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FW: Eldis Climate Change and Development Reporter

In this issue: Research that focuses on IPCC 2014 Synthesis Report; WMO statement on the status of the global climate in 2014; Loss and Damage to Ecosystem Services; Helpdesk Report on educational systems and climate change; Addressing land degradation, among others . . . 


Climate change

With a focus across adaptation, mitigation & development, the climate change guide covers agriculture & food security, natural resource management, poverty & vulnerability, governance, health, gender, finance, & low carbon energy.







Eldis Climate Change and Development Reporter

30 March 2015
Eldis Climate Change Resource Guide:

This is our regular bulletin that highlights recent publications on climate change and development issues.

The documents are available without charge on the web. If you are unable to access any of these materials online and would like to receive a copy of a document as an email attachment, please contact our editor at the email address given below.

In this issue:

  1. Effective support for climate change adaptation: Key tasks for the Green Climate Fund in 2015
  2. Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report
  3. WMO statement on the status of the global climate in 2014
  4. A Range of Approaches to Address Loss and Damage from Climate Change Impacts in Bangladesh
  5. Loss and Damage to Ecosystem Services
  6. Helpdesk Report: Educational systems and climate change
  7. A cost effective and powerful climate policy: pioneers pave the way
  8. Addressing land degradation: benefits, costs, and policy directions

Effective support for climate change adaptation: Key tasks for the Green Climate Fund in 2015

Authors: Harmeling,S.; Finch,M.
Produced by: Climate and Development Knowledge Network (2015)

The Green Climate Fund (GCF) made significant progress in 2014. By the end of the year, donor governments had committed an initial US$10.2 billion. Half of this sum will be devoted to adaptation, making the GCF the biggest multilateral adaptation finance institution in the world. The GCF's first decisions on use of the funds are due to be taken in late 2015, in the run-up to the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP21), to be held in Paris, France. This policy brief looks at some of the key issues facing the GCF for it to become established as an effective financier of adaptation activities, during this critical year and beyond.

[Taken from source]

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Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report

Authors: Pachauri,R.,K.; Meyer,L.,A.

An overview of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report

The Synthesis Report (SYR) of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) provides an overview of the state of knowledge concerning the science of climate change, emphasizing new results since the publication of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) in 2007. The SYR synthesises the main findings of the AR5 based on contributions from Working Group I (The Physical Science Basis), Working Group II (Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability) and Working Group III (Mitigation of Climate Change), plus two additional IPCC reports (Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation and Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation).

The AR5 SYR longer report is divided into four topics:

  • Topic 1 (Observed Changes and their Causes) focuses on observational evidence for a changing climate, the impacts caused by this change and the human contributions to it.
  • Topic 2 (Future Climate Changes, Risks and Impacts) assesses projections of future climate change and the resultant projected impacts and risks.
  • Topic 3 (Future Pathways for Adaptation, Mitigation and Sustainable Development) considers adaptation and mitigation as complementary strategies for reducing and managing the risks of climate change.
  • Topic 4 (Adaptation and Mitigation) describes individual adaptation and mitigation options and policy approaches. It also addresses integrated responses that link mitigation and adaptation with other societal objectives.

The challenges of understanding and managing risks and uncertainties are important themes in this report.

[Taken from source]

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WMO statement on the status of the global climate in 2014

Produced by: World Meteorological Organization (2015)

WMO's series on the key climate events of 2014 and an in-depth analysis of regional trends.

This 2014 series is part of a WMO drive to provide more information at regional and national levels to support adaptation to climate variability and change. This Statement draws on data provided by leading global and regional climate centres and research institutes as well as National Meteorological and Hydrological Services.

The Statement reports that global-average sea-surface temperatures for 2014 were warmer than for any previous year on record. WMO discusses the need to maintain and even strengthen ocean observing systems in order to better understand sea-temperature trends and their implications for long-term climate change.

It also highlights extremes that occurred in 2014 at the national and regional levels. Europe, for example, was unusually warm, with 19 countries reporting record temperatures for the year. Severe flooding and flash floods occurred in many countries, particularly in the Balkans, South Asia, and parts of Africa and South and Central America.


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A Range of Approaches to Address Loss and Damage from Climate Change Impacts in Bangladesh

Authors: Nishat,A.; Mukherjee,N.; Roberts,E.; Hasemann,A.
Produced by: Loss and Damage in Vulnerable Countries Initiative (2013)

Bangladesh is one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change, but has increasingly developed national capacity to address climate change impacts. Climaterelated hazards are expected to increase in frequency and intensity, however, and as such it is now becoming clear that adaptation will not be sufficient to avoid loss and damage caused by the adverse effects of climate change. At the global level the emergence and increasing prominence of loss and damage in the international climate negotiations is a result of the failure of both mitigation and adaptation efforts to minimise the impacts of climate change. While there is no universal definition of climate change it has been described as "impacts on human systems, which are often channelled through the negative impacts of climate change on natural systems" (UNFCCC, 2012a). The authors understand loss and damage to be current or future negative impacts of climate change that cannot be addressed by adaptation efforts. Loss can be thought of as irrecoverable negative impacts while damage can be characterised as those that can be recovered. In 2010, a work programme was created under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to enhance understanding of loss and damage and the possible means to address it. The work programme has had the following three thematic areas: (1) Assessing the risk and current knowledge of loss and damage, (2) Exploring a range of approaches to address loss and damage, including impacts related to extreme weather events and slow onset event (3) Determining the role of the Convention, or the UNFCCC, in enhancing the implementation of approaches to address loss and damage. This technical paper addresses questions relating to thematic area 2. 2.

[Taken from source]

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Loss and Damage to Ecosystem Services

Authors: Zommers,Z.; Wrathall,D.; van der Geest,K.
Produced by: United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (2014)

This working paper highlights loss and damage to ecosystems from climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report (2014) indicates that adaptation options for ecosystems may be more limited than for human systems and consequently loss and damage both to ecosystems, and to ecosystem services, may be expected. The paper argues that ecosystem services underpin human livelihoods. It is therefore critical to better assess loss and damage to ecosystem services.

The paper assesses current and expected losses and damages to ecosystem services through a survey of the Working Group II Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change, and a detailed case study of the impact of glacial loss in Peru's Cordillera Blanca. Evidence for changes to services is seen in the different phases of hydrological shift of glacial melt. While the impact of other stressors resulting from human activity on ecosystem services need to be considered, greater focus is needed on the relationships between climate change, loss and damage, ecosystem services and human well-being. Ultimately efforts to protect ecosystem services may help build resilience in human livelihoods and minimize loss and damage.

The paper concludes that loss and damage in ecosystems services is an improved starting point for better understanding the feedbacks between changes in ecosystems and human wellbeing and on possibilities for adaptation. Social, technological and economic factors have the potential to buffer the impact of declining ecosystem services on human well-being. For example, increased use of bed nets could help overcome the impact of decreased natural regulation of malaria vectors due to changes in temperature or rainfall. It could be possible to create highland reservoirs to stabilize the cycle of seasonal runoff in Peru (Bradley et al., 2006). Behavioural adaptation could also take place.

The paper argues that fair and adequate policies should also be implemented to protect water rights, as there is likely to be an increasing reliance on mechanisms to capture and save water. Ultimately, minimizing loss to ecosystem services may provide a cost effective way to minimize loss and damage to human systems. Support for maintenance of ecosystem services should become a central focus of the Warsaw International Mechanism. This would help to reduce risks, build resilience and support human development.

[Adapted from source]

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This Must Be the Place: Underrepresentation of Identity and Meaning in Climate Change Decision Making

Authors: Neil Adger,W.; Barnett,J.; Chapin III,F.S.; Ellemor,H.
Produced by: Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research (2011)

This paper draws on data from Pacific islands and the Arctic. It explains the implications of failing to account for social resilience. First, planning for adaptation is less likely to be effective if the values people hold are ignored. Communities in Alaska are contemplating wholesale relocation, but only some places and means of moving are acceptable. Second, people have fundamental rights in all legal systems to life and livelihood, and many of these protections are around property and place. The cultural impacts of climate change are going to be as important as the economic ones.

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Helpdesk Report: Educational systems and climate change

Authors: Bolton,L.; Foster,G.
Produced by: Health and Education Advice and Resource Team (2013)

This helpdesk query was asked to conduct a literature review focusing on:

  • impact of climate/environmental change on education systems in developing countries
  • the correlation between scientific literacy and attitudes to the environment
  • evidence on climate/environment programmes in developing countries

UNICEF include chronic environmental degradation and climate-related hazards among the many challenges that can prevent children from finishing school. Children are powerful agents of change, and studies have found that many children can be extraordinarily resilient in the face of significant challenges. Providing children with empowering and relevant education on disasters and climate change in a child-friendly school environment can reduce their vulnerability to risk while contributing to sustainable development for their communities.

Findings on the correlation between scientific literacy and attitudes to the environment include:

  • environmental projects in schools in Finland have been found to enhance students' interest in environmental issues
  • research has found that environmental knowledge has a significant indirect relationship with environmental attitudes and responsibility in an Environmental Literacy Components Model
  • research in the US suggests improving the clarity of scientific information may not increase concern for climate change as the debate features cultural meaning. Communicators should create a deliberative climate in which accepting the best available science does not threaten any group's values
  • participants in a US citizen science programme for conservation literacy and scientific knowledge had increased awareness of a specific issue but little change in behaviour


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Addressing land degradation: benefits, costs, and policy directions

Authors: Briones,R.M.
Produced by: Philippine Journal of Development (2010)

Land degradation in the Philippines is a serious environmental problem with long-term implications for the sustainability of agricultural production. Protection of the resource base has thus become a policy priority, whether in terms of improving crop management in the lowlands or more urgently, arresting soil erosion in the uplands. This review aims to compile and evaluate estimates of the costs of land degradation; then analyze the costs, benefits, and equity implications of priority measures to protect soil resources; and lastly, draw implications for policy.

The author finds that the most important cause of land degradation in the Philippines is soil erosion. Despite wide variations in the figures, and considerable uncertainty about the degradation parameters, even the most conservative methods lead to large estimates of the cost of soil erosion, comparable at least to the annual investment in research and development of the public sector. Direct interventions such as promotion of soil-conserving farm technologies are worthwhile investments based on social benefit-cost analysis. Owing to liquidity and other constraints, however, farmers may forego these investments. Indirect interventions such as tenure reform have an ambiguous effect on soil erosion; however, removal of domestic protection of corn has a positive effect on soil conservation. Upland farmers, including the large population of subsistence corn growers, are among the poorest segments of the rural population. The review supports increasing and widening incentives for adoption of soil conservation and permanent tree crops through extension and improved tenurial measures, while ensuring that trade adjustment be accompanied by adequate social protection.

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