Global Environmental Change and Governance

Global change drivers, stressors and impacts are complex and rigorous inquiry of this complexity is critical to understanding their impact on livelihoods and ecosystems. Governance and institutional weaknesses plausibly increase susceptibility to global environmental change risk in many countries; they are likely worsening, in some cases arguably driving, vulnerability to global environmental change shocks and stresses. However, there is not extensive research on the governance – vulnerability – resilience gamut.

The complex relationships among the different typologies, agents, scales and/or attributes of governance and vulnerability to global environmental change remain woefully understudied, especially in developing – country settings, where there are significant research capacity and resource needs. These knowledge and capacity needs have the effect of limiting the utility of any adaptive and mitigative interventions and undermining resilience – it is imperative, therefore, to address these needs through continued multi-, inter- and trans-disciplinary research as well as robust and sustained effort at capacity development.

START’s burgeoning portfolio on governance aspects of global environmental change aspires to fulfill critical knowledge and capacity needs in governance and institutional dimensions of GEC in developing countries. In March and September 2013, START organized a pair of scoping workshops that explored GEC governance issues in Africa: Africa Cities at Risk workshop (March 2013, Durban, South Africa) and GEC- Governance Africa – workshop (Sept 2013, Accra, Ghana). Currently, START is leading production of a strategy paper on knowledge and capacity needs in governance aspects of GEC in Africa, building on the knowledge-scoping workshop conducted in Accra, last year. START is also co-organizing (in collaboration with the Earth System Governance Project) a roundtable on Earth System Governance Research in Africa on the margins of the annual Earth System Governance Conference in Norwich, UK.


Cities at Risk – Africa Workshop
25-28 March 2013, Durban, South Africa
START and partners convened a four-day scoping workshop on “Cities at Risk: Africa” in March 2013 in Durban, South Africa. Attended by scientists, municipal representatives, and representatives of relevant African Universities and research centers, the event sought to assess the state of knowledge and capacity needs regarding vulnerability and risk in the urban sector, and to share knowledge, insights and experiences on pathways for effective climate change adaptation and resilience in African cities and urban systems.

Global Environmental Change & Governance Workshop – Africa
23-24 September 2013, Accra, Ghana
START convened a two-day scoping workshop on governance dimensions of GEC in Africa. The event brought together 18 experts representing a diverse set of disciplines, experiences and countries to look into knowledge, capacity and networking needs related to governance dimensions of climate change in Africa using the ESG conceptual framework. The event was hosted by Institute for Environmental and Sanitation Studies (IESS), University of Ghana and organized in collaboration with IESS and the Earth Systems Governance (ESG) Project. For more information about the workshop, click here.

Workshop on the Role of Earth System Observations in Environmental Policy Support – Africa
4-5 December 2014
Building on its work in bridging the science-policy gap, START convened a two-day scoping workshop on the role of Earth observations in the support of environmental policy and governance in Africa. This workshop was preceded by research involving six case studies led by thought leaders from five countries in Africa on current use, and the potential for future use, of Earth observations in policy formulation and implementation in Africa. Case study authors came together with representatives from the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the World Bank, US universities, the US Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) and AfriGEOSS to take part in a scoping workshop held on December 4-5, 2014. The event was sponsored by NASA, as part of the GOFC-GOLD Program. For more information about the workshop, click here.

Last Updated on December 22nd, 2014



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