Selected Research

Members of the McGill-UNEP Collaborating Centre are involved in a number of international research projects. A selection follows:

Institutional Impacts on the State of the Environment: Provincial and National Experiences in Setting Environmental Policy in Westminster-based Systems of Government.

Focusing on the 35 year period between 1971 (the year that the Canadian Government appointed its first Environment Minister) and 2006, this project is exploring the processes that move environment-related science into public policy and the outcomes that emerge from that process in Westminster-based systems of government internationally. Fundamental to our research are the experiences, perceptions and understandings of former Ministers of Environment and Deputy Ministers (or their equivalent). The emerging findings from this work are providing new and exciting insights to the key considerations of Environment Ministers during decision-making and the extent to which knowledge mobilization pathways assist and/ or influence this process. Opportunities and challenges for improved environment and sustainability-related policy and regulation are also being identified.

Team: G.M. Hickey (Principal Investigator)

Funded by: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

Understanding the institutional framework for sustainable food security in Kenya: An international partnership initiative

IAchieving sustainable food security in Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the main challenges facing the international community and national governments. The current food crisis in Kenya clearly demonstrates that some people in the country are dangerously vulnerable to shocks that threaten food availability and accessibility. This international partnership project is examining the relationships between existing government policies and institutions affecting food security and environmental management in Kenya with the view to: 1) identifying key institutional constraints to policy development and implementation; and 2) proposing critical information pathways that can inform the strategic coordination of food security policies and initiatives. This initiative builds on a relationship between McGill University and the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI).

Team: G.M. Hickey (Principal Invesitigator) with M.A. Curtis and B. Pelletier.

Funded by: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

Assessing the Vulnerability of Victoria's Central Highlands Ecosystems to Climate Change.

This project will investigate the vulnerability of Victoria’s forest tree species and ecosystems to predicted climate change. It will also assess how the institutional arrangements of government may influence the necessary adaptation of forest management practices, policy and regulation in Victoria. We will quantify, through modelling and empirical field studies, species responses and adaptive potential in order to inform decision-makers of potential, ecologically-based, adaptation strategies. This knowledge will be used to identify the various ways in which Victoria’s forest ecosystems can be managed to foster ecological resilience and reduce the negative consequences of predicted climate change. Funded by: Department of Sustainability and Environment, Victoria, Australia

Team: C.R. Nitschke, S.K. Arndt, R.J. Keenan and G.M. Hickey.



McGill-UNEP Collaborating Centre on Environmental Assessment
Department of Natural Resource Sciences
Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

McGill University
21, 111 Lakeshore Road Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, QC CANADA, H9X 3V9