Over the last decade, African economies recorded impressive economic growth rates. Economic growth remains vigorous and growth is forecasted to be 5.5% in 2013-2014 in Sub-Saharan Africa. Today, almost a third of the countries in the region are growing at 6% or more. African countries are now routinely among the fastest growing countries in the world (World Bank, 2013). Despite the remarkable economic performance, Africa has the world’s highest proportion of poor people and is off track to meeting key MDGs (ECA, 2014). It is also projected that the continent’s population will increase by approximately 800 million people by 2040, putting even more pressure on natural resources. The challenge confronting the region therefore is not only to maintain, but to translate the rapid economic growth into sustained and inclusive development, based on economic diversification that creates jobs, contributes to reduced inequality and poverty, and enhances access to basic services. This underlies the renewed calls by countries for a structural transformation that fosters sustained and inclusive economic growth (Lin, 2012). Rodrik(2013) notes that while East Asian countries grew rapidly and turned their farmers into manufacturing workers, diversified their economies, and exported a range of increasingly sophisticated goods, little of that is taking place in Africa today.
In recent years, debates have strongly resurfaced whether it is at all possible to approach sustainability within an economic, social and political system that places the idea of growth in the centre of attention. Many envision – including the present authors – that solutions to such complex issues can now only be handled by finding suitable transition paths to alternative paradigms and institutional
settings moving beyond the concept of economic growth. The idea of a steady-state or de-growth economy does not project the idea of a stationary state (Daly, 1977; Kallis et al, 2012). In such an economy, the combination and ratio of the four value-producing capitals (natural, social, human, and man-made) would also be continuously changing, only welfare would rely more on the qualitative gratification and less on the quantitative expansion of material and energy-intensive transformations. However, the most challenging question is how this transition from our current economic paradigm to a non-growth oriented economy can take place and what policy measures may support this transition.
This brief is based on the experience and results of a backcasting research project conducted in Hungary in 2012-2013. Backcasting is a preferred method in transition management – particularly with regard to sustainability issues – as it facilitates the deliberation of complex socio-economic issues and enables participants to think freely outside the realms of present cognitive frames
and still find adequate, future-oriented policy answers (Robinson et al, 2011). As opposed to the extrapolation of the present trends used in forecasting, backcasting starts with the establishment of a normative vision of the future and tracks its way back from this vision to currently feasible policies providing a bridge between the desired future and the present state. In the case of this particular
Hungarian backcasting exercise sustainable employment scenarios were developed and policy recommendations were determined for reaching such a desired future (Köves et al, 2013a; Köves et al, 2013b).
At the international level, financial markets affect global investments of the different countries. Meanwhile, global investments impact the imports, exports, global employment, labour and demand for products and services worldwide. According to the International Monetary Fund Report (2011), the global market has been
vulnerable to the risks caused by certain financial, economic and political conditions. ‘Markets may lose patience and become disorderly if political developments derail momentum on fiscal consolidation and financial repair and reform’ (IMF, 2011).
On the other hand, the focus now of the individuals in the global society has been on how to have a higher financial capital. Income diversification is one of the strategies that can help to achieve this end (Kasem,2007). In particular, this would be through diversifying on-farm and off-farm activities especially in the rural
areas. In addition, according to the study of DeMurger (2010), the factors that affected the income diversification of households in northern China included education, migration, household position asset position and working resources, labor force and availability of local credit institutions. Moreover, income diversification also depends on one’s location, practices and the demand for labor. However, the farmers and indigenous peoples who are living in rural areas of
the different countries have been continually struggling to diversify their sources of income without losing their lands. These same situations were evident in the findings of Lopez and Sierra (2011) about the indigenous Jivaroan cultivation systems of Western Amazonia and in the study of Himley (2009) about conservation, interventions and struggles of rural Andean communities to assert territorial authority and to consolidate their livelihoods’ where social capital also plays an important role (Himley, 2009).
The Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)[IPCC, 2013 & 2014] underscores the dangers to human well-being of a business-as-usual scenario where average global temperatures rise by 4°C or more. Governments around the world have adopted the target of keeping the global rise in mean surface temperature below 2°C compared with the preindustrial average [UNFCCC,
2010]. This target translates into a limitation on global cumulative emissions of approximately 1,000 GtCO2 during the transition to a net-zero emission economy. Yet, current voluntary pledges – even if fully implemented – fall short of what is needed. According to the UNEP Emission Gap Report, existing commitments to reduce emissions are 8 to 10 GtCO2e below the minimum needed in 2020 to retain a 66% chance of staying within 2°C [UNEP, 2014].
As a benchmark for the transition to be implemented, global per capita emissions will need to fall to less than 2 tCO2e by 2050, where developed nations currently range from approximately 10 to 20 tCO2e per capita today [DDPP, 2014]. Realizing such a reduction in emissions requires unprecedented problem solving on all fronts: technological diffusion and innovation, infrastructure building, financing mechanisms, policy frameworks, institutional arrangements, business models, and consumer behavior. This problem solving is best organized around coherent visions of the required transformation, which take the form of deep decarbonization pathways (DDPs) to 2050.
To make a strong and convincing case for action at the national level, DDPs must be country-specific and developed by local experts. They need to fit within countries’ development strategies and align with their socioeconomic and environmental goals. They need to demonstrate that the short- and long-term challenges countries face, such as economic development, poverty eradication and job creation can be addressed in parallel to deep decarbonization. However, few countries have created such pathways. The Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP) offers an approach to develop such analysis.
Este resumen se respalda en el marco teórico del trabajo de tesis doctoral que se encuentra realizando la autora para la carrera de Doctorado en Ciencias Económicas de la Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Córdoba-Argentina. El objetivo del presente es mostrar la relación existente entre los aspectos señalados teniendo como base los tres principios de la sustentabilidad: económico, social y ambiental.
FabLabs are open high-tech workshops where individuals have the opportunity to develop and produce custom-made things which are not accessible by conventional industrial scale technologies (Knips et al., 2014)
FabLabs are organized in a global network of local labs, enabling invention by providing access to tools for rapid digital fabrication (FabFoundation, 2013). Fab labs offer the possibility of digital fabrication and rapid prototyping (especially additive manufacturing) for projects in the fields of science, education
and sustainable development (ICTPScientificFabLab, 2014).
Global economic and social development over the last two centuries has been largely achieved through intensive, inefficient and unsustainable use of the earth’s finite resources. Over the course of the 20th century global resource extraction and use increased by around a factor of 89. Global population grew around half as fast and GDP grew at a significantly higher rate (by a factor of 23). Given a world population that grows by 200,000 people each day and especially a rapidly growing global “middle class” associated with resource-intensive consumption patterns, the demand for natural resources will continue to increase. According to the Global Footprint Network, if current economic and production trends persist, we will need the equivalent of two Earths to support us by 2030.
The global challenge today is to lift one billion people out of absolute poverty and to set the pathway for meeting the needs of nine billion people in 2050 while keeping climate change, biodiversity loss and health threats within acceptable limits (“planetary boundaries”). For present and future well-being, there is a need to achieve sustainable resource management by decoupling natural resource use and environmental impacts from human well-being.
Industrial Development can be driven by policies in countries of origin, countries of destination, corporations own initiatives and by international institutions. In this note we focus on the role of industrial agencies and policy within nations. The latter, particularly if implemented widely across nations, is the most direct pathway to sustainable industrial development.
Accessing water for productive agricultural use remains a challenge for millions of poor smallholder farmers, who constitute the majority of producers in sub-Saharan Africa (sSA). In 2006, 225 million hectares of land was cultivated in sSA. However, the total area equipped for irrigation was 7.2 million hectares, only 3.2% of the total cultivated area.
Hunger, malnutrition and poverty still persist, particularly in rural areas, despite recent growth in agricultural GDP. Improving access to water, while removing economic and institutional constraints, could enable millions of smallholder farmers to adopt irrigation and successfully grow their way out of poverty. At the same time, this action will reduce hunger and malnutrition.
Facilitating productivity gains by improving farmers’ access to water will help governments and international agencies to achieve many of the proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). There are four interrelated measures that will be of particular use. These are: increasing investment in sustainable water infrastructure (from small scale to large scale) and technologies to augment water supply; guaranteeing water and land rights for poor smallholder farmers, including women and young people; including smallholder farmers in viable value chains and improving their access to adequate financial and extension services and markets; and increasing water use efficiency and agricultural productivity. These measures are essential if sSA governments are to attain the SDGs of ending poverty and hunger, and achieving food security and improved nutrition by 2030.
The synthesis report of the Secretary-General on the post-2015 sustainable development agenda states that “innovation and investment in sustainable and resilient infrastructure, cities and settlements, industrialization, small and medium-sized enterprises, energy and technology can both generate employment and remedy negative environmental trends” (§ 73). The reform of Tanzania’s science, technology, and innovation (STI) system that got underway in 2008 under UNESCO leadership places this country in an excellent position to strengthen the energy and technology system as part of the post-2015 sustainable development agenda.
Industrial policy is back on the agenda and the consensus is that it must be different ‘this time’ from the past. Following Aiginger et al. (2013) we redefine industrial policy for industrialised countries as a strategy to promote ‘high-road competitiveness’, understood as the ability of an economy to achieve ‘Beyond-GDP’ Goals. ‘Highroad strategies’ are based on advanced skills, innovation, supporting institutions, ecological ambition and an activating social policy. This ‘new industrial policy’ is systemic, working in alignment with other policy strands and supporting social and environmental goals; it affects the structure of the economy as the whole not only the manufacturing sector. Shortterm actions, such as protecting employment in unviable companies, low prices for fossil fuels, or reducing wages in high-income economies are counterproductive. To pursue an industrial policy that targets society’s ultimate goals without public micromanagement will be challenging. It could be achieved (i) by setting incentives, particularly those impacting on technical progress (e.g. to make it less labour-saving and more energy-saving), (ii) by the use of the important role governments have in the education and research sectors, (iii) by greater public awareness and (iv) if consumer preferences will call for socio-ecological transition.
Decoupling of resources use from economic growth is one of the central challenges of pathways towards a sustainable future. In this context, industrial symbiosis holds huge potential. While increased resource efficiency is one of its central aspects, industrial symbiosis links to broader agendas in the fields of green economy, innovation, material and energy security, climate change, as well as local, regional and national welfare.
“Sustainable Development and open trade go hand in hand and the multilateral trading system helps to create the enabling environment for countries to realise the sustainable development and green economy vision. (World Trade Organisation 2011). Sustainable Development manifests itself into
economic, social and environmental issues to be solved by the countries by the following international environmental regulations. Trade and Sustainable Development is interlinked. Rio+20 (2012) conference seeks to promote it through open and equitable rulebased multilateral trading system which is nondiscriminatory and predictable and benefits all countries in the pursuit of Sustainable Development.
Sustainability and resilience are considered the base for reaching a balanced functioning of socio-ecological systems, facing internal conditions and external shocks. However, there is no agreement on how to get a good measure of both concepts to allow for managing local production systems in that sense. An interdisciplinary research group from seven universities in the Centre-West of Argentina, have developed an analytic-methodological proposal to
assess sustainability of local production systems, based on the concept of resilience of socio-ecological systems (RA, 2010). The result of its two-year research, a methodology for assessing sustainability of production systems is presented in this brief. The possibility for applying this methodology rests on a collaborative process between science and policy to improve resilience, and therefore sustainability of local production systems.
L’acceptabilité sociale est une expression qui a fait son apparence il y a quelques années et qui fait maintenant les manchettes à tous les jours. Né de la volonté de donner une voix aux populations marginalisées (disenfranchised) des pays du Tiers Monde, le concept a été introduit en Occident par des dirigeants de sociétés minières. Telle une espèce envahissante, il se propage via les médias sociaux et affaibli la démocratie représentative.
Dans ce récit, j’offre un éclairage d’avocate en droit de l’environnement sur le concept d’acceptabilité sociale ainsi que sur les inquiétudes qu’il suscite au niveau de la sécurité juridique et l’investissement en Occident….
Humanity faces many challenges in the field of sustainable development. Regardless of how sustainability is defined one subject that is very much underrepresented is the importance of electricity at the point of consumption. Electricity is the lifeblood of all modern societies, yet its continual flow is taken for granted. It is only when there is a power cut that we start to appreciate and realise how dependent our daily living standards are on the continuity of its supply. There are many things that can cause an interruption in supply, which can be either caused by humans or nature. In the UK many interruptions of the supply are localised, of a very short duration, are looked at as a minor glitch, and of bearable consequence. But when there is a widespread blackout due to a major incident, then the media and policy makers become vocal and responses are initiated to make the system more robust….
In many parts of the Global South, climate change will have substantial (negative) impacts on overall national development including country’s efforts to reduce poverty (Olsson et al., 2014). However, current climate adaptation efforts can be criticized for their limited incorporation of or focus on the “poverty reduction” aspect. These two concepts – poverty reduction and climate change adaptation – are often treated as two different issues among many scholars, policy makers, and practitioners, even though issues like poverty and inequality are the “most salient of the conditions that shape climate-related vulnerability” (Ribot, 2010:50). Therefore, climate adaptation efforts in developing countries can be criticized for not making meaningful and lasting impacts among the poor and marginalized citizens. Since poor and marginalized citizens are most vulnerable to climate impacts, it is critical for the developing nations in the Global South to have means to reduce their poverty along with meaningful climate adaptation efforts….
Pastoralism is a specialised form of natural resource management, adapted to ecosystems defined as marginal, characterised by a limited, variable and unpredictable agro-ecological resource endowment. These can vary from African dry lands to central Asian steppes to European mountains, to Andean plateaux. In order to make use of these territories, pastoralists critically rely on mobile livestock rearing; this is the factor that distinguishes them from other rural communities. Pastoralism is thus not only an economic activity aimed at animal production, but a while livelihood systems and a lifestyle in its own….
Forests account for about one-third of the total land area of the world (FAO 2010). They are essential for human wellbeing and have an important role in mitigating and adapting to climate change and ensuring the provision of crucial ecosystem services. While considerable attention has been devoted to advancing sustainable forest management (SFM) and forest conservation, deforestation and forest degradation continue in many locations and pressures on forestlands increase threatening the provision of forest-based goods and services. The sustainable management of forests is vital for achieving sustainable development and it is a critical element in advancing forest-related local development and poverty reduction in rural areas. However, to date the general principles and recommendations for advancing SFM provided by numerous publications and various international processes and organisations have not led to sufficient changes at the local level. To address this crucial problem this research aimed at identifying conditions that foster or hinder progress towards SFM and forest-related local development, based on the analyses of 27 case
studies from different parts of the world.