United Nations University

The United Nations University (UNU) is the academic arm of the United Nations (UN). It bridges the academic world and the UN system. Its goal is to develop sustainable solutions for current and future problems of humankind in all aspects of life. Through a problem-oriented and interdisciplinary approach it aims at applied research and education on a global scale. UNU was founded in 1973 and is an autonomous organ of the UN General Assembly. The University comprises headquarters Tokyo, Japan, and more than a dozen Institutes and Programmes worldwide.

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Source No. 13/2010: New Research Findings in the Field of Climate Change

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"Tipping Points in Humanitarian Crisis: From Hot Spots to Hot Systems", edited by Xiaomeng Shen , Thomas E. Downing and Mohamed Hamza, presents the outcomes of the 4th UNU-EHS/MRF Summer Academy on Social Vulnerability (26 July - 1 August 2009). The Academy participants developed the new "hot system approach" that analyses how the interplay of coupled social-ecological systems increases vulnerability or resilience.

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The hot system approach promotes a focus of research on the relationships between biophysical and social processes with the goal of elucidating the manner in which particular combinations of events and conditions in geographically disparate systems can lead to humanitarian crises.

As an outcome, the Academy participants recommend that policy relevant research, for example the 5th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), should take the hot systems approach into account.