Land Degradation Neutrality brochure

Degradation Neutrality and the Faustian bargain of conservation finance

A critical assessment of ‘degradation neutrality’, the latest idea to emerge in global conservation efforts, is at the heart of a new article for the Antipode Foundation by Amber Huff (STEPS Centre/IDS) and Andrea Brock (University of Sussex). The article picks up on previous work by STEPS & Sussex University on ‘green grabbing’ and other…

Sign in rural landscape which reads 'Farmers for Trump'

Why agrarian studies should confront the rise of authoritarian, populist movements

Last week I was in Russia at the fascinating fifth BRICS Initiative in Critical Agrarian Studies conference. Throughout the event we heard about the emergence of particular styles of authoritarian populist regimes, including in the BRICS countries, but elsewhere too. Based on my remarks at the final plenary, I want to ask what the challenges are for…

Confronting authoritarian populism: a new initiative and a new paper

A few weeks back, I highlighted the launch of the Emancipatory Rural Politics Initiative (ERPI), and the availability of small grants for doing research on both the contours of the current conjuncture, and how authoritarian populism emerges and is sustained in rural areas, as well as the forms of resistance and diversity of alternatives being…

A few weeks back, I highlighted the launch of the Emancipatory Rural Politics Initiative (ERPI), and the availability of small grants for doing research on both the contours of the current conjuncture, and how authoritarian populism emerges and is sustained in rural areas, as well as the forms of resistance and diversity of alternatives being…

water pipe

Just another drop in the bucket on World Water Day?

Each year, the United Nations uses World Water Day as an opportunity to raise awareness and demand action around the global water crisis. Each year, there is a theme. This year’s theme is wastewater, framed as a ‘grossly undervalued as a potentially affordable and sustainable source of water, energy, nutrients and other recoverable materials’ (pdf)….

Green grabbing

Impact story #2: From land grabs to the Anthropocene

A new impact story, From land grabs to the Anthropocene: exploring the politics of resources is the second in our series looking back at a decade of STEPS Centre research and engagement. This story looks at how STEPS intervened in debates on land grabbing following the financial crisis in 2007 and 2008, and how our…

water in mozambique

From remunicipalisation to reprivatisation of water? The case of Mozambique

After widespread privatisation in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, many water services around the world began to be transferred back into public control. This ‘remunicipalisation’ has been welcomed by the Transnational Institute and like-minded organisations, who suggest that ‘remunicipalisation is here to stay’ (Lobina et al., 2014). While I am sympathetic to this work on…

A Kharai camel stands with factory chimney stacks behind it on the horizon.

Livelihoods on the edge: contested mangroves in Kachchh

There is a real buzz about Mundra village on the Gulf of Kachchh coast, one of the fastest growing industrial hubs in India. A sprawling port, two of India’s biggest thermal power plants, and a special economic zone with growing export industries jostle for space in what once used to be western India’s biggest stretch…

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…

The financialisation of nature

Financialization describes an economic system or process that aims to reduce all values into a financial instrument. As part of this process, nature is treated as a private resource or financial asset with neo-liberal, market-based approaches increasingly being adopted to protect the environment, such as payments for ecosystems processes. The School of Global Studies (through…

Next steps to strengthen global land governance

by Ruth Hall and Ian Scoones Four years ago voluntary guidelines on the governance of land and land tenure were agreed at the United Nations (UN) Food and Agriculture Organisation in Rome. This was a response to growing concerns about the impacts of “land grabbing” driven by the global rush for investment in the wake…