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Private investment in clean energy, inclusive agribusiness and financial inclusion: evidence of impact

29 Sep 2016 12:41:17 GMT

This report, commissioned by DFID, seeks to identify what evidence exists that private investments made in clean energy, inclusive agribusiness and financial services lead to good development outcomes for the poor, especially women – with a particular focus on Asia. This paper is a rapid literature review, before deciding on whether or not to commission more detailed work. DFID is particularly interested in (a) specific suggestions that are made for how to strengthen the investments – for example, through complementary TA – so as to improve the likelihood of strong outcomes for the poor, especially women (b) gaps in the evidence base. The evidence of links between clean energy and good development outcomes for the poor was strong, although the review identified only very few rigorous impact studies. The literature highlighted the need for certain conditions to be met in order for those positive outcomes to be achieved. Financial sustainability was cited as a primary driver of development outcomes. Several studies indicated the importance of public sector intervention in clean energy investment alongside the private sector, to increase provision in poorer and rural areas and to ensure that proper standards are followed in the construction and operation of plants. For small-scale clean energy projects, the evidence indicated the importance of activities to promote their uptake, including financial services. Clean energy was seen to be of particular benefit to women but women are not properly represented in the design and implementation of small-scale clean energy projects. The evidence of links between inclusive agribusiness and good development outcomes for the poor was largely case study-based and anecdotal. The literature identifies many factors affecting the impact of inclusive agribusiness on the poor, including the assets available to the poor in value chains (including land and water) and the process of land acquisition. The literature identified elements of the design of successful inclusive agribusiness including the presence of producer organisations; innovative partnerships to help link producers to markets; pre-commercial investment to transfer assets and building capacity; and giving producers (especially women) a voice in governance and investment. Given the need for careful design, several sources emphasised the importance of ‘patient’ investment in this sector. The evidence for the impact of financial inclusion on the poor was considerably more robust than in the other two sectors, and many more rigorous impact evaluations were available. The evidence is strong for positive impacts for the poor through several different channels for private investment including savings products, improved banking technology and access to credit. In terms of barriers to successful financial inclusion, there is evidencethat farmers’ credit constraints are an important bottleneck in expanding agricultural output, and interventions that ease these constraints may be effective in reducing rural poverty and increasing agricultural production. The overall evidence on the impact of financial inclusion is mixed, as some studies show no effect on women while others associate it with positive impacts. The review showed that there is very limited robust evidence on the impact of particular private sector investments in these sectors. The evidence shows clearly that private sector investors, even when supported by development finance institutions (DFIs) rarely report on the impacts of their activities. Some of the more progressive companies and investors report on their reach to beneficiaries and some include an analysis of their beneficiaries by gender, but the review found no evidence of systematic reporting of impact by any private sector investors in clean energy, inclusive agribusiness or financial services.  [...]

Evidence and examples to build resilient livelihoods in the South Sudan Context

29 Sep 2016 12:07:56 GMT

Building resilience to weather and conflict shocks in South Sudan requires investing inside and outside the agriculture sector in order to promote sustainable livelihoods development and income diversification. This includes strengthening productive sectors, improving basic social services, and establishing productive safety nets. Establishing productive safety nets involves providing predictable income sources to vulnerable households through cash transfers, food transfers, or paid labour within a public works programme. Furthermore,
climate change adaptation should be an integral part of the conflict prevention and food-security strategies, partly because climate change is expected to significantly increase the likelihood of future conflict.
DFID South Sudan is preparing a business case for the second phase of the Building Resilience through Asset Creation and Enhancement (BRACE) Programme in South Sudan. This phase is expected to start in August 2015 in order that there will be a smooth transition from phase 1. Building on learning from phase 1, phase 2 will focus more on climate adaptation and conflict sensitivity. Resilience in South Sudan mainly revolves around
food security. Phase 1 was focused on food for assets, phase 2 is looking to scaling up cash for assets; but this will need to be handled in a sensitive way given risks in the operational context.
To this end, the Economic Policy Research Institute (EPRI) was invited by Evidence on Demand to undertake a rapid desk-based study to provide evidence and examples to build resilient livelihoods in the South Sudan context.


Climate finance architecture: mapping green growth services

29 Sep 2016 11:55:05 GMT

This is a short review for DFID of actors working in and around Green Growth or ‘Green Economy’ (GE). This document outlines a broad spectrum of services that are relevant for supporting country implementation of Green Growth. It loosely defines the service offerings and indicatively maps key organisations against these service offerings. It then offers some early stage analysis that will feed into further work on a) defining the capability architecture b) understanding the gaps and c) more in-depth mapping organisations performance and ability. A database of actors has also been developed. This mapping provides a quick scan on information and is non-exhaustive. It offers foundation on which to build and layer on additional institutions and information.
Some insights from this initial scoping are:
  • developing a ‘Green Economy’ is described as a country specific strategy for economic growth and job creation that reduces poverty and manages increasingly acute resource constraints and climate change. It is characterised by resource-efficient and resilient forms of growth that bring about social, economic and environmental benefits. It is commonly seen as a way to reconcile the rapid growth and increasing prosperity with the needs of people still living in poverty and the imperative of a better managed environment
  • there is a large number of actors providing services relevant for Green Growth, ranging from large multilateral institutions with multiple specialism’s to small niche player focused on specific issues or themes. These include; Multi-lateral Development Banks, International Organisations, Investment Funds, NGO/Private sector and others
  • the service offering around green growth covers;

    • Influencing
    • Analysis, policy and strategy
    • Planning
    • Integration of green growth into wider development process, particularly budget and expenditure frameworks
    • Access to and management of finance (both international and national)
    • Project and Investment Design

  • Few organisations can offer services that span the entire range of service offerings i.e. both influencing and supporting investment and project development
  • influencing the Green growth agenda at the international level is well covered by respected UN agencies, International Organisations and Multilateral Development Banks
The areas of the Capability Architecture that are less well covered are:
  • integration of Green Growth into economic planning and wider development activities
  • developing bankable investments and projects

Environmental issues in Ethiopia and links to the Ethiopian economy

29 Sep 2016 11:38:17 GMT

Ethiopia has a high-level strategy to pursue agriculture-based industrialisation with a goal of achieving middle income country status by 2025 with no net increase in carbon emissions. As an economy currently heavily dependent on agriculture and forest resources, and with a historical legacy of widespread, severe environmental degradation, environmental issues are a significant obstacle to the successful achievement of this goal. The historical and ongoing destruction and degradation of the soil and forest resources on which this development strategy depends represents a major policy and practical challenge. With the exception of climate change, the major environmental issues affecting Ethiopia are soil erosion and land degradation, deforestation and forest degradation, water scarcity, biodiversity loss, and various types of pollution. Whilst environmental issues are often considered separately, they are closely interlinked and studies increasingly attempt to consider them in an integrated manner, challenging as this is for researchers.
Analysis of the research literature demonstrates unequivocally that environmental degradation is widespread and severe in Ethiopia. In particular, the impacts of agriculture and deforestation - especially on soils - have been severe and increase the vulnerability of many people to food and water insecurity. A range of other environmental issues also present significant - and in many cases increasing - challenges for policy and management. These issues, their links to the Ethiopian economy, and their implications for economic growth, are the subject of this rapid, desk-based study.

Household food security in the face of climate change in the Hindu-Kush Himalayan region

29 Sep 2016 11:14:13 GMT

This study attempts to understand local people’s perceptions of climate change, its impacts on agriculture and household food security, and local adaptation strategies in the Hindu-Kush Himalayan (HKH) region, using data from 8083 households (HHs) from four river sub-basins (SBs), i.e. Upper Indus (Pakistan), Eastern Brahmaputra (India), Koshi (Nepal) and Salween and Mekong (China).

The majority of households in SBs, in recent years, have perceived that there have been more frequent incidences of floods, landslides, droughts, livestock diseases and crop pests, and have attributed these to climate change. These changes have led to low agricultural production and income, particularly in Eastern Brahmaputra (EB) where a substantial proportion of HHs reported a decline in the production of almost all staple and cash crops, resulting in very low farm income.

Consequently, households’ dependency on external food items supplied from plain areas has increased, particularly in the Upper Indus (UI) and EB. After hazards, households face transitory food insecurity owing to damage to their local food systems and livelihood sources, and constrained food supply from other areas. To cope with these, HHs in SBs make changes in their farming practices and live-stock management. In EB, 11 % of HHs took on new off-farm activities within the SB and in SM, 23 % of HHs chose out-migration as an adaptation strategy. Lastly, the study proposes policy instruments for attaining sustainable food security, based on agro-ecological potential and opportunities for increasing agricultural resilience and diversity of livelihoods.

Understanding teenage fertility, cohabitation, and marriage: the case of Peru

29 Sep 2016 10:19:14 GMT

In this study, the authors used data from the Young Lives study, which investigates teenage childbearing, marriage, and cohabitation by tracking a cohort of individuals from the ages of 8 to 19 years. While the present analysis does not intend to establish causality, the longitudinal nature of the data allows us to identify the combination of early circumstances and life changes that induce a higher likelihood of these events. The analysis addresses bias due both to reverse causality and to community characteristics that are usually unobserved and fixed over time, a strategy that is quite unique in studies of developing countries.
About 1 out of 5 females (and 1 out of 20 males) in the sample here had at least one child by the age of 19, and 80 percent of them were married or cohabiting. Early marriage/cohabitation is indeed intrinsically related to early pregnancy and largely predicted by the same factors. For females specifically, girls from poor households with an absent parent for a prolonged period have a higher risk of early childbearing. Similarly, girls whose self-efficacy and educational aspirations decrease over time are more at risk of becoming a mother during adolescence. Conversely, school attendance and better school performance predict a lower risk of early pregnancy; our analysis suggests that this is largely because it postpones the first sexual relationship.

Balancing school and work with new opportunities: changes in children’s gendered time use in Ethiopia (2006-2013)

29 Sep 2016 10:04:26 GMT

Focusing on the relationship between children’s work and school attendance, this paper explores time use trends among boys and girls in Ethiopia. It does this by comparing the time use of two cohorts of children at the same age, 12 years, but interviewed at two different points in time, 2006 and 2013.

In assessing the pattern over this period the authors have taken four contributory factors into account; gendered norms and aspirations for children’s futures; local opportunities for both schooling and work; the characteristics of schools and different kinds of work; and intra-household dynamics.

Broad trends are identified through survey data and case studies of two rural communities that have experienced rapid economic and social transformation, with associated increases in gendered opportunities for work. 

The paper finds that overall there is a small reduction in the hours worked by 12-year-olds over the seven years.
However, this trend is mainly in urban areas. Rural boys are found to have increased their working hours. By examining two case-study communities that have experienced increasing economic development and gendered work opportunities the research finds that, contrary to expectations, the increased returns to work have lowered boys’ education aspirations and increased their school drop-out rates relative to girls’.

Between hope and a hard place: boys and young men negotiating gender, poverty and social worth in Ethiopia

29 Sep 2016 09:58:54 GMT

In recent years, there has been an increasing focus on adolescence as a key transition to adulthood. Young people are navigating puberty and making life choices around schooling, work, and intimate and family relationships. However, much of the attention has been on girls. This has led to a lack of gendered analysis and has also meant that adolescent boys have been largely left out of the picture.

This paper uses Young Lives research in Ethiopia, carried out over multiple years, to look at boys and young men’s lives, their aspirations, and the obstacles they face as they grow into adults. It examines the diverse strategies they employ to overcome these challenges, and compares their experiences with those of girls and young women of the same age.

  • Education is seen by both parents and children as a route out of poverty.  95 per cent of Young Lives boys and girls were enrolled in school at the age of 12. By age 19, there was a growing ambivalence regarding education, particularly for young men who increasingly oriented their aspirations towards the world of work.
  • Rural/urban contrasts: Young people growing up in rural areas are often seen as having fewer life chances than those in towns. But the least optimistic young men were located in urban areas where they felt disconnected from development opportunities.
  • Livelihoods: Many of the young men had left school and were trying to find work, both as a response to poverty and a vital source of respect in the community. But because they found so few opportunities for gainful employment, some of them were left feeling stuck and hopeless.
  • Marriage Girls: see marriage as one way of improving their lives. But for young men, marriage was impossible until they had adequately paid work, and was therefore a way of entering into adulthood that they could not imagine in the near future.

The paper concludes by drawing out the policy implications of our findings. It calls for stronger gendered evidence on the relationship between gender inequality and childhood poverty, and an approach to gender justice that include boys and young men, as well as girls and young women, so that none are left trapped between hope and a hard place.

[Summary from Younf Lives]

Mongolia: enhancing policies and practices for Ger area development in Ulaanbaatar

29 Sep 2016 03:35:54 GMT

The sustainable development of ger areas in Ulaanbaatar (UB), the capital city of Mongolia, is one of the critical development issues facing the country. The transition to a market economy and a series of severe winters (called zud) have resulted in the large-scale migration of low-income families into the ger areas of UB. The city represents 39 percent of the nation’s population and generates more than 60 percent of Mongolia’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Basic services are very limited or even non-existent in ger areas. Nearly 85 percent of ger residents use wood or coal-burning stoves for heating, in contrast to apartment buildings, which are connected to the central heating system. Ger residents must purchase water at public water kiosks, while apartment residents enjoy reliable supplies of piped-in drinking and hot water. The low density of ger areas, coupled with the extremely cold climate makes the provision of these basic public services very costly. Poor urban services have also led to environment degradation, including the pollution of air and soil, which poses such health risks as respiratory diseases and hepatitis.
Clearer policy directions, such as the “Compact City” concept of the UB Master Plan 2030, have emerged in recent years to control spatial expansion and promote high-density development for the ger areas. However, the government’s practices have been inconsistent. These practices are, in part, a result of limited awareness and  understanding by the general public, as well as by policy makers, of the public costs of their actions on land management. Also, many supporting mechanisms, including land valuation and taxation, have not yet been properly developed.
The intent of this report is to clarify the costs and benefits of different development paths. These paths include (i) conversion of ger areas into apartment building complexes; (ii) gradual improvement of urban services for existing ger areas; and (iii) further expansion of ger areas at the fringe of the city.

Green Development Strategic Action Plan for Ulaanbaatar 2020

29 Sep 2016 03:09:56 GMT

Ulaanbaatar is the capital and political, business and cultural center of Mongolia. The city has rapidly grown in size over the last decades as a result of rural to urban migration, attracting people seeking education, employment, services and business opportunities. Currently, the city is home to 1.3 million people, almost half of the nation’s population of 3 million. However, the rapid rate of urbanisation also presents various challenges which negatively impact the environment and the livability of the city.
The Municipality is committed to address these challenges and develop Ulaanbaatar into a green city, characterised by environmentally sustainable and inclusive economic growth and a safe and healthy living environment for its citizens. Ulaanbaatar’s vision is to become a green city supports the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goal 11 “to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”, Goal 13 “to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts” and many of the other goals.
The Capital City Governor and Mayor of Ulaanbaatar in June 2015 initiated the preparation of a green development strategic action plan, which links planned and ongoing projects and planning decisions to existing policy documents, to ensure that they collectively contribute to the overarching vision of Ulaanbaatar becoming a greener city.

Peri-urban water security: an agenda for water governance

27 Sep 2016 12:52:00 GMT

Water governance needs to mainstream peri­-urban water security.  As cities grow, polic.y makers andplanners focus onmeeting the needs of  urban populations. This happens at  the expense of the peri-urban and the rural. For instance, it  is very common to divert physical flows of water from villages to cities. Another common practice is the acquiring of rural land and water resources to meet the requirements of urban expansion.

This poliy brief recommends an in-depth understanding of the inter-relationship between rural and urban water flows and their integration in planning and management.

Taking the road less taken: reorienting the state in periurban water management

27 Sep 2016 12:20:41 GMT

The villages of Sultanpur and Jhanjhrola Khera are located about 15 kms away from Gurgaon city in the North-West Indian state of Haryana. Urbanization and climate change have together altered water access
and security in these villages

This paper describes the intervention strategy to improve water security in these two periurban villages. Most approaches to improving natural resource management in periurban contexts focus on mobilising the community; little attention is paid to reorienting the state or strengthening the user-bureaucracy interface. This paper describes the process that was followed to reorient civic agencies engaged in the provisioning of water and to break what is popularly called the 'anarchy syndrome' in water management. The paper argues that for periurban areas that suffer from lack of institutional cover and weak responsiveness of service providers, providing platforms for direct engagement between water users and service providers can be a key tool for improving water security. It can build community resilience in the face of climate change and urbanization, both of which threaten periurban water security: the key is not just to augment water supply physically or technologically, but to build the community's capacity to ask for better water supply and to negotiate better with service providers.

Changing environment – changing waters: an analysis of drinking water access of vulnerable groups in peri-urban Sultanpur

27 Sep 2016 12:12:31 GMT

In Sultanpur, India access to drinking water takes a variety of forms, due to varying hydrological conditions and different technologies available. Water from the piped supply network and groundwater form the two main drinking water sources. These water resources are accessed in different ways and are used for different purposes.

This article presents a study on inequities in drinking water access in the peri-urban Sultanpur, Haryana, India. It is based on three months of field research, in which mainly qualitative data were collected through participatory observation and interviews. The study analyses drinking water access of vulnerable groups in this peri-urban village, and the difficulties and inequity they face in this.
By using the hydrosocial cycle as an analytical tool for this, water access is taken to be constituted by both social and environmental factors, with power relations having an important role in this. For both drinking water resources in the village, groundwater and a piped network supply network, processes of exclusion and inequitable access were uncovered. Significantly, these occur along lines of social identity of caste and gender. Economic and geographic factors play an important role as well. Lower caste and/or poor households face most difficulty in organizing water access. Peri-urban developments will likely create new vulnerabilities in water access, in which the poor and landless face the largest risks.

Power, social capital and differential vulnerabilities: a study of water access in a peri-urban village of Haryana

27 Sep 2016 12:06:16 GMT

This article deals with the subject of water access in a peri-urban village of Haryana. It describes how power and social capital influence the flow of water. It argues that political power is a significant determinant influencing water security and those communities which lack the power to access w ater use social capital as an adaptiv e tool to enhance their w ater security.

The paper is organised as follows: Section 1 focuses on the introduction to the concept and theme; it gives an introduction to the place of study and briefly states the methodology used to conduct the research. Section 2 takes a historical perspective; it focuses on alienation suf f ered by lower castes; it discusses the plight of the lower castes in earlier times and also mentions the ways through which the upper caste communities dominated and influenced the access to w ater of the dalits. Section 3 discusses the current water supply situation of the village, especially focusing on the role of village politics in influencing w ater supply, followed by adaptive responses of the social groups which are not satisfied with the w ater supply situation. Section 4 highlights the role of social capital in shaping adaptation to water related problems, for drinking as well as water use in irrigation. It describes the t ypes of social capital that exist in the field and the influence of this in mediating water scarcity. Lastly , in section 5 the paper presents a set of conclusions, that can be drawn and a few recommendations that shall be helpful to policy makers, researchers and academicians.

Salinity progression at Khulna: anthropogenic or climate change induced?

27 Sep 2016 11:57:08 GMT

Surface water salinity, being accentuated by the reduction in the dry season upland flows, now reaches as far as Khulna - a coastal city of Bangladesh highly exposed to climate change impacts. The projected sea level rise due to climate change would further aggravate the situation with the probability of increased spatial coverage and temporal duration of salinity. Amidst the relative lack of studies attributing to causes of salinity intrusion, this study analytically assesses the role of regional anthropogenic interventions on one hand and global climate change induced sea level rise on the other as the causes of salinity progression in Khulna. Analysis of the long-term trends in tidal water level, upland flow and river water salinity, indicates that regional human interventions, both in and outside the country, have contributed more in hydro- morphological changes in the region than the climate change induced sea level rise leading to salinity intrusion in Khulna.

Use of a shared river by urban and Peri-urban residents: water use conflicts and adaptation measures

27 Sep 2016 11:46:00 GMT

Khulna, the third largest metropolitan city (46 km) of Bangladesh, is vulnerable to climate change and unplanned urbanization process. The city has been identified as one of the 15 most climate change vulnerable cities of the world. 

This study was conducted to assess how urban and peri-urban residents of Khulna have been affected by the Mayur River through its use and abuse, and to explore adaptation measures. To complete the study, primary data was collected through field surveys, stakeholders' consultation, focused group discussion, key informant
interview and water quality analysis. Result shows that the Mayur plays a very important role by meeting the agricultural water demand; domestic water demand and water demand for capture and culture of fisheries for livelihoods.

However, urban residents use the river as a dumping site for discharging solid waste. River encroachment through various means and practices is also a regular event. Analysis of salinity and tidal water level indicates that salinity intrusion would further increase due to sea level rise induced by climate change. Water and wastewater quality reveals that the river water is extremely polluted to support aquatic life and livelihood services.

Physico-chemical parameters, DO, EC, TDS, Na+, Mg2+, PO43- and salinity exceed the recommended limits for drinking and irrigation set by the DoE and WHO. These overall situations often initiate water use conflicts. Finally, we discussed the current water management practices and adaptation for long term management of the Mayur.

Dynamics of rural water flows to quench urban thirst: implications on local water security

27 Sep 2016 11:37:53 GMT

The rapid and haphazard urbanization in Kathmandu and expansion of built- up area in the peripheral rural landscapes has resulted in formation of the peri- urban areas which are now themselves transforming into urban forms, and simultaneously, water diverted or transferred from these areas is rapidly increasing.

This paper describes the changing modes of urban oriented water flow from the peri-urban landscape of Kathmandu and the implications of this water transfer on water security of peri-urban areas. Through series of semi-structured interviews, formal and informal discussions with local people and key informant interviews, the study found that Matatirtha, a peri-urban area, has traditionally been a source of water for the domestic water demand in Kathmandu. However, the social and economic developments have induced a paradigm shift in urban water transfer from the area and promoted the economic benefits as a way of compensating the loss of local water resources. Moreover, the increasing opportunities of economic benefits through water market in absence of a regulatory mechanism has facilitated exploitation of resources and therefore created a need for a strong mechanism, promoting insights for sustainable water resource management to prepare a water secure area.

People's experience and facts of changing climate: impacts and responses

27 Sep 2016 11:34:00 GMT

Apart from modeling and quantitative analysis of climate change, it is also important to understand what local communities feel about climate change and how they are affected by it and are responding to those impacts in order to bring new policies and programmes in the particular area. This paper tries to analyze the connection between perceived changes in different attributes of climate change by the local people residing in peri-urban areas of Kathmandu Valley and the results obtained from analysis of recorded temperature and rainfall data of seven different hydro-meteorological stations located in different parts of Kathmandu Valley. Besides, the study also explores the impact of climate change on the local people and their responses in order to enhance their resilience. The study is based on focus group discussions with communities and household survey whereas the analysis of hydro-meteorological data is done in R software.

The perception of most of the local people on changes in temperature is almost in line with the recorded long term climatic trend whereas the perception of decreasing monsoon and non-monsoon rainfall is not matched with the recorded data as it did not find any long term clear visible pattern of rainfall. However, out of seven stations, four illustrated decreasing trend in number of rainy days in non-monsoon and three stations demonstrated decreasing trend of rainy days in the monsoon period. People have been facing several impacts from these changes such as decrease in water sources, decrease in agricultural crop production, increase in insect-pest attack and increase in weeds in agricultural crops. Local people are responding to these impacts basedon their own skills and traditional knowledge. Household level water management, adoption of innovative technologies in agricultural practice, construction of wells, changing cropping pattern and systems and occupational diversification are some important responses they are adopting to adapt to the impacts of changes in climate.

Groundwater extraction: implications on local water security of Peri-urban Kathmandu

27 Sep 2016 11:30:07 GMT

The rapid and haphazard urbanization in Kathmandu valley and expansion of built-up area to the peripheral rural landscapes has resulted to formation of Peri- urban areas which are now themselves transforming into urban form. This paper examines how the increasing urban water demand has put unprecedented pressure on groundwater resources in the peri-urban areas of Kathmandu valley. Based on the semi-structured interviews with local people, focus group discussions and key informants interviews, the study found that water security at Jhaukhel is closely associated with groundwater and the dependency of local people on groundwater has increased over the years. The implications of the groundwater extraction coupled with sand mining in the area have been manifested in form of declining groundwater table and drying of traditional water sources. Despite the growing awareness among the local people on the consequences of depleting groundwater table, in absence of strict regulatory mechanism, the exploitation of groundwater has been adding threat to the local eco-hydrology of the area and subjecting the local community to water insecurity.

Adapting to Peri-urban water insecurity induced by urbanization and climate change

27 Sep 2016 11:24:31 GMT

Urbanization is a continued phenomenon all over the world. In Nepal, the processes of rapid urbanization initiated during the 1980s and accelerated in the following two decades. Kathmandu valley has been the most urbanized area of Nepal. The rapid growth in the population of the valley has brought dramatic changes in the land use pattern in Kathmandu valley.

This paper describes the implication of growing urbanization in combination with climatic variabilities on water security and adaptation strategies of the people in peri-urban landscape of Kathmandu valley. Through multiple series of focus group discussions and key informant's interviews, the study found that the entire households at Lubhu depend on public stand posts with water supplied for few hours a day. The hydro-meteorological data analysis showed the increasing trend of temperature but clear pattern in precipitation was not found. However, people perceived the changes in both precipitation and temperature and impacts on their livelihood. People have envisioned development of filtration system to treat water from another source, however for now,they have been fetching water from spring sources in neighbouring VDCs and dug wells during the days with no water supply in stand posts. Farmers have been adapting to water scarcity for cultivating agricultural crops by switching to less water demanding crops, leaving their land s fallow and even by deviating towards off-farm activities to be more resilient to increasing water scarcity. The concern for sustainable water management is growing among the community however, strong dedication and unity among the communities is essential to ensure the water security in the village.

Gendered and caste spaces in household water use: a case of Aliabad Village in Peri-urban Hyderabad, India

27 Sep 2016 11:14:28 GMT

One of the major changes in the water sector over the last few decades has been the enhanced thrust on institutional reforms, including the increasing recognition of the bottom-up approach to management as against the techno-centric top-down one. At the heart of this lies the concept of greater inclusiveness of all stakeholders, including women and people lower in socio-economic hierarchies. Hence the greater need of understanding their differential needs. A need to integrate gender and equity concerns in the water policy discourse stemmed from two facts: first, that women are the primary collectors of water and also responsible for health, hygiene and sanitation at the household level; second, that historically the above work has been seen as non-productive and women have not had adequate representation in decision making around water. So when water becomes a scarce good, the more privileged inevitably find ways to maintain access. In scarcity situations, access becomes tightly controlled whether it is food or water.

This paper deals with the ways in which gender and caste identities marginalise particular groups from access to water in a village in periurban Hyderabad, India. It shows how the intersection of gender, caste and water issues determine allocation and access to water at the household level, in a village influenced by rapid urbanisation. Relying on a primary survey that collected gender and caste disaggregated data, this paper shows socially differentiated perceptions for water access and use and how they shape vulnerability to water insecurity and adaptation. The gender and caste inequity in access to water in the village is not an isolated case but part of the larger process of ‘apolitical’ water reforms in India that chooses to ignore gender and caste inequalities and therefore misses to reach the last person.

The Peri-urban water security problématique: a case study of Hyderabad in Southern India

27 Sep 2016 11:09:02 GMT

The recent Census of India (2011) throws some very interesting facts on the process of urbanisation in India. For the first time since Independence in 1947, the absolute increase in population is more in urban than in rural areas. The level of urbanization increased from 27.81% in 2001 to 31.16% in 2011 and the proportion of rural population declined from 72.19 per cent in 2001 to 68.84 per cent in 2011. With the increase in urban areas, there is a pressure on basic infrastructure including access to water for both urban and periurban locations. Most Indian cities have formal water supply only for few hours a day and only in limited areas. The big question is where are the rest of the water requirements coming from? For much of India's 'water history', the focus has been on large scale surface water projects to provide access focusing more on irrigation and neglecting sources within the city and in the periurban areas. Over time an enormous informal groundwater market has arisen in several cities to bridge the demand-supply gap. This water demand, therefore, is met through supplies of water through informal water markets. Water is sourced from the periurban regions which are usually richer in surface and groundwater. This paper focuses on the change process as witnessed by periurban areas with a case study of the southern Indian city of Hyderabad. Due to a large influx of population mainly due to expansion of the city as an Information Technology (IT) hub, the periurban areas have been losing out on water access to the more powerful urban population with high paying capacity.

This paper presents an overview of a trend that is leading to immense water insecurities due to a combination of issues - urban growth induced water scarcity; myopic planning that is not based on  available environmental resources; lack of recognition of community water rights and lack of regulation for the protection of diminishing surface water resources.

Urbanization, climate change and water security: a study of vulnerability and adaptation in Sultanpur and Jhanjhrola Khera in peri-urban Gurgaon, India

27 Sep 2016 11:01:14 GMT

This paper describes how urbanization and climate change shape water insecurity in two villages, Sultanpur and Jhanjhrola Khera in periurban Gurgaon in the North-West Indian state of Haryana. Using ethnographic and participatory approaches, it documents the people's lived experience of a changing climate and water insecurity. While urbanization and climate variability alter the availability of water, the effects of this are aggravated by a complex interaction of caste, class, gender and locational factors. The most vulnerable are those whose identities are constructed at the intersection of these factors. The paper then describes the wide range of social, economic and institutional factors that shape the periurban residents' adaptive strategies.

Water security in Peri-Urban Khulna: adapting to climate change and urbanization

27 Sep 2016 10:52:19 GMT

Khulna is the third largest metropolitan city of Bangladesh with a population of 1.4 million with the Rupsha and Bhairab - the two major tidal rivers flowing on the east of the city. Due to unplanned and unregulated urbanization, urban and peri-urban residents have been facing acute water scarcity. Future projections indicate that it would be further affected by salinity intrusion and sea level rise due to climate change processes. This paper is based on the scoping study which was conducted to assess how urban and peri-urban residents of Khulna city have been suffering from problems related to water access and water insecurity due to urbanization and climate change impact. For this purpose, a number of public consultation meetings and key informant interviews were carried out during August to December, 2010.
In this paper water related vulnerabilities of various livelihood groups in the peri-urban interface is discussed. The conflicts in water use between urban and peri-urban residents are also explored. Degradation of river water quality resulting from urban activities such as wastewater discharge and dumping of solid waste, and the vulnerabilities due to climate change are also addressed. Finally, the paper discusses issues for further research in the area.

Periurban water security in a context of urbanization and climate change: a review of concepts and relationships

27 Sep 2016 10:47:28 GMT

In peri-urban contexts, water security is shaped by the twin processes of climate change and urbanization. These processes act as multiple stressors and create an uncertain water supply for peri-urban residents. Urbanization processes affect water security through changes in land use patterns which increase pressures on water resources as well as through the links between land tenure and water security. Peri-urban residents adapt to this situation using a mix of technologies and institutions. They, however, differ in their adaptive capacity as well as resilience, which is shaped in large part by their ability to mobilize social relationships, access to urban assets, linkages with the urban centres and access to technologies. As a result, peri-urban residents exhibit varying degrees of vulnerability. A key agenda for research is to identify who the most vulnerable groups or individuals are and how their vulnerabilities can be reduced.
This paper seeks to contribute to developing a shared understanding of some of the core concepts related to water security in a peri-urban context. Though the relevant literature is cited at many places, this is not intended to be a literature review per se, but instead seeks to develop a shared framework to identify a set of common issues and questions that merit investigation. Towards the end of the paper, an analytic framework is proposed to guide the research. This is not meant to be a blueprint, but seeks to provide some common analytic framework to facilitate convergence across the research locations.

Climate of the Nation 2016: Australian attitudes on climate change

27 Sep 2016 10:30:38 GMT

Climate of the Nation is Australia’s longest running survey benchmarking community attitudes on climate change. Research shown here, and that of others, has identified mid-2012 as marking the low point in support for climate action. Expectations have been rebounding since that point – when the scare campaigns met
the reality of the carbon laws in action. Their repeal didn’t halt this trend.
While public support for renewable energy - including wind, but particularly solar - over coal and gas, has grown, so also has Australians’ frustration with Australian politicians for not supporting it more. There is widespread disappointment with the performance of all levels of government, as well as business. This is clearly articulated in the views Australians hold in relation to their performance in taking climate action.
There is widespread disappointment with the performance of all levels of government, as well as business. This is clearly articulated in the views Australians hold in relation to their performance in taking climate action.
Perhaps repairing the increasingly chronic distrust of politicians can start with climate action. In Australia, at least, climate and energy policy has been a major feature on the political stage for many years. Credible and, ideally bipartisan, climate action could also help with this broader distrust and alienation.
Australia will be reviewing its climate policies in 2017 and has also committed, internationally, to consider post-2030 emissions reductions targets at this time. It will do so, not only as other nations step up their activities in line with their commitments under the Paris climate agreement, but also as the global investor community becomes increasingly attentive to climate change risks and opportunities.

The Funded Pension Scheme and economic growth in Nigeria

27 Sep 2016 04:57:12 GMT

In Nigeria however, life after retirement is dreaded by most workers. The fears of facing the future after retirement create an ambiance of disturbance among employees. Retirement is seen by workers as a transition that could lead to psychological, physiological and economic problems.

This study provided evidence on the effect of the operation of the funded pension scheme since its inception in 2004 on economic growth in Nigeria using error correction mechanism (ECM) and Ordinary Least Square (OLS) methodologies.

Findings revealed that the pension fund contributions from both private and public sectors in Nigeria increased greatly and constituted a huge investment fund in the capital and money markets. This increased liquidity in the economy and created employment opportunities as well as improvement in the investment climate.

The study concluded that with good risk and portfolio management by pension fund administrators and custodians, the contributory pension has the capacity to boost the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Nigeria and very convenient to retirees compared to the previous defined benefit scheme.

The study however recommended the removal of delay payment, administrative bottlenecks and corruption in the management of the pension fund in order to boost economic growth in Nigeria.

Bridging the risk modeling gap: expanding climate-related risk insurance through global risk assessment

27 Sep 2016 03:18:13 GMT

In 2015, more than 1,000 natural disasters inflicted some $100 billion worth of economic damages around the world. These natural disasters included severe storms, flooding, extreme temperatures, droughts, and wildfires—all of which are expected to increase in frequency for years to come as a result of climate change. The annual number of such extreme weather events has been increasing, with almost three times as many occurring worldwide from 2000 to 2009 as in the 1980s.
Of the total economic losses endured last year from natural disasters, insurance covered only 30 percent. The majority of uninsured losses occurred in developing countries across Africa, Asia, and South America.
In Asia, only 8 percent of losses from natural disasters were insured in 2015, and in Africa, only 1 percent of such losses were insured.
Without such risk management tools, governments and individuals are less able to prepare for, respond to, cope with, and recover from climate-change-fueled weather events and natural disasters. While insurance can take many forms, risk management in particular includes a lack of access to innovative insurance instruments - such as parametric risk insurance, which is specifically designed to pay out quickly in the aftermath of a natural disaster. This gives countries a rapid injection of capital that can be vital in the early window before overseas assistance is effectively ramped up and delivered.
To help address this shortfall, the private sector, national governments, and international financial institutions and organizations are working to build new partnerships aimed at enabling countries that are particularly vulnerable to climate change and related natural disasters to gain access to climate-related risk insurance.
These efforts were given a boost in 2015, when at its annual meeting, the G7 announced a goal of expanding access to climate-related risk insurance to 400 million additional people in the most vulnerable developing nations by 2020.
This would quintuple the current level of coverage throughout the developing world from 100 million people to half a billion people. In order to meet this goal of making innovative insurance and climate risk-management tools available to so many millions of new people, a critical gap in high-resolution data and cutting-edge modeling needs to be bridged.

Macroeconomic policy in times of slow growth and crisis

27 Sep 2016 02:36:34 GMT

South Africa faces a series of macroeconomic challenges in the coming months that will strain its ability to address its most pressing need – more jobs. The macroeconomic policy approach taken in the recent time period largely adheres to mainstream tenets, emphasising low inflation and fiscal restraint. Since the Great Recession of 2008, however, those tenets have come under scrutiny, even by organisations such as the IMF.

High global levels of unemployment persist seven years after the onset of the crisis, underscoring the relevance of an alternative macroeconomic framework for both developed and developing countries in which the jobs deficit is the utmost priority. Among policymakers and scholars, the urgent need to stimulate employment coupled with multiple additional macro-level challenges has resuscitated attention to the importance of identifying a wider array of macroeconomic tools beyond the standard ones used in the past 25 years.

This policy brief discusses the recent macroeconomic approaches employed by the South African government with an emphasis on examination of the monetary policies adopted by the South African Reserve Bank. Their impact on the goals of employment creation and growth will be discussed. This will be followed by a review of alternative strategies potentially available to the South African government to address these challenges.

Maximising niche markets: South African abalone

27 Sep 2016 02:29:08 GMT

Agricultural abalone, commonly known as perlemoen in South Africa, is a sea snail in the mollusc family which generally includes clams, scallops, sea slugs, octopuses and squid.

Aquaculture is the fastest growing food producing sector in the world. Although abalone contributes a relatively small proportion to aquaculture, it is one of the most highly prized, premium seafood delicacies and most sought-after invertebrate. Prices for assorted farmed abalone products in South Africa have averaged US$30-50/kg over the last five years, with the value of total legal production totalling US$73 434 900 in 2015. This figure is projected to rise to US$135 million by 2020.

With such high returns, farmed, fished or ranched abalone, can generate foreign currency earnings for the aquaculture industry. In addition, farming uplifts communities along the coastline through generating higher levels of employment relative to other aquaculture activities. This is particularly so where fishing has diminished or been totally discontinued.

However, for the industry to remain sustainable and economically viable, four main factors need attention. First, all produced abalone is primarily destined for international markets in Asia. Exploring new export destinations such as the Americas and Europe, which show positive import growth rates, is important if dominant markets were to disappear or collapse. Second, improving branding of South African abalone as a premium product is imperative for sellers to capture its full value and buyers to appreciate its quality. That is its flavour, texture, form and size - a robust animal that travels and can survive well in restaurant tanks, prepared with no preservatives or bleaches added to the brine. In addition, with South Korea becoming a major producer, differentiating South African abalone is warranted. Third, adapting to trends in packaging preferred by Asian markets, such as sauced abalone in plastic bags. Fourth, illegal fishing worth nearly a billion rand represents loss of income and employment to communities and threatens the quality of legal exported abalone.

Rethinking strategies to mitigate illegal poaching is fundamental, such as partnerships between communities and business, and long-term fishing rights which will potentially incentivise fishermen to protect coasts and stocks of abalone

Debates on the sugar tax

27 Sep 2016 02:21:17 GMT

In July 2016, the National Treasury of South Africa proposed an effective 20% tax on sugary soft drinks. The proposal derives from the National Department of Health strategy to reduce obesity. It is rooted in the scientific consensus that these kinds of drinks are a key factor behind rising obesity and the attendant ailments of diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. The Beverage Association of South Africa’s (BEVSA) response to the sugar tax proposal has been aggressively publicised. But its arguments rely on a misunderstanding of economic realities combined with repeated misrepresentations of the available data. In particular, because of the host of substitutes available for sugary drinks, both consumers and producers can adapt to the tax in ways that avoid economic costs while achieving significant health benefits.

This brief suggests in arguing that sugar consumption is not a significant problem in South Africa, BEVSA’s document misuses FAO data while ignoring actual studies of diet and nutrition.

Accessibility, transportation cost and regional growth: a case study for Egypt

27 Sep 2016 01:52:17 GMT

The potential ability of transport infrastructure investments to produce transport benefits depends on the travel time reductions and accessibility. In this paper, the authors use an interregional computable general equilibrium (CGE) model to estimate the economic impacts of transportation cost change due specifically to changes in accessibility induced by new transportation projects. The model is integrated with a stylized geo-coded transportation network model to help quantify the spatial effects of transportation cost change. The analysis is focus on a proposed development corridor in Egypt. A main component of the project is a desert-based expansion of the current highway network.

The paper focuses on the likely structural economic impacts that such a large investment in transportation could enable through a series of simulations. It is clear that an integrated spatial CGE model can be useful in estimating the potential economic impacts of transportation projects in Egypt. In this vein, this or similar models should support government decisions on such projects.

Urbanization climate change and water security: adaptation strategies and approaches

27 Sep 2016 01:20:16 GMT

The  relationship  between  urbanisation, water insecurity, and climate change is becoming evident  as cities are expanding in the global south. The first key challenge is to establish the links between these three themes. The second relates to  understanding the adaptation strategies of farmers and other stakeholders to address urbanization and climate change induced water stress.

This research brief looks at increasing water insecurity in four South Asian peri-urban locations, i.e., Khulna (Bangladesh), Gurgaon and Hyderabad (north-west and south India) and Kathmandu (Nepal). The paper shows how communities adapt to water insecurity created by urbanisation and climate change through a wide range of adaptive strategies.

Gender and Peri-urban water security

27 Sep 2016 01:11:43 GMT

As geographical areas subjected to rapid urbanisation and constantly  changing land use, peri-urban sites offer women and men greater economic opportunities.At the sametime,peri-urbanresidents are
also drawn away from traditionalmeans of livelihood.As the city encroaches into prime agricultural lands in the fringe areas,occupations become more subsistence in nature.  This increases women's workload. Often women, who migrate from rural areas after marriage and settle in peri-urban zones,face enormous challenges in accessing water. In peri-urban contexts,water is shared and accessed informally by most stakeholders and users.

This research brief underscores challenges,hazards,and opportunities in accessing water resources and  their gender consequences. The paper investigates four South Asian peri-urban resource-constrained locations and focuses on changing gender relations in peri­urban areas.

Degraded Peri-urban biophysical environments in South Asia

27 Sep 2016 01:04:01 GMT

Urbanization leads to the deterioration of peri-urban biophysical environments. Urban sprawl encroaches and degrades peri-urban ecosystems,and alters the natural  equilibrium. This  in  turn, depletes the resource base of peri-urban areas.   

Urban development policies,plans,and programs treat the peri-urban as an opportunity for urban expansion, and rarely factor issues of environmental sustainability. Thus, peri-urban areas are often selected as suitable places for discharge of urban wastewater and disposal of solid wastes. As a consequence, and because of the haphazard construction of urban infrastructure, the drainage systems of peri-urban areas are severely compromised.

This research brief is based on comparative field research in four South Asian peri­ urban areas with different biophysical settings. The paper underscores the adverse consequences ofurbanization and climate change and offers policy recommendations.

From a temporary emergency shelter to an urbanized neighborhood: The Abu Shoak IDP Camp in North Dārfūr

26 Sep 2016 03:37:12 GMT

In early 2003, two rebel movements (the Sudanese Liberation Army and the Justiceand Equality Movement) launched an insurgency against the rule in Khartoum.Supported byJanjaweedtribal militias, the government of Sudan responded withdecisive counteroffensives. Mass displacement of predominantly rural people wasevident from April onwards, increasing steadily throughout 2003–04. By May2003, there were over 500 000 internally displaced persons in Greater Dārfūr,mostly in IDP camps at the edge of big towns (Minear 2004, 78). Most, if not all, ofthese camps still exist, because the causes that generated them are still very muchpresent; i.e., insecurity in the rural home areas. Also to be noted is that towns haveencroached on many of them.There are many studies on IDP camps in Sudan, as shown in the subsequentparagraphs, but none of them offer longitudinal information which allows us to seeprocesses of adaptation within a camp. The present article is a contribution towardsunderstanding long-term transformations and how such camps end up not beingtemporary, as the word “camp” would suggest, but rather become permanent andpart of the towns/cities they are close to.This article is part of a longitudinal study of one group; namely, the IDPs living inthe Abu Shoak camp1in the periphery of El-Fāsher, in NorthDārfūrState. Followingearlier work on this camp, the article looks at, and traces changes in the lives of, theseIDPs since the inception of their camp in 2004. Specifically, the article looks at howdisplaced rural families adapted to the new urban life. This effort builds upon anassumption in urban sociology; that “urbanization as a way of life wreaks profoundchanges in virtually every phase of social life” (Wirth 1938, 1).Primary data was gathered for the same group of people repeatedly over thepast twelve years, through field visits in 2004, 2008, 2013, and 2016. Group andindividual interviews were used every time with mostly the same group of IDPs,who played the role of cohort for the study. Most of these interviewees were headsof displaced families, officials in the camp administration and representatives oforganizations operating inside the camp. The topics of the interviews includedeveryday problems, changes in production and consumption patterns, impact ofthe absence of husbands, working women and children, education, customs andtraditions, positive and negative impacts of displacement, food assistance to families,and social facilities in the camp. The secondary data were derived by reviewing somenewspapers, scientific reports, documents and statistics.This was beside the repeated direct field observations of the camp environment,the nature of housing, the distribution and planning of residential sectors, and thebehaviors and dealings among individuals within and outside the camp over thestudy period. Structured interviews using prolonged questionnaires with the headsof displaced families were utilized in three surveys (in 2004, 2008, and 2013),depending on a systematic random sample of 100 households every time. Samplingframes of households in the camp were obtained from[...]

Local content requirements in the petroleum sector in Tanzania: a thorny road from inception to implementation?

26 Sep 2016 03:29:53 GMT

Tanzania has recently discovered huge offshore natural gas fields. This has led the Government to develop local content policies (LCPs) to increase job and business opportunities for nationals in the sector. We study the process behind the development of these policies and the positions of stakeholders. We find that although there is a positive view among domestic stakeholders of imposing such policies, there is much suspicion–to such a degree that it shapes their recommendations of which policies to include in the LCP. One reason is that the Government monopolized the policy development process and abstained from conducting a consultative process. Our findings suggest that future Tanzanian policy development should include in-depth consultations to maximize the decision maker’s knowledge base, add to the transparency of the process and manage expectations. This would also contribute to effective implementation and lessen tensions, conflicts and suspicion among stakeholders.

At the extremes: corruption in natural resource management revisited

26 Sep 2016 03:18:06 GMT

Natural resource sectors are undergoing profound changes. Resources are being extracted in more remote locations within corruption-prone developing countries than was previously the case; there is an increased proliferation of actors involved in resource extraction; and a marked shift towards renewable energy, conservation and climate change projects in developing countries. Formulating generic anti-corruption policy prescriptions for the wide range of heavily contextualised corruption challenges natural resource sectors face is unlikely to help. This U4 Brief offers instead modest advice for advancing solutions through development cooperation, with a focus on analytical methods, project management approaches, and tracking evidence for effectiveness.

Civilians’ survival strategies amid institutionalized insecurity and violence in the Nuba Mountains, Sudan

26 Sep 2016 03:07:15 GMT

The Nuba’s peripheral homeland of the Nuba Mountains, in southern Kordofan, is one of Sudan’s current killing fields, with high numbers of civilian casualties, of wounded and internally displaced persons, refugees, families, and individuals. One key overarching argument framing this paper is that the recurring and prolonged wars in Sudan are better understood when put in a wider precolonial, colonial, and postcolonial historical context of the Sudanese socio-political historiography. Thus, it is argued here that the present excessive violence in Sudan in general, and in the Nuba Mountains in particular, is essentially a result of institutionalized insecurity prevalent throughout the precolonial, colonial, and postcolonial history of the Sudanese state.

The wide range of literature covering different political episodes in Sudan supports this assertion. It succinctly confirms the continuity of institutionalized insecurity and perpetual violence from the precolonial kingdom; the Turco-Egyptian rule and its slave trade institutions, the Mahdist’s brutal Jihaddiya of forced militarization; the colonial closed district policy coupled with brutal punitive operations, the postcolonial violence and protracted civil wars generated by the state against its own citizens at the peripheries.

The future of mechanized schemes and agricultural investment in the South Kordofan State / Nuba Mountains

26 Sep 2016 02:55:53 GMT

This paper tackles the issue of the future of mechanized schemes and investment in the agricultural sector in the South Kordofan State/Nuba Mountains. The main objective of this study is to assess the viability of investment in mechanized scheme areas in South Kordofan, such as Habila, which witnessed the intervention of mechanized farming in the 1960s. The study suggests that there are overlapping socio-economic, political, environmental and security factors that have affected the process of investment in agriculture in the area. The approach is multi-disciplinary and the researchers relied on secondary and primary data by using diverse sources and techniques. The study documents that the socio-economic, political and security environments emerging in South Kordofan over the last two decades have seriously changed the conditions for investments in the Habila area. Indicators show that Habila is no longer a part of the planning for agricultural investment in South Kordofan. Other areas, such as the AbuJubaiha, Talodi and Kalogi localities are the areas with most potential for future investment, because of the availability of lands free from disputes and conflicts. However, factors other than security are also relevant for the willingness of investors to focus on these areas. The productivity of land shows a deteriorating trend as a result of overexploitation. Confusion following the two contradicting land ownership systems emerging out of the civil war, as well as environmental changes, have resulted in the emergence of disputes and conflicts in the mechanized schemes of the Habila area. The appearance of Village Development Committees indicates that the future of investments in the agricultural sector in Habila is ambiguous and discouraging.

The ocean and us: how healthy marine and coastal ecosystems support the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals

23 Sep 2016 12:53:59 GMT

The ocean has been a cornerstone of human development throughout the history of civilization. People continue to come to the coasts to build some of the largest cities on the planet, with thriving economies, culture and communities. Ocean and coastal ecosystems provide us with resources and trade opportunities that greatly benefit human well-being.

These benefits are often taken for granted as we fail to recognize their underlying value. In our narrow pursuit of progress through purely economic and social development we often fail to protect the health of our marine system that we depend upon. Today, however, we increasingly realize the importance of healthy ecosystems for sustainable development that is reflected in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) recently adopted by the United Nations. We can no longer afford to apply an antagonistic paradigm between development and conservation. The SDG framework provides the world with the opportunity to transform how we think about the ‘Oceans and Us’.

This publication highlights the critical contribution of healthy marine and coastal ecosystems to achieving the SDGs and describes the role of credible and accessible data, well communicated knowledge generated through dialogue with users, in supporting informed decision-making.

Human rights implications of climate change mitigation actions

23 Sep 2016 11:59:24 GMT

Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) have recognized that they should fully respect human rights in all climate-related actions, and, at the time they negotiated the 1992 UNFCCC in Rio de Janeiro, principles of public participation and sustainable development were at the forefront of their minds, as embodied in the Rio Declaration of the same conference. Since then, the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP), the UN Human Rights Council, and other bodies have helped to further develop and clarify the legal obligations related to climate change.Yet, as this policy brief demonstrates by discussing the applicable law and UNFCCC-related case studies, the realization of these obligations has not fully materialized through implementation of the UNFCCC.This policy brief highlights the opportunity to learn from these positive and negative outcomes of UNFCCC-related projects and actions, and to ensure the Paris outcome is robust, consistent with human rights obligations, and a reflection of the mindset of the UNFCCC drafters’ commitment to sustainable development and public participation.To this end, this policy brief offers the following recommendations:Include this language in Article 2 of the Paris agreement:All Parties shall, in all climate change-related actions, respect, protect, promote, and fulfill human rights for all, including the rights of indigenous peoples; ensuring gender equality and the full and equal participation of women; ensuring intergenerational equity; ensuring a just transition of the workforce that creates decent work and quality jobs; ensuring food security; and ensuring the integrity and resilience of natural ecosystemsEstablish best-practice guidelines with clear, detailed guidance on local stakeholder consultation, including:who must be consulted (at minimum, affected people)how (through means of communication, including language and media, appropriate to the people being contacted); andwhen (early and throughout the project cycle, to ensure a communication channel if the project causes harm after approval or registration)Adopt clear, detailed guidance for sustainable development assessment and monitoring based on sustainable development indicators, including on:minimum standards for sustainable development, reflecting international law obligations including the do-no-harm principle and requiring assessment throughout the project cycle and with indicators made publicly availablepublic participationgender equality; andsafeguards against negative social and environmental impactsestablish international-level communication channels and grievance mechanisms for people and communities regarding social and environmental impacts of climate change mitigation projects or actions; andadopt guidance, including minimum standards, for establishing grievance and complaint procedures at the national level, with reporting and transparency requirements[...]

Subjective well- being of Chinese elderly: a comparative analysis among Urban China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan

23 Sep 2016 11:12:25 GMT

This paper investigates the relative importance of living arrangement and social participation for the elderly’s subjective well-being (happiness) in three Chinese societies (Hong Kong, urban China and Taiwan) with different levels of development. Based on comparable survey data, the authors find that co-residence with children is less closely associated with the elderly’s psychological well-being in the more developed society. The elderly in Hong Kong who live independently with a spouse are in a significantly better emotional state than those living with adult children and grandchildren. Social participation has a greater positive effect on subjective well-being among the aged in Hong Kong than among those in urban China and Taiwan.

Furthermore, elderly women may benefit more from independent living and social engagement than their male counterparts. These findings suggest that encourageing social participation among the elderly may be an effective way to enhance their well-being and achieve active ageing.

Values, culture and the ivory trade ban

23 Sep 2016 11:01:57 GMT

The new reality of a world without ivory trade demands a re-examination of human values towards both elephants and ivory and what each has come to represent. The closure of the world’s largest ivory markets (US and China), in line with the  longstanding international ivory trade ban, must reflect a change in values. Understanding those values and how they interact with each other will be critical to successful implementation. Values act as arbitrators of meaning, sources of interests and – when collectively framed as regulatory norms regimes – the basis of compliance for local communities.

This paper addresses how policymakers can optimally ensure that such international norms, decided at multilateral forums such as CITES, gain traction at the local level, where it really matters. Local values associated with elephants and ivory differ widely from place to place. At the coalface of supply and demand are often competing and mutually exclusive value sets. For instance, consumers of ivory may attach status significance to owning a rare piece.

On the other end of the spectrum, communities living with elephants may view those elephants as an extension of their identity. These value sets are differentiated across levels of authority and from one region to the next. International and domestic ivory trade prohibitions that do not take this complexity into account may therefore inadvertently produce adverse reactions in local contexts. These dynamics are crucial to understand if international norms are to be locally effective, both on the supply and demand sides of the equation.

India's Panda the rise and fall of Sabyasachi Panda in India's Maoist movement

23 Sep 2016 10:42:57 GMT

Sabyasachi Panda is an ordinary man with a curious claim to fame. A mathematics graduate from a middling college in rural India, Panda, with his custom short haircut (combed to the side), generic reading glasses, and stock-standard moustache (almost universal amongst Indian men), speaks softly and almost entirely in well-worn clichés. Unimposing (both in personality and physicality), neither impressive nor unimpressive, intellectually unremarkable and entirely non-descript in appearance, by all logic, Panda really ought to have lived out his days quietly and unnoticed in the shadows – just another face in India.

The fact that he has not stands as an affront to any ideal of a merit based society. Panda's prominence, it seems, is an accident of history; something that should ordinarily provoke protests – he just does not seem like someone who deserves media attention. Yet it is safe to say that no one in India today envies Panda as he sits in solitary confinement facing an almost certain life sentence. His mug-shot remains the last and only indication that there might be something more to his character: the man now considered a martyr for his cause – "India's Che Guevara" (Pandita 2012) – is spitefully pouting as he stares down the camera in a final act of defiance.

Climate analogues suggest limited potential for intensification of production on current croplands under climate change

23 Sep 2016 10:19:19 GMT

Climate change could pose a major challenge to efforts towards strongly increase food production over the coming decades. However, model simulations of future climate-impacts on crop yields differ substantially in the magnitude and even direction of the projected change. Combining observations of current maximum-attainable yield with climate analogues, we provide a complementary method of assessing the effect of climate change on crop yields. Strong reductions in attainable yields of major cereal crops are found across a large fraction of current cropland by 2050. These areas are vulnerable to climate change and have greatly reduced opportunity for agricultural intensification. However, the total land area, including regions not currently used for crops, climatically suitable for high attainable yields of maize, wheat and rice is similar by 2050 to the present-day. Large shifts in land-use patterns and crop choice will likely be necessary to sustain production growth rates and keep pace with demand.

Green Growth strategy for Karnataka

23 Sep 2016 04:33:56 GMT

Karnataka’s importance to India’s economic progress has been well established. As one of the industrial powerhouses of the nation, and a leader in the service and IT industries, the state’s continued development is integral to the overall growth of the nation. However, this progress is being threatened by as well as posing a threat to environmental sustainability. For instance, projections, presented in this very report, indicate that temperatures will rise by as much as 1.5 to 2 degrees by 2030.

Needless to say, this will have profound effects on agriculture, an important sector and provider of livelihood for much of the state’s population. Water, a precious resource that so many of us take for granted, is also expected to pay the toll of over-use, with resources in the north eastern districts depleting.

a progressive state, Karnataka envisions joboriented, inclusive economic growth. This will require sustainable industrialization and livelihood diversification. However, such a transition is likely to increase the demand for resources and energy significantly. Additionally, the state’s dwindling resources and increasing vulnerability to climate change may threaten the achievement of inclusive growth. The highly vulnerable districts across Karnataka also rank lowest in indicators of human development. Also, the decline in poverty in Karnataka during the last decade has been slower as compared to other southern states. Hence, there is an urgent need for increasing climate resilience and adaptive capacity of its people.

Karnataka Vision 2020 policy and State Action Plan on Climate Change (SAPCC) recognize this need and considers ‘sustainability of the state’s environment and natural resources’ as one of the primary approaches
to ‘job oriented inclusive economic growth’. Thus, the state should focus on green growth, i.e. meeting the allied developmental imperatives of economic growth, environmental sustainability and poverty reduction, in order to realize its vision.

Accordingly, this report presents a Green Growth Strategy that evaluates the sustainability challenge over a longterm horizon, and proposes a set of feasible interventions in order of priority.

Temperature variability and occurrence of diarrhoea in children under five-years-old in Cape Town Metropolitan sub-districts

23 Sep 2016 03:37:43 GMT

Diarrhoea is among the main causes of morbidity and mortality in children within the developing world. According to the (2007) Intergovernmen al Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, there is an expected increase in the global annual average temperature by 2100, which could result in increased temperatures and rainfall in many areas of the globe, causing significant temperature variability in the future. It was reported that with a change in climatic parameters such as average temperatures and rainfall, the rate of certain health conditions i.e., thermal stress and infectious diseases increases. It is worth noting that children under five years old are susceptible to the problem of climate-sensitive diseases with estimates ranging from 10% to 20% of populations in areas with limited capacity to manage the health impact of climate change. Increasing evidence has emphasized the seasonal relationship between the peak of diarrhoea occurrence and climatic factors such as the rainy season and high temperatures in developing countries. The link existing between climate parameters and diarrhoeal disease can be expected to fluctuate with different causal agents such as rotavirus, norovirus, Giardia, Cryptosporidium and pathogenic Escherichia coli, Campylobacter and Salmonella.

This paper describes the relationship between temperature change and diarrhoea in under five-year-old children in the Cape Town Metropolitan Area (CTMA) of South Africa. The study used climatic and aggregated surveillance diarrhoea incidence data of two peak periods of seven months each over two consecutive years. A Poisson regression model and a lagged Poisson model with autocorrelation was performed to test the relationship between climatic parameters (minimum and maximum temperature) and incidence of diarrhoea.

The paper concludes that there was an association between an increase in minimum and maximum temperature, and the rate at which diarrhoea affected children under the age of five years old in the Cape Town Metropolitan Area. This finding may have implications for the effects of global warming and requires further investigation.

Health in climate change research from 1990 to 2014: positive trend, but still underperforming

23 Sep 2016 03:01:36 GMT

Climate change has been recognized as both one of the biggest threats and the biggest opportunities for global health in the 21st century. This trend review seeks to assess and characterize the amount and type of scientific literature on the link between climate change and human health.

The authors tracked the use of climate-related terms and their co-occurrence with health terms during the 25 years since the first Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, from 1990 to 2014, in two scientific databases and in the IPCC reports. They investigated the trends in the number of publications about health and climate change through time, by nature of the health impact under study, and by geographic area. Then the authors compared the scientific production in the health field with that of other sectors on which climate change has an impact.

Results: The number of publications was extremely low in both databases from 1990 (325 and 1,004, respectively) until around 2006 (1,332 and 4,319, respectively), which has since then increased exponentially in recent years (6,079 and 17,395, respectively, in 2014). However, the number of climate change papers regarding health is still about half that of other sectors. Certain health impacts, particularly malnutrition and non-communicable diseases (NCDs), remain substantially understudied. Approximately two-thirds of all published studies were carried out in OECD countries (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), predominantly in Europe and North America.

There is a clear need for further research on the links between climate change and health. This pertains particularly to research in and by those countries in which health will be mostly affected and capacity to adapt is least. Specific undertreated topics such as NCDs, malnutrition, and mental health should gain the priority they deserve. Funding agencies are invited to take note of and establish calls for proposals accordingly. Raising the interest in this research area in young scientists remains a challenge and should lead to innovative courses for large audiences, such as Massive Open Online Courses.

Insecticide resistance in malaria-transmitting mosquitoes in Zimbabwe: a review

23 Sep 2016 02:48:12 GMT

Malaria is a global public health problem, with about 3.2 billion people at risk of infection. The populations at risk mainly reside in Africa, Asia and America, with African populations accounting for the largest burden of the disease. In 2013, close to 198 million malaria cases were reported, leading to 584,000 deaths. Much (90 %) of the mortality rates were recorded from the World Health Organization (WHO) database in the African region and 78 % of these occurred in children under the age of five. In Zimbabwe, approximately half of the population is at risk of infection with malaria.

Insecticide residual spraying (IRS) has been documented as an effective way to control malaria and has been adopted globally by the WHO and national governments. However, both insecticide resistance and climate change threaten to reverse the progress made by IRS in malaria control. Resistance has been reported in all four classes of insecticides approved by the WHO for vector control intervention. Variability of environmental temperature is suspected to complicate the situation through alteration in the genetic structure, and enzyme and protein profiles of mosquitoes. In Zimbabwe, little research has been done on the interaction between climate change, temperature variability and insecticide resistance in malarial mosquitoes over time. Such information is important for informing policies on insecticide selection for IRS.

The authors reviewed literature on insecticide sensitivity among malarial mosquitoes in Zimbabwe from 1972 to 2014. International peer-reviewed articles on insecticide sensitivity in Zimbabwe, published in English in this time period, were searched using MEDLINE® (PubMed), Google Scholar, Google and grey literature. Eight publications were eligible for the present study, with one of the articles being a review paper. Six articles covered insecticide resistance, while the other two articles, published in 2000, were about the absence of resistance. Contradicting resistance results were reported in 2014.

The insecticide sensitivity status and distribution of insecticide resistance in mosquitoes are still under debate in Zimbabwe, as studies report differing results. The resistance trend in Zimbabwe is characterised by fluctuations in the status of the sensitivity of existing insecticides. Inconsistencies in data collection methods may be responsible for the inconsistencies in the results. None of the studies have determined a link between climate/temperature variability and insecticide resistance as yet. The current insecticide sensitivity status of mosquitoes still needs to be verified.