Telephone: +44 1865 426316
Title: Senior Research Fellow
Role: Theme co-leader, Reducing Climate Risk
Expertise: Vulnerability, climate change adaptation and decision-making
Sukaina Bharwani has a Ph.D. in Applied Computing (Social Sciences) and a BA (Hons) in Social Anthropology. Her inter-disciplinary research in Social Anthropology and Computer Science provides her with a unique range of qualitative and quantitative skills linking vulnerability, livelihoods, and adaptation with biophysical analyses in innovative ways (Kemp-Benedict et al.,2010). Her current research involves a country pilot study for the Future Climate for Africa (FCFA) programme, intended as a follow-on to the Climate Science Research Partnership (CSRP) with the UK Met Office Hadley Centre. The new programme’s aim is to produce and enhance the availability and accessibility of robust and ‘decision relevant’ climate information products to inform climate-resilient investment, policy and strategies across sub-Saharan Africa. Case studies will focus on urban adaptation in coastal cities of Accra and Maputo.
Sukaina is also leading a SIDA supported Programme Support project on Climate Actor Mapping of Adaptation in Africa and Asia (CAMA) which combines the benefits of new ICT capabilities, specifically semantic tagging with innovative visualisation techniques to generate new insights about climate adaptation research and practise using large datasets. The representation of different scientific debates surrounding adaptation issues can be facilitated using such visualisation methods to bridge the gap between a range of stakeholders including scientists, practitioners and decision-makers.
As well as being a co-author of the UNEP PROVIA guidance on assessing vulnerability, impacts and adaptation to climate change, Sukaina is leading the strategic and technical development of the global weADAPT.org, platform, a collaborative online knowledge space on climate adaptation. Her work also focusses on agent-based modelling of poverty and vulnerability and developing innovative ethnographic computer-based and participatory tools for knowledge elicitation, representation and validation to access ‘tacit’ knowledge (KnETs) (Bharwani, 2006). She has been central to bottom-up agent-based modelling approach used in the Climate Outlooks and Agent-Based Simulation of Adaptation (CLOUD) project funded by the School of Geography, University of Oxford, SEI and the Tyndall Centre. This project focused on the vulnerability and adaptive capacity of small-holder farmers in a communal irrigation scheme in Limpopo Province, South Africa (Bharwani et al., 2005, Ziervogel et al., 2006).
Past research also involved: leading a work package on policy needs and decision-making in an EC FP7 project, Mediation, which developed an integrated methodology for climate change impacts, vulnerability and adaptation; a five-year AfDB research project assessing the synergies and conflicts between climate adaptation and REDD in the Congo Basin; leading a WP another EC FP7 project, NeWater, which focussed on vulnerability and adaptation in the context of adaptive integrated water management in the Tisza (Hungary/Ukraine), Guadiana (Spain) and Orange (Lesotho) transboundary river basins; and, contributing to a project under the Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) programme funded by DFiD, NERC and ESRC, looking at how ecological and social systems interact and how decisions are made for sustainable management of ecosystems for poverty reduction.
Her research focus on decision-making and integrating different types of knowledge has included work with Google.org to develop innovative methods for the visualisation and dissemination of climate adaptation information integrating Google Earth within weADAPT.org, resulting in the Adaptation Layer. Other innovative projects funded by CDKN, involve the linking of climate data to weADAPT, connecting it to climate data in the Climate Information Portal (CIP) and with communities of practise such as AfricaAdapt, and improving the semantic technology capabilities using a climate adaptation thesaurus developed by Reegle.
Building bridges and changing minds: Insights from climate communication research and practice (Discussion brief - 2016)
Addressing the risk of maladaptation to climate change (Journal article - 2016)
Assessing current social vulnerability to climate change: A participatory methodology (Working paper - 2015)
Managing a living cultural landscape: Bali’s subaks and the UNESCO World Heritage Site (Project report - 2015)
Learning across locales, organizations and networks: The weADAPT experience (Discussion brief - 2014)