2017 GOFC-GOLD Regional Networks Summit

The Global Observation of Forest and Land Cover Dynamics (GOFC-GOLD) Regional Networks Summit will be held during September 13 – 15 2017 in Tbilisi, Georgia.

The GOFC-GOLD program, a coordinated effort to improve access by developing country scientists and decision makers to existing earth observation data, increase scientists’ capacity to utilize and produce data needed for research and natural resources management, and foster regional and international networks of scientists interested in remote sensing and natural resources management, is implemented through collaborating networks of data providers, data brokers and data users. GOFC-GOLD Regional Networks enable data providers, scientists and operational users to articulate information requirements and improve their access to and use of Earth observations.

These Networks enable calibration, validation and improvement of methods and algorithms and integration of in-situ and remote sensing observations; are a common arena for users and researchers operating in a specific geographic area; and offer a mechanism for sharing of resources and expertise. They represent a link between national agencies, user groups and the global user/producer community, and NASA LCLUC scientists.

The 2017 GOFC-GOLD Regional Networks Summit will assess past performance of regional networks and discuss their future direction – it will also provide an opportunity for cross-network learning and knowledge sharing. The meeting will be attended by regional network members, GOFC-GOLD Executive Committee members and other partners. The Summit will be preceded by a 2-day kickoff event (Sep 11-12)  for the Caucuses Network, a new addition to existing GOFC-GOLD networks in the region.

With support from NASA under the GOFC-GOLD program, START is organizing the Summit bringing together regional network leaders, GOFC-GOLD Executive Committee members and other partners involved in Earth observations research and capacity building. Participants will discuss the state of GOFC-GOLD regional networks, and will share knowledge and best practices in network self-governing and ensuring their financial and operational sustainability.

This invitational Summit is being organized in collaboration with the Agricultural University of Georgia and is funded by the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Venue: Agricultural University of Georgia, main building, II flour, large conference hall,

Address: 240, David Aghmashenebeli Alley, 0159, Tbilisi, Georgia

We have blocked rooms at MERCURE Tbilisi Old Town and IBIS Styles Tbilisi and encourage all participants to stay in these hotels. For self-funding participants, additional hotel options include the following:

The Biltmore Hotel Tbilisi https://www.millenniumhotels.com/

Tbilisi Marriott Hotels http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/tbsmc-tbilisi-marriott-hotel/

Radisson Blu Iveria https://www.radissonblu.com/en/hotel-tbilisi

The workshop is by invitation only. More information, including summit agenda, will be available soon.

For further information, please contact Senay Habtezion shabtezion@start.org

 

 

The Intangibles that Matter: Non-Economic Loss and Damage

By Justin Charles G. See, PARR Fellow

“The floods swept away everything we had – even our dreams and our future.”

This was the testimony of Maricel, a resident of Barangay Tumana, Marikina City, at the end of our key informant interview. I was accompanied by my field interviewers in a visit to the communities living under the Tumana bridge, a flood-prone area just beside the Marikina River in the Philippines.

Our team went to Bgy. Tumana, Marikina City (a flood-prone community beside the Marikina River)

Our team wanted to know more about the experiences of loss and damage from the community members themselves. The questions we prepared were supposedly simple and straightforward – we wanted to know how many pesos they lose / spend every time their particular area gets flooded after a typhoon. But the responses they gave were much more complex. They incurred losses and damages that they cannot easily quantify in pesos. In climate change literature, these are called non-economic losses and damages, or NELD.

What were these losses that were difficult to quantify?

The residents we talked to reported about the significant impact of floods on their health. Most of them, especially the children, complained of respiratory illnesses and diarrhoea after every typhoon. Some of the adults got diagnosed with leptospirosis – a disease caused by bacteria usually carried by rats. These illnesses hampered the ability of the respondents to be productive in work or in school. Worse, a number were forced to stay home in order to recover.

A number of residents also talked about the impact of floods on their environment. They were energized when they recalled how they were able to swim or bathe in the river before. Some recounted how they bonded with their neighbours while washing clothes together. I was amazed at how their eyes lit up with the stories on how their grandparents were able to catch fish. “We used to harvest kangkong (water spinach) and labanos (radish) right here near the river. Then we would go and have picnic with family”, said Rolando. However, he claimed that his family couldn’t do any of these things anymore. The floods have made the river impossible to swim / bathe in / have picnic with family.

Key informant interviews with community members: we asked them about loss and damages after typhoon

The floods also have a substantial effect on their connections with other people. Sociologists call these links and shared understandings/ values as Social Capital. When asked about whom they go to for help in times of disasters, majority of the people we interviewed reported to have no one to go to. This was based on their experiences right after Typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana). Very few people helped them out, and majority of those who helped were family or relatives. This resulted to a lack of trust towards other people.

The most heart-breaking story I heard that day was that of Maricel. Tears streamed down her face as she recounted how her mother died during Typhoon Ondoy, “As the water was quickly coming in, I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to save my mother AND my five children. But things turned out differently…” Today, seven years after the typhoon, Maricel still finds it difficult to move on from the death of her mother. “My mother and I wanted to start a small restaurant just nearby. She was a good cook; I miss her adobo… Now that she’s gone, no one will cook my favourite adobo anymore. Our dream of starting our own restaurant too – it’s gone.” For Maricel, the loss of her mother meant more than an economic loss; it was a loss of a particular family arrangement, a loss of a special relationship, and a loss of a bright future for her family.

Health, Environment, Connections, and Human Lives – these encompass just some of the many non-economic losses and damages – intangible aspects of people’s lives that are difficult to measure yet they do matter. It is high time that we pay attention to NELD – as these are sometimes more important to people compared to the monetary losses.

ASSAR West Africa team engaged district and national level stakeholders at events in Mali and Ghana

ASSAR West Africa team engaging stakeholders in dialogue on the regional diagnostic study and taking action for moving into regional research phase

The Adaptation at Scale in Semi-Arid Regions (ASSAR) West Africa team has held district and national level stakeholder engagement events in both Mali and Ghana.

In Ghana
A district level event was held from from 22nd to 23rd of July and included participants from the Lawra and Nandom districts in northwestern Ghana. The purpose was to introduce participants to the major findings of the West Africa regional diagnostic study (RDS) and to give them the opportunity to give feedback on the findings of the RDS through corrections, additions and recommendations. The participants included representatives from farmers groups, civil service, civil society groups and the traditional council.

The one-day Adaptation at Scale in Semi-Arid Regions (ASSAR): National level dialogue and RDS Dissemination Workshop held on the 29th July, 2015 in Accra, Ghana brought together diverse stakeholders from academia as well as civil society organizations. Also present were students working on the ASSAR project. The aim of this workshop was to introduce participants to the major findings of the West Africa RDS and to provide a platform to validate findings which will help transition the project to the regional research programme (RRP) phase.

In Mali
A district level Regional Diagnostic Study (RDS) dissemination event was held in Koutiala, Mali in July, 2015. The aim of this event was to share the RDS findings with local stakeholders, and to accommodate stakeholder comments and suggestions as the ASSAR team prepares to transition from the RDS phase to the next regional research phase of ASSAR. Find more information on this event here.

A national level RDS dissemination event was also held in Mali in September. More information on that event will be available soon.

Field visit to the Nandom district in the Upper West Region of Ghana

Moving Forward
Two PhD students, four Masters students, and two technical officers from the Ghana group of the ASSAR West Africa team undertook a two and half day field visit to Lawra and Nandom districts in the Upper West Region from the 16th to the 18th of September, 2015. This forms the first field visit in the second phase of the ASSAR project- the Regional Research Phase phase. The trip served as a reconnaissance survey to enable students to identify study areas for their research work. Also, it sought to assist students in familiarizing themselves with local stakeholders and the communities they will be working with. More information will be available as the RRP phase progresses.

To learn more about ASSAR, visit our program page, or contact Mary Thompson-Hall (mthompson-hall@start.org).

Third phase of the African Climate Change Fellowship Program kicked off in Dar es Salaam

The inception meeting for the 3rd phase of the African Climate Change Fellowship Program (ACCFP) took place at the Kunduchi Beach Hotel & Resort in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on Sep 21-22 2015. ACCFP, a capacity building program that offers experiential learning, education and research and training opportunities in adaptation to young African scholars and professionals, is implemented by IRA-USDM in collaboration with START and funded by the International Development Research Center (IDRC). START managed the first round of the ACCFP fellowship and was a key player in the incubation of the program and has helped foster a network of fellows, some of whom are now in management positions throughout the region. The event offered opportunities for the fellows to present their proposals – the fellows were also given training on scientific writing and present findings to a broader audience by Chipo Mubuya, Mzime Murisa, and Nicolas Ozor, former ACCFP fellows that are now experts in their fields. Furthermore, the meeting provided networking opportunities to new and old ACCFP alumni, as well as representatives from host and home countries.

Representing START, Senay Habtezion gave welcoming remarks to the fellows on behalf of START. He also led a session with the ACCFP-3 policy fellows with the goal of preparing them for an advanced institute currently being organized by START, tentatively scheduled to take place at IRA-UDSM during the first week of December.

To learn more about ACCFP, visit our program page, or contact Senay Habtezion (shabtezion@start.org).

GOFC-GOLD Southeast Asia Regional Informational Network International Workshop successfully concluded

SEARIN group photo 2015GOFC-GOLD Southeast Asia Regional Informational Network International Workshop this year was held during August 4th-7th, 2015, Bogor, Indonesia. The meeting focused on Impacts of Land Cover/Land Use Changes on Greenhouse Gases/SLCP and Aerosols in the Asian region. The meeting was sponsored and co-organized by START International Inc., GOFC-GOLD program, USA; National Institute of Environmental Studies, Japan, NASA, USA and the University of Maryland College Park, USA and Bogor Agricultural University, Bogor, Indonesia.

More than 120 participants from different countries attended the event. The meeting brought together researchers from different countries in the region, including Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, India, China, Japan, Cambodia, Myanmar, Philippines and Indonesia.

The main objective of the workshop was to discuss land cover/land use changes and their impacts on greenhouse gas emissions and aerosols in the Asian region. The meeting comprised six different sessions: 1) Regional and national science initiatives; 2) Land Cover/Land Use Change, Forests and GHG emissions; 3) Inventories, Monitoring and Modeling of GHG’s and Air Pollution; 4) Vegetation Fires and Biomass Burning Emissions; 5) Aerosols and radiation and 6) Regional Science Summary and South East Asia Regional Information Network (SEARRIN) – Research Priorities. Each session was chaired by international experts in the field and was preceded by invited Keynote presentations. There were more than 40 presentations during the first three days of the workshop. The fourth day of the workshop included field trip to Gudung Gede National Park to observe local land cover/land use characteristics and biodiversity of the park. The workshop outputs will include a Journal special issue papers in Environmental Research Letters and articles in a book entitled “Land-Atmospheric Interactions in Asia” – Dr. Krishna Vadrevu, Dr. Toshimasa Ohara and Dr. Chris Justice will serve as editors. All researchers working in the area of Land use/cover changes, Greenhouse gas emissions and aerosols in the Asian region will be invited to contribute to the journal and book.

For workshop presentations, please click here.

For more information about the GOFC-GOLD program, please click here, or contact Senay Habtezion at shabtezion@start.org.

GOFC-GOLD SCERIN Capacity Building Workshop took place July 13-17 in Brasov, Romania

The Global Observations of Forest and Land Cover Dynamics (GOFC-GOLD) South Central and Eastern European Regional Information Network (SCERIN) Capacity Building Workshop (SCERIN-3 CBW), the third meeting in the line of SCERIN meetings, took place in Brasov, Romania during July 13-17 2015. The meeting was sponsored by GOFC-GOLD and START and held in Brasov, Romania July 13-17, hosted by the Transylvania University of Brasov. The objectives of the workshop included increasing focus on remote sensing in forest management and administration, monitoring of protected areas, and assessment of forest disturbance in the region; reviewing the requirements and availability of satellite data, products, and approaches for land cover monitoring; outlining the specific land-cover and land-use change research, applications and development needs in the region; and discussing ongoing major scientific efforts and projects with possible contribution and follow-up activities with meeting participants.

The meeting was attended by over 40 participants from 13 countries including SCERIN members and non-SCERIN observers. Additional information and all presentations will follow soon.

For more information about GOFC-GOLD, please visit the project website.

ACCFP Phase 3 Fellows announced

The African Climate Change Fellowship Program announces its third phase of science and policy fellowships for 2015-2016.  ACCFP offers experiential learning, education, and research and training opportunities to African professionals, researchers and graduate students to build their capabilities for advancing and applying knowledge for climate change adaptation in Africa. ACCFP is jointly administered by the Institute of Resource Assessment (IRA) of the University of Dar es Salaam and START International, Inc. (START).  19 adaptation science fellowships and 12 adaptation policy fellowships have been awarded.  A summary list of fellows is below.  You can view the full more information about the 31 fellows here on the ACCFP announcement.

The ACCFP Adaptation Science Fellowships address climate change impacts and adaptation across spatial scales, based on case studies from across the African continent.  Adaptation Policy Fellowships is to contribute to a greater awareness about climate change and climate change adaptation issues in African decision making processes and begin to engage relevant policy makers on the subject.  ACCFP fellows for 2015-16 are below.

 

 

ADAPTATION Science Fellows: Masters Students

  • James Wangui from Egerton University of Benin in Kenya will be hosted at Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria studying Climate Change and Green Growth
  • Tapera Elias Mangwende from the University of Zimbabwe will be hosted at the University of Cape Town (Climatic Systems Analysis Group, UCT-CSAG) studying Climate Change and Green Growth
  • Samuel Orecho from the Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology (NM-AIST) in Tanzania will be hosted at the Walker Institute at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom studying Climate Change and Water
  • Rosalyne Baddoo from the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania will be hosted at the Sokoine University of Agriculture in Tanzania studying Climate Change and Green Growth
  • Judith Mulwa from the University of Nairobi will be hosted at the African Technology Policy Studies Network in Kenya studying the Economics of Climate Change Adaptation
  • Dagnon Didier Likpete from the Université de Parakou in Benin will be hosted at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi- Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) studying Climate Change and Green Growth
  • Andre Adjogboto from the Université de Parakou in Benin will be hosted at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi- Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) studying Climate Change and Green Growth

 

ADAPTATION Science Fellows: PhD Students

  • Sithabile Hlahla from the University of KwaZulu-Natal will be hosted at the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa studying Climate Change and Gender
  • Ronald Ndesanjo from the University of Dar es Salaam will be hosted at the University of Dodoma in Tanzania studying Climate Change and Green Growth
  • Masinde Kahitira Bwire from the University of Dar es Salaam will be hosted at Sokoine University of Agriculture in Tanzania studying Climate Change and Water
  • Orou Daouda Bello from the Université d’Abomey-Calavi will be hosted at the Université de Parakou in Benin studying Climate Change and Green Growth
  • Korotimi Ouedraogo from the Université d’Abomey-Calavi will be hosted at the Université de Parakou in Benin studying Climate Change and Green Growth
  • Najlaa Fathi from Abdelmalek Essaadi University in Morocco will be hosted at the Bisopheric Sciences Laboratory of the NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in the United States
  • Kholoud Kahime from Ibn Zoher University in Morocco will be hosted at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in the United States
  • Oumarou Farikou Mfochive of the Université de Yaoundé in Cameroon will be hosted at the Université Cadi Ayyad de Marrakech in Morocco studying Climate Change and Water

 

ADAPTATION Science Fellows: Post-Doctoral Positions

  • Admire Nyamwanza, a native Zimbabwean from the University of Manchester will be hosted at WaterNet in the Netherlands studying Climate Change and Water
  • Mekonnen Adnew Degefu from Addis Ababa University will be hosted at Water and Land Resource Centre in Ethiopia
  • Fred Demetrius Chibwana from the University of Dar es Salaam will be hosted at the Institute of Resource Assessment also at the University of Dar es Salaam

 

Adaptation Policy Fellows

  • Thomas Aneni from the University of Benin in Nigeria studying Climate Change and Green Growth
  • Olawale Festus Olaniyan from Wageningen University in the Netherlands studying Climate Change and Gender
  • Pardon Njerere from the University of Zimbabwe studying the Economics of Climate Change Adaptation
  • Kingsley Agyemang from the University of Greenwich in Ghana studying Climate Change and Green Growth
  • Paul Basudde from Makerere University in Uganda studying Climate Change and Green Growth
  • Mercy Ojoyi from the University of Kwazulu-Natal in Kenya studying Climate Change and Green Growth
  • Chidozie Anyiro from Abia State University Uturu in Nigeria studying Climate Change and Gender
  • Eric Mwangi Njoroge from Egerton University in Kenya studying Climate Change and Green Growth
  • Annie Mapulanga Gwanda from University of Malawi, Bunda College in Malawi studying the Economics of Climate Change Adaptation
  • Edjrosse Justin Max-Didier Tchobo from Université de Parakou in Bénin studying Climate Change and Water Resources
  • Gildas Louis Djohy from Université de Parakou in Bénin studying Climate Change and Green Growth

 

2015 Advanced Institute on Disaster Risk Reduction and Loss Mitigation will take place during April 20-25 2015

The Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (IRDR) program is a decade-long program of international research and related activities that aims to bring together the natural, socio-economic, health and engineering sciences in coordinated efforts to address the challenges brought about by natural disasters, mitigate their impacts and improve related policy-making mechanisms. The IRDR partnership effort seeks to achieve this objective, among others, by a series of intensive training institutes that promote advancement of IRDR’s priority themes and projects. Each Advanced Institute for IRDR brings together 15-20 young to middle-career researchers and practitioners from a specific region, country or thematic expertise and provides them with the enhanced understanding, skills and resources to design, organize and carry out IRDR related studies in their own countries.

The 2015 Advanced Institute (AI) on Disaster Risk Reduction and Loss Mitigation will similarly provide approximately 19 young to middle-career researchers and practitioners from Southeast Asia with the enhanced understanding; skills and practical knowledge to reduce disaster risk and mitigate disaster losses in their own countries. The 6-day, intensive training is hosted and organized by the IRDR International Center of Excellence (IRDR-ICoE) in Taipei, Taiwan, in partnership with START, the International Council for Sciences and IRDR. It will take place during April 20-25, 2015.

This year’s AI will cover a number of important themes, including integrative risk management; disaster typologies; approaches, tools and systems for risk and loss reduction; socio-economic aspects of disaster loss; recovery and reconstruction after disasters and policy and planning in disaster risk and loss reduction.

The sessions will include lectures by eminent scholars and practitioners in disaster risk reduction and management, hands-on interactive exercises, trainee panels, and field visits. All participants will conceptualize an individual or collaborative project, to be presented in plenary session at the conclusion of the Advanced Institute, which may later be submitted for competitive funding to support follow-on research activities.

• For general information about the IRDR advanced institutes and past AIs, please see: http://start.org/programs/ai-irdr
• For more information about the 2015 AL on Disaster Risk and Loss Mitigation, please contact Senay Habtezion at shabtezion@start.org

People’s Perspective on Flood Hazard and Adaptation Strategies in the Koshi River Basin of Nepal


M. Singh and L. Devkota
Nepal Development Research Institute (NDRI)

The paper reports on the outcome of a research project studying disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in the Koshi River Basin of Nepal. The study examines the effects of increased flooding on local people and the inadequacies of current methods of flood management.

The project is one of six recent research collaborations managed by START with support from the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN). To learn more about the grant program and the other projects, click here.