Blog archives

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  • Fish, chips and a side of celebrity

    David Hebditch 8 February 2011

    The Fish Fights campaign, headed by old-Etonian turned sustainable food champion Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, has been making waves in the UK, drawing attention towards the upcoming EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) reform in 2013. Celebrity involvement in campaigning is nothing new but has recently been attracting a lot of attention in the development blogosphere. Celebrities have helped publicise Fish Fights, but what next for the campaign?

  • Camilla Toulmin's picture

    Food security in 2050: how can we make it fairer and more sustainable?

    Camilla Toulmin 3 February 2011

    A new report from the United Kingdom finds that securing food supplies in 2050 means growing more food, on the same land, with fewer impacts. That requires shifts in policy and practice that we can achieve using a mix of politics, science and market forces.

  • Abbi Buxton's picture

    A shopping trolley for change?

    Abbi Buxton 2 February 2011

    As a consumer you have the potential to promote development through your buying habits. But how effective are you?

  • Duncan Macqueen's picture

    Lumbering illegality: how to make timber sustainable and pro-poor

    Duncan Macqueen 26 January 2011

    The European Union is closing its doors to illegal timber exports. But unless we tackle unsustainable logging to satisfy domestic timber markets, their actions will little benefit forests, or the millions of poor people that live within them. Making timber sustainable requires the use of both trade and climate strategies in unison to bring about locally controlled forestry.

  • Ben Garside's picture

    Braking Beijing’s car addiction

    Ben Garside 20 January 2011

    Driven by subsidies for small cars and an ever increasing middle class, the Chinese year of the tiger saw a ferocious increase in the car industry — a whopping 18.1 million vehicles (including 13.8 million cars) were sold in China in 2010, up by a third from the previous year. But will new efforts by Beijing combat both the booming economy and the grid-locked streets? And is this another example of China setting a new course for a greener future?

  • Grazia Piras's picture

    Local voice, global forest, local forest, global voice

    Grazia Piras 17 January 2011

    Who had heard of G3 eighteen months ago? Nobody, because it didn’t exist.
    Yet an alliance known as The Three Rights Holders Group has had a strong presence at COP 16 in Cancun, manning an information booth and participating in various panels.

    The group’s message was a simple one, advocating for sustainable forest management and locally controlled forestry as a vital component in any realistic strategy going forward to address climate change mitigation and adaptation.

    So who is this group and where has it come from?

  • 'Just give money' or 'just give work' to the poor?

    Rachel Godfrey Wood 14 January 2011

    A previous blogpost on Due South discussed the potential for cash transfers to contribute to climate change adaptation. But 'just giving money to the poor' is not the only social policy programmes being implemented in the developing world. In India, a different approach is being tried: rather than guarantee the poor an income, the government guarantees them paid work, via the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), which came into being in 2005.

  • Emma Blackmore's picture

    Carbon and labels: an unhappy marriage?

    Emma Blackmore 11 January 2011

    Agriculture is just one of the sectors in which carbon labelling — the labelling of a product to show how much carbon (and other greenhouse gases) have been emitted during its ‘lifecycle’ — is being used to show how individual products contribute to climate change. The logic behind applying carbon labels to agriculture seems sound enough: agriculture accounts for 10 to 12 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions and produces much of the food we eat and the products we buy. Finding a way to tell consumers how much individual agricultural products contribute to this should encourage them to choose those products with the lowest carbon footprint and help make agriculture more sustainable. But the truth is that it is very difficult to provide accurate carbon labels for agricultural products. And carbon labelling can impact farmers in the developing world in ways that don’t support development.

  • Duncan Macqueen's picture

    Tick tock — it’s the year of forests

    Duncan Macqueen 22 December 2010

    The UN has declared 2011 as the international year of forests — although more than a billion forest-dependent poor will probably not see it that way. Spiralling global demand for food, energy, fibre and water spell trouble for these people’s forests.

    Schemes for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) may have been agreed at last month’s climate talks in Cancun, Mexico, but without locally controlled forestry this, in itself, will not stop the pressure on our forests. If you listen carefully you can still hear the forest clock ticking down…

  • Camilla Toulmin's picture

    Climate change winners and losers in Sahel

    Camilla Toulmin 22 December 2010

    Earlier this month, I spent a week in Mali, going back to the villages which I have studied for the past 30 years. While international climate negotiators met in Cancun, Mexico, for the UN summit on climate change, I was keen to catch up on how climate change was affecting livelihoods in the West African Sahel.

  • Adrian Fenton's picture

    The misleading metrics of microcredit

    Adrian Fenton 21 December 2010

    Microcredit – the distribution of small loans to low-income sections of society — is one of the more fashionable tools to appear on the international development scene in recent years.

  • Duncan Macqueen's picture

    A pinch of salt from Namaacha

    Duncan Macqueen 17 December 2010

    Strengthening local communities’ rights to and capacity for sustainable forest management is critical to making REDD work in developing countries.

  • James Mayers's picture

    Turn REDD on its head

    James Mayers 14 December 2010

    National REDD strategies must be based on local, not government, control, say opinion leaders from ten countries in the IIED-facilitated Forest Governance Learning Group.

  • Certification: into the wild.

    David Hebditch 10 December 2010

    Collection and trade of wild products is increasing but concerns surround its current and future sustainability. The FairWild standard for wild collection seeks to address such issues by promoting sustainable practices and rewarding collectors with increased returns through a certification process. Standards and certification are increasingly being applied to new environments; but as discussed before on Due South, their suitability needs to be considered in light of the contexts in which they are applied. Traditionally certification has been applied to privately owned areas with enforceable property rights, but it is relatively untested in wild collection settings, which have their own unique challenges.

    Could FairWild provide the sustainable answer?

  • Christoph Schwarte's picture

    Can international law break the deadlock in climate talks?

    Christoph Schwarte 6 December 2010

    An international lawsuit on greenhouse gas emissions could help create the political pressure and third-party guidance needed to revive global climate negotiations.

  • Is Iran sleepwalking towards a universal income grant?

    Rachel Godfrey Wood 2 December 2010

    Almost unnoticed by the world, Iran has moved towards the adoption of a basic income grant to distribute money from its oil industry directly to its citizens. This could be a good example of how distorting fossil fuel subsidies used in many developing countries could be repealed without adversely impacting upon the poor. Furthermore, the outcomes of this policy could have a wider impact on the way rents from natural resources are used - allowing households to choose how to spend profits from resource extraction.

  • Ben Garside's picture

    Mother Brazil: a way forward for the rainforest?

    Ben Garside 29 November 2010

    Dubbed “mother of the nation”, Dilma Rousseff was elected as Brazil’s first female president this month. But this has been an election of two women. Taking the reins at a time of increasing growth, prosperity, and public works expansion in Brazil, will one woman’s touch alone be enough to bring new ways of combating destruction of the Amazon?

  • Camilla Toulmin's picture

    A question of time

    Camilla Toulmin 25 November 2010

    I have been thinking a lot about ‘time’. It’s been prompted by three things which remind me that, while we need to be realistic about how fast we can build a fairer, more sustainable world, there are some signs of progress.

  • Achala C Abeysinghe's picture

    Storm watch for Cancun climate talks

    Achala C Abeysinghe 23 November 2010

    Striking a deal at this month’s UN climate talks in Cancun, Mexico will largely depend on negotiators’ ability to settle stormy disputes, particularly between the developed and developing world, over six key issues.

  • Kate Lewis's picture

    Can hunting wildlife contribute to biodiversity conservation?

    Kate Lewis 19 November 2010

    It’s a politically and ethically charged debate. Can hunting animals really contribute to wildlife conservation and biodiversity objectives?

  • Tianjin climate begotiation through the CLACC lens

    Dago Tshering 19 November 2010

    In their last meeting before the UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico at the end of November, the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) discussed emissions reduction commitments for the 37 developed countries that have ratified the Kyoto Protocol beyond 2012.

  • Sourcing gender

    Anoushka Boodhna 17 November 2010

    Designing business models that reach and benefit poor women working in agriculture can be a challenge for businesses.

    But is that surprising?

  • Less erosion, less warming

    Victoria Crawford 11 November 2010

    I recently met with a Member of the Bangladesh Parliament to discuss the potential for mitigation in the agricultural sector under IIED’s work on the economics of climate change in the agricultural sector. Agriculture produces 10–12 per cent of total global emissions but also has considerable mitigation potential — 70 per cent of which is in developing countries — and I expected the Honourable Member, a well known climate change champion, to back the cause. But he did not seem entirely convinced. Why should decision makers listen? What’s in it for them?

  • Was 'Avatar' good for indigenous people?

    Rachel Godfrey Wood 4 November 2010

    The Dongria Kondh, Xikrin Kayapo, and Penan peoples have a lot in common. Not only are they all indigenous groups facing potentially damaging extractive and energy projects on their tribal land, they also share the dubious distinction of being compared to some quirky blue hominids from a certain Hollywood blockbuster. Just a casual Google search for ‘real life avatar’ will reveal a slew of articles arguing that indigenous groups across the world are nothing less than the real life versions of the Na´vi, with harmonious relationships with nature and exotic tribal costumes to boot.

  • Camilla Toulmin's picture

    More people, more trees

    Camilla Toulmin 29 October 2010

    More people, more trees. This is the name of a new video, part-funded by IIED, which shows two decades of progress in addressing soil erosion in Burkina Faso and Kenya that have significantly improved rural livelihoods and farm productivity.