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About Ian Scoones

Director

Ian is an agricultural ecologist whose research links natural and social sciences, focusing on relationships between science and technology, local knowledge and livelihoods and the politics of agricultural, environment and development policy processes.

All posts by Ian

Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Finance: STEPS Africa is “a huge contribution”

On behalf of the Cabinet Secretary of the National Treasury on Kenya, Hon. Henry Rotich, Professor Judi Wakhungu, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Water and Natural Resources formally launched the STEPS Africa Sustainability Hub today in Nairobi. The speech underscored the importance of Low Carbon Economy Development in Africa. “Low carbon development will play an important…

STEPS Africa Sustainability Hub launched in Nairobi

“There is no better time to launch the Africa Sustainability Hub than now,” says Dr Mohamed Kyari from the Human Resources, Science and Technology Department of the African Union. The AU strategy science and technology and innovation was confirmed by Heads of State last June. The vision of the African Union is to develop a…

Why access to energy is crucial for economic growth and poverty reduction

This week I am in Nairobi for a conference focused on ‘Low Carbon Africa’, discussing the diverse pathways to low carbon energy. Energy access is a key issue across the continent. Last week Kofi Annan launched the ‘Africa Progress Panel’ report that argued for a massive energy revolution on the continent, with the potential for…

Global land grabbing: new papers & special issues

This week 200 delegates assemble in Chiang Mai in Thailand for a major conference on land grabbing, conflict and agrarian-environment transformations in southeast Asia. It is co-organised by the Land Deal Politics Initiative (LDPI), a research network co-founded by the Future Agricultures Consortium. The conference marks the next step in this work, aiming to locate…

Market-based environmentalism under fire

Last week I was lucky enough to attend the fantastic Financialisation of Nature conference, co-hosted by the STEPS Centre, along with the Sussex Centre for Global Political Economy and Sussex Doctoral School. Organised by and run for PhD students and early career researchers, I was invited as a discussant on one of the sessions and…

Space, markets and employment: 3 films from Zimbabwe

A new series of films explores the links between land reform and economic activity in Zimbabwe, focusing on three commodities: tobacco, beef and horticulture. The films are produced for the ‘Space, Markets and Employment in Agricultural Development’ (SMEAD) project by Pamela Ngwenya, supported by the field team. They are accompanied by an overview film. Zimbabwe is one…

Ebola: difficult questions for development

As the horrific Ebola crisis unfolds across West Africa, and the international community belatedly responds, there are some bigger questions that arise beyond the immediate challenges on the ground. These are worth raising and discussing, as they challenge our understanding of ‘development’ as framed and practised over the last few decades in fundamental ways. The…

Talking Zimbabwe & Land Reform at ASAUK14 this Wednesday

New research from Zimbabwe will be shared at a double panel session at the UK African Studies Association conference this week. This year’s event is at the University of Sussex, and our session is on Wednesday 10 September from 9 till 10.30 and 11 to 12.30. The session has been organised by Gareth James of…

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 intensification: a new buzzword to feed the world?

The term ‘sustainable intensification’ (SI) has entered academic and policy discourse in recent years, including in debates about what to do about agriculture in Zimbabwe. I have been intrigued for some while to find out what it actually means. Is this yet another contradictory hyphenation of two words for political ends, or does it have…