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9.9. Singh

Keynote Presentations from the 4th ALTER-Net Summer School, Peyresq 5 - 17 September 2009


Speaker: Simron Jit Singh

Simron.Singh -at-

Institute for Social Ecology, IFF - Faculty of Interdisciplinary Studies, Klagenfurt University, Schottenfeldgasse 29, A-1070 Vienna, Austria


Title of the talk: A scientist´s dilemma after the tsunami - Challenges for sustainability science (pdf: 4MB)


Summary of the discussion by Pénélope Lamarque (pdf)



A scientist´s dilemma after the tsunami - Challenges for sustainability science

The presentation reports on ongoing efforts whereby scientific support is generated for the planning and implementation of development options for the indigenous population of the Nicobar archipelago in the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami. The Asian tsunami has clearly revealed the vulnerability of coastal communities with respect to dealing with ecological hazards. An area that was highly affected by the tsunami was the Nicobar Islands, an archipelago belonging to India located in the Bay of Bengal. Consequently, a third of the indigenous population was wiped out and those that survived were rendered homeless and without an economy to support them. Based on years of research and engagement with these islands, the talk will describe the development of a systems dynamic model in providing decision support to the islands in terms of scenarios within a set of existing socio-ecological constraints and opportunities.


Recommended background literature on this presentation:

  • Singh SJ, Fischer-Kowalski M, Haas W (in press) Humanitarian aid and ecological consequences: The Nicobar Islands as a case of complex disasters. In: Reddy S and Narain H (eds) Re-examining disaster, recovery and reconstruction: Social science perspectives on the tsunami. Oxford University Press.Delhi.
  • Stone R (2006) After the tsunami: A scientist´s dilemma. Science 313:32-35, doi:10.1126/science.313.5783.32

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