For much of the developing world producing clean energy that also mitigates carbon emissions is a very low priority. After all, why should countries that haven't significantly contributed to climate change worry about reducing their relatively tiny carbon emissions? In any case who would pay for it all?
Now that Fairtrade has proved its resilience to recession is it time to make it the gold standard for all ethical produce and move beyond its origins in agriculture? Is the certification scheme that circumvents traditional market and pricing dynamics ready for new challenges in new markets? If so, what will those challenges look like?
Despite reports that the international tourism market has suffered during the downturn, one strand of tourism – the gap year and volunteer tourism market – seems to have flourished. This can partly be attributed to the increase in redundancies, which has prompted more people to take time out to reflect on what to do next and to gain a new perspective on life. Shortage of graduate jobs has also encouraged undergraduates to escape the gloomy outlook at home to gain valuable work experience to give their CVs a winning edge for when they return. This influx of volunteers to the South, armed with the desire to contribute time, money and skills to a poorer society is surely a good thing. Or is it?
The recession may have quickened a move to a new aid architecture with the emergence of new players, new directions and new types of aid. Traditional donors from the G8 have failed to achieve their commitments to give 0.7% of their gross national incomes, due in part to “severe constraints of public debt”. But despite the recession, new donors have emerged, and with them a shift to new patterns and ways of giving aid. Indeed the recession has demonstrated the durability of aid during hard times but has also added to its complexity. We now need to work even harder to make sense of that complexity and ensure that aid is considered as one small part of a more joined-up and transparent development agenda.