Geology for Global Development

UNISDR

Jesse Zondervan’s #GfGDPicks (Oct 2017): Tsunami risk in Geneva, storms in Mumbai, floating runways in Fiji, a river with legal rights, #SciComm

Each month, Jesse Zondervan picks his favourite posts from geoscience and development blogs/news, relevant to the work and interests of  Geology for Global Development . Here’s a round-up of Jesse’s selections for the past two weeks:

If you thought we were safe from Tsunamis in Europe, think again. I was surprised to find out Geneva experienced a Tsunami in 563 triggered by a mudslide. On a similar tack, a recent study at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory concludes the storm surge risk for Mumbai may result in a terrible disaster.

As well as better understanding the nature of the risks we face, an important aspect of disaster risk reduction (DRR) is communication. Academics from King’s College London report on a hazards-themed workshop they gave in Malawi. Read more about how they hope to reach >2000 students.

Meanwhile, Fiji suffers from floating airport runways due to the rise in sea-level and Dr Nick Mount explores Colombia for the question: Can a river have legal rights?

There is much more to explore below so go ahead! I’ll end with the following question:

What makes you curious? What would you like to know about geology and global development?

Please do leave a reply!

Some great articles came out around the International Day for Disaster Reduction:

Coastline of Mumbai, India

Climate Change Adaptation & Environmental:

Upcoming opportunities:

Check back next month for more picks!

Follow Jesse Zondervan @JesseZondervan. Follow us @Geo_Dev & Facebook.

UNISDR Science and Technology Conference on the Implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030

UNISDROver the next few days (27-29th January) we’ll be attending the UNISDR Science and Technology Conference on the Implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR) 2015-2030.

Agreed in March 2015, this framework aims to substantially ‘reduce disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods and health and in the economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets of persons, businesses, communities and countries’. A key priority of this framework is to better understand disaster risk, meaning that science has a crucial role to play in ensuring its success.

Our key aims in attending this conference are to (i) learn more about the specific ways that geologists can contribute to the SFDRR over the next 15 years, and (ii) promote the role of early-career geologists (their research, extra-curricular engagement etc). Geology for Global Development is an official organising partner of the conference, alongside many other prestigious groups.

We’ll be presenting a poster about the role of GfGD in promoting the SFDRR to the geoscience community, and mobilising engagement (Work Stream 1 – The Science and Technology Partnership for the implementation of the Sendai Framework, Wednesday at midday). Our Director, Joel Gill, will also be addressing a side event (Thursday 1-2pm) on the role of young scientists in the application of science for DRR.

You can follow the conference highlights on Twitter using #Science4Sendai, and there’ll also be tweets on the GfGD account (@Geo_Dev). If you’re attending the event and wish to connect/know more about our work, please do contact us via Twitter or on our website.

Reviewing Key Development Agreements of 2015

2015 has been a significant year for global development efforts, with major agreements on disaster risk reduction, sustainable development and climate change. The hard work has only just started, with significant work needed over the coming years and decades to deliver real, positive change.

Fuego (Guatemala) is a currently active volcano, with risks to local populations and their livelihoods.

Fuego (Guatemala) is a currently active volcano, with risks to local populations and their livelihoods.

Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) 2015-2030

Agreed in March 2015, this framework aims to substantially ‘reduce disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods and health and in the economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets of persons, businesses, communities and countries’. A key priority of this framework is to better understand disaster risk, meaning that science has a crucial role to play in ensuring its success.

Seismologists, volcanologists, engineering geologists and others can all support this framework through their research and practice. One practical opportunity is the UNISDR Science and Technology conference, taking place in Geneva next January. Gathering scientists of all types, and from all locations, this event will launch the science and technology roadmap for supporting the Sendai Framework. The deadline to register for this free event is 31st December 2015.

Global Goals for Sustainable Development 2015-2030

These 17 Global Goals, agreed in September 2015, aim to end global poverty, fight injustice and inequality, and ensure environmental sustainability over the next 15 years (2015-2030). Earlier this year we hosted our third annual conference, exploring these goals. We believe this was the first major geology conference around the world to ask the question ‘how can we as a community best use our skills and resources to support the UN Global Goals?’.

GfGD 3rd Annual Conference (Geology and the Global Goals for Sustainable Development'

GfGD 3rd Annual Conference (Geology and the Global Goals for Sustainable Development’

As noted in a previous post, achieving the SDGs by 2030 will require many sectors to engage, including the geological sciences. Many of the themes within the SDGs are pertinent to geological research and practice. This gives all of us an exciting opportunity to take a leading role in promoting and facilitating responsible Earth stewardship, ensuring sustainable and equitable foundations for future global development. Geology students, educators, researchers, industry professionals, public servants and policymakers can all contribute to the achievement of the SDGs.

You can share your ideas and experiences on how geology can best support the UN Global Goals at the next EGU General Assembly, through this relevant session (no abstract processing charges!).

COP21 – Paris Climate Agreement

Also agreed this year, earlier in December, was an agreement on tackling climate change at the Paris ‘Conference of the Parties’ (COP21). You can read an excellent summary of the key information on the EGU Blog (Geolog). Through their research on palaeoclimates, geologists have been at the forefront of understanding the underlying science. Through research in energy, carbon capture and storage and natural resources, geologists are supporting the transition to low-carbon technologies and renewable energy supplies. And through their research on natural hazards, water, engineering geology and more, geologists are understanding the impacts of climate change on the land, resources and infrastructure that we are reliant on.

Looking ahead…

From the perspective of global development, it’s been a year in which we have a lot to celebrate. Three significant (albeit imperfect) agreements have been reached that can help humanity to ensure a safer, more sustainable habitation of our planet, Earth. Reaching the agreements took huge amounts of energy and diplomacy, not to mention the years of research and consultation that have helped to shape them. Their true worth can only be measured in the years to come, as we monitor and evaluate their success. Geology doesn’t have all the answers, and can’t shoulder all the responsibility for ensuring that they are achieved in full. We do, however, have a significant role to play. Our research and practice underpins many of the Global Goals, and is crucial for improved disaster risk reduction and tackling climate change. Geologists in industry, research, governments and civil society can all make a difference.

As we leave 2015 and head into 2016, we encourage and invite you all to ask what can you do this coming year to help society move a step closer to seeing the successful implementation of the Sendai Framework, the Global Goals and/or the Paris Climate Change Agreement?‘. A simple first step could be to commit to reading each of them in the first three months of 2016!

We also take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

UNISDR Science and Technology Conference on the Implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030

UNISDRGfGD has been invited to join as an organising partner for the UNISDR Science and Technology Conference on the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) 2015-2030. This very special conference, a unique opportunity for engagement by scientists, aims to promote and support the availability and application of science and technology to decision-making in Disaster Risk Reduction. 

This event, taking place in Geneva (27-29 January 2016), seeks to bring together the full diversity of the science and technology community to discuss how best to support the implementation of the Sendai Framework. Agreed earlier this year, the Sendai Framework seeks to substantially reduce disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods and health and in the economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets of persons, businesses, communities and countries.

Disasters disproportionately affect the poorest in society, destroying infrastructure and livelihoods, and causing significant fatalities, injuries and trauma. Disasters hinder sustainable development. They divert resources from schools, hospitals, universities and water supplies. Improving disaster risk reduction is therefore of enormous importance if we are to fight global poverty. Geologists can support efforts to better understand hazard characteristics, map exposure and reduce vulnerability.

Over the coming weeks we will be working to encourage geologists at all levels to attend and engage with this important process. We are particularly keen to encourage early-career geologists to submit abstracts to this event (deadline extended, now 30 November 2015) and get involved with the networking, discussions and associated events. The European Geosciences Union has a thriving Natural Hazards Division, with many early career researchers across Europe and beyond. Let’s ensure the important work that our community is doing on natural hazards is fully integrated with global efforts to reduce disaster risk.

Find out more: www.unisdr.org/we/inform/events/45270