Social and Environmental Change

Since 1994, Deborah has been involved in interdisciplinary research that focuses on social and environmental change in sub-Saharan Africa. As a Principal Investigator with Professor David Thomas (University of Oxford ) she worked on two large interdisciplinary projects funded by the ESRC Global Environmental Change Programme (1994-8) and DFID (1998-2001) that examined societal-environmental interactions in southern African drylands. The ESRC project in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Botswana examined Environmental Change and Poverty in Kalahari Pastoral Systems. The DFID funded research investigated public policy impacts on sustainable natural resource use and poverty in cross-border dryland regions in three southern African countries. This research encompassed new ways of thinking about social and environmental change, and developed innovative methods for dealing with these integrated issues. Details of the project and outputs can be found at the PANRUSA website. In addition to academic publications, the results of this research were used to inform DFID Southern Africa Programme Planning (DFID 2002).

On the basis of previous UNCCD PANRUSA related research, Deborah (with Lindsay Stringer University of Leeds) was commissioned in 2007 to undertake a research report on Defining the UNCCD’s comparative advantage in current international architecture (1)—International Perspective to inform the work of the Inter-sessional Intergovernmental Working Group (IIWG) of the UNCCD for the ten-year strategic plan and framework to enhance the implementation of the UNCCD 2008-18. Some of the recommendations were incorporated by the UNCCD at the UNCCD CRIC 5, Buenos Aires (March 2007).

Deborah has supervised 4 students in this area, of whom two are currently registered. She is involved as a Supervisor in a White Rose network on Climate Compatible Development with colleagues in Leeds and York.