Article roundup: STEPS Latin America monthly debates

As part of the build up to the launch of the STEPS Centre’s Latin American hub in 2015, we have started a series of monthly debates in Buenos Aires on sustainability and development. The debates are an important first step in identifying and discussing themes that the new Centre will explore, and in creating a…

GM Nation or GM Planet? How to involve citizens in decisions about transgenic crops

The UK’s GM Nation? public debate – conducted over a decade ago, tried to include the voices of citizens in decision-making over transgenic crops. With recent decisions by China and India possibly signalling a shift of opinion against GM in these ‘rising powers’, what kinds of institutions are required to enable democratic governance of these…

GM in China: ‘Paranoia’ and public opinion

Biosafety certificates permitting Chinese researchers to grow genetically modified rice and corn expired last week, with little indication that the Ministry of Agriculture will renew them. The certificates, issued in 2009, concerned two types of Bt rice, which express a gene of the bacillus thuringiensis bacterium, conferring pest resistance, and phytase maize, which when used…

A day with Argentina’s ‘street engineers’

They take pride in what they do at the Reciclando Sueños co-operative. Situated in the La Matanza district of greater Buenos Aires, the workers describe themselves as cartoneros profesionales (professional recyclers) and ingenieros callejeros (street engineers). Whilst some in the city see waste picking as a lowly activity, these workers consider themselves to be providing…

Why STEPS is creating a new research hub in Latin America

I am in Buenos Aires for the ESOCITE/4S conference, which is bringing together Latin American scholars in Science & Technology Studies and visitors from the USA, Europe and other regions of the world. It is an exciting moment to convene in Argentina. The government is mired in controversy over payment of debts, vulture funds, nationalisations,…

The road to 2015: experiences and challenges from Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS)

by Kamal Kar, Founder of the Community-Led Total Sanitation Foundation I was recently invited to IDS as part of an EPSRC-funded solid waste management project, ‘A Global Solution to Protect Water by Transforming Waste’, a unique initiative that focuses on addressing the problems of safe disposal of human excreta, by using anaerobic digestion technology to…

India’s risks: forging a new multidisciplinary debate

by Raphaelle Moor A prospective superpower, India is grappling with a host of risks that threaten to hamper its progress towards becoming a more economically successful, egalitarian, safe and harmonious society. India’s population routinely deals with the risks from HIV/AIDS, earthquakes, floods, industrial accidents and environmental disasters, and more recently the risks and uncertainties brought…

Recordando el Plan de Lucas: que nos puede decir el movimiento para producción social útil sobre la innovación inclusiva hoy?

This post is a translated and edited version of an article first published in English on the Guardian’s Political Science blog En enero de 1976 los trabajadores de Lucas Aerospace publicaron un plan alternativo para el futuro de su empresa manufacturera. Fue una respuesta novedosa a los anuncios que miles de despidos porrazones de reestructuración…

Livelihood pathways after land reform in Zimbabwe

Understanding livelihood pathways requires sustained fieldwork in particular sites in order to understand what changes and why. Systematic longitudinal studies are sadly rare in many developing country settings. Project grants for a few years are insufficient to sustain the research effort required. Long term studies are especially important when major changes have occurred. We cannot…

Sustainable Development Goals: lessons from the ‘nexus’

As part of our engagement with the ‘nexus’ of food, water, energy and the environment, STEPS members will be participating in an Overseas Development Institute event on 11 September 2014. The event Tackling trade-offs in the food-water-energy nexus: lessons for the SDGs features contributions former STEPS Director Melissa Leach and includes a contribution from our…