The IIED blog

776 - 800 of 931 blog posts
  • 'Land grabbing' in the shadow of the law in Africa

    Lorenzo Cotula 13 October 2011

  • Children at an informal school in the Kibera area of Nairobi. Providing free education is one way to reduce urban poverty (Photo: Christy Gillmore, Creative Commons via Flickr)

    Why are the main means by which urban dwellers avoid hunger ignored?

    David Satterthwaite 5 October 2011

    The issue of hunger in urban areas has long been neglected, as part of a more general neglect of urban poverty. And when the issue is covered, there are some glaring gaps in the analysis

  • Wangari Maathai: activist, environmentalist and mother to a movement

    Camilla Toulmin 27 September 2011

    It is with great sadness that I heard of the death of Kenyan environmental and political activist Wangari Maathai aged 71. She has been a great champion of why environment matters for people across the planet, and especially for women and poor groups in Africa. Like a tall spreading tree, perhaps an Acacia, her influence and courage have provided nourishment and shelter for a wide range of activities in Kenya and beyond.

  • Defining fairness: the experiences of a Richard Sandbrook scholar at IIED

    Dugald Macdonald 20 September 2011

    My being at IIED is rather fortuitous. I completely missed the first advertisement to apply for this position when it went round on the college mailing list, but luckily I was saved when the deadline for applications was pushed back a week to accommodate late applicants. I was one of those late applicants. In the space of a few short weeks I was notified that I had been shortlisted and that I was invited to interview for the Richard Sandbrook Scholarship. I was just thrilled to have been offered an interview so you can imagine my joy when I was told hours later that I had been selected for the position.

  • REDD+ in Mozambique: new opportunity for land grabbers?

    Isilda Nhantumbo 15 September 2011

    Land is cheap and is perceived to be abundant in Africa. A scramble for its land, following the food and fuel crisis three years ago, is on. European and North American companies have been acquiring land to grow export and biofuel crops and to supply their need for pulp and paper. Now they’re being joined by newly emerging economies – in particular Brazil, India and China – which are also increasingly acquiring large tracts of land and searching for other natural resources, in particular water and minerals.

  • Mozambique: the next Atlantis?

    Adam Dunderdale 15 September 2011

    Mozambique is a country plagued with a history of floods and poverty. Lying on the south east coast of Africa, its coastline spans over 2700km with its lowest point level to the Indian Ocean. So it needs to be prepared for sea-level rises caused by climate change.

  • Climate change advocacy fund good news for poor countries

    Saleemul Huq 8 September 2011

    “For developing countries in general and least developed countries in particular, we can't afford to support big delegations”, said Sumaya Zakieldeen from Sudan’s national climate change negotiation team. “The coming period of negotiation under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is going to be extremely ...important as it is going to shape the fate of climate change and accordingly the fate of the most vulnerable to adverse impacts... It will be exceptionally important to be there to play our assigned roles on behalf of our people and finish what we started.”

  • Assessing REDD+: beyond carbon measurements

    Isilda Nhantumbo 8 September 2011

    Assessing projects to reduce deforestation and forest degradation is not just about measuring how much carbon they have sequestered or enhanced. It is equally about asking what such projects have done to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives.

  • No easy, quick solutions to improving life in the "slums"

    Diana Mitlin 5 September 2011

    BBC journalist Paul Mason’s “Our World,” shown on the 26th August 2011, relies once more on professionalized solutions to offer hope to those living in Manila, the capital of the Philippines – and the most densely populated city on earth. But they’re not a viable solution for the 900 million people living in informal settlements and other forms of inadequate accommodation such as crowded inner city dwellings.

  • Biomass: boon or bane?

    Duncan Macqueen 31 August 2011

    A new IIED briefing paper asks some hard questions about biomass investments and warns that rising demand for renewable energy sources could drive land grabs.

  • Good governance: a timeless principle

    Camilla Toulmin 31 August 2011

    As Libyan rebels prepare for the final act in the downfall of Gaddafi’s regime — defenders of the pro-Gaddafi stronghold, Sirte, have until Saturday (3 September) to surrender — questions are already being raised about the country’s future. In particular, asking how the country can successfully move from Gaddafi’s autocratic and corrupt rule to a democratic constitutional order and an economy that brings prosperity for all.

  • Sanity in REDD governance shock!

    James Mayers 24 August 2011

    When it comes to forest governance — who gets to decide what about forests — REDD is a pleasant dream for some, a nightmare for others. I think it is depends on how you see the money and the leverage.

  • Uganda's forest grabbers are back - but the people are ready

    James Mayers 17 August 2011

  • Ask not what you can do for nature…ask what it can do for you

    Mike Shanahan 1 August 2011

    In 1997 a British barrister uttered three words that left my sister and me speechless and gave us a glimpse of the future.

  • Glimpse of a green new future

    Emily Benson 29 July 2011

    Picture this. Petrol driven cars have long been phased out worldwide. They all have been replaced by electric vehicles. Noise and air pollution has largely been eliminated. As a result, cities are now quieter, calmer, cleaner. Properties along motorways and busy arteries of major cities have once again become desirable places to live. Petrol stations have now been replaced by a network of charge points where users can charge their vehicles for long-haul trips across the country. The charging stations are powered by renewable energy sources.

  • Lessons from the Murdoch affair

    Camilla Toulmin 28 July 2011

    For the past two weeks, UK newspapers have charted the decline and fall of the Murdoch media empire, News Corp. It’s a story of a hugely powerful company, led by a dynasty, that exerted great influence over governments across the world. For many years, Rupert Murdoch has had easy access to 10 Downing Street, with politicians great and small seeking his approval, hoping that his media group will come out in favour of their particular party. With two police investigations underway and the abandonment of plans to acquire a yet larger share of the UK media, it looks as though Murdoch’s powerful grip on UK politics has finally been broken.

  • Man walking with two camels over a sandy landscape.

    Food aid is needed desperately — but ultimately it's not the answer

    Helen de Jode 25 July 2011

    [flickr-photo:id=2628521339, class=right, size=m, caption=Man walking with his camels in Kenya. Photo: © Curt Carnemark / World Bank]

  • Biomass in the red – but can we put biomass into REDD+?

    Duncan Macqueen 18 July 2011

    Commercial forest rights that create incentives for Malawians to plant trees on farm for food and fuel are essential for REDD+ and climate change adaptation.

  • When we care for it...preserving cultural and spiritual values of forests

    Grazia Piras 12 July 2011

    Everywhere in the world people care for and try to preserve the things they value.What is considered valuable is relative to the socio-cultural context, and often things that are of great significance and deeply precious for some individuals and groups are not for others. There are things and places that are priceless because they refer to our identity and our sense of being and belonging.

  • Responding to climate change in the Caribbean

    Emily Morris 5 July 2011


  • Three angles on 'green growth'

    Steve Bass 30 June 2011

    How can you marry environment and development? Over the past two years, governments and businesses have begun to trumpet ‘green growth’ as one way of boosting economic growth without compromising environmental sustainability.

  • Fair trade: still centred on smallholders?

    Sian Lewis 27 June 2011

    To what extent do approaches such as fair trade, corporate social responsibility and inclusive business models allow the private sector to meet commercial objectives while also reducing poverty and empowering small-scale farmers? This was the question posed at the latest in a series of IIED and Hivos ‘provocations’ held at the European Parliament in Brussels last week (22 June).

  • How to scale up sustainable energy: answers from the Ashden Awards

    Ros Cook 21 June 2011

    All sorts of sustainable energy initiatives across the world are providing solutions to local energy problems. But how can these be scaled up to reach billions of people and really tackle the big issues of climate change and energy access for all? This was the question on everyone’s lips at the Ashden Awards conference last week. And there was a lot to learn from the five international finalists. In a series of films, presentations and discussions each finalist shared their experience of creating new technologies, innovative business models and inspirational marketing initiatives to find solutions that benefit the environment and improve livelihoods. And, despite working against a backdrop of financial limitations and unsupportive policy environments, they are all managing to scale up at a fantastic rate.

  • How can air travel contribute to the costs of adapting to climate change?

    Emma Blackmore 15 June 2011

    Climate change negotiators are still meeting this week in Bonn to try and find a way forward on, amongst many other subjects, climate change mitigation, adaptation and finance. Sources of ‘innovative’ finance, such as taxes on international transport, have been proposed. Might these provide a way to break the deadlock on finance and prove to be sources of significant and stable financing to address the impacts of climate change?

  • “Protecting and promoting the rights of indigenous people benefits us all”

    Krystyna Swiderska 9 June 2011

    He gave the example of indigenous peoples in Peru who are responding to climate change by reintroducing native potato varieties and so are “helping to conserve the earth’s biodiversity”. “Indigenous peoples have been living a ‘green economy’ for centuries,” he added — economists should look to old practices in indigenous communities for new ways to achieve sustainable development.