Call for papers: Is the Nexus Secure … and for Whom?

Water Alternatives will publish a special issue on Critical Thinking On the ‘New Security Convergence’ in Energy, Food, Climate and Water, with financial support from the STEPS Centre. The editors invite abstracts by 15 December 2013 on the points set out below. For full details, please visit the Water Alternatives website Guest Editors: Jeremy Allouche (STEPS Centre, IDS) j.allouche@ids.ac.uk…

Responses to frequently asked questions on genetically-modified crops and development

GM Rice / BASF / Flickr Creative Commons By Andy Stirling, co-director of the STEPS Centre   Questions are never far from the headlines about how the world can farm more fairly, sustainably and productively. What is meant by these qualities varies greatly – including differing ways to raise income for poor farmers, improve nutrition, reduce environmental…

GM crops and biotechnology

GM crops, Golden Rice and other related technologies polarise opinion: they are the solution to the global food crisis; or they are ‘frankenfoods’ causing irreversible environmental harm. Concerns about poverty, food insecurity and malnutrition, farmers’ livelihoods and the role of the private sector; the challenges of regulation in different settings; and how to involve the…

Cattle market in Kenya

How was a ‘policy space’ created for pastoralism in Kenya?

Pastoralism in Kenya has long been neglected and understood. Pastoralists have been seen by some as vulnerable, a source of conflict and a drain on the country’s resources. But recent developments have begun to change that narrative. A new government Ministry, the Ministry of Development of Northern Kenya and other Arid Lands, was formed in…

Against ‘monocultures’ in agriculture and knowledge

Faced with the undeniable fact of hunger in developing countries, ‘sustainable intensification’ has been claimed as a science-led solution to food security. In an article for SciDev.Net, Prof Brian Wynne (Lancaster University) and Georgina Catacora (GenØk) tear strips off the large-scale industrial model of agriculture that is supposed to feed the world, and the narrow…

Climate change: where stereotypes go to die

What do you mean when you call someone a climate sceptic? I went to a panel discussion last Thursday evening, “Tackling scepticism: How can we most effectively communicate climate change?” which despite the confrontational title, was an enjoyable debate touching on how people on different sides of a sometimes polarised climate debate think of, and…

David Dickson 1947-2013

The STEPS Centre’s directors, members and partners are sad to have learnt of the sudden death of David Dickson (1947-2013), the founding director of SciDev.Net. David played an important part in the STEPS Centre, serving for five years as a member of our inaugural Advisory Committee and generously sharing his unrivalled expertise in the communication of science for development. His…

Responsibility at the Science-Publics-Policy Interface: What I learnt at the 2013 Science in Public Conference

The village of Onna, after the 2009 L’Aquila earthquake. Photo: Darkroom_Daze (Flickr) by Stephen WhitfieldDPhil Student, Institute of Development Studies This year’s ‘Science in Public’ conference hosted by Nottingham University was excellent. I came away from two captivating days of presentations, discussions and (at times heated) debates having learnt a lot… and inevitably feeling frustrated…

IDS Bulletin: China and Brazil in African Agriculture

New research published by the Institute of Development Studies, and jointly edited by STEPS co-director Ian Scoones, reveals the realities of how the BRICS and Africa are engaging in agricultural development cooperation. The questions of how Africa can feed itself, and how the agricultural sector can be a more effective engine for growth and development,…

Getting the facts right on land grabs: 5 new (free) articles

As part of its series on land grabs, The Journal of Peasant Studies has released a collection of 5 new articles on the problem of recording accurate and reliable information on global land deals. The edition includes a contribution from STEPS co-director Ian Scoones. Here’s the description from the JPS: “The recent ‘land rush’ precipitated…