) project) that investigate how natural hazards do - or do not - become disasters. FORIN studies value success stories as well as failures in understanding the root causes of disasters and disaster risk.

The 2012 Advanced Institute on FORIN trained 24 young to middle-career researchers and practitioners from Southeast Asia with the enhanced understanding, skills and resources to design, organize and carry out FORIN related studies in their own countries. The 8-day intensive training event included educational modules, hands-on interactive exercises and field visits. Click here to view the Institute program and here to browse the participant directory.

The 2012 Advanced Institute on FORIN 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 ICSU.

Following the Advanced Institute event, START secured modest funding to support follow-on research designed, led and implemented by participants of the 2012 Advanced Institute on FORIN. Research supported under this Call of Proposals will contribute to IRDR's FORIN initiatives.

The next Advanced Institute, in October 2012, hosted and organized by the IRDR ICoE in Taipei, Taiwan, in partnership with START, will focus on data for coastal cities at risk.

Research Partnership Enhancement Awards: A new collaborative opportunity
for African scientists

With funding support from the USGCRP during 2012, START supported five individual Africans as Visiting Scientists to develop or enhance collaborative research with colleagues based at US universities.

The five Visiting Scientists and their hosts for 2012 are:

Dr. Yazidhi BAMUTAZE
Makerere University, Uganda

Host: Dr. Tonny Oyana
Southern Illinois University, IL

Dr. Yemenu Desta FITSUME
National Institute of Agricultural Research, Ethiopia

Host: Dr. Gerrit Hoogenboom
Washington State University, WA

Dr. Ismael KIMEREI
Tanzania Fisheries Institute, Tanzania

Host: Dr. Catherine O'Reilley
Illinois State University, IL

Dr. Seyni SALACK
University Cheikh Anta Diop, Senegal

Host: Dr. Alessandra Giannini
IRI, Columbia University, NY

Dr. Sandow YIDANA
University of Ghana, Ghana

Host: Dr. Duke Ophori
Montclair State University, NJ

Dr. Bamutaze's visit in February and March included joint work with Dr. Oyana to complete a manuscript on the impact of land use and land cover change on stream discharge on Mt. Elgon, Uganda. The manuscript has since been submitted to the Journal of Applied Geography. Two research proposals were developed and subsequently submitted as well. In addition, Dr. Bamutaze took advantage of superior data computing capabilities at Southern Illinois University to develop a Digital Elevation Model for an area spanning 5,000km2. At the end of his stay, he presented a seminar to the Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences at Southern Illinois University.

Research & Assessments

Graduate Student Research Awards on Climate Risk Management

A total of 14 research grants were awarded to graduate students to support research that embeds science into humanitarian work by creating tools for smart forecast-based decisions and by managing climate risks and promoting effective responses for development and adaptation. Research will be conducted with communities in Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya, Senegal, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

A launch workshop held in Nairobi from 29-31 May brought together student awardees to explore new formats of communication and interaction. The workshop consisted of gameplay sessions, peer-to-peer training and collective exploration of ways to enrich student's proposals. Students will form a network of young researchers interested in action-oriented and collaborative research on climate, development and humanitarian work. To learn more about this program, please visit: http://start.org/programs/grad-student-climate-risk-mgmt

Graduate Student Researchers

Gloria Cheche
Institute of Development Studies, UK

Mohini Dutta
Parsons the New School for Design

Lauren Graham
Yale University, USA

Erin Kitchell
University of Wisconsin, USA

Bettina Koelle
University of Cape Town, South Africa

Anna Law
University of Oxford, UK

Selina Maenzanise
King's College, UK

Anthony Ndah
Universiti Brunei Darussalam

Ernest Ogbozor
Brandeis University, USA

Francis Opiyo
University of Nairobi, Kenya

Lien Tran
Parsons the New School for Design, USA

Bereket Tunkala
Bonn University, Germany

Samaila Yusuf
Asian Institute of Technology

Joshua Zake
University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Uganda

Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation in South Asia

START, with funding from CDKN, is pleased to support five interdisciplinary research teams to conduct research on integrating disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation for resilient development in South Asia. Under this broad research theme, specific projects aim to address three sub-themes:

  • 1. Institutional arrangements and governance structures that influence the degree of flexibility and sustainability of DRR across varying scales.
  • 2. Policy innovations that promote convergence of DRR and CCA into policy and practice at varying scales.
  • 3. The changing nature of development factors, which shape vulnerability to disasters.

To learn more about individual projects, please visit project pages here.

Research Teams

Ability of Local Multi-Stakeholder Action to Catalyze Shifts in Program and Policy Environment towards Mainstreaming Disaster Risk Reduction Climate Change Adaptation
PI: Anshu Sharma

Linking Disaster Risk Reduction, Climate Change Adaptation and Sustainable Landscape Development Goals in the Eastern Himalaya
PI: Sarala Khaling

Getting Climate Smart for Disasters
PI: Indrani Phukan

Towards Integrating Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation: Understanding Flood Risk and Resilience in Eastern India
PI: Shiraz A. Wajih

Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation in Koshi River Basin, Nepal
PI: Laxmi Devkota

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