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

Photo of Ana Pueyo More details

Photo of Dolf te Lintelo More details

Photo of Dominic Glover More details

Photo of Gordon McGranahan, Cities research fellow More details

IDS staff or research student More details

Photo of Ian Scoones, Research Fellow More details

Photo of Imogen Bellwood-Howard More details

Photo of Jeremy Allouche, IDS research fellow More details

Photo of John Thompson, a Research Fellow in the IDS Rural Futures research cluster More details

Photo of Linda Waldman, KNOTS Research Fellow More details

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IDS staff or research student More details

Photo of Melissa Leach, IDS Director More details

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photo of Shilpi Srivastava More details

‘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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This is the front cover to IDS Policy Briefing 142, 'Improving Livelihoods Through
Better Road and Water Integration and Planning'.

Improving Livelihoods Through Better Road and Water Integration and Planning

IDS Policy Briefing 142 (2017)

Poorly planned roads can negatively affect rural dwellers by damaging land-based assets, through water logging and erosion. However, by modifying the flows of water and the quantity of surface and groundwater available, roads can also have positive impacts on the lives and livelihoods of affected populations. More details

Non-IDS publication

Sustainability in Turbulent Times: Lessons from the Nexus Network for Supporting Transdisciplinary Research

The report gives a review of what the Nexus Network has achieved over its three year lifetime, and also draws out several recommendations for UK Research and Innovation, as it looks to foster more interdisciplinary research in environmental and other challenge areas. More details

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Equality, Security and Sustainability: In Search of Virtuous Circles

IDS Evidence Report 219 (2017)

Many people and institutions are conducting research on inequality, security, or environmental sustainability. Some are looking at two of these issues together. None, to our knowledge, are examining all three simultaneously, or looking in detail at the interactions between them. This matters. More details

Social, Technological and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability Centre logo

Why Peri-Urban Ecosystem Services Matter For Urban Policy

This briefing draws on recent research to show how people benefit from ecoystems in and around cities, and how these benefits can be integrated into urban planning and policy. More details

Non-IDS publication

Opinion: Urban Resilience Efforts Must Consider Social and Political Forces

Environmental disasters, ranging from catastrophic floods to extreme temperatures, have caused more than 30,000 deaths per year and more than US$ 250–300 billion a year in economic losses, globally, between 1995 and 2015. More details

ER215_FrontCover

State–Business Relations Beyond Growth: Bringing in Development

IDS Evidence Report 215 (2016)

The signatories of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have called on a wide range of businesses ‘to apply their creativity and innovation’ to address sustainable development challenges. Yet the role of business in contributing to development depends profoundly on its interaction with the state. This paper asks how states and businesses interact in different contexts to shape development outcomes. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Political Economy Analysis of the Binding Constraints to Renewable Energy Investment in Ghana

The main aim of this report is to unravel the complexity as well as identify the alignments of interests or alliances surrounding the advancement or blockage of the implementation of very fundamental policies, initiatives and strategies for RE investment and development in Ghana. More details

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Strengthening International Disaster Risk Reduction through Collaboration with China

IDS Policy Briefing 127 (2016)

Natural disasters hit developing countries particularly hard. Worldwide, the incidence and intensity of such disasters remain substantial. More details

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The Impact of Digital Technology on Environmental Sustainability and Resilience: An Evidence Review

IDS Evidence Report 209 (2016)

Striving for ‘environmental sustainability and resilience’ (ESR) is postulated as a crucial, universal and global challenge of the twenty-first century. Today, this challenge has to be addressed in a world that is dynamic in its societal, economic and political constituents, heightened by increased interconnectedness resulting from globalisation. More details

Non-IDS publication

Grassroots Innovation And Innovation Democracy

STEPS Working Paper (2016)

In this thinkpiece we introduce an area of activity that has flourished for decades in all corners of the globe, namely grassroots innovation for sustainable development. More details

Non-IDS publication

Solar PV And Solar Water Heaters In China: Different Pathways To Low Carbon Energy

This review paper examines pathways towards solar energy in China by examining two different solar energy technologies, namely solar photovoltaic (PV) and solar water heaters (SWH). More details

Social, Technological and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability Centre logo

Framing and Reframing Sustainable Bioenergy Pathways: The Case of Emilia Romagna

STEPS working paper 88 (2016)

This paper addresses the case of bioenergy development in Emilia Romagna, using and building on a ‘pathways to sustainability’ approach (Leach et al. 2010). More details

Non-IDS publication

Karhera: A Photo Book

This book tells the story of Karhera, a village between Delhi and Ghaziabad in India, through photographs, maps and words. More details

Social, Technological and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability Centre logo

Grassroots Innovation Movements

Innovation is increasingly invoked by policy elites and business leaders as vital for tackling global challenges like sustainable development. More details

ER183_FrontCover

Black Sands, Green Plans and Conflict: Structural Adjustment, Sectoral Reforms and the Mining–Conservation–Conflict Nexus in Southern Madagascar

IDS Evidence Report 183 (2016)

This report is a policy analysis of international investments in Madagascar’s natural resources at the thematic intersection of extractive development, land reform, environmental preservation and conflict. More details

ER148_FrontCover

Green Development, Natural Resource Financialization and Emerging Conflict in Southern Africa with Examples from Implementation Contexts in Madagascar, Tanzania and South Africa

IDS Evidence Report 148 (2015)

In recent years, widespread uncertainty around global economic and environmental futures has contributed to growing advocacy for a global ‘greening’ of the economy involving the coordinated establishment of pro-environment economic policies and programmes around the world. More details

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China’s Emergence as a Global Recycling Hub – What Does it Mean for Circular Economy Approaches Elsewhere?

IDS Evidence Report 146 (2015)

This Evidence Report investigates how China’s rise as a global recycling hub affects other countries’ prospects for moving towards a circular economy. This question has received little, if any, attention in the burgeoning literature on sustainability. More details

Strengthening_Evidence_Based_Policy_2015

Strengthening Evidence-Based Policy: Outputs April 2014 – March 2015

Accountable Grant Outputs Brochure (2015)

In much writing about development, policy and practice are portrayed as if they are joined at the hip. Policy shapes practice, while learning from practice informs policy processes. In this portrayal, practice is usually understood to refer to development practice, or how development programmes and projects are implemented. More details

This is the front cover to the book, 'Gender Equality and Sustainable Development'.

Gender Equality and Sustainable Development

For pathways to be truly sustainable and advance gender equality and the rights and capabilities of women and girls, those whose lives and well-being are at stake must be involved in leading the way. More details

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Understanding Relationships between the Green Economy, Resource Financialization and Conflict

IDS Policy Briefing 95 (2015)

A key aspect of the United Nations’ sustainable development approach centres on creating markets for financialized ‘natural capital’ products, particularly in resource-rich, lower-income countries. The appeal of this comes from a set of policy promises termed the ‘triple-win’: achieving environmental sustainability, socially inclusive economic growth and poverty alleviation. More details