Agriculture, decoupling and sustainability in South America: The role of new technologies and their implementation, risks and chances

Agriculture,decoupling and sustainability in South America: The role of new technologies and their implementation, risks and chances

Authored by Dr Walter A. Dengue

The world’s population is projected to grow to 8 billion by 2030 with increasing global demands for essential resources. It is projected for example that demands for food will increase by up to 50 per cent, water by 35‐60 per cent and energy by 45 per cent. Without significant productivity increases or decreases in the global per capita consumption of food and non‐food biomass, the world’s rapidly growing population will inevitably lead to an expansion of global cropland. The data shows that the gross expansion of cropland under ‘business as usual’ conditions will be 21 ‐ 55{4b05898ae60f9b5e2d93b69cb2027f6f0d06dfa7d8f8611bbe8472c2532adfa6} from 2005 to 2050.

 

For more info read: http://governanceinnovation.org/wordpress/?attachment_id=1702

Thinking about and rethinking agriculture

thinkiagrThinking about and rethinking agriculture
(GovInn, May 2014)

Author: Bruno Losch

After decades of marginalization in the international agenda, agriculture is back. The food price crisis of 2008-2009 reminded most that food security could be a major issue due to the fact that the majority of the world’s population was now living in cities (the tipping point was reached at the end of the 2000s) coupled with the perspective of a 9-billion people planet expected by 2050. Urban population will continue to grow exponentially and will require more natural resources to answer an evolving demand corresponding to new diets. This new context stimulates new strategies of governments and private firms which engage in new investments as they try to secure access to production factors (notably land as illustrated by the boom of land grabbing) and/or to control value chains. It also results in growing interest of equity companies looking for profitable assets and activities; a step towards an increasing financiarization of agriculture which is far away from the harsh reality of billions of rural people in developing countries.

For more info see: http://governanceinnovation.org/wordpress/thinking-about-and-rethinking-agriculture/govinnpolicybrief42014-compressed/

Latin America’s involvement in agricultural development in Africa: The role of Argentina and Brazil

Latin_AmericaLatin America’s involvement in agricultural development in Africa: The role of Argentina and Brazil
(GovInn, May 2014)

Author: Frederic Goulet

The geopolitics of food and agricultural production has changed drastically over the last two decades, with new players coming from South America, such as Brazil and Argentina. These countries have succeeded in developing industrialised forms of agricultural production with high levels of productivity through foreign and national investments in agricultural science and technology. Indeed, these emerging economies have effectively built a large share of their growth on their agricultural success, exporting grains – but also meat, poultry, and other products to industrialised and other emerging countries.

For more info see: http://governanceinnovation.org/wordpress/latin-americas-involvement-in-agricultural-development-in-africa-the-role-of-argentina-and-brazil/govinnpolicybrief32014-compressed/

Economic direct democracy: a framework to end poverty and maximize well-being

econdirecoEconomic direct democracy: a framework to end poverty and maximize well-being
(GovInn, May 2014)

Author: John Boik

The world is confronted by serious economic, environmental and social challenges. These include income and wealth disparities, climate change, habitat destruction and decaying infrastructure. The fact that all are related via economic components suggests that current economic systems are unsustainable. Unfettered capitalism itself is increasingly seen as part of the problem, as economists ranging from Thomas Piketty to Joseph Stiglitz demonstrate. The time is ripe to explore approaches beyond “capitalism as usual.”

For more info see: http://governanceinnovation.org/wordpress/economic-direct-democracy-a-framework-to-end-poverty-and-maximize-well-being/govinnpolicybrief22014-compressed/

India’s Sustainability Transition: of What and for Whom?

Authored by Lydia Powell

(June 2014)

The domestic policies and international positions of the Indian government can be discerned on the right side of the sustainability discourse. India’s 12th, five year plan (2012‐2017), described in over a 1000 pages is based on the theme ‘faster, more inclusive and sustainable growth’. The word ‘sustainable’ appears over 200 times in the three volumes of the document which describe plans for sustaining everything from economic growth and finance to the environment and forests. The document affirms the government’s commitment to global sustainability by pointing out that India is a signatory to over 94 multilateral environmental agreements including the Kyoto Protocol. Unfortunately all these policy pronouncements are unlikely to put India on the path of true sustainability. There are two related but seemingly contradictory reasons for this.

 

For more information, read here: http://governanceinnovation.org/wordpress/?attachment_id=1679

High Ambitions and High Risks: Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA)

Infrastructure_Development_in_AfricaHigh Ambitions and High Risks: Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) (GovInn and HBS, 24 April 2014) Author: Mzukisi Qobo

Dr. Mzukisi Qobo describes PIDA’s plan to double levels of investment in energy, water, and transportation mega-projects in Africa and the opportunities and risks these projects present for infrastructure investors and, especially, for Africans.  He cites six categories of risk (political; social and environmental; fiscal; security; institutional; and technical) and asks the big question: will PIDA accelerate the colonial patterns of resource extraction or foster the economic diversification required for Africa to prosper and expand job opportunities.

Read the full paper here

On the BRICS of Collapse? Why Emerging Economies Need a Different Development Model

On the BRICS of Collapse? Why Emerging Economies Need a Different Development Model (DEMOS/Rockefeller Foundation, December 2013) Author: Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation Picture_1 Since the turn of the millennium, the world’s attention has focused on the role of emerging economies and their impact on the global economy. Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, the so-called BRICS, have been described as a source of profound change. In particular, the 2008 financial collapse, which left the BRICS largely unscathed, seemed to confirm that a new phase was beginning. Yet, when one analyzes key social, economic and environmental trends in these countries, it becomes clear that the development model adopted by the BRICS is not sustainable. These emerging economies have pursued economic growth with little or no investment in human, social and natural capital. This has created profound imbalances and instabilities, which are further exacerbated by the current decline in GDP growth. For more info see: http://www.demos.org/sites/default/files/publications/BRICS.pdf

Citizens vs. Markets: How Civil Society is Rethinking the Economy in a Time of Crises

(Routledge, October 2013)

Citizens vs MarketsAuthor: Lorenzo Fioramonti and Ekkehard Thuemler

After an apparent temporary relief, the financial crisis is back full steam. The ‘double dip’ has turned into a full-blown meltdown of financial markets, public budgets and, by and large, democratic accountability. This global crisis is a fundamental wake-up call: a signal that our conventional political economy and, perhaps, the very foundations of our societies need a serious rethink. Currently, the spotlight is on the role of political elites and economic agents (especially the investors included in the vague notion of ‘markets’) and their strategies to stabilize or destabilize countries, from North America to the Eurozone. Regrettably, the actual and potential role of civil society is hardly mentioned in public debate. Yet, it is exactly within civil society that important responses to the crisis may emerge. It is within civil society that an alternative paradigm and a fundamental rethinking of conventional wisdom may be fostered. Citizens vs. Markets is the first book to unpack the transformative role of civil society in a sector in which it has traditionally been less proactive, in order to reflect on possible forms of social transformation that are not merely remedial but also constructive in nature. This is the most important struggle of our times.

For more info see: http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415721653/

A Region Without Borders? Policy Frameworks for Regional Labour Migration Towards South Africa

2013_Regions_Without_BordersA Region Without Borders? Policy Frameworks for Regional Labour Migration Towards South Africa
(University of the Witwatersrand, July 2013)

Author: C. Nshimbi and L. Fioramonti

Nshimbi, C.C. & Fioramonti, L. (2013) A region without borders? Policy frameworks for regional labour migration towards South Africa. Johannesburg: African Centre for Migration & Society, University of the Witwatersrand.

The Fall of the ANC: What Next?

The fall of the ANC

Picador Africa (August 28, 2013)
Author: Prince Mashele and Mzukisi Qobo

Political governance in South Africa has collapsed. Scandals of corruption, evidence of nepotism, rampant maladministration in provinces, incompetence in public offices and a general decline in the quality of leadership are there for all to see.
In the authors’ view, this state of affairs has its origins in the messiness and collapse of the African National Congress. As helplessness deepens in our society, concerned citizens ask: What will happen to South Africa?
The Fall of the ANC: What Next? seeks to answer this question of the fate that awaits the country.