Amazonian cities and extreme hydro-climatic events: research to reduce vulnerability and build resilience

Lead Research Organisation: Lancaster University
Department Name: Lancaster Environment Centre

Abstract

This research partnership will build and strengthen scientific collaboration between UK and Brazilian researchers. Our team will work together to develop new, innovative research in order to reduce the vulnerability of Amazonian cities to extreme climatic events, such as floods and droughts. We hope that this research enables decision-makers in Brazil to identify those cities that need humanitarian assistance most during climate emergencies, and also build long-term resilience (capacity to absorb these shocks) to floods and droughts. Our team members come from various academic disciplines, including statistics, health science, economics, environmental social science, and spatial modelling. We will use secondary data sources to examine how adaptive capacity, local institutions and natural hazard exposure (the occurrence of droughts and floods) influence the negative impacts of these climate events on the well-being of people living in Amazonian cities. We are also interested in how extreme climatic events may influence food prices in these cities, which has implications for the affordability of food for the poorest city-dwellers. Our network also involves local citizens, and we will work with a range of community members in our focal cities in order to make sure that are research is locally-relevant and useful. Finally, we are investing significant effort in improving career opportunities for Amazonian scientists, and will achieve this through UK-Brazil researcher exchange, and workshops to train Masters and PhD students in the UK and Brazil.

Planned Impact

ODA Compliance: We aim to enhance the capacity of Brazilian institutions to assess (and reduce) vulnerability to extreme hydro-climatic events in Amazonia. We address the impacts of these events on urban food insecurity, nutrition and multiple dimensions of poverty, using advanced quantitative methods. The long-term goal of our multi-disciplinary network is to improve governance and welfare in some of Brazil's most vulnerable cities - characterized by remoteness, extreme poverty and low development indicators. We will invest in early-career Amazonian scientists' analytical skills, long-term institutional cooperation, and dialogue with citizens and policy-makers. Our research on river-based food distribution and food prices will be useful for government and delivers potential economic benefits for the transport sector. We aim to develop an early warning system for predicting urban food insecurity during droughts and floods. This will enable government to improve humanitarian intervention during climate emergencies and enhance resilience through strategic investment in infrastructure and institutional adaptations.
Who will benefit from this research partnership? Understanding how extreme hydro-climatic events and adaptive capacity interact to cause food insecurity in developing countries provides vital information for reducing the negative impacts of environmental change. This is a key step in developing greater societal resilience to climate shocks. Owing to its novel, topical and applied nature, this research will bring significant benefits to the academic community, governments and the public in UK, Brazil and elsewhere.
How will these groups benefit? 1. Academia: This research will advance the role of quantitative social science as means of understanding major global challenges and developing solutions. This research will generate significant excitement and interest in academic communities, including climate change science, natural hazards research, global environmental change, food security and development studies. Brazilian academia will benefit from cross-disciplinary collaborations (e.g. health sciences and space science) and building new links between partner institutions in Amazonia (e.g. Federal University of Pará, Federal University of Amazonas).
2. Governments: The UK government is actively seeking to advance global efforts to understand and tackle climate change and food insecurity. The proposed research would provide novel evidence for predicting vulnerability to climate change and extreme climatic events. This research will also provide substantial benefits to various levels of government in Brazil, facilitated by close engagement with relevant agencies throughout the research process. This will maximise the potential benefits and adoption of the predictive food insecurity tool to aid planning and disaster response. This would provide the Brazilian government with access to an evidence-based system for strategic investment in adaptive capacity for areas with the greatest vulnerability, and increased ability to intervene effectively during disasters in distribution of resources (e.g. food, fuel, healthcare). Scientists within key Brazilian institutions (e.g. health research agency, FioCruz) will directly benefit through the sharing of model code (done in R) during the research process.
3. The public: Our Amazon seminar series will help to increase general understanding about climate adaptation and food insecurity. We will also provide a voice to those normally invisible during emergencies (through our network of citizens), where top-down approaches have been dominant. Workshops will provide new opportunities for dialogue between stakeholders and will highlight ways to maximise the impact for users of the proposed online map-based early warning system to illustrate municipality-scale vulnerability to food insecurity during droughts and floods.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description We have discovered that climate change - and extreme hydroclimatic events in particular - are threat multipliers and post the most harm to vulnerable social groups. We have also discovered that - in the towns and rural areas we have been working in - there is a huge diversity of skills, interests and experience in (a) fighting for social justice, (b) understanding the lived experience of climate change; (c) adaptation measures.
Exploitation Route The start of a trans-disciplinary process of further co-designed research with a broad group of citizens in this part of the Brazilian Amazon.
Sectors Environment,Healthcare,Transport

 
Description We have been developing a citizens network from four remote and highly vulnerable cities in the Brazilian Amazon. The participants represent a broad diversity of local stakeholders and they are using our empirical data to lobby for climate change awareness and adaptation measures in their local communities. Participants have also now self-organized to develop future meetings and collaborative activities.
First Year Of Impact 2016
Sector Education,Environment,Healthcare
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Policy & public services

 
Description Faculty of Science and Technology Impact Fund
Amount £4,985 (GBP)
Funding ID EAA1155 (Lancaster internal financial code) 
Organisation Lancaster University 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2017 
End 05/2018
 
Description Research and Innovation Staff Exchange (RISE) Horizon2020
Amount € 1,705,500 (EUR)
Funding ID Project ODYSSEA 691053 
Organisation European Commission H2020 
Sector Public
Country Belgium
Start 01/2015 
End 12/2019
 
Description NEW NETWORK: Amazonian cities and extreme hydro-climatic events: research to reduce vulnerability and build resilience 
Organisation Federal University of Amazonas
Country Brazil 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We have launched an idea and funding proposal to the Newton Foundation to start a new UK-Brazil research partnership, based on this new network. We have proposed the following: 1. Consolidate a research network to advance multi-disciplinary research on the socio-economic, environmental and health dimensions of extreme hydro-climatic events and Amazonian cities 2. Examine how adaptive capacity, local institutions and natural hazard exposure determine the impacts of extreme hydro-climatic events on urban Amazonians 3. Determine how droughts affect river-based food distribution to road-less cities and prices of imported food staples 4. Initiate a network of citizens from cities vulnerable to extreme hydro-climatic events to ensure that research efforts to predict food insecurity are locally-relevant and useful for building adaptive capacity and community resilience 5. Maximize career opportunities for Amazonian scientists, including researcher exchange, postgraduate training in advanced analytical techniques, and PhD opportunities
Collaborator Contribution We jointly wrote the Newton funding proposal
Impact Outcomes are pending.
Start Year 2013
 
Description NEW NETWORK: Amazonian cities and extreme hydro-climatic events: research to reduce vulnerability and build resilience 
Organisation Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz)
Country Brazil 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution We have launched an idea and funding proposal to the Newton Foundation to start a new UK-Brazil research partnership, based on this new network. We have proposed the following: 1. Consolidate a research network to advance multi-disciplinary research on the socio-economic, environmental and health dimensions of extreme hydro-climatic events and Amazonian cities 2. Examine how adaptive capacity, local institutions and natural hazard exposure determine the impacts of extreme hydro-climatic events on urban Amazonians 3. Determine how droughts affect river-based food distribution to road-less cities and prices of imported food staples 4. Initiate a network of citizens from cities vulnerable to extreme hydro-climatic events to ensure that research efforts to predict food insecurity are locally-relevant and useful for building adaptive capacity and community resilience 5. Maximize career opportunities for Amazonian scientists, including researcher exchange, postgraduate training in advanced analytical techniques, and PhD opportunities
Collaborator Contribution We jointly wrote the Newton funding proposal
Impact Outcomes are pending.
Start Year 2013
 
Description Citizens workshop on extreme hydroclimatic events 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact Citizens workshop in Manaus in Oct 2016. One of the goals was to generate a trans-disciplinary research agenda.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Citizens workshop on food and nutritional security in Ipixuna, Amazonas, Brazil 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Organization and running of workshop designed to disseminate research and also to strengthen citizens network to decrease vulnerability to extreme hydroclimatic events in Amazonas.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://wp.lancs.ac.uk/rede-cidada-am/eventos/
 
Description Citizens workshop on food and nutritional security in Maués, Amazonas, Brazil 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact A workshop in the Amazon (organized by me) with the dual aims of disseminating research and building a citizens network for reducing vulnerability to extreme hydro-climatic events. Seeking also to implement a Food Security council in Maués, Amazonas.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://wp.lancs.ac.uk/rede-cidada-am/oficina-rede-cidada-maues/
 
Description Lecture on Amazonian resilience to extreme climatic events 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Lecture at Federal University of Pernambuco, Brazil
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Led seminar on food insecurity at the Fiocruz health research agency in Manaus 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact Around 40 people attended this workshop at the health research agency in Manaus
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Luke Parry 30-minute radio interview on A Critica, Maues, Amazonas 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Radio interview on show hosted by local political. Designed to share the main messages of our meeting and build momentum towards establishing a municipal food security council in Maués.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://wp.lancs.ac.uk/rede-cidada-am/2017/11/27/bem-vindo/
 
Description Luke Parry and Fiocruz and UFAM colleagues participated in Regional Seminar on building understanding of social determinants of health in Amazonia 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Participation in an invitation-only workshop organized by Brazilians Ministry of Health, designed to build (for the first time) a regional understanding of how social factors shape health and disease in Amazonia.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://amazonia.fiocruz.br/index.php/2017/10/03/em-manaus-seminario-internacional-aborda-desenvolvim...
 
Description Presentation at University of Coloarado Boulder 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Discussing future large-scale collaborations at this climate-health event
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Presented on food insecurity research at the Federal University of Amazonas, Manaus, Brazil 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Discussing current and future research at UFAM, Manaus
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Research seminar at Oxford University 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Gave a research lecture in the Geography Dept of Oxford university
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/event/2134