COP21: how can Southern Africa cope with El Niño?

Today COP 21 opens in Paris. Over two weeks a new climate deal will hopefully be agreed. It is a critical juncture for humanity. As high level officials discuss options in these negotiations, many people around the world are already living with climate change and uncertainty. In Southern Africa, the effects of what is expected…

How to ensure governments stick to their Paris climate commitments

More than 146 countries covering 87% of global greenhouse gas emissions have now submitted their national pledges to tackle climate change in advance of the major climate summit in Paris. These are known as Intended Nationally-Determined Contributions. Note the language: these aren’t commitments and are only “intended”. Since collectively these INDCs would still leave us…

Will the Sustainable Development Goals make a difference?

This week heads of state assemble in New York to launch the Sustainable Development Goals. The agreed text lays out 17 goals and 169 targets. It is an ambitious agenda for all of humanity. But will they make any difference? We have had the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which were launched with similar fanfare in…

Achieving sustainable development means no goal leaving gender behind

This article is part of a series on the Sustainable Development Goals. Feminists and their allies fought strongly for a stand-alone Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) on gender equality and empowerment of women and girls. Goal 5 now offers the potential to embed gender equality into transformative approaches to sustainable development. For this promise to be…

Unpacking multiple “shades of green” to make hope possible

Sandra Pointel, Associate Tutor, SPRU This year will see the culmination of two major global agreements for climate change and development. From 30 November to 11 December, worldwide negotiators will gather in Paris at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to hammer out a…

What Greece can learn from Africa about the effects of austerity after a debt crisis

Ian Scoones, republished from The Conversation   Some have asked what can Africa learn from Greece. I argue that Greece (and others) can learn a lot from the African experience. Debt is on the rise again not just in Greece, but across the world. A decline in commodity prices with a strengthening of the US…

Man on a horse crossing a river

What can development learn from China’s approach to reform?

By Lewis Husain and Adrian Ely At the launch of the STEPS China hub in Beijing this year, there was much talk of learning from China’s development experiences. A key question was how the Chinese government has been able to manage such massive change at a national level, whilst at the same time catering for…

Our Common Future day 1: Climate science & climate politics in Paris

STEPS member Adrian Ely is at the Our Common Future conference in Paris, and has sent this blogpost looking back on Day 1. The conference runs until Friday. Read our feature on climate, COP21 and sustainability here. The opening plenary of the ‘Our Common Future under Climate Change’ conference – the biggest international meeting of…

Nepal: resilience, disasters and development

The doyen among Nepal’s ethnographers, the Janku-blessed Bihari Krishna Shrestha had a valid point. Since his phone had gone dead after the Big Earthquake of 25th April, I had gone to his house in Chakupat to find out if he was OK. Our working together goes back to the Marich Man Singh-constituted “Pokhrel Commission” in…

Between ‘greenization’ and ‘citizenization’: Welcome to China’s New Normal

By Sandra Pointel A group of researchers from China, Africa, Latin America and Europe met last week in Beijing to launch the new China Sustainability Hub, in collaboration with the STEPS Centre’s long-term partner Beijing Normal University (BNU) and other institutions. Hosted at BNU School of Social Development and Public Policy (SSDP), the launch was…