helicopter flying with high mountains in background

The 2020 Davos Manifesto: A Manifesto for the Past, Rather than the Future

Out of the networking orgy that is the World Economic Forum (WEF) has emerged the Davos Manifesto 2020: ‘The Universal Purpose of a Company in the Fourth Industrial Revolution’.  Unfortunately, the document is likely to fall short in its objective to improve the state of the world, writes Adrian Ely. It’s the 49th anniversary of…

India’s new citizenship act threatens the country’s constitution

A version of this post first appeared on the Institute of Development Studies website. Since the end of 2019, India has been rocked by protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the proposed National Register of Citizens Register (NRC). Protests initially began in Assam, West Bengal and New Delhi and have since spread across…

Boris Johnson and Donald Trump standing on a staircase together

Rural support for authoritarian populism is strong – but another way is possible

The rise of authoritarian populism continues. Now the UK has a fully signed-up version in its new right-wing government, with allies in Trump, Modi, Bolsarano, Orban and others. It is a dangerous, but perhaps inevitable, trend. The soul-searching on the Left after the UK election rather belatedly diagnosed the problem. It has been long in…

A Tale of Crab Farming in Satkhira: Navigating Uncertainties ‘from below’ in the Sundarbans

The TAPESTRY research project is exploring how transformations may occur ‘from below’ in marginal environments with high levels of uncertainty. In this blog post, Shababa Haque and Mahmuda Mity, part of the research team in Bangladesh, share this story of people living on the ‘front line’ of drastic environmental changes in the Sundarbans. In the…

maize

What can the land-water-environment ‘nexus’ do for young farmers in Kenya?

The agrifood system is one of the best examples of the ‘nexus’ of land, water, and the environment. In Kenya, as in some other African countries, there is a push to get young people to return to farming. But the way this is promoted often fails to demonstrate how young farmers ought to respond to…

Why does public research money often fail to support sustainable and just food systems?

The European Union and its Member States spend considerable amounts of their budget on supporting Research and Development (R&D) activities. In the summer of 2019, the EU Commission announced how it would spend the last annual tranche of Horizon 2020 – a €77 billion research and innovation funding programme running since 2014. For the Commission,…

How can we rethink progressive transformations to sustainability?

In a series of three recent blog posts, Andy Stirling reflects on the governance of transformations to sustainability, and what it means for opening up spaces for politics and democracy. The blog posts draw from a workshop organised by the Africa Sustainability Hub, related to the ‘Governance of Socio-technical Transformations’ (GOST) project. The Nairobi workshop…

Going deeper with value chain analysis: understanding power relations for animal disease control in Myanmar

Value chain analysis is already praised as a powerful tool for animal disease control. International organisations such as the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) routinely conduct value chain analyses to understand where animals are distributed, and who is involved in managing, moving, processing and purchasing them. In this way, policymakers and practitioners can track…

Uncertainty and the Zimbabwean economy

Over the last month there have been a number of reviews of progress – or the lack of it – since the ‘coup’ of November 2017 (see, for example, a recent BSR here). President Mnangagwa arrived in post on the back of much good will and hope for change. But hopes have been dramatically dashed…

Lightbulbs of different shapes and sizes

Doing digital differently: four innovation lessons from the grassroots

by Adrian Smith, Adrian Ely and Phil Jones When Knowle West residents met with artists Paul Hurley and Caleb Parking in 2016, they had little idea they were at the vanguard of grassroots innovation and doing ‘digital’ differently. The meeting was at Knowle West Media Centre (KWMC), a community-based space in Bristol that uses arts…