Monday, 26 April 2010

TOWARDS A NEW POLITICS OF SUSTAINABILITY

Today on the IDS website, Prof Melissa Leach, STEPS Centre Director, suggests new approaches to sustainable development, drawing on themes in Dynamic Sustainabilities, the new book in our Pathways to Sustainability series.

Taking Dynamics Seriously: Towards a New Politics of Sustainability

"On the one hand, there is wide recognition of growing complexity and dynamism, but on the other hand, there appears to be an ever-more urgent search for big, technically-driven managerial solutions. When these solutions falter in the face of local dynamics and uncertainties, the response is often to implement them with greater force, or to blame locals or critics - rather than to question the underlying assumptions.

The result can be a cycle that narrows options, excludes alternative and dissenting voices, and fails to learn from mistakes."

Taking Dynamics Seriously: Towards a New Politics of Sustainability
Dynamic Sustainabilties: Buy from Earthscan
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NEW BOOK: DYNAMIC SUSTAINABILITIES

Our new book, Dynamic Sustainabilities: Technology, Environment, Social Justice, by Melissa Leach, Ian Scoones and Andy Stirling, is out today, published by Earthscan.

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Linking environmental sustainability with poverty reduction and social justice, and making science and technology work for the poor, have become central practical, political and moral challenges of our times. These must be met in a world of rapid, interconnected change in environments, societies and economies, and globalised, fragmented governance arrangements. Yet despite growing international attention and investment, policy attempts often fail. Why is this, and what can be done about it? How might we understand and address emergent threats from epidemic disease, or the challenges of water scarcity in dryland India? In the context of climate change, how might seed systems help African farmers meet their needs, and how might appropriate energy strategies be developed?

This book lays out a new 'pathways approach' to address sustainability challenges such as these in today's dynamic world. Through an appreciation of dynamics, complexity, uncertainty, differing narratives and the values-based aims of sustainability, the pathways approach allows us to see how some approaches are dominant, even though they do not produce the desired results, and how to create successful alternative 'pathways' of responding to the challenges we face.

As well as offering new ways of thinking about sustainability, the book also suggests a series of practical ways forward - in tools and methods, forms of political engagement, and styles of knowledge-making and communication. Throughout the book, the practicalities of the pathways approach are illustrated using four case studies: water in dryland India, agricultural seeds in Africa, responses to epidemic disease and energy systems/climate change.
"Dynamic Sustainabilities" is the second title in our Pathways to Sustainability series, published by Earthscan - the first title, on Avian Flu, was out last week. Read more

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

ERIK MILLSTONE ON FOOD SECURITY IN THE SUNDAY TIMES

Two days ago the Sunday Times carried a briefing on "Environment, Sustainability and the Food Supply Challenge". The supplement includes an interview with Erik Millstone, STEPS Centre Food and Agriculture Co-convenor, on food security.


"Poor farmers should not be thought as entrepreneurs looking for risky investments. They are householders looking to diminish their risk."

Read it online: Environment, Sustainability and the Food Supply Challenge


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NEW BOOK: AVIAN INFLUENZA: SCIENCE, POLICY AND POLITICS

Our new book, Avian Influenza: Science, Policy and Politics, edited by Ian Scoones, is out today. Earthscan books is offering a 20% discount (see link below).

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This new book lays out the lessons from the international avian influenza response, and suggests a way forward based on ‘One World, One Health’ principles. The book is based on an analysis of the politics of policy process, both at the international level, and in four countries in South East Asia: Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.

The book is part of our Pathways to Sustainability Series.


To coincide with the launch of the book and this week's International Ministerial Conference on Animal and Pandemics Influenza, in Hanoi, Vietnam, Ian Scoones has written about Responding to Pandemics Threats.

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Thursday, 15 April 2010

CANCELLED: STEPS AT GENEVA HEALTH FORUM: 19-21 APRIL

Our events have been cancelled due to the travel disruption.

The theme of this year's Geneva Health Forum is "Globalization, Crisis, and Health Systems: Confronting Regional Perspectives". The STEPS Centre is working with its affiliate partner Future Health Systems to run and take part in several events at the Forum.

More info: STEPS at the Geneva Health Forum

To find out more about our health work, see our page on Epidemics research. Read more

BRIGHTON MANIFESTO ROUNDTABLE AND DEBATE: VIDEO, PHOTOS, SLIDES

We've just published a bunch of video, photos etc from the Brighton Manifesto roundtable from March 15. The public debate which followed, with local political candidates, is also available to view.

Video, slides, photos: Manifesto roundtable
Video: Public debate - Innovation, Sustainability, Development: A Manifesto for Brighton & Hove?

The film is courtesy of Brighton & Hove City Council's Democratic Services team.

The roundtables have been going on all over the world - for more information, see the New Manifesto website.

Innovation, Sustainability, Development: A New Manifesto
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