The IIED blog

776 - 800 of 880 blog posts
  • The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative: "No more hanky panky"

    Abbi Buxton 11 March 2011

    A global initiative requiring public reporting of revenues from extractive industries could go further

  • ‘Land grabs’ in Africa: is there an alternative?

    Lorenzo Cotula 8 March 2011

    Millions of people across the developing world depend on land for their livelihoods, culture and identity — a connection that now risks being undermined by large-scale acquisitions of farmland in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

  • Green economy – learning from the Caribbean

    Steve Bass 4 March 2011

    Since the recent global financial crises, the phrase ‘green economy’ has appeared liberally in newspaper headlines, and politicians’ and CEOs’ promises. They usually mean ‘low-carbon economy’, the idea of shifting energy and infrastructure towards clean, high-tech systems. Green economy is seen as an answer to financial problems – G20 stimulus packages included ‘green’ components, hoping to improve national competitiveness and create new jobs through green technology, and wean economies off insecure and expensive fossil fuels. And it is seen as a practical way to supplement climate change conventions – you don’t need an international agreement to change economic practices that cause climate change. All very good news for Danish wind farm installers, Japanese hybrid car manufacturers, and Chinese solar panel factories. But what does the green economy mean for the developing world?

  • Power and politics in Nigeria

    Ben Garside 24 February 2011

    In the run up to Nigeria’s April elections the political lobbying, with the usual round of underhand payments for support, has Nigerians hoping for a fairer competition in the grab for power. The political process is being increasingly scrutinised by the average citizen — with record numbers of people registering to vote and self-formed citizens groups promising to monitor polling stations. Another type of power — electricity, or ‘light’ as most Nigerians call it — and the lack of it is one of the hot potato election issues on everyone’s lips.

  • Forest Connect: championing local forest enterprises

    Duncan Macqueen 24 February 2011

    A meeting of the Forest Connect alliance reaffirms that it is local forest people that are best placed to reduce deforestation all over the world — provided they are given the right incentives. That means clear commercial rights to the forest and support to develop profitable and sustainable forest businesses.

  • Fairtrade and formalisation for small-scale miners

    Abbi Buxton 18 February 2011

    The world's first Fairtrade and Fairmined gold is launched in the UK to help formalise the artisanal and small-scale gold mining sector. But is formalisation the best way forward?

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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…

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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.