Latest Issues

Reframing Climate and Environmental Justice

Volume 53 Number 4 December 2022

Edited by: Amber Huff and Lars Otto Naess

Despite a growing focus on the justice dimensions of climate and environmental change, this issue of the IDS Bulletin argues that there are still ‘blind spots’ in dominant mainstream approaches to climate and environmental justice. These approaches share a tendency to place growth, not ecology, nor climate, and certainly not justice, at the heart of the international policy agenda.  

The articles in this issue bring together a range of empirically grounded studies that add to – and challenge – some of the dominant views and approaches, and unearth some key ‘hidden’ aspects of the justice dimensions of climate and environmental change. In particular, this IDS Bulletin highlights three major ‘blind spots’ in climate and environmental justice debates: a persistent failure to recognise diverse contexts and knowledges; continuing failure to sufficiently appreciate the deep-seated contestations around climate and environmental justice; and the risks associated with ‘recovery’ and ‘emergency’ mindsets driving climate and environmental policy agendas.  

The articles offer principles to address those ‘blind spots’ in order to move towards more just and inclusive pathways for climate and environmental policy processes. In doing so, the articles recognise that there will be variation – across sites and social groups – in the needs, aspirations, and meaningful notions of justice for those who experience the greatest vulnerabilities in the face of change. True solutions may require that powerful political and economic actors’ interests are challenged or that dominant forms of ‘expertise’ are questioned. Approaches to climate and environmental justice must reject efforts to apply one-size-fits-all solutionism. 

A women wearing a facemask is flanked either side by two men. They are sitting in a meeting room

Pandemic Perspectives: Why Different Voices and Views Matter

Volume 53 Number 3 July 2022

Edited by: Peter Taylor and Paul Knipe

Responding effectively to the Covid-19 crisis and in ways that address systemic inequalities in the longer term raises many challenges – and opportunities – for researchers and commissioners of research.

Launched in October 2020, the Covid Collective brought together the expertise of eight initial partner organisations coordinated by the Institute of Development Studies, and it currently involves 28 partners and supports 56 projects in 34 countries. The Covid Collective seeks to inform decision-making on some of the most pressing Covid-19-related development challenges, and to address emerging social science questions and needs arising in relation to the pandemic.

This issue of the IDS Bulletin draws on experiences from the social science research projects around the world supported by the Covid Collective and provides concrete examples of how researchers have demonstrated innovation and adaptation in a range of contexts. Important lessons have been learned about research processes and evolving technical approaches and methods in the areas around access and engagement; consent, ethics, and incentives; and power and perspectives.

This IDS Bulletin subsequently offers insights for research and provides potential directions for policy and decision-making around research prioritisation, funding, and support. It concludes that research supported by the Covid Collective is providing useful insights for ‘doing development research differently’, which in turn provides real hope for research to help transform knowledge and transform lives. Lessons will continue to be learned and, ultimately may also be an important contribution in ongoing efforts to the significant, critical agenda around decolonising development knowledge.

Humanitarianism and Covid-19: Structural Dilemmas, Fault Lines, and New Perspectives

Volume 53 Number 2 April 2022

Edited by: Jeremy Allouche and Dolf J.H te Lintelo

The unprecedented threat posed by the Covid-19 pandemic has presented a crisis for the international humanitarian system. At a time when the number of people in need of assistance has drastically expanded, humanitarian funding has been cut as countries focus on their domestic economies. International travel bans and lockdowns have impeded humanitarian access, constraining conventional humanitarian response mechanisms and processes.

Every crisis presents an opportunity to rethink policy, practice, and research, and this issue of the IDS Bulletin investigates how the pandemic has exposed failings but also generated new opportunities and challenges in the humanitarian system, especially within the localisation agenda. Across four major themes, the articles in this Bulletin discuss the multifaceted nature of the pandemic and its impacts. As much a socioeconomic crisis as a public health crisis, it has deepened structural inequalities and highlighted population-specific vulnerabilities.

The IDS Bulletin emphasises how responses to the pandemic have converged with a weakening of protection regimes for displaced people including asylum seekers and refugees. Furthermore, it shows that the pandemic has presented an extraordinary crisis for the international humanitarian system, highlighting the failures of states and international humanitarian actors to provide needed assistance. Conversely, and most importantly, it argues that with the partial absence of state or international humanitarian responses, the pandemic has given unanticipated impetus to everyday forms of humanitarianism practised by and within local communities.

This issue of the IDS Bulletin also offers a salutary message about the future for humanitarianism in further crises – have responses to the pandemic offered a foreboding about increased forms of detachment, a low level of concern, and a weakening of international solidarities?