Best of 2018: blogs

As 2018 draws to a close, we're showcasing some of the content we've published during the last 12 months. Our blogs are a place for IIED staff and guest authors to share their personal views and experiences. In case you missed them, here are our top 10 most-read blogs of the past year.

Article, 27 December 2018
Top blogs of 2018

A selection of images from the top blogs of 2018

1 Changing landscapes: key issues for action on sustainable development in 2018

January: Our most read blog last year was a preview of 2018 by IIED director Andrew Norton. His blog highlighted issues such as the challenge of making sustainable cities, the potential impacts of automation, and the need to safeguard biodiversity. 

We will focus on ensuring that we can respond to a changing global environment through strengthening our own capacity to learn and adapt.

2 Attracting Zambia's youth to agriculture: it's about time

January: Guest blogger William Chilufya, Southern Africa manager of the ’Sustainable Diets for All' project, looked at how to attract young Zambian men and women into agriculture. He argued that the government must counter outdated perceptions about farming and create an enabling environment that captures young people's energy and entrepreneurial spirit. 

For youths to effectively participate in agriculture, increase their production and better their livelihoods, they need a variety of investments – and not just money.

3 Harnessing #MeToo momentum to drive climate action

April: Starting in the US in late 2017, the #MeToo movement turned into a worldwide campaign against sexual harassment and gender inequality.  

In her blog, Christiana Figueres, former executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, called on women and girls to channel the energy of the #MeToo movement to bolster the global fight against climate change.  

Figueres’ blog was part of the IIED blog series Outstanding women in development.

May we shout out: #MeToo I am taking a stand. #MeToo I am claiming my leadership. #MeToo I am leading the way.

4 Public-private partnerships and aid's 'private turn': addressing the investment law dimensions

January: Public-private partnerships (PPPs) are emerging as important vehicles for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. PPPs involve governments partnering with businesses to provide public goods and services. In their blog, Lorenzo Cotula and Celine Tan warned that the legal and financial implications of PPPs should be carefully considered. 

As governments and development agencies look to private investment for delivering the SDGs, there is a need to unpack and address those dimensions through more detailed research and inclusive policy dialogue.

5 To save Africa's wildlife, conservation needs a radical shake-up

March: To mark World Wildlife Day, Dilys Roe and James Mayers wrote a blog calling for changes in conservation practice. They reported that despite more than 100 years of international work on conservation, African wildlife is in serious trouble. They argued that the long-term survival of Africa's wildlife requires the development of policies and partnerships which recognise - and foster - the rights and needs of local communities.  

Africa's wildlife will have a more hopeful future when we start supporting local people and stop criminalising them. Then they can help protect the wildlife we all treasure.

6 Is urban development too complicated for us?

May: Informal settlements in urban areas are now home to up to one billion people. There is often very little data available about the people and services in these areas.  

David Satterthwaite's blog called on external agencies to listen to local people and umbrella organisations such as Shack/Slum Dwellers International, and to support them in gathering data and to help them develop solutions that work best for them. His blog was based on the editorial in the April 2018 issue of the journal Environment and Urbanization.

It is their unmet needs that aid agencies are meant to be addressing. When are aid agencies going to start listening to them?

7 Making the link between the SDGs and natural capital accounting

January: Natural capital accounting (NCA) is a way of assessing income and costs associated with the use of natural resources. Rosalind Goodrich reported on an international forum which looked at how employing NCA can encourage an integrated approach to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and also provide useful information for policy decisions.

Interspersed throughout the programme were case studies of where accounts are beginning to inform policy: the revised water masterplan in Botswana, forest policy in the UK, land use planning in Rwanda, for example.

8 How tackling climate change could tackle inequality

June: Sarah Colenbrander and Andrew Sudmant reported on research by the Coalition for Urban Transitions showing that cutting greenhouse gas emissions in urban areas would benefit vulnerable residents most. Their blog looked at two big urban challenges: air pollution and traffic accidents, and highlighted the synergies between taking action on global warming and tackling everyday inequalities. 

The costs of air pollution and road accidents are immense, and overwhelmingly borne by the poor. People are dying because they cannot breathe easily or move safely within cities.

9 Snapshots of a changing world – climate change impacts in Bangladesh

February: IIED’s director Andrew Norton reported on a visit to Bangladesh, looking at how one of the world’s most climate-vulnerable countries is addressing the combined threats of rising sea levels, increasingly extreme weather and displaced populations. Norton visited the town of Mongla which has undertaken a wide array of infrastructure works to improve its climate resilience.

Visiting a country on the frontline of climate change, I saw communities displaced by the impacts of climate change, areas that are struggling with its effects and a town that is taking action to make a difference.

10 The role, influence and impact of women in biodiversity conservation

October: Cristiana Pașca Palmer, executive secretary of the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, contributed a blog that called for women to be better represented in decision-making roles related to environmental and sustainable development issues. Her guest blog was part of the IIED series Women champions of biodiversity, a collection of blogs and interviews highlighting the role, influence and impact of women working to safeguard the world’s biodiversity

Beyond equity, enabling women’s full engagement in biodiversity decisions is critical to ensure that biodiversity conservation and sustainable use efforts are successful in the long term.