The IIED blog

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  • 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?

  • Silver or grey linings?

    Emma Blackmore 21 June 2010

    Back in January, Due South commented on one silver lining of the economic crisis – a fall in CO2 emissions. With a double-dip recession predicted by some, could this be a double windfall for efforts to combat climate change?

  • Low2No helps show how to build sustainable cities

    Phillip Bruner 16 June 2010

    ‘Low-carbon growth’ seems to be mentioned all the time with regards to environment and development policy. As a theory this is great, but how can the theory be made more concrete? What might the practice of low-carbon growth look like when applied to urban environments?

  • Has agriculture been a winner in the economic downturn?

    Bill Vorley 14 June 2010

    While the downturn has hit many economic sectors hard, have farmers prospered?

  • Diffa: the morning light

    Camilla Toulmin 8 June 2010

    The ancient tradition of pastoral nomadism in landlocked Niger in West Africa is a source of huge cultural wealth in one of the poorest countries on earth. But with Niger's eastern reaches suffering 35 years of drought – an entire generation's worth – local pastoralists have faced a massive challenge. Diffa, les premiers matins du monde is a video that tells the stories of many of these pastoralists and how they have coped with increasing drought.

  • Blunt instruments, crude addictions

    Rachel Godfrey Wood 8 June 2010

    It’s one of the more ironic twists to the Deepwater Horizon tale. Just a few hours before the US Attorney General announced that a criminal investigation was to be brought against British Petroleum, Transoceana, and Halliburton for their roles in the Deepwater Horizon oil spillage, President Barack Obama met with his Peruvian counterpart, Alan Garcia.

  • 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. 

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