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Publications & Resources


Working Paper Series


No. 3

A protocol for Participatory Action Research into Universities' Role in Climate Justice: Principles and tools


By Alexandre Apsan Frediani & Charlotte Nussey


This protocol aims to explore five parallel sets of principles and tools for developing Participatory Action Research (PAR) with a climate justice lens. It sets out how identifying sites of impact for PAR should be strategic and iterative, building towards a theory of change. In the second step, it explores setting up PAR groups, grounded in ongoing relationships and recognising marginalisation, through different tools for stakeholder analyses. The third part of the protocol describes convening PAR groups, and the process of collective immersion with questions of climate justice, giving an example of a case from Fiji of an ethos for community engagement. In the fourth part of the protocol, action planning is considered, shaped by the principles of recognition of diversity and knowledge co-production. Finally, the centrality of learning in PAR processes is considered, and a framework for monitoring, evaluating and learning is offered. Together, these five steps offer a route for researchers interested in PAR to follow, offering both practical steps and theoretically grounded principles.

Suggested citation 

Climate-U (2021) A Protocol for Participatory Action Research into Climate Justice: Principles
and Tools
Transforming Universities for a Changing Climate Working Paper Series, No. 3.

ISSN 2754-0308


No. 3 - em português

Protocolo para Pesquisa-Ação Participativa sobre o Papel das Universidades para a Justiça Climática: Princípios e Ferramentas


De Alexandre Apsan Frediani & Charlotte Nussey


Este protocolo visa explorar cinco conjuntos paralelos de princípios e ferramentas para desenvolver a Pesquisa-Ação Participativa (PAP) pela perspectiva da justiça climática. O documento estabelece como a identificação dos locais de impacto para a PAP deve ser estratégica e interativa, construindo uma teoria da mudança.  Na segunda etapa, o protocolo explora a criação de grupos PAP, fundamentados em relações já existentes e reconhecendo a marginalização, através de diferentes ferramentas de análise de stakeholders. A terceira parte do protocolo descreve a convocação dos grupos PAP e o processo de imersão coletiva com questões de justiça climática, apresentando um exemplo de processo de envolvimento comunitário nas Ilhas Fiji.  Na quarta parte do protocolo é considerado o planejamento de ações, moldado pelos princípios do reconhecimento da diversidade e da co-produção de conhecimento. Finalmente, é considerada a centralidade da aprendizagem nos processos PAP, e uma estrutura de monitoramento, avaliação e aprendizagem é oferecida. Em conjunto, estas cinco etapas oferecem um caminho a ser seguido pelos pesquisadores interessados em PAP, oferecendo tanto etapas práticas como princípios teoricamente fundamentados.

Sugestão de citação

Climate-U (2021) Protocolo para Pesquisa-Ação Participativa sobre o Papel das Universidades na Justiça Climática: Princípios e Ferramentas. Transforming Universities for a Changing Climate Working Paper Series, No. 3.

ISSN 2754-0308


No. 1

The impact of universities on climate change:
a theoretical framework

By Tristan McCowan


Universities have a crucial role to play in addressing climate change, but the complex and multifaceted nature of the issue presents challenges for the traditional functioning of the institution. While there is a growing body of work on campus sustainability and climate issues in the curriculum, there is a need to understand more holistically the forms of influence that universities have on society and the environment. This paper puts forward a framework for understanding the impact of universities on climate change, involving four stages: the modalities of university action (education, knowledge production, public engagement, service delivery and campus operations); direct engagement with bridging actors; the broader influence on societal understandings and practices; and finally impact on the ecosphere. Specific pathways of impact are identified, involving either mitigation of or adaptation to climate change. This framework serves as an analytical tool to identify the trajectories of impact already in evidence, but also presents normative implications for the role of higher education institutions in addressing the current climate crisis.

Suggested citation 

McCowan, Tristan (2020) The impact of universities on climate change: a theoretical framework. Transforming Universities for a Changing Climate, Working Paper Series No. 1

ISSN 2754-0308

ClimateU WP2 (image).png

No. 2

Connecting disaster risk reduction, climate change and sustainable development

By Kaori Kitagawa


Many authors have critiqued the disconnectedness between disaster risk reduction, climate change and sustainable development. This paper summarises existing arguments as to why and how they should be connected. The paper’s contribution is to develop a comprehensive understanding of disconnectedness and connectedness of these three areas and to reinforce the advantages of connecting them. There are acknowledgements in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that they share common goals. The agreements stress mainstreaming disaster risk reduction and climate change mitigation and adaptation in achieving the SDGs through inclusive approaches, capacity building and multi-stakeholder collaborations. However, the achievement so far has been limited due to the challenges of synthesising underlying paradigms as well as efforts of diverse institutions involved. Separation can result in one practice in one field undermining a longer-term aim in another. The key finding of the paper is the deep-seated nature of politics that inhibits the enhancement of the connectedness despite the great benefits of linking the three fields.

Suggested citation 

Kitagawa, Kaori (2021) Connecting disaster risk reduction, climate change and sustainable development, Transforming Universities for a Changing Climate, Working Paper Series No. 2

ISSN 2754-0308

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