The IIED blog

776 - 800 of 918 blog posts
  • Ask not what you can do for nature…ask what it can do for you

    Mike Shanahan 1 August 2011

    In 1997 a British barrister uttered three words that left my sister and me speechless and gave us a glimpse of the future.

  • Glimpse of a green new future

    Emily Benson 29 July 2011

    Picture this. Petrol driven cars have long been phased out worldwide. They all have been replaced by electric vehicles. Noise and air pollution has largely been eliminated. As a result, cities are now quieter, calmer, cleaner. Properties along motorways and busy arteries of major cities have once again become desirable places to live. Petrol stations have now been replaced by a network of charge points where users can charge their vehicles for long-haul trips across the country. The charging stations are powered by renewable energy sources.

  • Lessons from the Murdoch affair

    Camilla Toulmin 28 July 2011

    For the past two weeks, UK newspapers have charted the decline and fall of the Murdoch media empire, News Corp. It’s a story of a hugely powerful company, led by a dynasty, that exerted great influence over governments across the world. For many years, Rupert Murdoch has had easy access to 10 Downing Street, with politicians great and small seeking his approval, hoping that his media group will come out in favour of their particular party. With two police investigations underway and the abandonment of plans to acquire a yet larger share of the UK media, it looks as though Murdoch’s powerful grip on UK politics has finally been broken.

  • Man walking with two camels over a sandy landscape.

    Food aid is needed desperately — but ultimately it's not the answer

    Helen de Jode 25 July 2011

    [flickr-photo:id=2628521339, class=right, size=m, caption=Man walking with his camels in Kenya. Photo: © Curt Carnemark / World Bank]

  • Biomass in the red – but can we put biomass into REDD+?

    Duncan Macqueen 18 July 2011

    Commercial forest rights that create incentives for Malawians to plant trees on farm for food and fuel are essential for REDD+ and climate change adaptation.

  • When we care for it...preserving cultural and spiritual values of forests

    Grazia Piras 12 July 2011

    Everywhere in the world people care for and try to preserve the things they value.What is considered valuable is relative to the socio-cultural context, and often things that are of great significance and deeply precious for some individuals and groups are not for others. There are things and places that are priceless because they refer to our identity and our sense of being and belonging.

  • Responding to climate change in the Caribbean

    Emily Morris 5 July 2011


  • Three angles on 'green growth'

    Steve Bass 30 June 2011

    How can you marry environment and development? Over the past two years, governments and businesses have begun to trumpet ‘green growth’ as one way of boosting economic growth without compromising environmental sustainability.

  • Fair trade: still centred on smallholders?

    Sian Lewis 27 June 2011

    To what extent do approaches such as fair trade, corporate social responsibility and inclusive business models allow the private sector to meet commercial objectives while also reducing poverty and empowering small-scale farmers? This was the question posed at the latest in a series of IIED and Hivos ‘provocations’ held at the European Parliament in Brussels last week (22 June).

  • How to scale up sustainable energy: answers from the Ashden Awards

    Ros Cook 21 June 2011

    All sorts of sustainable energy initiatives across the world are providing solutions to local energy problems. But how can these be scaled up to reach billions of people and really tackle the big issues of climate change and energy access for all? This was the question on everyone’s lips at the Ashden Awards conference last week. And there was a lot to learn from the five international finalists. In a series of films, presentations and discussions each finalist shared their experience of creating new technologies, innovative business models and inspirational marketing initiatives to find solutions that benefit the environment and improve livelihoods. And, despite working against a backdrop of financial limitations and unsupportive policy environments, they are all managing to scale up at a fantastic rate.

  • How can air travel contribute to the costs of adapting to climate change?

    Emma Blackmore 15 June 2011

    Climate change negotiators are still meeting this week in Bonn to try and find a way forward on, amongst many other subjects, climate change mitigation, adaptation and finance. Sources of ‘innovative’ finance, such as taxes on international transport, have been proposed. Might these provide a way to break the deadlock on finance and prove to be sources of significant and stable financing to address the impacts of climate change?

  • “Protecting and promoting the rights of indigenous people benefits us all”

    Krystyna Swiderska 9 June 2011

    He gave the example of indigenous peoples in Peru who are responding to climate change by reintroducing native potato varieties and so are “helping to conserve the earth’s biodiversity”. “Indigenous peoples have been living a ‘green economy’ for centuries,” he added — economists should look to old practices in indigenous communities for new ways to achieve sustainable development.

  • With nations lagging, cities take lead in adapting to climate change

    Eric Chu 6 June 2011

  • Does the development community focus too strongly on smallholders? (Credit: Flickr/United Nations Photo)

    Fast track out of poverty: farm labour or smallholder?

    Sian Lewis 2 June 2011

    When IIED and Hivos launched their ‘provocation’ seminars lat

  • Would you like to be my partner?

    Grazia Piras 31 May 2011

    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.

  • A month with the wastepickers

    Ben Garside 27 May 2011

    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.

  • Poor Economics and ‘Just Giving Money to the Poor’

    Rachel Godfrey Wood 18 May 2011

    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.

  • Delivering REDD+: can past lessons help in tempering optimism and making headway?

    Isilda Nhantumbo 9 May 2011

    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.

  • The opportunities of climate change

    Rachel Godfrey Wood 26 April 2011

    It's not always a great idea to acknowledge that bad things can create opportunities – but they can. Bad things cause suffering and tragedy, but they can also destabilise the status quo, open space for new discussions, and give an impetus to groups looking for positive change.

  • Deepwater Horizon one year on: what has the oil industry learned?

    Emma Wilson 20 April 2011

    A year ago today, the oil industry was shaken by a blowout on the Deepwater Horizon rig, 1500 metres deep in the Gulf of Mexico. The explosion killed 11 people and spilled 200 million gallons of oil. BP’s bill – over US$8 billion to date – is expected to reach US$32 billion after all damage claims have been made.BP wasn’t solely responsible for the spill. BP’s contractors were also held to task, including Transocean, the rig owner; Halliburton, who did the cement job; and Cameron International, who built the blowout preventer. The incident highlighted the complexity – and vulnerability – of today’s oil and gas contracting arrangements.IIED’s new report Shared value, shared responsibility: a new approach to managing oil and gas contracting chains argues that a shift in industry culture is required to manage the challenges posed by complex chains of oil and gas contractors in increasingly risk-laden environments.

  • How far should social protection go?

    Rachel Godfrey Wood 20 April 2011

    The Centre for Social Protection´s conference ‘Social Protection for Social Justice’,  came, in the words of the Institute for Development Studies’ Stephen Devereux, a full 11 and ¾ years after the term ‘social protection’ was first coined. Since then, social protection has risen steadily up the development agenda, and emerging economies such as Mexico, Brazil, and South Africa have rolled out extensive schemes which transfer cash directly to the poor. This conference challenged delegates to think more critically about the role and limits of such schemes in promoting social justice and challenging structural inequalities.

  • Setting fire to outdated thinking on biomass energy

    Duncan Macqueen 11 April 2011

    Energy shortages and rising fuel costs are nothing new to the poor in developing countries where 1.6 billion people lack access to electricity and 2.4 billion use biomass as their primary cooking and heating fuels. What is new, is the idea that renewable biomass energy itself could enable developing countries to fight poverty and climate change, create jobs and gain energy independence.

  • What's your choice for global sustainability goals?

    Camilla Toulmin 6 April 2011

    IIED’s name brings together environment and development — both are essential for sustainability but they are often treated separately. Too often, we get bracketed as an environmental organisation rather than an organisation aiming for development that is consistent with long-term management of natural resources.

  • NGOs: friend or foe to markets for the poor?

    Sian Lewis 6 April 2011

    Non-governmental organisations can play a key role in facilitating efforts to make markets work for the poor but they do not always reach the most vulnerable groups and can sometimes harm local businesses.

  • How ‘just giving money to the poor’ helps them adapt to climate change

    Rachel Godfrey Wood 4 April 2011

    Programmes which transfer money directly to the poor help them adapt to climate change. That´s what I´m suggesting in a new briefing paper to be presented at the upcoming conference on ‘Social Protection for Social Justice’, will be held at the Centre for Social Protection in Brighton between the 13th and 15th of April.