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‘Twenty years of ecosystem services: How far have we come and how far do we still need to go?’, by Lorenzo Fioramonti et al in Ecosystem Services

 

GovInn’s Director Lorenzo Fioramonti published together with others such as Robert Costanza the article ‘Twenty years of ecosystem services: How far have we come and how far do we still need to go?‘ in the journal Ecosystem Services

It has been 20 years since two seminal publications about ecosystem services came out: an edited book by Gretchen Daily and an article in Nature by a group of ecologists and economists on the value of the world’s ecosystem services. Both of these have been very highly cited and kicked off an explosion of research, policy, and applications of the idea, including the establishment of this journal. This article traces the history leading up to these publications and the subsequent debates, research, institutions, policies, on-the-ground actions, and controversies they triggered. It also explores what we have learned during this period about the key issues: from definitions to classification to valuation, from integrated modelling to public participation and communication, and the evolution of institutions and governance innovation. Finally, it provides recommendations for the future. In particular, it points to the weakness of the mainstream economic approaches to valuation, growth, and development. It concludes that the substantial contributions of ecosystem services to the sustainable wellbeing of humans and the rest of nature should be at the core of the fundamental change needed in economic theory and practice if we are to achieve a societal transformation to a sustainable and desirable future.

Read the full article here: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2212041617304060#!

‘State Transformation and Policy Networks: The Challenging Implementation of New Water Policy Paradigms in Post-Apartheid South Africa’, by Magalie Bourblanc

GovInn’s Senior Researcher Magalie Bourblanc published the article ‘State transformation and policy networks: The challenging implementation of new water policy paradigms in post-apartheid South Africa‘ in the journal Water Alternatives.

For many years, South Africa had represented a typical example of a hydrocracy. Following the democratic transition in South Africa, however, new policy paradigms emerged, supported by new political elites from the ANC. A reform of the water policy was one of the priorities of the new Government, but with little experience in water management, they largely relied on ‘international best practices’ in the water sector, although some of these international principles did not perfectly fit the South African water sector landscape. In parallel, a reform called ‘transformation’ took place across all public organisations with the aim of allowing public administrations to better reflect the racial components in South African society. As a result, civil engineers lost most of their power within the Department of Water Affairs and Sanitation (DWS). However, despite these changes, demand-side management has had difficulties in materializing on the ground. The paper aims at discussing the resilience of supply-side management within the Ministry, despite its new policy orientation. Using a policy network concept, the paper shows that the supply-side approach still prevails today, due to the outsourcing of most DWS tasks to consulting firms with whom DWS engineers have nourished a privileged relationship since the 1980s. The article uses the decision-making process around the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP) Phase 2 as an emblematic case study to illustrate such developments. This policy network, which has enjoyed so much influence over DWS policies and daily activities, is now being contested. As a consequence, we argue that the fate of the LHWP Phase 2 is ultimately linked to a competition between this policy network and a political one.

Read the full article here: http://www.water-alternatives.org/index.php/alldoc/articles/vol10/v10issue2/357-a10-2-7

 

 

‘Foresight for all: Co-elaborative scenario building and empowerment’, by Robin Bourgeois

GovInn’s Senior Researcher Robin Bourgeois published the article ‘Foresight for all: Co-elaborative scenario building and empowerment‘ in the journal Technological Forecasting and Social Change, together with Esther Penunia, Sonali Bisht and Don Boruk.

 

We present here a co-elaborative scenario building approach, called Participatory Prospective Analysis (PPA) and discuss its relevance for empowering local communities/organizations. This approach is adapted from the French “La Prospective”. It is used as an action research engaging local farming communities in expanding their understanding of their own futures. Three cases of local implementation at farmer community level in India, Indonesia, and the Philippines illustrate how this approach was implemented. They are part of a global project in the field of food, agriculture and rural development, aiming at balancing the capacity to use the future, which is currently not fairly distributed to the detriment of local stakeholders, organizations and communities. Our results focus on the emergence of futures literacy as a capability, its connection to local agency and societal transformation. Our discussion highlights what in this approach makes the use of scenarios empowering, beyond its participatory features. The capacity to use the future has a great potential for local agency, even if it does not guarantee that communities will have the power or the willingness to directly engage in actions. Nevertheless, this approach seems to be a promising avenue for making everyone a future-literate potential agent of change.

Read the full article here: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0040162517305413

The quiet rise of medium-scale farmers in Malawi

The Quiet Rise of Medium-Scale Farms in Malawi

Ward Anseeuw and John Kotsopoulos, along with Thomas Jayne and Richard Kachule published a paper on Land Vol 5, No19

 

Abstract

Medium-scale farms have become a major force in Malawi’s agricultural sector. Malawi’s most recent official agricultural survey indicates that these account for over a quarter of all land under cultivation in Malawi. This study explores the causes and multifaceted consequences of the rising importance of medium-scale farms in Malawi. We identify the characteristics and pathways of entry into farming based on surveys of 300 medium-scale farmers undertaken in 2014 in the districts of Mchinji, Kasungu and Lilongwe. The area of land acquired by medium-scale farmers in these three districts is found to have almost doubled between 2000 and 2015. Just over half of the medium-scale farmers represent cases of successful expansion out of small-scale farming status; the other significant proportion of medium-scale farmers are found to be urban-based professionals, entrepreneurs and/or civil servants who acquired land, some very recently, and started farming in mid-life. We also find that a significant portion of the land acquired by medium-scale farmers was utilized by others prior to acquisition, that most of the acquired land was under customary tenure, and that the current owners were often successful in transferring the ownership structure of the acquired land to a long-term leaseholding with a title deed. The study finds that, instead of just strong endogenous growth of small-scale famers as a route for the emergence of medium-scale farms, significant farm consolidation is occurring through land acquisitions, often by urban-based people. The effects of farmland acquisitions by domestic investors on the country’s primary development goals, such as food security, poverty reduction and employment, are not yet clear, though some trends appear to be emerging. We consider future research questions that may more fully shed light on the implications of policies that would continue to promote land acquisitions by medium-scale farms.

The article, which belongs to the “Special Issue Changing Land Use, Changing Livelihoods” can be downloaded here

Note: This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

The ATLANTIC FUTURE monograph – out now

The ATLANTIC FUTURE monograph entitled “Atlantic Future. Shaping a New Hemisphere for the 21st century: Africa, Europe and the Americas”, edited by Jordi Bacaria and Laia Tarragona, from CIDOB, has just been published in March 2016. The book can be downloaded on the ATLANTIC FUTURE website.

The monograph provides a synthesis of the ATLANTIC FUTURE project, along with its main results and an update on the research work carried out over the past three years of the project. The monograph, which forms part of the project’s outreach goal, is intended to reach an interested public, academics and political and economic decision-makers, who will be able to see the Atlantic Space as a laboratory for globalisation and the multilateral solutions required to face the world’s new challenges.

GovInn senior researcher Frank Mattheis, together with Anna Ayuso and Elina Viilup, contributed the chapter “Regional Cooperation, Interregionalism and Governance in the Atlantic”, covering the complex network of Atlantic governance from an interregional perspective as well as of the convergence and divergences occurring in this space.

Camilla Adelle has written an article for Public Money and Management (Volume 36, Issue 2, 2016, 89-96)

Title: “Regulatory impact assessment: a survey of selected developing and emerging economies”

 

Abstract: This paper reports on a survey of regulatory impact assessment (RIA) in 16 developing and emerging economies. RIA was playing an increasing role in these countries: eight had introduced RIA in the past 10 years; one had recently redesigned its existing RIA system; another had a long-standing RIA system in place. However, RIA was at an early stage of development in the majority of cPublic Money and Managementases and six countries did not practise RIA.

 

 

Read the full paper on Public Money and Management