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2020: Volume 51

Fifty Years of Research on Pastoralism and Development

Volume 51 Number 1A May 2020 Edited by: Ian Scoones

This archive IDS Bulletin reflects on 50 years of research on pastoralism at IDS. Much has changed, but there are also important continuities. The ‘end of pastoralism’ was proclaimed widely in the 1970s, yet, as a successful, resilient livelihood adapted to some of the harshest environments on the planet, pastoralism has survived, and remains an important livelihood for many.

Over the last 50 years, both pastoralism and development have changed massively. IDS work has attempted to bridge the gap between theory and practice, and to insert new understanding of pastoralism into development planning. This has involved building a coherent analysis of policies and institutions for pastoral development, and then helping to see the results of that analysis put into practice.

The issue brings together 13 articles on pastoralism published in the IDS Bulletin between 1986 and 2017. The articles address six overlapping themes: pastoral livelihoods; institutions and common property resource management; climate change and ecological dynamics; food security, early warning, and livelihood vulnerability; pastoral marketing; and conflict and governance.

Across these themes, IDS research has challenged mainstream development thinking and practice, highlighting the importance of mobility and living with uncertainty. Research has also challenged the standard models derived from settled systems, and emphasised flexibility, opportunism, and improvisation as responses to uncertainty.

Although massively changed over 50 years, and despite repeated proclamations of crisis and collapse, pastoralism remains, we argue, an important, resilient source of livelihood in  marginal rangeland areas across the world, from which others can learn.

Gender and Energy: Opportunities for All

Volume 51 Number 1 February 2020 Edited by: Ana Pueyo and Mar Maestre

The global drive to provide universal access to sustainable and modern energy by 2030 is creating numerous opportunities for energy users and suppliers. However, men and women do not benefit equally from these opportunities. Women’s contribution to energy planning, supply, and policymaking is limited, as the energy sector is heavily dominated by men. Therefore, universal energy access cannot be achieved without women being able to use the modern energy services they need. Despite these stark gender differences in the energy sector, there has been a lack of evidence to inform more equitable policymaking. This issue of the IDS Bulletin aims to fill some of these evidence gaps through five original papers, produced as part of ENERGIA’s Gender and Energy Research Programme. Carrying out research in 12 countries in Africa and Asia, the programme delivered nine studies on gender and energy under the following thematic areas: electrification, productive use of energy, energy sector policy dynamics, energy subsidy reform, the role of the private sector in scaling up energy access, gender mainstreaming approaches, and global trends in gender and energy.

The IDS Bulletin issue starts with an article that identifies global trends that could help catalyse the closing of energy access gaps around the world and shows how these trends relate to gender inequality. Three further articles go on to discuss gender and entrepreneurship, reinforcing the argument that women’s engagement in the energy sector can improve access and distribution of energy for those most underserved. The final article highlights wider findings and policy implications from the nine research projects of ENERGIA’s Gender and Energy Research Programme.

2019: Volume 50

The Belt and Road Initiative and the SDGs: Towards Equitable, Sustainable Development

Volume 50 Number 4 December 2019 Edited by: Edited by Gong Sen, Melissa Leach and Jing Gu

Established in 2013 by President Xi Jinping, China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is the source of significant academic and policy debate, in terms of how it is defined and how far it can contribute to the achievement of the United Nations Global Goals for Sustainable Development (Global Goals) by 2030. This IDS Bulletin seeks to explore these debates in more depth, looking at the opportunities and challenges that are associated with aligning the BRI and Global Goals frameworks at local, national and international levels to achieve universal global economic social and environmental goals. It highlights new evidence, analyses and insights from across a range of experts from China and BRI countries, and points both to the potential for the BRI to help achieve sustainable development outcomes and the political, economic, financial, environmental and social risks, implications and impacts for involved countries and communities.

Accountability Amidst Fragility, Conflict, and Violence: Learning from Recent Cases

Volume 50 Number 3 September 2019 Edited by: Anuradha Joshi

Estimates suggest that by 2030, about half of the world’s poor will live in contexts of fragility, conflict and violence, all of which exacerbate the difficulties faced by poor and marginalised people, particularly in influencing the policy decisions that affect their lives. This issue of the IDS Bulletin was prepared as part of Action for Empowerment and Accountability (A4EA), an international research programme exploring social and political action in fragile, conflict, and violent settings. It identifies insights from relatively recent experiences of grass-roots struggles and related social and political change. The articles highlight key issues that are central in understanding how accountability pathways unfold in contexts of fragility, violence, and conflict. Such contexts are often ones where state institutions are weak, fragmented, and lack legitimacy; where non-state actors control territory and often provide services, and where civic space is limited and uneven. The issue emphasises the importance of distinguishing processes of accountability from those of empowerment, and recognising the complexities of the relationships between them. As pockets of fragility, conflict, and violence emerge in what have so far been relatively stable places, the initial insights discussed here will be increasingly relevant for tackling these issues globally.

The Political Economy of Food

Volume 50 Number 2 July 2019 Edited by: Jody Harris, Molly Anderson, Chantal Clément and Nicholas Nisbett

Any analysis of food systems needs to include power as an aspect of political economy, in order to understand how power relations develop over time and how they affect different food system actors.

This issue of the IDS Bulletin examines a range of perspectives on power in food systems, and the various active players, relationships, activities, and institutions that play a major role in shaping them. It notes the need for mainstream research and policy to grapple with power inequities in the food system, in order, for instance, to challenge the increase in private sector funding that is reshaping food systems. The power of dominant food system actors is often reinforced or overlooked, having negative consequences for those unable to access sufficient healthy food or to participate in decision-making about the food system.

The articles here present the viewpoints that emerged during a workshop on the Political Economy of Food Systems, run jointly by IDS and IPES-Food. The articles begin with an introduction to how power is analysed from different political economy perspectives before moving on to articles focusing on four key themes: diversity and innovation, the food–health nexus, the politics of consumption, and agroecology and food sovereignty. Two case studies then demonstrate applications of power analyses or structural approaches to food and nutrition at national and local levels. A final set of articles considers methodological questions around understanding power in the food system and some of the unresolved questions that emerged from the workshop, which can form an agenda for future work.