2011: Volume 42
Despite the inherently political nature of international negotiations on climate change, much of the theory, debate, evidence-gathering and implementation linking climate change and development assume a largely apolitical and linear policy process. As the issue continues to dominate agendas, it is timely to propose a new political economy of climate change and development in which explicit attention is given to the way that ideas, power and resources are conceptualised, negotiated and implemented by different groups at different scales.
We argue that in balancing effectiveness, efficiency and equity, climate change initiatives must explicitly recognise the political economy of their inputs, processes and outcomes. Political economy is defined here as the processes by which ideas, power and resources are conceptualised, negotiated and implemented by different groups at different scales. In applying this definition to climate change and development, we broaden the analysis from state-focused environmental politics to encompass interactions between the state, non-state actors. The growing importance of climate change in the development arena and the frequent assumption of linear policymaking and apolitical, techno-managerial solutions make the development of a new political economy emphasis vital to determining efficient, equitable and effective responses.
At the heart of current policy thinking about Africa there is a significant knowledge gap concerning governance and development. This IDS Bulletin concentrates on what can be done about that, drawing on the initial experience of a new research venture, the Africa Power and Politics Programme. The APPP is committed to discovering forms of governance that work better for development than those prescribed by the current ‘good governance' orthodoxy. It aims to do so chiefly by examining the range of post-colonial experience in sub-Saharan Africa focusing especially on under-appreciated patterns of difference in institutions and outcomes. A central challenge has been operationalising the working hypothesis that institutions function better when they ‘work with the grain' of the society which hosts them.
Governance reform in Africa has lost its way; the results of efforts to improve how African countries are ruled remain seriously insufficient (not only the episodes dominating media coverage, but also the everyday exercise of power). Below the apex of the national political systems and behind the headlines, in most parts of sub-Saharan Africa most of the time, governance is failing to work for development. Despite some economic growth, vital investments needed for this to be sustained and transformative don't take place. The better-off solve their livelihood problems privately, while for the majority life remains harsh, troubled and short.
The institutions that will work best for public goods provision and development in the African context are ones that have a local problem-solving character and build on relevant components of the available cultural repertoire.
This IDS Bulletin questions what the intersection of global, local and national politics means for policy and practice in the realm of religion and gender. It brings together scholars, scholar-activists and development practitioners to share their analyses of the critical challenges and opportunities that are transforming their realities today. A workshop at IDS in September 2010 took the debates further, leading to a series of interventions, shared in this issue.
One of the clear messages that emerged from both the workshop and these articles is that the current scholarly approach to the study of gender and religion is wanting - because it is locked in a binary framework of secularism vs religion, modernity vs tradition and moderates vs extremists. We need new lenses to engage with the complexities of the politics of gender, which means the deconstruction of the old, and greater conceptual clarity over what is meant by the religious and the secular.
This issue responds to the themes of religion, politics and women's equality in relation to the so-called ‘Muslim world'. Post-9/11 the international community has adopted a dual approach of fighting terrorism while also promoting a ‘religious' approach in its dealings with ‘the Muslim community'. Religion has also become an entry point in development policy and practice in the light of the entrenchment of neoliberal policies and the rise of identity politics as faith-based actors have been brought to centre stage. Some Western donors have also espoused an agenda of engaging with Muslim leaders while adopting a religious framework for advancing human rights in ‘Muslim communities'.
2010: Volume 41
At the Millennium Summit world leaders committed to reducing extreme poverty through a series of targets encompassed within the MDGs, with a deadline of 2015. One of these was to promote gender equality and empower women, and the ‘proportion of seats held by women in national parliament' was set as a key indicator. With the MDG Review Summit meeting in September 2010, this is an opportunity to consider whether the proportion of women in parliament continues to be the most adequate proxy for women's political empowerment. This IDS Bulletin explores what the quota has meant as a motorway to women's accession to political power by drawing on research findings from the Pathways of Women's Empowerment Research Programme Consortium (‘Pathways'), as well as a series of articles from a special seminar in the Brazilian National Congress as part of this programme, and contributions from other country case studies. The aim of the issue is to bring new insights from the programme and beyond to an audience of development academics and policy actors who have become familiar with the proliferation of different forms of affirmative action, but who are interested in interrogating the politics behind the quotas in all their complexity and nuances. It questions motivations behind adopting quotas, discusses different political pathways of breaking through the ceiling for women to reach political office (with or without quotas); and raises questions such as who benefits from the quota as a fast track option, and what kind of gender agendas do the women who have come to power via the quota espouse and advocate?