TelePAtH is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and aims at the identification, characterization and prognosis of system dynamics and especially tipping points in coupled social-ecological food security systems in West Africa. A transdisciplinary research approach will clarify the extent to which tipping points in stress-prone food systems can be assessed in advance in order to provide practical decision-making aids and prevent crises or breakdowns in food systems.
The research design encompasses qualitative and quantitative methods and makes use of the analysis of chronosequences along gradients from rural to urban as well as from humid to semi-arid areas of West Africa. This project phase I aims at the co-development of a transdisciplinary research agenda for the realization of project phase II (year 2-4) and III (year 5-7) with the overall objective to understand and measure tipping points and develop tools for knowledge-based decision making processes to ensure food security in the region. Under the lead of UNU-EHS, represented by the Vulnerability Assessment, Risk Management and Adaptive Planning Section (VARMAP) and the Environmental Vulnerability and Ecosystem Services Section (EVES), the project consortium consists of multiple academic partners, including the Bonn International Center for Conversion (BICC), the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), the University of Bonn with its Center for Development Research (ZEF) and the Institute of Crop Sciences and Resource Conservation (INRES), and the University of Würzburg with its Department of Physical Geography and the Department of Remote Sensing. In addition, the project is support by green spin GmbH and the West African Science Service Center for Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL) as regional partner in West Africa.
Next to coordinating the joint activities of the consortium and leading the development of the full project proposal, UNU-EHS leads the scientific review of tipping points in the context of governance structures and ecosystem services for the region of West Africa.