The International Year of Forests is celebrating the importance of forests and raising the profile of challenges and opportunities. The perceived value of forests has been raised by the recognition of their role in mitigating climate change. But the International Year of Forests is a momentous reminder that there are still unresolved issues.
Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo's book, Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty, is making waves in development circles. Beyond the strong focus on randomised control trials, the book distinguishes itself by wading into issues on which the development community has often ignored or made uninformed guesses. These include the rationale behind the decisions made by the poor, whether they make the "best" decisions available, and how policymakers should respond.
The informal sector has so much innovation that often goes unnoticed by academics, government and mainstream businesses alike. My month in Chile working with a grassroots movement of wastepickers reminded me of this — as well as the potential to harness some of the power of this informality in more organised models that benefit the poorest.
Hunting for and engaging with the right partners has become a serious business for those who engage in sustainable development. The Millennium Development Goal 8 calls for the international community and the private sector to “DEVELOP A GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP FOR DEVELOPMENT” to achieve six key targets by 2015.