New insights on navigating complexity in development

by Marina Apgar and Eric Kasper, Institute of Development Studies The challenges of development are complex. Insights about the nature of complexity – coming from various scientific disciplines – lead us to conclude that complex adaptive (social) systems cannot be managed in a formal top-down sense. The best we can do is to find ways…

Outdoor exhibition with prototype pedal tractor and solar panels

Forking the SDGs: How prototypes could transform the new global goals

Sustainable alternatives often come about through prototypes, from DIY electronics repair to ecohousing, agricultural tools to digital knowledge platforms. Prototypes are often small (at least to begin with) and local, but they can yield surprising results – sometimes becoming mainstream technologies like wind turbines, or ways of doing things like car clubs. This makes prototypes…

Xi Jinping and François Hollande in Paris

Can China be a global climate leader?

President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement has sparked off another round of intense global discussion on China’s potential as a global leader on climate. Since last week, there appears to be a widespread desire for China and Europe to forge a stronger alliance to lead global efforts…

Discussion round a table

Rethinking transformative pathways to equitable growth in Kenya: key research options for the Kenya’s Newton Utafiti Fund

Kenya has witnessed a proliferation of research interventions on both international and national fronts. The country is a host to renowned research and development agencies such as the CGIAR, UN bodies plus several regional research, advocacy and policy bodies all of which are working to fix Kenya’s and wider Africa’s sustainability challenges.  Through these interventions,…

Sunset in Kenya

Beyond policy statements: how politics and ecology combine in land, water and forests

Governing land, water and forests (so-called ‘nexus’ resources) is critical for sustaining livelihoods, especially in the face of emerging shocks such as climate change. This also means that the effectiveness of interventions aimed at addressing climate change and other livelihood issues will heavily depend on how these resources are governed – including how they are…

butterfly

Why rapid transitions are more possible than you might think

In the face of climate change and social inequality, changing to a greener and fairer society might feel impossible – but rapid, radical transitions may be more possible than you might think, according to a new booklet published by the STEPS Centre and the New Weather Institute.

Herd of cows

Livelihoods and the political economy of dairy in India and South Africa

This is the second of two blog posts comparing the dairy sector in India and South Africa, as part of research from the Governing the Land-Water-Environment Nexus in Southern Africa project. Read the first post, exploring the reasons behind the different pathways taken by the two countries.   The dairy sectors in both South Africa…

Woman stand in front of a dairy parlour in South Africa.

Divergent Dairy: comparing pathways in India and South Africa

As a significant agricultural commodity in both India and South Africa, what role can dairy play in spurring development?

A woman pumps water into a bucket in Mozambique

How water became a casualty of Mozambique’s debt crisis

One interesting aspect of doing fieldwork is that you get to understand some theoretical premises better. One such premise related to my PhD research is that the water/development nexus can only be properly understood when situated in the broader (national and global) political economy. This became clear when in April of this year, I set…

Trump and Brexit: what’s the alternative?

Sometimes when you suffer trauma, you have to look elsewhere to seek out radically new ways of framing things in order to recover. This year we’ve suffered two major traumas – Brexit and the US elections. Who would have believed our world would have been radically reshaped in the space of a few short months?…