The IIED blog

776 - 800 of 857 blog posts
  • 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.

  • Can hunting wildlife contribute to biodiversity conservation?

    Kate Lewis 19 November 2010

    It’s a politically and ethically charged debate. Can hunting animals really contribute to wildlife conservation and biodiversity objectives?

  • Sourcing gender

    Anoushka Boodhna 17 November 2010

    Designing business models that reach and benefit poor women working in agriculture can be a challenge for businesses.But is that surprising?

  • Less erosion, less warming

    Victoria Crawford 11 November 2010

    I recently met with a Member of the Bangladesh Parliament to discuss the potential for mitigation in the agricultural sector under IIED’s work on the economics of climate change in the agricultural sector. Agriculture produces 10–12 per cent of total global emissions but also has considerable mitigation potential — 70 per cent of which is in developing countries — and I expected the Honourable Member, a well known climate change champion, to back the cause. But he did not seem entirely convinced. Why should decision makers listen? What’s in it for them?

  • Was 'Avatar' good for indigenous people?

    Rachel Godfrey Wood 4 November 2010

    The Dongria Kondh, Xikrin Kayapo, and Penan peoples have a lot in common. Not only are they all indigenous groups facing potentially damaging extractive and energy projects on their tribal land, they also share the dubious distinction of being compared to some quirky blue hominids from a certain Hollywood blockbuster. Just a casual Google search for ‘real life avatar’ will reveal a slew of articles arguing that indigenous groups across the world are nothing less than the real life versions of the Na´vi, with harmonious relationships with nature and exotic tribal costumes to boot.

  • More people, more trees

    Camilla Toulmin 29 October 2010

    More people, more trees. This is the name of a new video, part-funded by IIED, which shows two decades of progress in addressing soil erosion in Burkina Faso and Kenya that have significantly improved rural livelihoods and farm productivity.

  • Buy me a river

    Essam Yassin Mohammed 25 October 2010

    Asking poor households how much they would be willing to pay to protect a river in Thailand can help put a tangible price-tag on the river’s benefits — from clean water to flood control — and realistically assess the costs of overexploitation and degradation.

  • Charting a course for biodiversity and the poor

    Dilys Roe 22 October 2010

    Negotiations by parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) continue in Nagoya, Japan. Biodiversity researchers, advocates and government officials have gathered here to strike a deal that will, hopefully, safeguard life on Earth over the next decade.

  • Better communication is key to wise use of Nature's riches

    Mike Shanahan 19 October 2010

    To ensure that nature's goods and services can continue to support human wellbeing, we need better communication about why biodiversity is important, what its decline means and what can be done about it.

  • Adaptation finance: Why not just give it to the poor?

    Rachel Godfrey Wood 14 October 2010

    A new book argues that the best approach to reducing poverty is the simplest: giving money to the poor. In Just Give Money to the Poor, Hanlon, Barrientos and Hulme argue that cash transfers put money directly in the hands of those that need it, and that the poor are both willing and capable of using the money to benefit themselves and their families. Given the uncertainties and pitfalls of spending money on climate change adaptation, could we do worse than simply giving money to the poor themselves?

  • You are what you (m)eat

    Emma Blackmore 7 October 2010

    One interpretation of Lady Gaga’s recent outing in a dress made of raw meat is that it was a statement about our society’s ‘hypocritical attitude to meat’. Have some consumers become so distanced from the way in which their meat is produced that the sight of raw meat is so shocking? And is this willful ignorance representative of a wider refusal to accept the realities of how our consumption of meat impacts both the environment and wider society? If that is the case we ignore it at our own peril.

  • The greening of the city: Latin America´s urban innovations

    Rachel Godfrey Wood 29 September 2010

    The news that Mexico City´s authorities will begin fining shops which give free plastic bags to consumers might come as a surprise to many. After all, it is often assumed that environmental concerns are primarily a ‘Northern’ issue, and that poorer cities could not possible be willing, or capable, of implementing policies which even policymakers and voters in the UK would balk at. For people better acquainted with local governments’ environmental policies in Latin America, though, the move is only a continuation in a progression of innovative policies sweeping across the region´s cities for the last two decades.

  • RIP BoP?

    Ben Garside 19 September 2010

    Last month C Prahalad, co-author of the high profile Bottom of the Pyramid (BoP) approach died. What of his legacy in big business realising the untapped fortune at the ‘bottom’ - the poorest 4 billion?

  • Politics, sustainable energy security and the South

    Phillip Bruner 2 September 2010

  • The recession and the changing face of aid

    Emma Blackmore 26 August 2010

    The recession may have quickened a move to a new aid architecture with the emergence of new players, new directions and new types of aid. Traditional donors from the G8 have failed to achieve their commitments to give 0.7% of their gross national incomes, due in part to “severe constraints of public debt”. But despite the recession, new donors have emerged, and with them a shift to new patterns and ways of giving aid. Indeed the recession has demonstrated the durability of aid during hard times but has also added to its complexity. We now need to work even harder to make sense of that complexity and ensure that aid is considered as one small part of a more joined-up and transparent development agenda.

  • Volunteer tourism defies recession but is this positive news for the South?

    Kate Lewis 19 August 2010

    Despite reports that the international tourism market has suffered during the downturn, one strand of tourism – the gap year and volunteer tourism market – seems to have flourished. This can partly be attributed to the increase in redundancies, which has prompted more people to take time out to reflect on what to do next and to gain a new perspective on life. Shortage of graduate jobs has also encouraged undergraduates to escape the gloomy outlook at home to gain valuable work experience to give their CVs a winning edge for when they return. This influx of volunteers to the South, armed with the desire to contribute time, money and skills to a poorer society is surely a good thing. Or is it?

  • Fairtrade – the gold standard?

    Abbi Buxton 11 August 2010

    Now that Fairtrade has proved its resilience to recession is it time to make it the gold standard for all ethical produce and move beyond its origins in agriculture? Is the certification scheme that circumvents traditional market and pricing dynamics ready for new challenges in new markets? If so, what will those challenges look like?

  • Renewables, why bother?

    Ben Garside 4 August 2010

    For much of the developing world producing clean energy that also mitigates carbon emissions is a very low priority. After all, why should countries that haven't significantly contributed to climate change worry about reducing their relatively tiny carbon emissions? In any case who would pay for it all?

  • 'Dios mio gracias!': Can Colombia´s pyramids teach us anything?

    Rachel Godfrey Wood 22 July 2010

    For over three years pyramid and money laundering schemes brought artificial prosperity to the lives of many Colombians, allowing people to improve their quality of life beyond their wildest dreams. Then, within a few days, everything was gone, and the country was left with a social disaster on its hands. Sound familiar?

  • REDD: does governance really matter?

    Anais Hall 16 July 2010

    With concerns over climate change rising, there have been several initiatives aimed at reducing the impacts and contributing factors of climate change. But with millions and potentially billions of dollars at stake, how successful will these initiatives be in mitigating climate change?Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation - REDD (and REDD+, which includes conservation, sustainable forest management and enhancing forests’ carbon stocks) is an international initiative that seeks to reduce CO2 emissions. The United Nations REDD collaborative programme that has generated $8.7 million for the carbon stored in forests.

  • Sub Saharan African woman drying fish. Photo: Patrick Dugan via WorldFish on Flickr

    The missing 't'

    Essam Yassin Mohammed 13 July 2010

    Seeking an easy way to prepare fish at home, many families in the developed world turn to fish fillets. Grilled, sautéed or fried, the fish is ready to eat in minutes, having been pre-scaled, pre-gutted, deboned and pre-packaged before it arrives at the local supermarkets. But what happens to those fish scraps that are stripped away?

  • What would sustainability in the North mean for development in the South?

    Rachel Godfrey Wood 8 July 2010

    Everyone agrees that developed countries need to undertake a radical transformation if they are to assume their responsibilities for mitigating climate change. But what consequences would this have for the global South? Will climate change mitigation in the North undermine economic development in developing countries, or provide them with new opportunities?

  • Israel, Palestine, and the Recession

    Anais Hall 6 July 2010

    Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu heads to Washington DC on 6th July 2010 to meet with President Barack Obama. Obama will seek to bring the Israeli and Palestinian leaders into direct peace talks, again. But how will this attempt differ from past efforts? Can the current woes of the recession help foster peace negotiations through intensified economic restraints?

  • New left = new extractivism in Latin America

    Rachel Godfrey Wood 29 June 2010

    It was clear at the recent Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of the Mother Earth in Cochabamba that Latin America´s leftist leaders are taking strong positions on issues of environmental sustainability and respect for indigenous people. But is that rhetoric actually borne out by their domestic policies?