A safe supply of clean water is essential for human survival; nevertheless, 2.2 billion people worldwide lack access to this basic human right. A global water security crisis is developing, exacerbated by climate change.
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Thanks to the Futures Climate Research Cohort Programme launched by the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) and the British Council, scientists from all over the world are now partnering to address the threat of climate change to humanity.
Renowned climate change specialists from five UK universities will collaborate with 20 early-career researchers from 10 low and middle-income countries, including Bangladesh, Ghana, Egypt, Kenya, Malaysia, India, Pakistan, Nigeria, South Africa, and Sri Lanka, to address regional climate change challenges through knowledge exchange and research projects in the Global South.
As part of the program, scientists from the University of Warwick’s Institute for Global Sustainable Development (IGSD) are leading the cohort to investigate the inequality of water security, water for ecosystems, and water-related risks.
The research will assist in better understanding the uneven distribution of climate-change-induced water crises across areas, populations, and ecosystems, as well as in strengthening vulnerable groups and building resilience to risks and uncertainties.
Aside from research, the initiative will assist ECRs in developing interdisciplinary collaborations, engaging stakeholders, and translating findings into actions to promote climate change mitigation and adaptation measures.
As we learned from the UN Water Conference on 22 March and the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report, the need to unite the world for collective water research and action has never been more clear. Nearly 80% of the global population is exposed to water security challenges, with climate change intensifying the water cycle, altering rainfall patterns, and consequently bringing more frequent and amplified hazards to human societies in many regions.
Dr. Feng Mao, Institute for Global Sustainable Development, University of Warwick
Dr. Feng Mao adds, “We will be addressing the intersections of water, ecosystems, society, and technologies—aiming to improve lives and build resilience to climate change. Being part of the Climate Research Cohort will elevate Warwick University’s position as a leading institute for environmental sustainability.”
IGSD has been relaunched to become the gateway to research on sustainable development at Warwick, with one of its key thematics being complex eco-systems and water security. I am very proud to see how our strategic thinking, research, and leadership are now coming together, from growing our thematic networks across Warwick to an IGSD leading scientist, Dr. Feng Mao, now representing us globally via the ACU.
Elena Korosteleva, Professor and Director, University of Warwick
Elena Korosteleva notes, “This is particularly opportune for our own launch of the ECR Sustainability Training School on 5–9 June 2023, which we hope will serve as a platform for raising a new generation of planet-conscious researchers and responsible citizens.”
Dr. Feng Mao, Dr. Nikoleta Jones, and Dr. Vangelis Pitidis from the University of Warwick’s Institute for Global Sustainable Development (IGSD) spearhead the program’s water security theme. The Institute for Global Sustainable Development promotes global collaboration to create a more sustainable and resilient world in the face of climate change.