Deng and Chen (2017: 47) state that ‘as a semi-arid and arid region, Central Asia is highly vulnerable to changes in climate’. Furthermore, due to the region’s socio-economic characteristics the Central Asian states are also have a very limited ‘adaptive capacity’ to the environmental risks exacerbated by climate change. According to World Bank (2014) research on Central Asia, if climate change carries on with predicted destructivity, the region will soon face a hard choice ‘between two critical needs—water for agriculture or water for energy’ worsening the already exciting problem. The negative consequences of climate change in Central Asia also include the rapid melting of glaciers (which serve as main source of drinking water in the countries), the change in ‘peak flow of key rivers’ affecting the growing season, rapid land degradation and desertification, reduction in agricultural yields due to increased heat extremes (Bernauer and Siegfried, 2012). Considering the economic and political instability of this region, some countries (e.g. Tajikistan or Uzbekistan) will have little capacity to adapt to climate change risks and on the other hand, the environmental change will further aggravate existing political, economic and social problems in the region.
The World Bank (2014) suggests that in order to promote climate change mitigation and adaptation in the region, the easiest solution would be to address the issue of ‘aging infrastructure or unsustainable land and water management’ which will not only contribute to the GHG emissions reduction but also will strengthen ‘the resilience of rural, and poor, communities’. However, in order to achieve any progress on climate mitigation or adaptation policies, the regional actors need to find ways to cooperate by seeing mutual benefits and not to allow climate related negative consequences worsen already existing tensions in the region (e.g. Kyrgyz-Uzbek relations). More importantly, the link between climate science and political and popular discourses has to be established and/or strengthened in order to insure constructive approach to this greatest environmental problem of our time.
The research project is designed to fill a substantial gap in academic and policy-orientated literature related to the public perception of the climate-development nexus in Central Asia (Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan). Whilst a great deal of research has been conducted by natural scientists on the exceptional vulnerability of the region to climate change, and also on the uneven trends of economic development, very little has been done in terms of understanding how this knowledge has been translated into the public awareness of these problems. The primary goal of the project is to explore how the emerging climate change risks have affected the development strategies promoted by international and regional stakeholders, and identify whether civil society has been aware and supportive of these initiatives.
Research design and planning
It is expected that the candidate will develop a project which will focus on measuring and assessing public awareness of and perceptiveness to climate change policies. For this purpose, it is advisable to deploy a case-study methodology with within-case analysis as well as a process-tracing focusing on decision-making dynamics adopted by international and national actors (Checkel, 2009; Rohlfing, 2012) and discourse analysis of the associated narratives.
Attributes of the successful candidate
The successful candidate will be joining a vibrant research community and expected to take part in activities related to the research project including publishing their work and participating in international conferences.
Entrants must have a first/undergraduate Honours degree, with an Upper Second Class or a First Class grade, in Politics, International Relations, Sociology or a related discipline. Entrants with a Lower Second Class grade at first degree must also have a postgraduate Masters Degree at Merit or Commendation.
How to apply
How to apply
Applications close at 11:59 pm (UK time) on Tuesday 2 April 2019.
Further information on how to apply can be found on this page.
Interviews will take place in late April or early-mid May 2019.
Fees and funding
This PhD will be funded from a stipend donated by the family of Dr Ros Hague, a Senior Lecturer in Politics at NTU who died suddenly in November 2017, age 42.
International applicants are eligible, and encouraged, to apply as well as Home/EU students.
The Dr Ros Hague stipend will fund up to five fees-only studentships. In addition, two of these may also be eligible for living costs at the standard UKRI rate. The final decision about how many studentships there will be – and which ones have full living costs attached – will be taken at the selection stage.
Guidance and support
Further information on guidance and support can be found on this page.