Environment

Whether linked to water or land, forests or food, urbanisation or disease, rapid environmental change is posing major challenges for development policy.

With social systems also changing rapidly, the core development challenges of alleviating poverty and inequity are increasingly complex. IDS research seeks to expose these new challenges and explore ways of meeting them. Our approach enables a distinctive contribution to sustainability debates, as well as to broader discussions of changing relationships between science, society and participation.

Our major areas of work include: climate change, energy, water and sanitation, agriculture and food, health and disease, sustainable livelihoods, the Rio+20 process and beyond, and the completion of a decade's work on environmental policy processes.

Photo of IDS researcher Amber Huff More details

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IDS staff or research student More details

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‘Seeing’ Conflicts at the Margins: Understanding Community Experiences Through Social Research and Digital Narrative in Kenya and Madagascar

In a context of unprecedented investment in natural resource developments, this project bridges the social sciences, the humanities and community-based participatory research to ask how different ‘communities’ of actors ‘see’ and experience resource conflicts in Kenya and Madagascar. We use social science alongside a variety of participatory multimedia methods to open up conflict research to more diverse framings and voices, which can offer new insights on the drivers of resource conflict and pathways to peace. More details

Climate Change, Uncertainty and Transformation

This project sees uncertainty as a key barrier to efforts to support social transformation to respond to the challenges posed by climate change. More details

DFID Innovation Prizes for Environment and Development

Running innovation prizes that will improve poor people's resilience to climate change. More details

Dynamic Drivers of Disease in Africa Consortium

A STEPS-led consortium of researchers aiming to advance understanding of the connections between disease and environment in Africa, focusing on animal-to-human disease transmission.. More details

Ebola: Lessons for development

IDS researchers argue that there is an urgent need to look beyond the immediate, on-the-ground concerns of disease control and containment to consider the bigger and broader questions about international development. More details

Environment and PRSPs

This research project was initiated and conceptualised in the framework of the Poverty Environment Partnership (PEP), an informal network of around 30-donor and non-governmental organisations that works on strengthening the nexus between poverty reduction and environmental protection in development cooperation. More details

Global Food and Farming Futures – Lead Expert Group

The Foresight Project on Global Food and Farming Futures addresses the question: ‘How can a future global population of 9 billion people all be fed healthily and sustainably?' More details

GM Crops and Indigenous Management Skill

This project examines the effects of GM seeds on the ‘indigenous management skill’ (IMS) that is crucial to the productivity and sustainability of small-scale crop cultivation. More details

Market-Based Mangrove Afforestation and Reforestation in Kenya and India

This study aims to understand and compare processes and relationships associated with the ‘marketization of nature’ – how nature-based commodities and markets for trading them are brought into being – in the context of mangrove afforestation, reforestation and restoration projects in Kenya and India. More details

Pro-Poor Electricity Provision

This programme will develop and promote evidence-based policy and programme guidance on low carbon energy investments to benefit poor people, especially women and girls. More details

Social, Technological and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability (STEPS) Centre

The STEPS Centre is an interdisciplinary global research and policy engagement hub, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. It aims to develop a new approach to understanding, action and communication on sustainability and development. More details

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Credit: Panos / Robin Hammond

Narratives of Scarcity: Framing the Global Land Rush

Geoforum 2018 (2018)

Global resource scarcity has become a central policy concern, with predictions of rising populations, natural resource depletion and hunger. The narratives of scarcity that arise as a result justify actions to harness resources considered ‘underutilised’, leading to contestations over rights and entitlements and producing new scarcities. More details

The Antinomies of Nature and Space

Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space 1.1-2 (2018)

Maria, Irma, Harvey, Katrina – these have become more than names. They represent several of the most recent hurricanes that have devastated communities across North America and the Caribbean. As nature–society encounters, these massive storms elevated a range of historical, sociocultural, and political economic issues to the fore – from colonialism and race, to growing patterns of inequality, government mismanagement, and the politics of knowledge related to climate change. More details

Non-IDS publication

Low Carbon China: Emerging Phenomena and Implications for Innovation Governance: Introduction to the Special Section Of Environmental Innovation And Societal Transitions

This special section of ‘Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions’ investigates emerging phenomena associated with low carbon transitions in contemporary China. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Cost-Benefit Assessment of Community-Based Recycling and Waste Management in Pakistan

Following their 2016 Virtuous Circle paper on the circular economy in developing countries, Tearfund and the Institute of Development Studies have examined existing approaches to waste management in developing countries, with a view to replicating best practice. This cost-benefit assessment evaluates the pilot of a community-based approach in Pakistan and assesses the feasibility of implementing the same approach in other (poorer) areas. More details

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The Role of Land Property Rights in the War on Illicit Crops: Evidence from Colombia

World Development 103 (2018)

This paper examines the effect of the formalisation of land property rights in the war against illicit crops, using the case of Colombia. More details

Women-initiated measures to cope with environmental stresses and climate change in South Asia

This review gives a number of examples of women-initiated measures to cope with climate change and environmental stresses in South Asia. More details

A teaser for Ecosystem Services and Poverty Alleviation in Urbanising Contexts

Ecosystem Services and Poverty Alleviation in Urbanising Contexts

Ecosystem Services and Poverty Alleviation (2018)

The world’s urban population is expected to rise from 3.9 to 6.4 billion people between 2014 and 2050, with 90% of this increase in Asia and Africa (UN, 2014). More details

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Land Grabbing in Environmental Studies

Companion to Environmental Studies (2018)

Land grabbing emerged as a global phenomenon in the period following the global financial crisis of 2007-08. Investors in search of financial returns looked to land across the world, but particularly in parts of Africa and south-east Asia. More details

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Uncertainty in Environmental Studies

Companion to Environmental Studies (2018)

Threats to climate, biodiversity, soils, air and water join long-standing issues of poverty and vulnerability in demanding urgent action. Radical transformations are required in global institutions and infrastructures for provision of energy, food, water, mobility and livelihoods. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Do Trees on Farms Matter in African Agriculture

World Bank (2018)

This study highlights the prevalence and importance of trees in African agriculture. Trees on farms provide a significant source of income for many households across the continent. More details

Wp502_FrontCover

Biocultural Approaches: Opportunities for Building More Inclusive Environmental Governance

IDS Working Paper 502 (2017)

A significant portion of the world’s remaining biodiversity and agrobiodiversity is in the hands of local and indigenous communities who tend to be politically marginalised and thus excluded from formal environmental governance schemes. More details

Environmental Impact Assessments in refugee crises

The review highlights a selection of publically accessible examples of the where EIAs (or other environmental assessments) have been carried out in refugee situations. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Local Climate Governance and Policy Innovation in China: A Case Study of a Piloting Emission Trading Scheme in Guangdong Province

Asian Journal of Political Science (2017)

This paper investigates how piloting programmes in China can promote local policy innovations. By using one of the piloting emission trading schemes (ETS) in Guangdong province as a case study, it is argued that the main features of the piloting experiments, particularly in the climate change domain, are largely different from previous local marketization experiments that dominate the reform period of China. More details

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Local Environmentalism in Peri-Urban Spaces in India: Emergent Ecological Democracy?

This paper explores the potential of a range of peri-urban environmentalisms to come together in support of sustainable urbanisation, based research in India. More details

This is the front cover to IDS Research Report 83, 'Green Investment Diagnostics for Africa: What are the Binding Constraints to Investment in Renewables in Kenya and
Ghana?'

Green Investment Diagnostics for Africa: What are the Binding Constraints to Investment in Renewables in Kenya and Ghana?

IDS Research Report 83 (2017)

The vast potential of renewable energy is failing to be realised in many African countries, in spite of the many pledges made by donors and international financiers. More details

Non-IDS publication

Linking Well-Being with Cultural Revitalization for Greater Cognitive Justice in Conservation: Lessons from Venezuela in Canaima National Park

Across the globe, conservation policies have often suppressed nonscientific forms of knowledge and ways of knowing nature, along with the social practices of the groups that are informed by such knowledge. More details

The Value of Grid-Scale Variable Renewable Energy Generation in Sub-Saharan Africa

The Value of Grid-Scale Variable Renewable Energy Generation in Sub-Saharan Africa

This article surveys the most relevant research, policies and sources of data relevant to generation adequacy assessment in two example SSA countries: Kenya and Ghana. More details

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Cultivating Sustainable Developments in Makerspaces

In October 2015, we convened a workshop for 80 researchers and practitioners involved in makerspaces in Europe. Em outubro de 2915, organizamos uma oficina para 80 pesquisadores e praticantes envolvidos em makerspaces na Europa. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Smoke Screen: Why the UK Must Turn its Back on Incineration and Embrace the Circular Economy as a Solution to the Global Waste Crisis

International development charity Tearfund is calling on the UK government to lead the world in abandoning waste incineration after a new report highlighted the dangers of continuing the practice.‘Smoke Screen’ was published as industry experts gathered in London for the World Waste to Energy and Resources Summit. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Investment in Renewable Energy, Fossil Fuel Prices and Policy Implications for Latin America and the Caribbean

Financing for Development 264 (2017)

This paper examines if recent sharp declines in the price of oil and other fossil fuels will discourage private investment in renewable energy, which is key for climate change mitigation. The increase in private renewables investment in the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region have been driven by sharp declines in costs alongside supportive policies. More details

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