Resilience in the face of increasing risk and uncertainty
Practical Action’s strategic plan 2017-2020 states “Our vision is for a world where all people have access to the technologies that enable them to meet their basic needs and reach their potential, in a way that safeguards the planet today, and for future generations”. But with development gains being eroded by natural hazards, I sometimes wonder if we are fighting a losing battle? According to the Economist, there are now 400 extreme weather events every year, four times as many […]
UNISDR 2017 Global Platform
Risk reduction must deliver for the poorest and most vulnerable In Sendai, Japan, a location that had been devastated by the eastern pacific Tsunami and subsequent Fukushima nuclear accident, the world came together in March 2015 to sign into force the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, 2015-2030. This framework aims to influence the policy and practice of national governments to reduce their risk, by providing practical guidance on how to reduce risk, how to prepare for disasters in cases […]
Skeletons, Castles, and Closets – a reflection on technology negotiations at SB46
Over the last 2 weeks, national government delegations, civil society organisations, and members of the private sector convened in Bonn, Germany for the inter-sessional meetings of the UNFCCC COP – the annual winter meeting where climate change actions are negotiated. On the agenda during this session, known as SB46, were two matters relating to the role of technologies in climate action, covering mitigation, adaptation, and ‘loss and damage’ activities. The Technology Framework The purpose of this is to provide new […]
Natural Capital the basis for effective flood protection?
The year has been marked by a number of unusual climate events. Not only was 2015 the hottest year on record, with 2016 appearing on track to exceed this, but the year has also been unusually wet. In the US state of Louisiana, 13 people died and large areas are still struggling to cope when a “no-name storm” dumped three times as much rain on Louisiana as Hurricane Katrina. This disaster manifested despite the US having the largest global disaster […]
Can you trust technology to provide protection from flooding?
Practical Action has been working with a number of different partners in the Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance to explore the factors that build the resilience of communities in developing countries to the threat of floods. One of the features of flood prone communities is the fact that these communities are often fully aware of the risk, but some economic or social benefit leads to them discounting the risk to live in the at risk location. We are now entering the […]
It’s just technology
Just over a week ago 80 people converged in Edinburgh for two days of inspiration, collaboration and passionate debate about our shared future and how technology will shape it. What would a world with fairer access to technology look and feel like? What would it take to end the use of technology that harms others and the planet. How must the nature of innovation change to support this? Expert speakers helped us navigate through these huge, complex and at times […]
Technology Justice is critical to reduce risk for the poorest
Technology can greatly enhance the ability of disaster-affected communities to reduce their risk thus preventing natural hazards turning into human disasters. Technology has driven our development. Key technological innovations have heralded revolutions in the way we interact with the environment, but this drive for development has now started to threaten our future. Many scientists are proposing that we have now entered a new epoch “The Anthropocene”. This started when human activities began to have a significant impact on the Earth’s geology and ecosystems. Climate change […]
Who controls innovation?
Innovation is often heralded as the measure of progress of businesses, technologies and even societies. It is through innovation that we create not only new tools or apps, but also how we shift entire systems to new sets of standards, regulations and performance. But the focus and direction of innovation efforts are most often to create new private value – through more business profit – rather than greater social value – through meeting the basic needs of global populations. System […]
Waste and recycling: health concerns herald technology change
Waste recyclers in Lima, the capital of Peru, have overcome tremendous adversities to function as a recognised and legitimate sector. When they had started to pick waste around the city, they were branded ‘nut cases’ or drug addicts and were sometimes chased away by the police when foraging for recyclables. This presented a social challenge since they became a marginalized group. After unionizing and pursuing their labour rights, the Peruvian government passed the ‘Law of the Recycler’ in 2009- the […]
From adaptation to mitigation at COP21
Week 1 – agriculture and adaptation COP21 got off to a rousing start, with some inspirational speeches by heads of state and world leaders. The objective was to inspire and guide the negotiators, however, the promises made appear to have been quickly dampened by national interests resulting in slower than expected progress, and even weakened options. Nairobi Work Programme The first week was dominated by matters concerning agriculture, forests, pastoralism and risk and adaptation. The Nairobi Work Programme on Adaptation […]