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Photo: Rachel Corner/Oxfam

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13, on Climate Action, calls for urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. One of the specific targets of this goal is to promote mechanisms for raising capacity for effective climate change-related planning and management in least developed countries and small island developing states, including focusing on women, youth and local and marginalized communities.

The drastic consequences of climate change are already visible, with catastrophic impacts predicted unless urgent action is taken. It is exacerbating the scale, frequency and intensity of extreme weather events worldwide, including increased floods, cyclones and storm surges, as well as slow-onset events, including droughts and salinisation of land and water resources. This is all leading to a decline in food production and access to clean water around the world, and increasing prevalence of conflict and displacement resulting from resource constraints. The poorest and most marginalised are disproportionately affected.

The Oxfam-Monash Partnership research in the Climate Change and Resilience thematic area is focussed on supporting communities to adapt to climate change and to build the capacity to anticipate, mitigate and respond to these changes. Sea-level is expected to rise causing  saltwater intrusion into coastal and groundwater resources, threatening fresh water for drinking and irrigation, and causing irreversible impact on people's’ lives and livelihoods. We will adopt human-centred inclusive participatory processes in research, engineering design, prototype manufacturing, and field-conditions testing to develop an innovative low-cost, solar-driven desalination system for production of safe drinking water for affected communities. The research findings will be used to inform policy and practice to promote the scaling up of the new desalination model.

Based on lessons learned, studies and evaluations globally, Cash Transfer Programming (CTP) is now considered highly efficient, empowering and effective in delivering aid to those affected by humanitarian crises, which is increasingly being driven by climate change. With the increasing uptake of CTP, there is a need for improved, harmonized tracking and monitoring of cash transfers, reduction in duplication and delivery delays, and accountability using single-platform cash delivery. Blockchain technology has the potential to increase speed of delivery, transparency and tracking of financial or other asset transfers. We are currently in the process of exploring collaborative research on the use of blockchain technology in humanitarian response.

Research outputs and outcomes

Low-cost, solar-driven desalination system for clean water production for rural settings off-grid