The IIED blog

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  • 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  • Setting fire to outdated thinking on biomass energy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. 

  • Health: an issue that needs to be prioritised in climate change adaptation

    Keshab Thapa 1 April 2011

  • How can we measure adaptation: monitoring and evaluation as an entry point?

    SVRK Prabhakar 31 March 2011

  • Adapting to climate change in Bangladesh

    SVRK Prabhakar 30 March 2011

  • Is this a climate change issue or a human rights issue?

    Kirsty Wilson 29 March 2011

    We had been driven for seven hours from Dhaka through hair-raising traffic to see some of the practical approaches that Caritas was using in t

  • Climate adaptation: old wine in new bottles?

    Andrew Kroglund 29 March 2011

  • Adaptation in Bangladesh: notes from the field

    Keshab Thapa 29 March 2011

  • Bangladesh: mangrove island reflects people's creativitiy

    Bettina Koelle 28 March 2011

  • Reality check: climate change and the poor

    Hannah Reid 28 March 2011

    Hannah Reid reports on a field trip to a site in Manikganj District, about three hours from Dhaka city in Bangladesh, to see how vulnerable people are coping with climate-change related impacts

  • Community based adaptation: conference video blog

    Saleemul Huq 28 March 2011

    The 5th International Conference on Community Based Adaptation to Climate Change, takes place in Dhaka, Bangladesh on 24 to 31 March 2011. Saleemul Huq will be keeping us updated from the conference in a series of daily video logs.

  • Nepal: space to debate, opportunities to act

    Elaine Morrison 24 March 2011

    A first visit to a country is often the time when we ‘see’ the most, and our recent brief visit to Nepal certainly afforded some lasting impressions. High Himalayan ranges glistening in the sun contrasting with the air pollution and traffic congestion of Kathmandu; immense cultural, religious and architectural wealth side by side with acute poverty; roads without streetlights or traffic lights, and shops in the city centre lit by candles, (power cuts were increased from 12 to 14 hours per day during our visit).

  • Community-based adaptation and microfinance: a win-win partnership?

    Adrian Fenton 21 March 2011

    Climate change adaptation may cost US$75–100 billion per year between 2010 and 2050. Where these funds will come from, how they will be channelled and how adaptation should be achieved is still being debated. I propose part of the solution is to go micro: linking microfinance with community-based adaptation.

  • Look Mum! A Tale of Public Engagement with Climate Science

    Victoria Crawford 18 March 2011

    Three boys, probably about ten years old, are standing round a table. They are concentrating intently, jabbing at a touch screen. Suddenly there is a huge sigh of relief. They pull back and turn around, with huge grins across their faces: “Mum. Muuuuuuuuuum. Look Mum — we met the emissions reduction target!”It is half term and I have come to check out the Science Museum’s new £4.5 million climate science exhibition, atmosphere.So are there lessons to be learnt from this example about public engagement with climate science?

  • Are small-scale farmers there to feed themselves and large-scale farmers there to feed the world? Credit: Flickr/Peter Casier

    Can small-scale farmers feed the world?

    Sian Lewis 15 March 2011

    The world’s food systems are being squeezed from all sides: rising populations and shifting diets are increasing the global demand for food, while food production is increasingly compromised by climate change and land degradation.

  • 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?