Disaster-risk, water security challenges and strategies in Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

Small island developing states (SIDS) are typically characterized by being environmentally and socio-economically vulnerable to disasters and climate change. Additionally, they often have limited resources for freshwater provisioning services. This article presents an assessment of disaster risk and water security-related challenges in SIDS focusing on three major dimensions: (a) how disaster risks are perceived and addressed in the SIDS context using a case study method, (b) analyzing the current status of water security in these regions using an indicator-based approach and (c) assessing gaps and needs in institutions and policies that can facilitate sustainable development goals (SDGs) and targets, adaptation and resilience building in SIDS. In this regard, information on all SIDS is collected to be able to distinguish trends in and between SIDS based on amongst others geographical location and characteristics. This synthesis noted two key observations: first, that in SIDS, the number of disasters is increasing at a higher rate than the global average, and that the frequency and intensity of the disasters will likely increase because of climate change. These combined factors will impact SIDS on the societal level and on environmental levels, reducing their adaptive capacity, resources, and resilience. Second, most SIDS are already water-scarce with low groundwater volumes. Because of increasing demand (e.g., population growth and tourism) and decreasing supply (e.g., pollution and changes in precipitation patterns) freshwater resources are becoming increasingly limited, often suffering from the spillover effects of competing and conflicting uses. Threatened ecosystems and limited economic resources further influence the adaptive capacities of communities in SIDS. In this light, key solutions to address disaster-risk and water security-related challenges can be found by sharing best practices and lessons learned—from examples of good governance, integrated policies, improved community-resilience, and capacity-building. Added to their fragile situation, SIDS struggle to find enough funding to put their development plans, programs, and policies into action

Expanding the role of social science in conservation through an engagement with philosophy, methodology, and methods.

The Special Feature led by Sutherland, Dicks, Everard, and Geneletti (Methods Ecology and Evolution, 9, 7–9, 2018) sought to highlight the importance of “qualitative methods” for conservation. The intention is welcome, and the collection makes many important contributions. Yet, the articles presented a limited perspective on the field, with a focus on objectivist and instrumental methods, omitting discussion of some broader philosophical and methodological considerations crucial to social science research. Consequently, the Special Feature risks narrowing the scope of social science research and, potentially, reducing its quality and usefulness. In this article, we seek to build on the strengths of the articles of the Special Feature by drawing in a discussion on social science research philosophy, methodology, and methods.We start with a brief discussion on the value of thinking about data as being qualitative (i.e., text, image, or numeric) or quantitative (i.e., numeric), not methods or research. Thinking about methods as qualitative can obscure many important aspects of research design by implying that “qualitative methods” somehow embody a particular set of assumptions or principles. Researchers can bring similar, or very different, sets of assumptions to their research design, irrespective of whether they collect qualitative or quantitative data.We clarify broad concepts, including philosophy, methodology, and methods, explaining their role in social science research design. Doing so provides us with an opportunity to examine some of the terms used across the articles of the Special Feature (e.g., bias), revealing that they are used in ways that could be interpreted as being inconsistent with their use in a number of applications of social science.We provide worked examples of how social science research can be designed to collect qualitative data that not only understands decision‐making processes, but also the unique social–ecological contexts in which it takes place. These examples demonstrate the importance of coherence between philosophy, methodology, and methods in research design, and the importance of reflexivity throughout the research process.We conclude with encouragement for conservation social scientists to explore a wider range of qualitative research approaches, providing guidance for the selection and application of social science methods for ecology and conservation.

OceanCanada Conference in Vancouver May 24 – 27

The second OceanCanada Partnership conference was held in Vancouver from May 24-27 on the beautiful grounds of the University of British Columbia. The conference brought together more than 60 researchers, students and post-doctoral fellows, advisory board members, community and institutional partners to take stock of our activities and work towards an integrated research agenda. Through […]

News Brief: Inuvialuit ask feds for regional environment assessment of Beaufort Sea

Source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/beaufort-sea-environmental-assessment-1.3490983 The Inuvialuit are pitching a far-reaching scientific and traditional knowledge study that would help researchers better understand how Arctic ecosystems will be affected by climate change, increased shipping and oil and gas development. “We see ourselves as part of the ecosystem, so anything that is going to affect that is going to affect […]

News Brief: Canada-US Bilateral Agreement on Arctic Conservation

On March 10, 2016 Canada and the US released a major bilateral announcement on the Arctic to coincide with Prime Minister Trudeau’s visit to Washington. The announcement includes an initiative to re-examine new conservation goals for the Arctic and a commitment to engage all Arctic nations in the development of a pan-Arctic marine protection area […]

New Research: Work by OceanCanada Research Director, Dr. Rashid Sumaila presented at World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland

OceanCanada Research Director, Dr. Rashid Sumaila is the author of a new report titled “Trade Policy Options for Sustainable Oceans and Fisheries” presented at the 2016 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The paper is part of a larger package of policy recommendations by the E15Initiative focused on strengthening the global trade and investment system […]

Presentation: OceanCanada Director Dr. Rashid Sumaila at 2015 Nairobi Trade and Development Symposium

OceanCanada Director Dr. Rashid Sumaila spoke at the 2015 Trade and Development Symposium in Nairobi on December 15 and 16, 2015. Dr. Rashid participated in two sessions. Videos of the sessions can be found at the links. Addressing Illegal Trade in Natural Resources December 15, 2015 The United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the Sustainable Development […]

Presentation: Dr. Sumaila discusses OceanCanada’s innovative research at Peter Wall International Research Colloquium

Dr. Rashid Sumaila participated in the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies The International Research Colloquium on Monday, 27 April 2015, showcasing the novel approaches to research currently used by OceanCanada and allied projects. Sumaila and other project leaders outlined key “levers” they have identified, which could turn the ocean and its fisheries from decline into […]

New Research: Could Canada benefit from closing the high seas to fishing?

In a thought-provoking paper released in Scientific Reports last week, OceanCanada Director Dr. Rashid Sumaila and his team of researchers uncovered the possible winners and losers in a world where the high seas is closed to fishing. Researchers found that closing the high seas to commercial fishing could be catch-neutral, and might even contribute to a more equitable […]