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Papers and reports  

New Book – ‘World Trends in Education for Sustainable Development’

Editor of this new book, Walter Leal Filho, highlights that sustainable development is a long-term goal, which individuals and institutions (and countries) need to pursue. Sustainable development is characterised by an intrinsic complexity, since it encompasses ecological or environmental considerations on the one hand, and economic matters, social influences and political frameworks on the other. This makes provisions in respect of education for sustainable development a particularly challenging task, but one which is feasible and achievable, provided the right elements are put into place. This book is an attempt to foster the cause of education for sustainable development, by documenting and disseminating experiences from different parts of the world, where learning for, about and through the principles of sustainability is taking place, in various sets and contexts, in both industrialised and developing nations. A feature of the book is that it not only presents a wide range of philosophies, approaches, methods and analyses with respect to education for sustainable development across the world, but also documents and disseminates concrete case studies, which show how education for sustainable development may be realised in practice.

New Website – Culture and Education for Sustainable Development
The International Research Institute in Sustainability (IRIS) has launched a new website as part of the UNESCO supported project, ‘Linking Culture, Education and Sustainability: Good Practices and Experiences from Around the World’. The project aims to collect, analyse and share learning experiences that articulate cultural, socio-economic and environmental dimensions of sustainability. This new website seeks to offer an opportunity for policy-makers and practitioners to learn about the Culture/ESD interface as an emerging field of practice and research. It showcases a wide range of projects from across the globe, showing significant innovation in terms of how they have integrated cultural diversity components in ESD. The website includes: (a) a project introduction and context; (b) a selection of examples of good practice; (c) project findings and key lessons learnt (to be uploaded shortly); (d) a range of relevant resources including images, videos and reports; and (e) an opportunity to join the network of practitioners.

EPSRC Retrofit 2050 online survey – Improving energy, water and waste efficiencies
Researchers, Judith Britnell and Professor Tim Dixon at the Oxford Institute for Sustainable Development, Oxford Brookes University, are looking for individuals to participate in an online survey on the challenges of retrofitting cities in the UK. They would like to receive responses on the barriers and triggers to rolling out the retrofit agenda, the emerging technologies that could bring about change and the driving forces that will impact on the future. The survey is part of a research project which aims to examine how we re-engineer our cities in response to climate change challenges. The questionnaire should take no longer than 20 minutes to complete. As a thank you, participants have the opportunity to be entered into a prize draw for a bottle of champagne. The survey will close at 6.00pm on Wednesday 20 July 2011.

UNESCO Report – "For life, for the future"
UNESCO biosphere reserves are lauded as ideal places to test, evaluate and implement comprehensive climate change policies. This publication, edited by the German Commission for UNESCO, presents a selection of case studies about good practice to demonstrate what biosphere reserves are currently contributing to this policy field. Whist the publication acknowledges the fundamental importance of climate change, it emphasises that climate change is not the only challenge. None of the other well-known challenges has disappeared: poverty, malnutrition, loss of biodiversity and ecosystem functions, demographic change, desertification, water scarcity, urbanisation, and so forth. It argues that any isolated policy implementation focusing only on climate change is likely to do more harm than good, and suggests UNESCO biosphere reserves offer two unique advantages: (1) they have stable governance frameworks in the long-term with an ambitious, cross-cutting set of objectives covering all aspects of sustainable development; and (2) they offer an inclusive space for stakeholders and the population to jointly solve the difficult issues at stake when dealing with sustainable development.

NRI Working Paper – "Climate change, agricultural adaptation and Fairtrade"
The Natural Resources Institute (NRI) has recently completed a study on the implications of climate change for Fairtrade in agricultural products. The study, ‘Climate Change, Agricultural Adaptation and Fairtrade: Identifying the Challenges and Opportunities’ was commissioned in early 2010 by the Fairtrade Foundation. Findings indicate that climate change is projected, with high degrees of certainty, to have mainly negative impacts upon agricultural production, food security and economic development, especially in developing countries. It thus poses significant challenges for the Fairtrade movement. This report sets out what is known at present about those challenges and ways to face them, and makes recommendations for actions to build the resilience of farmers against climate change that can be followed within the avenues of impact of the Fairtrade movement. The study has already been used extensively by different organisations within the Fairtrade movement to shape their responses to climate change, including the Fairtrade Labelling Organisation in Bonn, and the ISEAL Alliance, which is the global association for social and environmental standards (such as the Rainforest Alliance, Forest Stewardship Council, IFOAM, FLO etc), which has drawn heavily on this study in developing its imminent guidelines for standard systems on adaptation. This study is the first of a new NRI Working Paper Series on Climate Change, Agriculture and Natural Resources, of which more will follow soon.

JRF Report – "Sustainable urban neighbourhoods"
Is it possible to meet the nation's growing need for affordable new homes while adapting to change and meeting environmental needs? This summary report outlines the work of the Sustainable Urban Neighbourhoods Network (SUNN), which is addressing these issues by studying new and growing developments and communities. Focusing on 'urban extensions' to existing towns and cities, the summary draws on case studies to provide recommendations about the best way for Britain’s house builders and developers to create sustainable new communities. The report: (a) outlines the key messages from SUNN's studies; (b) highlights the need to focus on strategic spatial planning, better urban design and leaner construction; and (c) recommends areas to be considered. These include options for creative finance that address high land costs and reduce construction costs, the relationship between transport engineering and creating public spaces in new communities, long-term stewardship models and localism and the role of parish councils.

WRI Report – "Adapting for a Green Economy: Companies, communities and climate change"
This report by the World Resources Institute draws on the results of a 2010 survey of corporate signatories to the United Nations Global Compact and the United Nations Environment Programme ‘Caring for Climate’ initiative, as well as on existing literature, to make the business case for private sector adaptation to climate change in ways that build the resilience of vulnerable communities in developing countries. It offers actions that companies and policy-makers can pursue to catalyse and scale up private sector action on adaptation. It argues that the responsibility to meet the critical climate change adaptation needs of the poor and vulnerable ultimately rests with the public sector; thus private sector engagement cannot substitute for critically needed public investment and policies. Nonetheless, it emphasises that private sector investment can serve as a pivotal part of a comprehensive government-led approach to addressing climate impacts.

IIED Report – ‘Conservation Enterprise: What works, where and for whom?’

Community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) recognises that local communities are often best placed to conserve natural resources, as long as they stand to gain more than they lose from doing so. Conservation enterprises— commercial activities generating economic and social benefits in ways that help meet conservation objectives—seek to reinforce these incentives. The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) has adopted conservation enterprise as a core part of its conservation strategy since the 1990s. It predominantly supports partnerships between local communities and the private sector, with the community retaining ownership and the private sector providing the management expertise and paying a combination of fixed and variable fees to the community for access to its resources. This study draws on the experience of the AWF and other organisations to assess what effect conservation enterprises can have on the livelihoods of local communities and how effective such initiatives are at poverty reduction.

New Book – "Researching Sustainability: A guide to social science methods, practice and engagement"
This book, edited by Alex Franklin and Paul Blyton, is for students and researchers across the social sciences who are planning, conducting and disseminating research on sustainability-related issues. Real-world sustainability problems cross many boundaries. This book seeks to guide students and practitioners through the practical and theoretical challenges of doing interdisciplinary research to understand and address these problems. It contains many in-depth, 'hands on' accounts by expert contributors, providing real-life examples and lessons that can be put to use immediately. Coverage includes: (1) the general challenges that sustainability presents to researchers, including frictions between sustainability and scientific tradition, complexity, research paradigms, interdisciplinarity, social-environmental interactions, and ethical concerns; (2) a range of social science-based research methods and approaches (each chapter presents a different method, its challenges and suitability for different situations, an in-depth example of the method in action, and insights and lessons); and (3) dissemination of sustainability research findings, including influencing policy, communicating with school children and working with the media. The book concludes with a critical synthesis of issues and methods examined in the book together with a discussion of future research pathways.

Relu Policy and Practice Note – "Plant disease risk, management and policy formulation"

Humans rely on plants for many ecosystem services. They underpin our food production and security, and provide habitats for wildlife and amenities for people. Whilst growers are often able to manage existing pests and pathogens on commercial crops, increased volume and diversity of trade are resulting in many new potential threats to the health of our plants, both cultivated and wild. There are international methodologies for pest risk analysis but currently these are based primarily on technical assessments. This Relu Policy and Practice Note suggests that an integrated approach, using not just a good technical analysis, but also taking into account social and economic parameters, would enhance policy making for plant disease management. It argues that better engagement with stakeholders will be needed to achieve this.