Producing enough food for a rapidly growing population, and taking care of our planet are two of the world's biggest challenges.
Displaying 1-20 of 45 key documents
Source: UN University | April 2012
This online book aims to offer insight into development issues related to climate change and indigenous peoples that can be useful in policymaking. It provides an overview of more than 400 relevant projects, case studies and research activities.
Different sections cover climate and environmental changes, including local observations, and the impact of these changes on indigenous communities. The book also outlines mitigation and adaptation strategies — based on traditional knowledge and survival skills — that are being implemented by them.
The authors highlight that climate change effects reported by indigenous people include loss of livelihoods; land degradation; impacts on food security; health issues; and water shortages that can affect agriculture, infrastructure, forestry and energy amongst others areas.
Source: UNU-MERIT | June, 2011
This paper describes two case studies of smallholder farms in South Africa to assess the processes involved in agricultural innovation carried out jointly with farmers. It highlights the importance of experimentation and cooperation for cash crop and subsistence farmers, and reviews current policies to evaluate how grassroots innovation is being supported in South Africa.
The paper points to inadequate policy support for grassroots innovation. It outlines the characteristics of innovation systems including social contexts, learning cycles and self-reflection, and discusses intellectual property rights. The authors identify triggers for innovation, including the potential to cut down on labour, and suggest that policymakers and local communities need to engage in cooperative activities to create an enabling environment for grassroots innovation. Policy suggestions include creating links between formal and informal research and viewing collaboration as a key indicator of success.
Source: Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change (CSACC) | March 2012
This report lays out a set of policy recommendations for the sustainable intensification of agriculture and reduction of food waste to create a resilient global food system. Based on a review of scientific evidence, it pinpoints seven actions that policymakers — including those attending the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) — should adopt to foster sustainable agriculture and efficient food supply chains.
Recommendations include integrating food security and sustainable agriculture into global and national policies;
intensifying agricultural production while reducing negative environmental impacts; and creating comprehensive, shared, integrated information systems.
This policy roadmap will require the reshaping of food production, distribution and consumption patterns, and empowering vulnerable populations to build a sustainable global food system.
Source: Pew Environment Group | October 2011
This policy paper focuses on the depletion of fisheries in the past 20 years, and the urgent need for governments to implement existing policies within the sustainable development framework put forward at the Earth Summit in 1992. It highlights gaps in ocean management, and aims to inform discussions and negotiations in the run-up to the Rio+20 conference in June 2012.
The authors urge the international community to implement commitments made as part of the Earth Summit, the World Summit on Sustainable Development, the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Millennium Development Goals. They also identify eight additional areas for action by the international community as part of a 'pathway to a green economy'.
The paper singles out marine fisheries and marine biodiversity as two key elements of discussions at Rio+20, and argues that there can be no green economy without a blue economy and sustainable marine ecosystems.
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) | March 2011
This policy guide, published by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, lays out the key requirements for developing effective and efficient smallholder seed enterprises, and how the process can be supported through policy. It argues that the best way to ensure production and distribution of quality seed in developing countries may be to support smallholder seed enterprises, but this approach can only succeed if the right policies and capacities are in place.
The report gives an overview of each stage of the evolution of the seed sector and possible interventions, as well as priority activities for policy support at each stage. These may include national policies to encourage linkages between research, quality control and financial systems that can support local smallholders in taking over seed production from the public sector. It outlines specific requirements for the establishment and sustainable operation of smallholder seed enterprises.
Source: International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) | September 2011
This report presents two case-studies that illustrate problems arising from subsidising fertiliser and electricity for groundwater irrigation in India — a policy put in place in the 1960s to boost food production and food security. It aims to analyse why subsequent reforms of these policies have done little to resolve economic and environmental problems; identify reforms that could prove successful; and outline political processes that could help achieve them.
Using India's experience, it highlights political challenges of using subsidy policies that could also be relevant to other countries.
This analysis is based on a literature review and interviews with stakeholders. The report also presents the conceptual framework, and gives an overview of fertiliser policy in India: how it has evolved, the stakeholders involved in the political process, and the policy implications of subsidy reform. Case-studies of electricity supply in Andhra Pradesh and Punjab are used to demonstrate policy reform feasibility.
The report concludes that for both electricity supply and fertiliser policies, various reforms could be adopted that are unlikely to face significant political obstacles. It argues that experimental and research-based knowledge could be used more effectively.
Source: Swedish Water House
This policy brief, published by the Swedish Water House, suggests options for promoting water management strategies that can ensure sustainable water supplies in the face of climate change. The authors present an overview of climate change impacts on water resources and point to examples of successful water management. They highlight the need to tailor practices to local contexts and conditions.
Source: WHO | 2009
This study, jointly carried out by the WHO and the UK Department for International Development, investigates the impacts of climate change on drinking water and sanitation in developing countries and describes the technology available to mitigate these. It presents five major conclusions for policymakers that highlight the need to increase resilience to climate variability and invest in targeted research to fill 'technology gaps'.
Source: Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) | November 2008
This information briefing, published by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), focuses on the implications of different country circumstances for measuring and monitoring forest degradation within activities for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD).
The authors introduce forest degradation as a set of activities that can have different driving forces than deforestation, highlighting the fact that forests can remain degraded for a long time before becoming deforested. Degradation is typically caused by selective logging, fire and fuel wood collection.
The authors discuss monitoring, reporting and verifying (MRV) options for projects aiming to reduce forest degradation, emphasising the need to consider changes in both forest area and average carbon stocks per unit area. Based on a framework for forest transition with varying rates of deforestation and degradation, the relative importance for including degradation within REDD mechanisms for different countries is also outlined.
The briefing concludes that although monitoring and measuring degradation is more complicated than deforestation, developing a flexible MRV framework for including degradation in REDD mechanisms could be important for international equity. In particular, they expect that many African countries could benefit from the inclusion of degradation within REDD frameworks.
Source: Global Canopy Programme | December 2008
This policy brief, published by the Global Canopy Programme, proposes a system called Proactive Investment in Natural Capital (PINC), to reward countries for conserving large areas of tropical forest that act as 'global utilities' providing ecosystem services essential for preserving global food and energy security.
The authors suggest that the system, could complement current proposals for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD). They argue that REDD could encourage countries with historically low deforestation rates to destroy their forests. They point out that if REDD successfully brings deforestation rates down — to zero eventually — then in the long-term, countries will not be able to receive payments for reducing deforestation.
The alternative, PINC, would build on existing systems that pay for ecosystem services, such as eco-certification, although scaling-up funding for standing forests is still a challenge, say the authors. To be effective, PINC requires capacity building and improved governance across the world. Land tenure reform will be needed in many countries, as will local participation in decision making and training in forest management. But, if appropriately designed, PINC could provide local communities with co-benefits such as poverty alleviation and biodiversity conservation.
Source: WRI | March 2009
This policy paper, published by the World Resources Institute (WRI), suggests a range of sustainable development policies within frameworks for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD).
The authors argue that there can be significant barriers to countries providing guaranteed quantified measures of emissions reductions for use in carbon trading schemes. They propose that a broader range of sustainable development policies and measures, such as building institutional capacity to reduce fires or combat illegal logging, should be included within REDD measures.
The authors recommend that developed countries encourage developing nations to reduce forest degradation, including measures that do not produce tradable carbon credits, and support a range of approaches to measure, report and verify nationally appropriate mitigation actions.
Further work is urgently needed, they say, to develop and refine these approaches, including specifying acceptable metrics, determining how to make different countries' activities comparable, and exploring alternative sources of sustainable funding.
Source: WHO/UNEP | 2008
This report highlights the key findings of the Health and Environment Linkages Initiative, set up by the WHO and UN Environment Programme to identify ways of integrating environment and health considerations into decision-making. The report outlines the ways in which health and environment linkages are usually defined and framed by policymakers, and describes the most common institutional and political barriers they face.
A review of formal impact assessment tools is given, along with a 'menu of options' for good practice application of impact assessment. The report highlights the importance of measuring the impacts of decisions made in terms that can be understood by policymakers. And it offers guidance on how to combine health and environment issues with economic considerations, describing real-world experiences from Jordan, Thailand and Uganda.
Source: National Environment Commission, Royal Government of Bhutan | May 2006
Bhutan's National Adaptation Programme of Action was established to ascertain the country's particular vulnerabilities to climate change. The report gives a background on Bhutan's geography, economic situation, and climate trends, recognising its fragile mountain ecosystems, high dependency on monsoon rains for agriculture and hydropower, and the threat of glacier lake outburst floods as major climate change vulnerabilities.
The report describes the process of assessing vulnerabilities and then developing key adaptation strategies to address them. During consultations with political and community stakeholders, the best possible adaptation strategies were agreed upon and specific projects prioritised.
Strategies that will directly help vulnerable communities were chosen, including disaster management planning, the lowering of glacial lakes, watershed management, weather forecasting and flood damage prevention. A detailed profile of each project, its cost, and how it will be implemented is given.
The report recognises that without these measures, advancement in rural development, health, education and infrastructure made over the past 40 years will fast deteriorate.
Source: A consortium led by the University of Leeds
This policy review gives an account of community forestry programmes in Nepal, and the influence that institutions and policy initiatives have had on their progress.
The report tracks the evolution of forest management policies, listing key existing legislation and the circumstances in which they were formulated. The report also covers the role institutions have had in implementing these policies.
The authors highlight the links between forest management and local people, and how forest management policies have impacted on their livelihoods and poverty levels.
The report also reviews ongoing projects, and suggests future trends in forest management policy.
Source: African Union | April 2001
The African Union (AU) developed the African Model Law on Safety in Biotechnology to help countries across the continent fulfil their obligations under the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and manage related issues.
The AU encourages the development of a common position on biosafety regulation (see AU Biosafety Project) across the continent. It does not have the authority to legislate on behalf of its members — but it promotes the Model Law as a framework for individual countries to use in creating their own laws and institutions.
The Model Law is being revised through an ongoing consultation process before submission to AU governments for possible adoption at national level.
Source: UN Environment Programme–Global Environment Facility | December 2006
This analysis looks at lessons learnt from the 132 countries that participated in a UN and Global Environment Facility project supporting developing countries to design and implement national biosafety frameworks.
The report examines how participating countries tailored their regulations to meet national development priorities, policy contexts and legal and institutional frameworks. It describes different approaches to promoting public awareness, education and participation. A key message is the need to include all relevant stakeholders in the regulatory design and implementation.
This report may help other policymakers design biosafety regulations of their own and demonstrates how national priorities can be balanced against international obligations.
Source: International Food Policy Research Institute | June 2006
This collection of seven policy briefs summarises recent research on the potential for transgenic improvement of banana and maize crops in East Africa. It is part of a series of briefings produced by the International Food Policy Research Institute and two other centres.
The collection provides a helpful overview of practical and inter-disciplinary research relevant to the two crops, and highlights key issues for evaluating the potential application of genetically modified technology.
The first article introduces the collection and highlights key issues. Subsequent articles assess the systems for disseminating new planting material and gauge the potential demand for transgenic banana and maize varieties in the region.
The last three articles look at biosafety risks and crop biodiversity.
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization | 2003
This document summarises the ninth email conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization's e-forum on biotechnology, which took place from 28 April to 1 June 2003. The conference focused on the regulation of genetically modified organisms in the developing world. Forty-four participants from 20 countries contributed to the discussion. About half of these were from developing countries.
The topics raised during the conference included resource and capacity issues, approaches to risk assessment and management, the desirability and practicality of harmonising international regulations, public participation, liability and enforcement. The summary contains links to a full archive, where readers can access the original messages.
The breadth of topics covered makes this e-conference a useful starting-point for anyone wanting a quick summary of the key issues arising from the regulation of genetically modified organisms in developing countries, and gives a good idea of the areas of consensus and disagreement.
Source: UN Convention to Combat Desertification | 2006
This report describes how the UN Convention to Combat Desertification is being implemented in 10 African countries. In particular, it shows how ordinary citizens, nongovernmental organisations and traditional authorities are integral to implementing the convention's provisions. But the report also emphasises the need to work alongside national governments and expert communities as well as bilateral and multilateral donor agencies such as the World Bank and the Global Environment Facility.
Examples in the report include a project to restore a 1.2 million-year old forest in Djibouti and a project for establishing a community desertification trust fund in Kenya. The report also looks at how women took the lead in a tree-planting project to first slow down and then reverse land degradation in Ghana, and further examines the role women played in formulating new environmental laws in Zimbabwe.
Source: International Journal of Technology and Globalisation | 2006
This special issue of the International Journal of Technology and Globalisation includes nine articles by prominent researchers and policy analysts. The papers emerged from a research project entitled Making Biotechnology Work for Human Development.
As the editor, Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, explains, the articles focus on how diffusion of GM crops in developing countries is being shaped by both global and local institutions (including markets and regulations), actors and processes.
The volume covers a range of important issues, including intellectual property rights, international trade, benefits and risks, impacts on small farmers, the role of the private sector and the costs of regulatory compliance. It sheds new light on both current trends and future prospects for genetically modified crop development and commercialisation in the South.