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.

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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 Working Paper

Gender and Environmental History: Moving Beyond the Narratives of the Past in Contemporary Women-Environment Policy Debates

IDS Working Paper 16 (1995)

Claims about history figure prominently in contemporary ecofeminist and activist concerns with gender and the environment. This paper addresses such claims and considers the historical narratives and their uses in contemporary gender-environment debates. More details

Environmental Entitlements: An Outline Framework for Analysis, and a Mongolian Case Study

IDS Working Paper 15 (1995)

This paper highlights some pitfalls in the existing literature on poverty-environment linkages in developing countries and offers an alternative analytical approach based on the notion of 'environmental entitlements'. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Gender Relations and Environmental Change

IDS Bulletin 26.1 (1995)

This IDS Bulletin moves beyond to emphasize the application of gender analysis to environmental relations: seeing women as differentiated and in relation to men; and paying attention to the links between gender relations with environmental activities, responsibilities and rights. More details

Gender and Environmental History: From Representations of Women and Nature to Gender Analysis of Ecology and Politics

IDS Working Paper 16 (1995)

Writing on imperial and colonial history has been heavily criticised, initially for its complete ignorance of women as historical subjects and, more recently, for its gender-blind methodology and hence failure to envisage history as a gendered experience. More details

The Poor and the Environment: Whose Reality Counts?

IDS Working Paper 3 (1994)

This paper argues that it is the rich and powerful who do most environmental damage. Blaming poor victims of environmental degradation can lead to policies which do more harm than good. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Rainforest Relations: Gender and Resource Use Among the Mende of Gola, Sierra Leone

This book brings forest dwellers' own differentiated perspectives to current rainforest debates. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Environmental Change, Development Challenges

IDS Bulletin 22.4 (1991)

The late 1980s saw a phenomenal growth of international concern over the global environment. It has begun to influence politics both in industrially advanced countries and in the newly democratising countries of Eastern Europe. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Food Security and the Environment

IDS Bulletin 22.3 (1991)

There is an obvious connection between poor people's food security and the preservation of the environment in which they live. Yet there is little consensus about the nature of this relationship. Unless their interactions are better understood, there is a danger that policies for environmental protection - in an increasingly environmentally-concerned aid climate - will unknowingly compromise food security. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Food Security and the Environment: A Select Annotated Bibliography

IDS Development Bibliography 4 (1991)

This Bibliography explores the links between food security and the environment. It aims to identify material that directly addresses the relationship between food security and the environment and to indicate other literature which provides useful insights into the issue. More details

IDS publications on international development research

To the Hands of the Poor: Water and Trees

To the Hands of the Poor explores how poor people can gain more from rural India's vast and often underestimated potential from groundwater and from growing trees. Starting with the livelihoods and priorities of the poor themselves, the authors use empirical evidence and practical political economy to identify new and implementable policies. More details

IDS Classics - publications from the past

Seasonality and Ultrapoverty

IDS Bulletin 17.3 (1986)

The ultra-poor – a group of people who eat below 80 per cent of their energy requirements despite spending at least 80 per cent of income on food – are most vulnerable to seasonal fluctuations in food supply and wage employment, and seasonally induced nutrition and health risks. More details

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