The IIED blog

776 - 800 of 827 blog posts
  • A tale of two deltas

    Barbara Kiser 5 June 2010

    So the ‘junk shot’ of golf balls and shredded tyres failed to plug the Deepwater Horizon gusher in the Gulf of Mexico. There was a strange circularity about BP’s idea of fixing this petroleum-fuelled nightmare by clogging it with petroleum-derived products.

  • Together we're better - sharing for sustainability

    Anais Hall 27 May 2010

    The spotlight was on transparency and sustainability at yesterday’s Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) meeting in Amsterdam. The organisation, which works on sustainability reporting frameworks, was holding its annual conference with a focus on this dual issue, and speakers included media representatives from the UK-based Guardian  and others from the United Nations and International Finance Corporation (IFC) The thrust of the GRI’s message is that ‘transparent communication changes perceptions, builds trust, and motivates action towards greater sustainability.’ And sustainability is key as we emerge bleary-eyed from years of ‘bubble’ thinking and the global economic meltdown that triggered.

  • Latin America´s Leftist Tide - Less Ebb than Flow

    Rachel Godfrey Wood 24 May 2010

    Much has been made of Latin America´s ‘leftist tide’ in the last decade. After disappointment with Washington Consensus Policies such as privatization, trade liberalization and deregulation, the last decade saw the assent of nine nominally ‘leftist’ governments in Latin America, promising to sweep away neo-liberal orthodoxies and redistribute wealth to the poor. Not only that, they promised to break with economic ‘dependency’ on the developed world and chart their own paths. But did the new leaders insulate their countries from the worst of the recession, or make them more vulnerable to it?

  • Greek bailout - a familar fate?

    Anais Hall 17 May 2010

    With French President Nicolas Sarkozy threatening to pull out of the single currency altogether last Friday, the eurozone’s bailout of Greece seems to be tinged with panic. But this is an extreme moment, as a member of the European Union faces up to a grim reality for many developing countries.

  • Engendering change in the crisis

    Ben Garside 10 May 2010

    When recession hits the developing world, it is often women who bear the brunt of falling incomes and joblessness. But how do women in differing contexts across the South respond to these challenges? More, what about other diversity issues - such as age, or sexual orientation - within the context of financial crisis?

  • Turning the spotlight on agriculture

    Emma Blackmore 7 May 2010

    Have we glimpsed real signs of economic recovery?

  • Banking on Coal in the Global South?

    Rachel Godfrey Wood 28 April 2010

  • Ashy exile — and climate consciousness

    Anais Hall 26 April 2010

    When Iceland’s unruly volcano Eyjafjallajokull erupted last week, the focus was largely on disrupted flights. But viewed from a different perspective, this is a small reminder that natural disasters can displace people and incur massive costs.

  • A meeting of mines

    Abbi Buxton 20 April 2010

    Bringing together small-scale miners and globalised mining operations could help to find solutions for many of the ills affecting artisanal miners worldwide

  • To Legalize or not to Legalize?

    Rachel Godfrey Wood 12 April 2010

    Did the drugs trade keep the global financial system afloat at the height of the economic crisis?

  • A rubbish heap of issues

    Emma Blackmore 8 April 2010

    In belt-tightening times, it’s not surprising that consumption often drops. The UK is a case in point. Happily, consumers there are wasting less too. The Waste and Recycling Action Programme (WRAP) reported that in the UK, households throw away half a tonne of food-related waste each year (or a third of all household food purchased). This costs the UK approximately £12 billion a year in disposal costs alone – over £1000 per household.

  • The case of the coca leaf

    Anais Hall 1 April 2010

    The war on drugs in Mexico has intensified. A recent article in the Economist reports that drug-related killings have increased by almost 1000 since last year. Moreover, innocent people in Mexico are becoming victims, as drug gang shootings are no longer just targeting police and rival gangs.Mexico and the US are working to eradicate the problem by investing US$1.3 billion in anti-drug aid, though only US$331 million is to be invested in social intervention. Yet the lack of intervention through social welfare programmes may be the underlying cause of the rapid growth of drug gangs and related violence. 

  • Staying south – trade, aid, and the recession

    Ben Garside 30 March 2010

    In the global recession, have so called ‘emerging' economies got a toehold in the trade, aid, and investment big-league?

  • Let's get compact

    Barbara Kiser 26 March 2010

    The future sprawls before us — urban sprawl, that is. John Vidal of the UK Guardian says that in 50 years, we could see ‘vast “mega-regions” which may stretch hundreds of miles across countries and be home to more than 100 million people’.In fact, they’re here already: the gargantuan Hong Kong-Shenhzen-Ghaungzhou conurbation, to take just one example, houses more than 120 million people.Whether in-migration to these regions is a trickle or a flood (and the downturn has apparently had a mixed effect on migration to cities), the urban pull remains powerful, as the poor chase jobs and escape degraded rural environments or conflict.

  • How to manage our fish and chips

    Anais Hall 23 March 2010

    ‘Mind-withering stupidity’ is how UK writer George Monbiot characterised the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) decision not to protect bluefin tuna.The ‘absence of a ban’, he went on to say, ‘ensures that, after one or two more seasons of fishing at current levels, all the jobs and the entire industry are finished forever, along with the magnificent species that supported them’.

  • Collateral damage - and no farewell to arms

    Emma Blackmore 17 March 2010

    When arms sales jump by more than a fifth during a global economic downturn, you have to wonder who’s buying, who’s selling and what the implications are for poorer countries.Richard Norton-Taylor, reporting in the UK Guardian, reports that the average volume of sales of arms — including weapons such as guns, ammunition, missiles, military aircraft, military vehicles, ships and electronic systems — has increased by 22 per cent over five years compared to the previous five. Demand from South America and Southeast Asia has been particularly high.

  • The Nazca's folly: a pattern that won't go away?

    Rachel Godfrey Wood 15 March 2010

    Some might say that archaeology is all about potsherds and old bones. But digging into the past can be a way of uncovering patterns of human behaviour with real relevance for our own time. And recently a group of archaeologists did just that, by unearthing an earlier culture that is an uncomfortable echo of our own. A study by this University of Cambridge group claims that the Nazca — a people famed for creating the gigantic ‘Nazca Lines’, patterns on a Peruvian desert that can only be seen from a plane — precipitated their own decline through excessive deforestation.

  • Recovery “kick off”? Of football, sausages and lost opportunities

    James MacGregor 11 March 2010

    When it’s done, the global tally could be 50 million. So says the International Labour Organization (ILO) about job losses from this recession.In richer countries, that has meant growing pressure on central government resources, as formal jobs have been lost and draws on government benefits have increased. Estimates include 8 million jobs lost in the US and 1.3 million in the UK.In developing countries, people are more likely to juggle several jobs than in the developed world. This means underemployment

  • Will biodiversity loss break the bank?

    Barbara Kiser 9 March 2010

    Is the biodiversity drain speeding up? As Juliette Jowit reports in a recent Guardian, a study by Simon Stuart of the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Species Survival Commission reveals that humans are driving extinctions ‘faster than new species can evolve’. That might not surprise some in Madagascar — the California-sized ‘eighth continent’ off Africa’s southeastern coast, and a crucible of species from lemurs to octopus trees. This positively sizzling biodiversity hotspot is in danger of becoming little more than a barren political minefield. All of which strikes a bleak note in this, the International Year of Biodiversity.

  • Credit Gap? Micro is beautiful

    Anais Hall 4 March 2010

    Many now fondly remember the days of cheap credit and apparent financial stability in the early 2000s. Those were the days where you would deposit your money and earn a reasonable rate of interest while businesses and individuals could receive a loan to open or expand a business, buy a home, go to university, etc.. The past is indeed a strange place: they do things differently there.

  • Blogging the corporate monster

    Abbi Buxton 24 February 2010

    Last week, over 100 bloggers reacted to Prem Sikka’s ‘Comment Is Free’ piece in the Guardian, which opined that ‘big business must be forced to temper its obsession with profit and align corporate practice with social justice and democracy’.

  • Did the bankers do the Amazon a favour?

    Emma Blackmore 22 February 2010

    Deforestation rates in Brazil nearly halved recently — the largest fall in two decades. Not bad for the country that, back in the 20th century, was so often portrayed in the media as losing a chunk of rainforest ‘the size of Wales’. That’s just one example of how the impacts of recession on the environment can tell us an awful lot about the way our economy works.

  • Happy Mondays — saving the planet one day at a time

    Emma Blackmore 17 February 2010

    What do ex-Beatle Paul McCartney and American actress Gwyneth Paltrow have in common — beyond a place in the celebrity stratosphere?

  • From Kenya with love

    James MacGregor 11 February 2010

    Supermarkets festooned with hearts and crammed with chocolate: Valentine’s Day is nearly upon us. Will it be a romantic meal, roses — or both? Kenyan products have your romantic gestures covered, and more. 

  • How piracy off the Horn holds thousands hostage

    James MacGregor 8 February 2010

    Pirates off the Horn of Africa — a 21st-century hotspot of maritime hit-and-run — are usually reported as victimising the crews of yachts or oil tankers straying into ‘their’ territory. The ordeal suffered by British couple Paul and Rachel Chandler is a case in point.

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