London: The University of Edinburgh in the
UK is launching an initiative to provide research
opportunities and training for experts from India and Pakistan
to develop skills and knowledge needed to reduce the impact of
floods and other events linked to climate change.
The university`s Ecosystems Services for Poverty
Alleviation (ESPA) programme will aim to address challenges
including the impact changes in monsoon patterns are having on
the rural poor, through research into solutions such as
flood-resistant infrastructure or new farming methods.
The USD 62 million programme is funded by the UK`s
Department for International Development, Natural Environment
Research Council and Economic and Social Research Council,
university sources said.
It aims to benefit communities by offering practical
help in adapting to climate change and helping them get the
most from their local environment.
Other regions which the programme aims to benefit
include South Asia, China and Africa.
Professor Paul van Gardingen, ESPA Director and UNESCO
Chair of International Development at the University of
Edinburgh, said the innovative project would aid South Asian
communities in generating their own solutions to the changing
world around them.
Professor van Gardingen said: "We are working in a new
way. This is not about telling people what to do - it is about
is about helping them generate their own solutions."
The ESPA Directorate at the University of Edinburgh is
funded by a grant of USD 14 million and will be responsible
for bringing together the work of all ESPA programme members,
monitoring the impact of the programme in the developing world
and training people from the developing countries the
programme aims to assist.
The other members of the Directorate are Imperial
College London, the University of Oxford, the International
Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and Tango
International, a US organisation that assists charities
working to alleviate hunger and poverty around the world.
Professor van Gardingen said: "The ESPA project will
bring together environmental scientists and economists.
Working together they will help us understand how
ecological damage can be prevented, what the value of the
environment is and what institutional changes are needed to
ensure the poor benefit from improvements to the land and
ecosystems around them."
The university plans to deliver much of the training
through its new Global Health Academy and Global Development
Academy. This will include providing online courses designed
to be more easily accessible to students in other countries.