Tag Archives: Sustainable Development

Guest Roast: Building an inclusive model around extractive industries in Peru

Photo - Ricardo Morel_2By Ricardo Morel Berendson

The mining boom in Peru during the 1990s attracted private investment that led to current economic growth. However, this did not translate into sustainable development of the mining activities. The government has been absent in remote mining areas and, thus, corporations have been targeted as being responsible for attending to local communities’ demands and providing assistance. As a result, mining companies developed only short-term and interest-driven ‘socially responsible’ plans to continue operating. Not surprisingly, social conflict has been especially prevalent in the field of extractive industries. A shift from an extractive model to a more inclusive, participatory one—where governments and private companies work together with local communities—could create a virtuous circle of sustainable social development.

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INESAD News: Improving Government-Donor Coordination

One of INESAD’s specialties is to work together with the Bolivian Government and donors to facilitate the design of effective, efficient, and equitable development policies and projects in Bolivia. We are pleased to announce the latest example of this.

INESAD is currently partnering with the Danish Embassy to help them work with the government to formulate the Program for Integral and Sustainable Management of Forests and Energy in Bolivia for the period 2014-2018. This Program supports the Joint Mechanism of Mitigation and Adaptation for the Integral and Sustainable Management of Forests and Mother Earth with about US $26 million. It will also support the development of renewable energy sources in order to reduce the use of highly subsidized and contaminating diesel for the generation of energy in northern Bolivia. Read More »

Saemaul Undong: South Korea’s mark on international development

South Korea’s development over the past half-century has been one of the biggest successes in the world. Measured in terms of either economic wealth, or the Human Development Index (HDI) which considers factors such as education and life expectancy, South Korea’s rise has been phenomenal. The country which is currently renowned for hi-tech companies such as Samsung, and for being the home of ‘Gangnam Style‘, was, just 50 years ago, suffering from the aftermath of a bloody civil war and had a Gross National Income (GNI) per capita of just US$64.

A brief summary of the South Korea’s recent history sets the scene. Prior to World War II, Korea was ruled by Japanese imperialists. After the war, Japanese rule was replaced by the Soviet Union in the northern part of the country and the United States (U.S.) in the south. The northern rulers invaded the south in 1950, starting the three-year long Korean War which ended in the country being divided into North and South Korea. Kim Il-Sung took up the presidency of North Korea while South Korea came under the dictatorship of President Rhee Seung-Man. A military coup in 1961 led to General Park Chung-Hee taking the rule from President Rhee, and South Korea started the journey to rebuild itself. The results are astonishing: in 2011, the country’s GNI per capita was over US$28,000, putting it in 15th place in the list of world economies, and it also ranked 15 out of 187 countries in the Human Development Index that year. Read More »

Bolivia’s Best: An Interview With Oscar Saavedra Arteaga

Fifty five years ago, archaeologist, engineer and geologist Kenneth Lee discovered the ruins of an ancient civilization in the region of El Beni, in the northeast of Bolivia. The sophisticated technologies that were revealed by the excavated remains fascinated the academic community. One man in particular has spent the past several years developing an ancient agricultural system of camellones, used by this civilization, for modern use. This is a system that uses elevated fields, channels of water and aquaponics (cultivating plants and fish in the same water source) to protect crops from flooding, whilst fertilizing these in a natural way and increasing productivity compared to traditional industrial farming methods. The model has proved so successful in El Beni that the non-governmental organization (NGO) Oxfam has applied it in many African countries.

Today, to kick off Development Roast’s brand new ‘Bolivia’s Best’ interview series, we meet Oscar Saavedra, a Bolivian agroecologist and one of the founders of the Kenneth Lee Foundation who directs the camellones initiative under his own NGO, Amazonia Sostenible (Sustainable Amazonia) as well as his own business, Amazonia Services. Read More »

Development Goals – Wealth versus Happiness

Does money make you happy?

This question has been asked many times before, and has featured in many of this month’s Development Roast articles. The first post of the month asked ‘How poor do poor people feel?‘ The answer was that some of them don’t feel as poor as other (richer) people expect them to feel. This was followed by a Monday Graphics piece entitled ‘Is there more to life than money?‘ (In summary, ‘yes’). Then came ‘Masking Poverty: Why Poor People Like to Appear Rich‘, exploring how poor people in China feel better if they appear richer than they are, which necessitates having sufficient money to purchase the appropriate clothes. So in this case, money does indeed make these people feel happier. The next post was entitled ‘The Conundrum of Identifying the Poor‘, a discussion about the difficulty of identifying those who are most in need of aid. The most satisfying method for the community turned out to be for themselves to decide who are the poorest amongst them, since it most accurately identifies those that feel the poorest, even if they are not necessarily the ones with the least money or possessions.

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Why Science Matters for Development

 

My attention was recently caught by the website of a conference entitled ‘Science Against Poverty‘. It was held in Segovia, Spain, in 2010 with the aim “to convey a clear message to society on the contribution of science and innovation to the fight against poverty and exclusion.”

If you’re not a scientist, you may well wonder how science, and in particular fields such as physics, can contribute to poverty exclusion. (There are, in fact, entire conferences dedicated to this topic – see for instance the 2012 conference ‘Physics for Development‘). The fight against poverty is one in which emotions run high, everyone has their own opinion as to the best course of action, and it is impossible to detach oneself from the ‘human’ factor. As such, it may appear that this is no place for abstract science, and that diplomacy and empathy would be preferred over scientific objectivity.

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How ‘sustainable’ is sustainable development in the corporate world?

According to the 2005 World Summit on Social Development, sustainability requires the reconciliation of the three elements of economic, social and environmental endurance. Up until not too long ago, companies externalized costs to society and the environment and took advantage of cheaper and more convenient labour in their restless pursuit of profit.  However, activism and awareness campaigns by NGOs have encouraged consumers to demand more sustainable products and services. As a result, today, many companies proudly advertise their sustainable business practices. The ensuing policies of “corporate social responsibility” (CSR) are in part motivated  by the long-term financial savings sustainable businesses can make; however, they are also a marketing strategy aimed at convincing people that their money is being invested in something that is good for people and the planet. Read More »

Does Biological Preservation Prevail Over Cultural Sustainability? The Struggle of the Maya Center Community in a Modernizing World

With the highest concentration of jaguars in the world and an incredibly rich tropical biodiversity, the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary in Belize is an invaluable area not only for its scientific potential, but also due to the economic advantages of eco-tourism. Unfortunately, the installment of the wildlife sanctuary 25 years ago also meant that the inhabitants of Maya Center—a small Mopan Mayan village with a population of some 300 people located in the Stann Creek District in southern Belize—was subsequently prohibited from entering an area historically sacred to their culture. Does this mean that the new economic and scientific “necessities” prevail over the livelihoods and traditions of populations already living in the area?

In the early 1980’s, the Ministry of Natural Resources and the International Division of the New York Zoological Society began studying jaguar populations in the Cockscomb Basin after citrus farmers and hunting magazines reported sightings of jaguars in the area. Soon after the initial reports, scientific inquiries into the population of jaguars within the area resulted in the highest concentration ever recorded with estimates as high as 11 animals per 100 km². With eastern Belize dominated largely by a few wealthy citrus farmers, the establishment of a reserve was seen as a vital step to impeding and preserving the land from the increasing deforestation spawned by the citrus industry. More commonly known today as the Jaguar Reserve, the original 3,600 acres set aside in 1987 has expanded to encompass over 128,000 acres. Read More »

GUEST ROAST: The Battle for Green Growth—The New Politics of Sustainable Development

By Michael Jacobs

Over the past four years the concept of ‘green growth’ has burst onto the international policy scene. A term rarely heard before 2008, it now occupies a prominent position in the international policy discourse. The last two G20 Summits—international meetings of the heads of government of the largest 20 economies that began in response to the financial crash in 2008—declared their support for this goal.  The World Bank, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development  (OECD) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) are all now committed to it.  A new body, the Global Green Growth Institute, has been created to advise governments on its implementation. A whole panoply of green growth networks, forums and ‘knowledge platforms’ has sprung up.

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Can economics protect the environment?

When the last tree is cut down, the last fish eaten, and the last stream poisoned, you will realize that you cannot eat money,” Native American saying

“Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs,” Brundtland Report

It is undeniable that our current way of life is unsustainable; If every country consumed resources and created waste at the same per person rate as the United States, we would need three to five planets to survive. Part of the problem lies in the fact that economics—the major discipline advising global and national policy—has failed to include the environment in its calculations. To rectify this problem, different methods have been proposed, so as to make predictions and come up with better ways of managing the planet’s resources without compromising the future.

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