Posts

Cori Wielenga

Drop classification of pupils to treat ‘academic autism’ Business Day 23.06.2015

“In June 1976, SA’s youth led one of the most extraordinary protests against a discriminatory approach to education. Their rebellion reverberated across the world to become the symbol of the struggle for freedom in our country. Yet, almost 40 years later, our education system remains exclusionary and fragmented,” writes Lorenzo Fioramonti in his latest column for Business Day.

Drop classification of pupils to treat ‘academic autism’

“Our national debate on education tacitly assumes that SA is divided into a majority of poorly resourced (public) schools and a few, mostly urban, very well-developed (private) schools. This may be true if we limit our observation to the physical infrastructure of the “good” schools. I have indeed never seen as many rugby fields, Olympic pools, beautiful halls and playgrounds as I have in private schools and some of the best-resourced public schools (most of which are public-private hybrids previously known as Model C).

But if we scratch beneath this flashy surface, we find serious problems with the education model there. First, many of them reinforce pre-existing racial and class patterns. This is not only because of high tuition fees but also because of the values they project. It is common for these schools to expect students to wear expensive uniforms, glorify conspicuous consumption (for instance, by allowing companies to advertise to pupils) and teach children that excellence is the result of competition.”

Read the full article “Drop classification of pupils to treat ‘academic autism’” on Business Day 

ZOPACAS at 30: Its formation, potential and limitations

This research project seeks to stimulate the broadening of the scientific-academic debate over the current and potential configuration of the Zone of Peace and Cooperation of the South Atlantic (ZOPACAS), both within the context of Brazilian interests and in the framework of increasing international focus over South Atlantic dynamics. With over 30 years of existence, ZOPACAS accounts today for a singular case of a multilateral platform, transversal to multiple global developments in the last few decades. Its institutional resilience associated to a characteristically legal singularity in terms of other multilateral experiences as well as an express desire to widen its thematic range of action, make this forum a noticeable case study. That relevance, in turn, only increases if we also consider the underlined notion of a supposedly common perception of an oceanic region, as an aggregating element of South American and African countries, as well as its passive contribution – never really challenged or tested – to regional security and stability.

ZOPACAS flag
On the other hand, the pre-salt discoveries, the resurgence of the Brazilian defense industry, the bet on South-South relations and the political-commercial investments in Africa also incited Brazil to concern itself once again with developments in the South Atlantic. It is therefore understandable why the progressive reinforcement of ZOPACAS is considered relevant to Brazil’s own defense, as mentioned by the Defense White Book, and inter-relates easily with the national foreign policy domain.
In this context, while combining an historical balance (1986-2016) with a structural evaluation of the current limits, capacities and eventual potentialities of ZOPACAS, this project thus seeks to provide a complete and deepened perspective of a regional mechanism, frequently neglected by academic literature and never fully researched in its totality. Moreover, it seeks to answer the increasing demand, both internal and external, for detailed information over ZOPACAS and provide greater substance to the national decision-making process regarding Brazil’s active participation in such a multilateral body.

GovInn researcher: Frank Mattheis

Partner institutions: University of Brasilia (Brazil), Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), University of Lisbon (Portugal), University of Rosario (Argentina)

Funding institutions: Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) and the Brazilian Defence Ministry’s Pandiá Calógeras Institute

Funding period: January 2015 to December 2016

Governance of the Commons

VIDEO: The financialisation of food and agriculture

GovInn Co-Director Ward Anseeuw, speaking at the BRICS Initiative for Critical Agrarian Studies Symposium describes the increasing financialisation of food and agriculture, and the impact this has on land and food availability.

 

Rebooting Democracy Foreign Policy

“Rebooting Democracy” on Foreign Policy 16.03.2015

This week on Foreign Policy  Lorenzo Fioramonti, John Boik and Gary Milante discuss why our current democratic systems may be failing us and what democracy can look like in the near future:

“If forms of government can be likened to operating systems, current variants of democracy are a bit like early, primitive versions of Windows. They are neither optimally functional nor user-friendly — they are buggy, susceptible to malware, and lack desired features.

While our democratic systems have brought us far, they appear incapable of solving complex modern problems like recurring global financial crises,rising inequality, climate change, and various forms of resource depletion. Even the most established democracies are failing to deliver public goods: the U.S. Society of Civil Engineers recently issued a grade of D+ on the condition of U.S. roads, bridges, water systems, schools, and other infrastructure. Not unexpectedly, the approval rating of the U.S. Congress is at a near-historic low of 20 percent.

The versions of democracy attempted by newly democratizing nations have been even less effective. The democratic system imported by the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq in 2003-4, for example, was really no different from British mandate arrangements tried in the 1920s. The U.S. occupation provided an illusion of democracy, but with little functionality underneath — like a corrupted version of Windows that shows a static desktop but runs no programs. Several years later, in response to the Arab Spring, democracy transfer failed again.

The most powerful pro-democracy wave since the end of the Cold War resulted in precious little new participatory governance.

The failings were not due to a “clash of civilizations,” as Huntington famously argued. There is nothing inherent to democracy that makes it incompatible with the Arab or any other culture. Rather, the failings resulted from promotion of form over substance — replicating an image of democracy rather than a functional, inclusive, accountable decision-making system that is adapted to local needs. If democratic initiatives in the Arab world and elsewhere are to evolve and mature, it will be because expressions of democracy have markedly improved. We are suggesting that democratic systems are due for a major upgrade, and that new, more flexible versions will allow for community programming — refinement of a system by the very people who use it.”

So, what’s next for democracy? Read the full article on Foreign Policy

 

Le Dessous des cartes

Land Matrix on ARTE (28.02.15)

On 28 February 2015 at 6.30pm (Pretoria time) the Franco-German TV station ARTE will broadcast the documentary,”Terres arables : un marché pas comme les autres” (Arable lands: a market like no other) featuring the data and the work of Land Matrix.

The documentary, avaiable in French and German, is the second part of an investigation on arable lands.
The first episode can be found here: “Competition pour les terres arables” (Competition for arable lands)

AFGROLAND team

AFGROLAND

Global Agro-Food-Energy System Changes, Land Use Patterns, Production Models, Natural Resource Management, Food Security through Production and Employment, National/Global Governance (AFGROLAND)

Changes to the global agro-food-energy system (e.g. changing consumption patterns in the North, Europe’s Climate and biofuel policies, etc.) over the past few years have led to a renewed interest in agriculture and a rush to acquire land. The impact of this rush is not always evident as its assessments focus on the short-term and generally remain at a case study level, without considering the broader agrarian and socio-economic transformations it entails. Against this backdrop, the objective of the project is to analyse how global agro-food-energy system changes impact on the countries in the global South, namely in Africa, particularly with regard to sustainable land management, agricultural production and food security, socio-economic outcomes (such as employment and livelihoods), pressure on land and natural resources and, subsequently, the governance of the latter.
Based on extensive empirical research and spatial analysis, and by resituating this research within a multi-dimensional and multi-scale approach, the project will endeavor to

  •  Identify the drivers of change within the global agro-food-energy systems,
  • Better qualify the rush for land, by assessing and defining the different production
  • Quantify and analyze these changes in terms of land and natural resource use
  • Evaluate how such changes impact on food security (with a focus on the land they impact on, and in return are shaped by governance changes at the the regional, national and local levels (WP1)); and land-based investment models being developed (WP2), and governance (land, water and soil) and assess the effects on sustainable soil ecosystem service provision (WP3); enterprises and smallholders) and/or on food access (employment creation, sustainable livelihoods) at the local/national level (WP4)

Partners: The project gathers experts from different disciplines (economists, political scientists, geographers, political analysts, agronomists, environmentalists) from the University of Pretoria (GovInn, School for Agriculture and Rural Development, Department of Agricultural Economics), the Center for Development and Environment (University of Bern) and CIRAD – the French center for Agricultural Research for Development (UMR ART-dev, Tetis and Moisa).

Funding: Belmont Forum

For more information, read this DEF Flyer AfgroLand.  

AFGROLAND team

Front row (Left to right): Bettina Wolfgramm (CDE, University of Bern), Eve Fouilleux (CIRAD), Camilla
Adelle (UP/GovInn), Sandra Eckert (CDE, University of Bern), Sara Mercandalli (CIRAD).
Back row (left to right): Sheryl Hendriks (UP/IFNuW), John Annandale Markus Giger (CDE, University
of Bern), Ward Anseeuw (CIRAD/GovInn), Magalie Bourblanc (CIRAD), Perrine Burnod (CIRAD),
Michael van der Laan (UP/Plant Sciences).
Missing form photo: Lorenzo Fioramonti (UP/GovInn) and Johann Kirsten (UP/Agricultural
Economics, Extension and Rural Development) and local African partners.

Call for applicants BTC

Call for applications: 1-year scholarships in policy analysis, governance and development

Call for applicants BTC
CALL FOR APPLICATIONS

The Belgian Technical Cooperation (BTC), in collaboration with GovInn – The Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation, the Post-Graduate School of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Department of Agricultural Economics, Extension and Rural development of the University of Pretoria, is offering one year scholarships in the fields of policy analysis and governance regarding development, for Master’s students engaging in their last/thesis year. The bursaries aim at promoting empirical fieldwork and research at the Master’s level.

Who should/can apply?

  • Students with an educational background in either sociology, political science, public administration, geography, anthropology, political economy, or socio-economy
  • Motivated students, with a well-structured research project, intending to finalize their Master’s thesis within 12 months
  • Master’s students engaging in their last/thesis year
  • Southern African citizens (priority will be given to South African students and South African related topics)

Which fields and topics are focused on?

  • Topics related to the broad field of development policy, in particular related to agriculture, rural development and natural resources governance in rural areas (agricultural and rural development policy, water policy, natural resource management, land reform, food security, etc.)
  • Topics related to public policies and governance – as the main object of research – will be prioritized.

What is included in the scholarship?

  • The scholarship will cover a monthly stipend for 12 months, 1-year registration fees and research costs related to the fieldwork for the Master’s thesis.

How to apply?

Applications should include:

1) A well-structured research project, including title, objectives, hypotheses, initial methodology and literature review, awaited results, preliminary calendar, academic/institutional set-up (discipline and supervisor) (3p. max)

2) Student’s CV

Applications should be send to Dr Ward Anseeuw (ward.anseeuw@up.ac.za) and Dr Magalie Bourblanc (magalie.bourblanc@cirad.fr), with the supervisor in CC.

Application process and calendar:

Deadline for applications: February 28th 2015
Selection outcome announced by University of Pretoria and BTC: April 2015
Starting date bursary: April 2015

For additional information, contact ward.anseeuw@up.ac.za and/or magalie.bourblanc@cirad.fr

World needs a new Bretton Woods with Africa in the lead – Business Day 27.11.2014

This week on Business Day, South Africa’s leading business newspaper, GovInn director Lorenzo Fioramonti reflects on the need to redefine the economic system and the very definition of economic progress.

“After the 2007-08 global economic collapse, we have not yet seen one major reform. Both bail-outs and quantitative easing (a cryptic term to hide the fact that governments have resorted to the old-fashioned, Zimbabwe-esque remedy of printing money out of thin air) have done exactly the opposite: they have condoned business-as-usual practices, providing an incentive for the financial sector to continue speculating.”

Our leaders make public appeals for more growth, but fail to specify what “type” of growth they want. While in the postwar period the world could have been satisfied with economic growth at all costs — most countries had been destroyed by the conflict and the future was simply about rebuilding — the new century has brought some critical reality checks. The planet is in pain, unbridled economic growth has increased inequalities in many countries and environmental damage has become a concern not only for tree-huggers, but for anybody interested in social and economic stability.

Read the full article on Business Day.