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The current pandemic has created an emergency that has closed borders and limited global and local mobility. The Forum of Global Challenges brought together experts in the field of mobility and migration to discuss the impact of Covid-19 and the future of migration and travel. The panel was chaired by Professor Nando Sigona, director of IRIS at the University of Birmingham, and Dr Heather Steele, Research Fellow within BCRRE. Participants were Claire Kumar, Senior Research Fellow at the ODI, Maria Machancoses, CEO of Midlands Connect, Professor Amair Saleem, Director of Knowledge and Innovation, Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) Dubai and Helen Brunt, IFRC ...
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Recent research is pointing to the fact that our fears of a sixth mass extinction event are not theoretical – it is already underway . It is clear that the approaches we have been taking to protect and conserve nature have been insufficient to avoid widespread biodiversity loss . Meanwhile, awareness of the social and cultural costs of mainstream approaches to conservation – such as the creation and policing of protected areas that separate people from their ancestral territories – is increasing. Late last year, for example, the long-awaited independent review into WWF’s human rights abuses concluded that the organisation demonstrated a lack of accountability ...
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The UK’s commitment to a net zero emissions target by 2050 brings to question the role that nuclear energy could play in achieving this outcome. Recent work out of The University of Manchester’s Dalton Nuclear Institute , led by Professor Livens, pinpoints a number of policy recommendations for the UK’s nuclear energy sector. Their research outlines the role that hydrogen production can play, as well as the steps necessary to make the UK a major player in the coming generation of nuclear reactors. To sum the key points, the research attests that; The efficacy of the UK nuclear sector is contingent on policy makers’ efficiently implementing it ...
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The following Blog was written by students studying for a degree in Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences at the University of Birmingham, who conducted a project looking at how to reduce period poverty amongst asylum-seekers in the West Midlands. The Blog below summarises the findings of their investigation. Please follow this link to read their full report . Period poverty disproportionately affects people in poverty and facilitates social inequality. Our multidisciplinary report discussed the causes and implications of period poverty amongst asylum seekers who menstruate in the West Midlands. We recognised that period poverty is not only a financial ...
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Dr Jade Phillips, Dr Shelagh Kell, Professor Nigel Maxted School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham In current times of global transformation—including increased consumption, development and climate change—we need greater diversity of crops and varieties to sustain our food supplies than ever before. As the environmental conditions in which crops are cultivated become increasingly modified, changeable and uncertain, diversity is the key to production resilience. In the face of these challenges, our food, nutrition and economic security depend on the conservation and continual availability of a wide range of plant genetic resources for use by ...
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The influence of social media on health and wellbeing has received significant attention in the media and within policy . Much of the discussion has centred around risks and the potential for negative impacts, calling for better regulation and monitoring. At the same, leading professional health organisations, such as the World Health Organisation and Public Health England , have advocated for the use of social media to engage populations and support health-related behaviour change. It is hardly radical to suggest that social media can be used to positively influence health and wellbeing. Over a third of the world’s population use social media, and ...
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According to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), Sustainable Gastronomy refers to ‘cuisine that takes into account where the ingredients are from, how the food is grown and how it gets to our markets and eventually to our plates.’ This concept was designated a day of recognition in 2016 by the UN General Assembly , acknowledging gastronomy as a cultural expression that can contribute to sustainable development. Every year, observance of Sustainable Gastronomy Day is facilitated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), FAO and UN General Assembly. In today’s world, our relationship with food is highly ...
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On Clean Air Day, we share this blog by @William Bloss @Suzanne Bartington and John Bryson originally published in the Birmingham Brief. Thursday 17 th June is Clean Air Day for 2021, and comes as the Birmingham Clean Air Zone begins to tackle road-transport related air pollution in the city centre. It is maybe ironic that this was once seen as an environmental solution: Around 125 years ago, one environmental challenge facing major cities was horse manure in the streets – with up to 100,000 horses working in the largest cities, this was a highly visible issue. The West Midlands is known for its contributions to the development of the ...
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Birmingham environmental scientists are supporting schoolchildren in Kenya – helping them to understand more about air pollution. Working with Kenyan partners AfriSTEM Connection , the team is combining theory and practical teaching in emerging technologies and STEM to stir primary school pupils’ interest in our environment and shared world. The team on the ground has been meeting many young enthusiasts who now have a better understanding of the key areas they can aim at in STEM - helping to develop the engineers and technology experts of the future. Tree planting expert Francis Kavisu talks to Kenyan school children in Makindu Primary school ...
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Fiona Nunan, Professor of Environment and Development at the University of Birmingham talks to Kumi Kitamori, Head of Green Growth & Global Relations Division at the OECD Environment Directorate; Camilla Roman, policy specialist working on the Green Jobs Programme at the International Labour Organisation; and Joel Jaeger, Research Associate at the World Resources Institute. Two solar engineering trainees using a solar cooker. Image by ILO Asia-Pacific via https://cutt.ly/BnPrDX9. The previous webinar on the Green Economy (read the blog here ) established that in order to get politicians on board, jobs were essential. This event focused ...
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The Resilient Cities theme of the Institute for Global Innovation (IGI) organized a series of online webinars in March 2021 to explore the links between climate change and other UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) . These webinars were categorized into three sustainable areas: 1 . Human and social (SDGs 1, 3, 5, 10), 2. Environment and Resources (SDGs 2, 6, 7, 12, 14, 15), and 3. Governance (SDGs 8, 9, 11, 16, 17). The initiative brought together academic experts from various disciplines within the University of Birmingham to examine sustainable goals in the light of climate change. We hope by linking climate actions to other SDGs we ...
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Reflections on the panel discussion hosted by Dr Beverley Essue, Dr Stephen John, Professor Lydia Kapiriri, Dr Wanrudee Isaranuwatchai, and Dr Iestyn Williams. In the global response to COVID-19, the vaccine rollout has come under heavy scrutiny. With news of the first vaccines developed in the latter months of 2020, the world’s eyes were on manufacturers as well as state governments to see who would be successful first in approving and administering vaccine rollout. Now halfway through 2021, the reality of the global rollout has raised questions over inequities on both the national and global scale and was the key focus of discussion during this ...
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Reflections on the panel discussion hosted by Dr Christian Darko, Lecturer in Applied Business and Labour Economics, University of Birmingham. Panel discussion with Professor Peter Kraftl (Chair in Human Geography, University of Birmingham), Dr Namita Datta (Program Manager Solutions for Youth Employment, World Bank Group), Dr David Evans (Center for Global Development), Professor William Baah-Boateng (Economics Department, University of Ghana), Dr Rafael Mitchell (Comparative and International Education, University of Bristol), Professor Elaine Unterhalter (Education and International Development, UCL). The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the inequalities ...
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Tackling climate change and poverty: solving the conundrum By Karen Rowlingson (Professor of Social Policy, Department of Social Policy, Sociology & Criminology, University of Birmingham) & Demi Delaperelle (MSc Environment, Development & Politics, University of Birmingham and the Forum for Global Challenges) The United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aim to tackle the greatest challenges facing humanity. Rather than seeking to tackle them separately, it is crucial to consider the intersections between them and this blog focuses on the links between SDG1: No Poverty and SDG13: Climate Action to ensure ...
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The following Blog was written by students studying for a degree in Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences at the University of Birmingham, who conducted a project investigating the impacts of social media on mental health in the first months of lockdown. The Blog summarises the findings of their investigation. Please follow this link to read their full report. In March of 2020, the first lockdown began, as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic. Unable to interact with others in person, many people turned to their devices, with reliance on social media increasing significantly over the first few months. We wanted to look into how this uptick in time ...
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Air of the Anthropocene

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Scientists at the University of Birmingham are exploring the impact of airborne particles on our planet’s atmosphere – working in China, East Africa, India and the UK to examine a human-made phenomenon that results in worsening air quality and ensuing health issues or rising atmospheric temperatures contributing to the effects of global warming. Everyone has an idea of what air pollution is but it can be difficult to grasp the levels of contamination in the air we breathe every day. Backed by the National Lottery, Air of the Anthropocene is a fascinating project that documents air pollution levels around the world through photography. Created by artist ...
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I think it is crucial to discuss how small-scale farming can combat food insecurity through targeted policy that understands specific contexts and cultural norms. I wrote a piece Modi, Money, and Market Deregulation: India’s farming protests for The Perspective Webzine, a branch of UPF Lund (foreign affairs society) whilst currently on my year abroad in Sweden. It continues in The Perspective magazine, where I interviewed Shiney Varghese of the IATP Link to Webzine piece: https://www.theperspective.se/modi-money-and-market-deregulation-indias-farming-protests/ Link to the Perspective magazine issue: https://issuu.com/theperspectivemagazine/docs/issuu_tp_dissecting-development_2_2021__1_ ...
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Reflections on a lecture by Professor Tony Ven a bles (University of Manchester) and panel discussion with Dr Joseph Ma c arthy (Sierra Leone Urban Research Centre), Professor Ya Ping Wang (University of Glasgow), Dr Pa o lo Veneri (OECD) and Dr Vijay Jagannathan (World Resources Institute). Watch the webinar here. By 2050, there will 2.4 billion new urban dwellers. To put that into context, that’s 1.4 million every week. 2 billion of these people will be in the developing world. This will create , and is creating , significant challenges around urban infrastructure, housing, capital and jobs, as was discussed by P rofessor Tony Ven a bles and the panellists ...
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The following Video Blog was produced by students studying for a degree in Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences at the University of Birmingham, who conducted a project investigating the Implications of Child Poverty and how these affect School Attainment in Birmingham. The video summarises the findings of their investigation. Please follow this link to read their report.
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The following Blog was written by students studying for a degree in Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences at the University of Birmingham, who conducted a project investigating cycling culture in Birmingham. Follow the links in the article to see the results of their investigation and their campaign to get Birmingham cycling. Climate change is a huge issue that affects us all. We felt that protecting the environment was important to us and so we wanted our project to reflect this - access the project here . We discussed the positive impacts of cycling both for the environment and one’s physical health which made us realise that there is a lack of cycling ...
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