SD Briefings Home Page
Search results as RSS
Updated: 25 min 23 sec ago
Effective governance of natural resources is crucial for adaptive capacity and climate resilient growth — and nowhere more so than in Kenya’s arid and semiarid lands. Climate change will hit dryland communities and economies early and severely because it exacerbates existing structural causes of poverty and inequality. Poor governance and exclusion of local voices (particularly from planning and management of natural resources) has eroded dryland communities’ distinctive capacity to adapt. But building on Kenya’s new constitution, a devolved Climate Adaptation Fund is being piloted in Isiolo County. It puts local priorities at the heart of the development agenda, and can integrate local adaptive strategies and innovations into national policy, providing insights that could also help reform development planning systems in other drylands.
Successful urban centres provide advantages for private enterprises, but economic success does not, of itself, reduce poverty or address unmet needs. Many prosperous cities in low and middle-income nations have one third or more of their population living in informal settlements on inadequate incomes, with very high infant, child and maternal mortality rates and high levels of under-nutrition. Yet most international agencies have ignored urban poverty. How can urbanisation be associated with greater equality of opportunity, less poverty, good health, local participatory governance, resilience to climate change and ecologically sustainable models of production and consumption? Achieving this will require more effective and accountable city and municipal governments that support post-2015 goals. This also implies new funding structures that support local government and local civil society to play their part in the process.
Agriculture and food systems are at the centre of the debates around post-2015 development goals and targets. Hunger and food insecurity remain major development priorities, made worse by climate change, price volatility in globalised food markets and over-consumption in wealthy countries. Existing agriculture and food systems are central to sustaining poor people’s livelihoods and are technically capable of producing adequate food for all, but they place major stress on environmental assets including soils, water, fisheries and biodiversity. Post-2015 goals and agendas need to support a transformation of food systems to make them more productive, environmentally sustainable and resilient while preserving and enhancing these livelihood benefits. The agroecological and agroindustrial technical solutions to that challenge are well advanced, but the systemic political, economic and social barriers to change are substantial and under-appreciated.
Most aid programmes in informal urban settlements are inefficient and unaccountable to the people they want to help. But there is an effective alternative: locally managed funds run by community savings organisations. Local funds can overcome systemic barriers and link government and community stakeholders, bringing improved living conditions that are scaled up through networks of local groups. As the Millennium Development Goals transition to new Sustainable Development Goals, international agencies can improve their reach and impact in cities by integrating support for local funds into their aid programmes.
Governments and donors are looking to the private sector to help generate the $1 trillion of additional investment required to achieve universal energy access by 2030. One in five people lack access to electricity, paying instead for kerosene or candles. Evolving low-income energy markets have huge growth potential but their high risks and low rates of return are more suited to impact investors than mainstream commercial investors. Crowdfunding is an exciting new way to link individual investors to local projects. Governments and donors still have key roles to play in leveraging investment and stimulating the market. More demonstration and validation of innovative business models will increase investor confidence. Ultimately, better energy access should lead to better health, livelihoods and resilience — a key aim of ‘quality investment’.
Communities of practice’ have been hailed as a way to spread knowledge and innovation, but we still know little about their real impacts, or even how to evaluate these. A good example to learn from is IIED’s conference series on community-based adaptation. The meetings have nurtured networks of practitioners that ‘fit the bill’ as a community of practice: filtering information, amplifying lesser-known ideas, convening, facilitating, community building and investing. This briefing looks at the ‘what, who and how’ of forming communities of practice, then looks ahead to an evaluation of whether, and how, why and when, such a community achieves better policies and practice to support local climate adaptation.
The Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (PPCR) now operates in nine countries and two regions. It aims to support these countries and regions to prepare and implement climate resilience programmes that are long term and integrated into wider poverty reduction and development planning. Sharing early insights gained from the experiences of two pilot countries — Bangladesh and Nepal — can help to inform the ongoing PPCR implementation process and offers early guidance on issues that may arise in delivering transformative programmes.
Mobile pastoralism contributes substantially to food security, livelihoods and economic prosperity, and can increase resilience to climate change; but policymakers, donors and the public at large tend not to appreciate its benefits. ~~Policy narratives portray pastoralism as an outdated practice, and the media stories that help shape policy processes and public opinion often contribute to these false portrayals. An IIED study analysed the content of stories from media outlets in Kenya, China and India, and surveyed journalists in each country. It identified significant knowledge gaps and inter-country differences in how journalists perceive and portray pastoralists and pastoralism. The analysis also found that media outlets in these countries under-report climate change, the economic value of pastoralism and the links between pastoralist mobility and resilience. ~~Journalists, researchers and pastoralist communities need to work together to improve media coverage of pastoralism, and by doing so highlight pastoralism’s potential contribution to sustainable development in a changing climate.
The global narratives that have dominated agricultural policy are built on crisis scenarios around meeting projected food demand, now complicated by global climate change and food price spikes. The role given to drylands and pastoralism in these narratives shows little consistency, except for characterising them as lacking in some way, for example: unproductive, resource scarce, fragile, marginal, remote, using resources that are uninteresting for other uses.~~A closer look reveals pastoralism’s many positives. The increasing recognition that pastoralist systems in the drylands can work with environmental variability, rather than against it, opens up an alternative storyline for global food security under climate change.
Resource conflicts between local people and oil, gas or mining companies can devastate communities, damage corporate reputations and cause costly delays. Companies are striving to mitigate these risks through more meaningful community engagement on resource rights and project benefits. International law, indigenous rights groups and, increasingly, investors are pushing governments and companies to seek the free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) of local communities before undertaking potentially harmful activities, especially in cases of resettlement. There is much debate over the definition of consent, who should grant it and how, and the roles of governments and companies in making sure it~happens. Companies could cut through these debates by turning their focus to the ‘spirit’ of FPIC and mainstreaming this into industry practice.
It is now acknowledged that Kenya cannot achieve its development targets unless there are appropriate investments in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs). Covering two-thirds of the country, the ASALs can make a significant contribution to national development. Failure to integrate them into the national economy is perhaps the~main reason for the failure of national development since independence. ~~Investing in the ASALs is now a constitutional imperative that is binding on the government. The institutional foundations for integrating the ASALs into national development are also now in place. What remains to be overcome are the persistent negative narratives about the ASALs that have traditionally held back their development, and for all concerned actors to translate the policy reforms into actual benefits for the ASALs and the country as a whole.
Scientific evidence is mounting that rangeland degradation is intensifying and expanding in China’s rangelands, as a consequence of 30 years of inappropriate policies, as well as climate change. Such policies have simultaneously brought negative impacts to herder livelihoods and to the development of pastoral society. Policies have included grasslands property rights reform, an enforcement of ecological protection project, and the settlement of herders into more intensive sedentary livestock production systems.~~This policy brief explores the effectiveness of the policies based on an analysis of academic papers. It highlights the unique value of traditional pastoralism, particularly in maintaining efficient and sustainable livelihoods, avoiding degradation of the environment, responding to extreme events, and preserving culture and traditional knowledge. The brief recommends the redirection of policy to reflect these values.
India is increasingly focusing on its rainfed areas due to demand for food and nutrition security, and escalating farmer distress. But agricultural policy paralysis has meant that the familiar, external input-intensive, technological approaches of the Green Revolution are to be transferred to these rainfed areas – despite their diverse and highly integrated production systems that are better adapted to climatic variability. ~~A new macro policy that articulates for decentralised, location-specific, integrated approaches in its rainfed areas is necessary for agriculture to be inclusive, climate-resilient and sustainable, and to provide the food and nutritional security that India needs.
Investment contracts are agreements between an investor and a host state that set the terms of an investment project. Examples include concessions for agricultural or extractive industry projects. Together with applicable national and international law, these contracts define the way risks, costs and benefits are distributed. Who can participate in contract development greatly influences the extent to which third parties can have their voices heard. So getting the contracts right is a key part of maximising the investment’s contribution to sustainable development. This goes beyond concerns about public revenues, to include transparency and public participation in the contracting process, and proper integration of social and environmental considerations throughout the contract.
Research into gender and the global land rush tells us that women in particular are losing out. But different types of land-based investments in different contexts result in a variety of gender-differentiated outcomes. So how does the investment type and business model affect the losses and gains women face? ~~This briefing discusses gender-differentiated outcomes from~several agricultural investments in Africa.
Increasing food production is the main policy prescription for addressing food security, but this neglects the crucial importance of access and affordability for low-income urban residents. More than half the world’s population lives in urban centres, and urban food insecurity is an emerging challenge that is exacerbated by climate change. Although low and irregular incomes are its root cause, environmental hazards and inadequate housing and infrastructure contribute to higher levels of malnutrition in low-income settlements than in rural areas. Addressing urban food security requires attention to incomes, living conditions, access to formal and informal markets and the interconnections between rural and urban food security.
REDD+ is already developing private sector engagements, making rights to sell and benefit from reduced emissions (carbon rights) a crucial issue. Our review of private sector REDD+ projects reveals tendencies for legal arrangements that reinterpret tenure law so as to bundle the new commodity of carbon regulation with existing rights to tangible resources. Provisions for benefit sharing, particularly those aimed at addressing the underlying causes of forest degradation, are often vague or missing. Given the size and duration of private REDD projects, this has far reaching and long term implications for communities and countries.
Climate variability and change pose a significant threat to sustainable development and poverty reduction in Zimbabwe. The country is particularly vulnerable due to endemic poverty, limited coping capacity and a highly variable climate. This briefing paper draws on the experiences and insights of civil society organisations working on climate change in Zimbabwe (as coordinated through the Civil Society Climate Change Working Group) to examine local and national responses to climate change, with a particular focus on how these respond to the needs of the most vulnerable rural and urban populations. The briefing concludes with a set of recommendations aimed specifically at development practitioners and policymakers interested in supporting more effective adaptation activities that reflect the needs and priorities of vulnerable individuals, households and communities. These call for greater involvement of civil society in developing national policy, and a stronger focus on urban vulnerability.
Three trends lie behind renewed investor interest in forestry: tightening supply, increasing demand, and its role as a hedge against financial uncertainty. But people with local rights invariably live in forests, however sparsely, and forests are crucial ecosystems for everyone. So quality investments must balance acceptable returns, social justice and environmental sustainability. Investing in Locally Controlled Forestry (ILCF) is a negotiated framework for striking this balance. It promotes innovative partnerships to mix enabling investments (that put in capital to build sustainable and investable businesses) with asset investments (that expect a return on capital). In other words, quality investment in forestry comes when development donors offer targeted enabling investments that can in turn attract the right sort of asset investments. Case studies from Asia, Africa and Latin America illustrate how this balance can be achieved.
China’s agricultural aid, trade and investments around the world are increasing. This trend is well documented, yet its nature and significance is hotly debated. Media reports cast China as a leader in the ‘global land grab’ and Chinese engagements with Africa have drawn particular, but often inaccurate, media criticism. This policy brief puts some of the ‘myths’ into perspective, considers the implications of Chinese agricultural engagements for OECD-style development work (especially work on food security), and argues that better understanding could help both Chinese and other development actors support more environmentally sustainable and equitable development outcomes; and~help national governments develop their own policies for Chinese involvement in agricultural development and food security.