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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Photo of Gordon McGranahan, Cities research fellow More details

IDS staff or research student More details

Photo of Ian Scoones, Research Fellow More details

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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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‘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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IDS publications on international development research

Forest Voices: Competing Narratives over REDD+

IDS Bulletin 42.3 (2011)

The Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (known collectively as REDD+) initiative has emerged as a means through which individuals, projects and communities in developing countries can be financially rewarded for reducing emissions from deforestation, forest degradation and enhancement of carbon stock. More details

Shit Matters

Shit Matters: The Potential of Community-Led Total Sanitation

Sanitation remains one of the biggest development challenges of our time, and a long-neglected issue associated with taboos and stigma. Despite growing attention and efforts, many top-down approaches to sanitation have failed, reflecting that simply providing people with a latrine or toilet does not necessarily guarantee its use. More details

Politics of Asbestos

The Politics of Asbestos: Understandings of Risk, Disease and Protest

This book, based on anthropological fieldwork in the UK, India and South Africa, explores people's understandings of their illness, risk, compensation and regulation, contrasting these personal and community narratives with formal medical and legal understandings. More details

IDS publications on international development research

The Future of Food and Farming: Final Project Report

Project aim: to explore the pressures on the global food system between now and 2050 and identify the decisions that policy makers need to take today, and in the years ahead, to ensure that a global population rising to nine billion or more can be fed sustainably and equitably. More details

This is the image for The Limits to Scarcity: Contesting the Politics of Allocation.

The Limits to Scarcity: Contesting the Politics of Allocation

Scarcity is considered a ubiquitous feature of the human condition. It underpins much of modern economics and is widely used as an explanation for social organisation, social conflict and the resource crunch confronting humanity's survival on the planet. More details

IDS publications on international development research

The Future of the Global Food System

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 365.1554 (2010)
Issue 4 of Joto Afrika focuses on the implications of REDD on forestry in Africa

Forestry and REDD in Africa, Joto Afrika

Joto Afrika Issue 4 focuses on the implications of REDD on forest management in Africa, in the context of climate change More details

IDS publications on international development research

Impact Assessment Report of Draft Environmental Tax Law in Vietnam

Report commissioned by Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit More details

IDS publications on international development research

Global Energy and Environmental Scenarios: Implications for Development Policy

DIE Discussion Paper 8 (2009)

This discussion paper has been produced in the framework of the research project 'Development Policy: Questions for the Future', made possible by funding from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) which is gratefully acknowledged. More details

IDS Research Summary

Hybrid Activism: Paths of globalisation in the Brazilian Environmental Movement

IDS Research Summary of IDS Working Paper 332 (2009)

Globalisation has opened up new spaces and opportunities for activists to work in local and global contexts. This enables a hybrid type of activism where activists continuously interweave global and local experience. Through accessing two Brazilian environmental organisations this paper demonstrates how hybrid activism works. More details

This is the latest paper by Robert Chambers

Going to Scale with Community-Led Total Sanitation: Reflections on Experience, Issues and Ways Forward

IDS Practice Paper 1 (2009)

Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) is a revolutionary approach in which communities are facilitated to conduct their own appraisal and analysis of open defecation (OD) and take their own action to become ODF (open defecation-free). More details

IDS publications on international development research

Climate Change and Ethiopia

IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science 6.32 (2009)