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2012: Volume 43

No: 2
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Edited by: Alan Nicol, Lyla Mehta and Jeremy Allouche
March 2012

This IDS Bulletin looks back at the legacy of the UN’s New Delhi 1990 global consultation and the Dublin Conference that followed, assessing their meaning and significance, and challenging the wider global water and sanitation community to rethink approaches and emphases, shifting from targets and pronouncement to sustainability and local knowledge, in the context of 2015, the 6th World Water Forum and Rio+20 in 2012. Under the slogan, ‘Some for All Rather than More for Some’, the New Delhi Statement was expected to set a course for the global community to follow in the 1990s.

Articles in this issue derive from Liquid Dynamics II, a STEPS Water and Sanitation Symposium, which brought together current thinkers and past architects of the Statement, as well as academics and those deeply involved in current policy and practice. The notion of Liquid Dynamics helps us address interdisciplinary perspectives and practical action to tackle upfront the challenges of sustainability, uncertainty and social justice in water and sanitation access.

These dynamics have often been ignored in conventional policy approaches, with water and sanitation debates disconnected from the everyday needs of the poor. In 2015, the UN Freshwater Decade will have ended and the MDG targets will come under a critical spotlight – a global policy juncture. We hope that the underlying message of this IDS Bulletin – that it is vital not to forget the past and rush to new futures – will become part of global public discourse in the coming post-MDG world. Understanding how we have arrived at the current situation is key to understanding future pathways to more effective global collective action.

No: 1
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Edited by: Mariz Tadros
January 2012

How do we explain the way in which change unfolded in the wake of the recent Egyptian uprisings? What can this tell us about the success or failure of related development policies? This IDS Bulletin contributes to our understanding of why and how the uprisings began, and their implications for development paradigms, concepts and practices.

In view of the politically volatile and dynamic situation on the ground, this issue neither provides an historical account of ongoing political struggles, nor does it assess impact or seek to predict outcomes. Rather, it analyses that moment when people revolted – when the tipping point was reached. The aim of this IDS Bulletinis to bring new empirical and conceptual insights on pathways of political and social change to an audience of development, area studies and democratisation academics, policy actors and practitioners who wish to interrogate the methodological and paradigmatic nuances of that rupture with the status quo.

The focus of this IDS Bulletin is, on the whole, Egypt, although many of the articles have strong resonances with Tunisia, Yemen and other countries in the region and beyond. The issue is distinctive in its engagement with the Egyptian revolt in its examination of the development theory, policy and practice nexus and in the selection of contributors on the basis of their positionality. Contributors are Egyptians who have one leg in activism and one leg in the policy-influencing arena, and whose perspectives are not commonly conveyed in mainstream academia. This is in effect one modest step to reverse the trend of bias in favour of the 'experts' from the West, to give the floor to local voices, not only academics but also activists and practitioners.


2011: Volume 42

No: 6
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Edited by: Stephen Devereux, Christophe Béné, Deepta Chopra, Keetie Roelen, Dolf te Lintelo, Rachel Sabates-Wheeler and Gabriele Köhler
November 2011

The articles in this IDS Bulletin are drawn from a conference hosted by the Centre for Social Protection at IDS in April 2011. They elaborate the linkages between social protection and social justice, to identify opportunities for operationalising the 'transformative' aspects of social protection and to strengthen the case for integrating social protection into broader social policy. Social protection is not only about installing safety nets and alleviating poverty, it also has profound implications for social relations and for local, national and global governance.

The articles in this collection address the perception that insufficient attention has been paid to the politics of social protection, to addressing not just poverty and shocks but structural vulnerabilities and socioeconomic inequalities, and to social protection's relationship with social justice outcomes. 'Social protection plus’ is needed to upgrade projects and programmes from discretionary social assistance to claims-based entitlements.

This 'social protection for social justice' agenda demands an explicitly political approach, driven both from the top and by civil society activism from below. Social protection has been the development success story of the past decade. Not only are social protection programmes extending their coverage across the world, they are increasingly becoming claims-based and justiciable, empowering individuals and communities, and building social contracts between states and citizens. It is important going forward to protect the gains made and ensure that they become permanent and irreversible entitlements. This is a vital next step towards ensuring that social protection becomes an effective instrument for achieving social justice for all.

No: 5
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Edited by: Lawrence Haddad Naomi Hossain, Allister J. McGregor and Lyla Mehta
September 2011

The major global crises of the past four years have collectively had a dramatic impact on people's lives and livelihoods – but have they also had a large impact on core ideas underlying mainstream development?

This is the question addressed by the Reimaging Development initiative in this issue of the IDS Bulletin. IDS researchers, students and partners build a more grounded view of the crises' effects and bring in new ideas emerging from different sectors in their wake. They also ask, 'What are the enablers and barriers to reimagining?' The articles in this issue are think pieces, often reflecting on very specific events, from thevarious sites in the initiative.

Overall the analysis illustrates how difficult it is to get away from 'business as usual'. While human kind has made great advances in reducing poverty and diseaseand in promoting freedoms over the past 50 years, the work is only part done. Still too many people lack justice, rights and material wellbeing and they must not be forgotten. The issue suggests that we must keep challenging our assumptionsand theories of change about development. Because ideas, institutions and interests are rarely aligned we must be ready to advance human wellbeing whenthey are. This means building reimagining into our everyday work and into our professional relationships by investing in processes that support wild ideas, horizon scanning and reflective practice. In the future, we must not confine reimagining to key moments, however important they may seem.

No: 4
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Edited by: Ian Scoones and John Thompson
June 2011

This IDS Bulletin takes one element of a bigger debate - the future of cereal seed systems in Africa - and examines some of the challenges, dilemmas, prospects and possibilities for the future, deploying an explicitly critical analytical lens to look at the political economy of seed systems in Africa's Green Revolution.

It asks: ‘What interests frame the dominant narratives driving this policy agenda? What alternatives are excluded as a consequence? Who gains and who loses? And what processes of agrarian change are promoted as a result?'

As calls for a ‘Uniquely African Green Revolution' gain momentum, a focus on seeds and seed systems is rising up the agricultural policy agenda. Much of the debate stresses the technological or market dimensions, with substantial investments being made in seed improvement and the development of both public and private sector delivery systems. But this misses out the political economy of policy processes behind this agenda: whose interests are being served?

This IDS Bulletin, with its central emphasis on cereal seed systems, focuses on the under-addressed political-economic dimensions that have hindered the emergence and spread of lasting improvements in agricultural productivity. It examines how the new Green Revolution in Africa is unfolding in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi and Zimbabwe, highlighting both the diversity of experiences and the common challenges and pitfalls. Moving beyond the generic hype of much policy discussion, the articles in this collection draw out historical lessons, as well as contemporary experiences from the field.

The issue builds on a collaborative research project carried out during 2009-11 under the auspices of the Future Agricultures Consortium, a partnership of African and UK researchers working on African agricultural policy issues.


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