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Review of Agri-Food Value Chain Interventions Aimed at Enhancing Consumption of Nutritious Food by the Poor: India

20 Oct 2016 12:52:42 GMT

Efforts to give a pro-nutrition focus to agriculture to address the problem of undernutrition in developing countries have predominantly focused on boosting production and/or consumption of nutritious foods by farm households. While this is clearly appropriate in countries where a large proportion of the poor have agriculture as their main source of livelihood, as in South Asia, it is increasingly recognised that a majority of the poor derive some or all of their food through markets. These might include individuals in producer households that are not self-sufficient in food for some or all of the year, rural non-farm and landless households and urban households. This requires that attention is given to the functioning of the agri-food value chains through which food is produced, processed, stored and distributed, and how this can be improved. In particular, when the task at hand is to improve the nutrition status of poor and vulnerable sections of the population, consumption of nutritious food and diets by them becomes the focus of attention.

A strand of work under the Leveraging Agriculture for Nutrition in South Asia (LANSA) research programme consortium addresses the question: What public and private actions are needed to strengthen the impacts of agri-food value chains on nutrition in the region? This report is on the India country review of agri-food value chains. India was ranked 55th among 76 countries in 2014 on the Global Hunger Index. Undernutrition is a pervasive problem in the country.

This review examined 40 agri-food value chain interventions under three categories: naturally nutrient-dense food, foods of increased nutritional value and food distribution. All these interventions aimed to, or have potential to, increase the consumption of nutrient-dense foods or increase their supply to post-farm gate poor populations in general and specifically to women and children. This review has provided a descriptive overview of the actors and activities involved in these interventions. It makes an evaluation of the extent to which such interventions address nutrition issues in a value chain mode.

It is hoped that this desk review and analysis will serve as a guide to an understanding of the agri-food value chain landscape in India. Drawing from the review, three agri-food value chains are being taken up for detailed case study to examine their potential to deliver nutrient-dense foods to low income populations. These are:

  • Amulspray as an example of a business driven agri-food value chain of a fortified naturally nutrient-dense food targeted at infants
  • Iron-fortified Tiger brand biscuits of Britannia Industries Limited as an example of a food of enhanced nutrient value reaching low-income households
  • The Supplementary Nutrition Programme under the Integrated Child Development Scheme as an example of an agri-food based food distribution value chain targeted at women and children



Stakeholder Perceptions of Agriculture and Nutrition Policies and Practice: Evidence from Afghanistan

20 Oct 2016 09:54:32 GMT

Like in other countries in the South Asian region, malnutrition is a serious problem in Afghanistan: the latest national statistics confirm high rates of stunting among vulnerable groups such as children under the age of five (nationally 40 per cent and in certain provinces over 70 per cent). While there are multiple causes of malnutrition, undernutrition and lack of dietary diversity are significant causes and point to the need to address micronutrient deficiencies rather than generalised food insecurity.

More research on policies and policy formulation is needed to explore the nature of the linkages between diverse stakeholders in agriculture and nutrition policies, policy and project processes, and the mechanisms of intersectoral coordination. A crucial policy question is: what are the pathways and incentives needed to ensure that agriculture can have an impact on nutrition? The objectives of the research reported in this Working Paper were to identify the interrelationships among key organisations in agriculture and nutrition, evaluate the local evidence base linking agriculture to nutrition, and understand the perceptions of decision makers about policy making and implementation, and the capacities for improving nutrition through the agri-food system.

Findings concern agriculture and nutrition linkages already existing within the policy environment, how such policies operate in practice at central and provincial levels, the political economy and policy-making process, and gaps and opportunities for leveraging agriculture for nutrition in Afghanistan.

Areas of suggested policy response are:

  • greater decentralisation of governance to provincial levels
  • improved information flows and knowledge management between central and provincial governments
  • investment in infrastructure for agriculture and nutrition
  • national trade policies for agribusiness
  • investment in departmental government capacity


Renewable energy in cities

18 Oct 2016 04:20:28 GMT

The transition to renewables cuts across the entire urban energy landscape, from buildings, to transport, to industry and power. It means integrating energy supply and demand between different sectors, through smart technologies, rigorous planning and holistic decision-making.

Cities today have the opportunity and the means to provide sustainable services and quality of life to their citizens. Urban areas account for more than half the world’s population, as well as 65% of global energy demand and 70% of energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Cities, therefore, need to take action to meet the rising needs of their populations while maintaining a healthy living environment, combatting poverty and avoiding catastrophic climate change.

While the potential for renewables is high, it varies greatly depending on each city’s characteristics. Population density, growth prospects and demand profiles in cold versus hot climates all shape the opportunities to introduce renewables, including the vast growth potential for uses in urban buildings
and transport. Accordingly, deployment strategies must be tailored to technology options and enabling policy frameworks for each city.

Priority action areas for renewable energy in cities:

  • renewable energy in buildings
  • sustainable options for transport
  • creating smart integrated urban energy systems

State and trends of carbon pricing 2016

18 Oct 2016 03:49:41 GMT

Reflecting the growing momentum for carbon pricing worldwide, the 2016 edition of the State and Trends of Carbon Pricing report targets the wide audience of public and private stakeholders engaged in carbon pricing design and implementation. This report also provides critical input for negotiators involved in implementation of the Paris Agreement at the meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) in Marrakesh.

As in the previous editions, the report provides an up-to-date overview of existing and emerging carbon
pricing instruments around the world, including national and subnational initiatives. Furthermore, it gives an
overview of current corporate carbon pricing initiatives.

Another key focus of the report is on the importance of aligning carbon pricing with the broader policy
landscape. The analysis provides lessons for policymakers on how to maximize synergies between climate
mitigation and other related policies, while managing potential tensions and tradeoffs.

This year’s report provides new modelling analysis to demonstrate the crucial benefits that an international
carbon market established under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement could provide in reducing the costs to
countries of achieving their emission reduction targets. An international carbon market could thus enable
greater ambition in taking steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to a level consistent with the 2°C
climate stabilisation goal.

Cost-Benefit analysis of disaster risk reduction: a synthesis for informed decision making

18 Oct 2016 02:17:34 GMT

Annual economic losses and fatalities caused by natural disasters are subject to large fluctuations and are strongly linked to extreme events such as the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, cyclone Nargis in 2008 or the Haiti earthquake of 2010 (CRED, 2015). However, there is a clear trend of increasing economic and human losses over the last 40 years.

There are several reasons for this trend. Firstly, a rising world population leads to the increased settlement of socially disadvantaged segments of the population in high-risk areas such as riverine flood plains or areas with high probability of landslides. Secondly, human-induced climate change leads to an increased frequency of hydro-metrological extreme events. These combined effects produce a growing number of disasters due to natural hazards.

The objective of this paper is the development of a structured synthesis of available case studies to create generalised statements about the economic efficiency of DRR. Furthermore, the goal is to present results specifically for different hazard types to allow for a comparison of DRR across all hazards.

Key results include:

  • DRR pays off – Based on 117 case studies, 102 report average cost-benefit ratios above the economic equilibrium. This is a powerful argument for future investments in disaster prevention
  • the lower the human development index (HDI) of a country the higher the economic gain of DRR measures - on average there is a higher gain from DRR measures in countries with a low HDI compared to highly developed nations

The State of Food and Agriculture 2016: climate change, agriculture and food security

18 Oct 2016 01:57:13 GMT

In adopting the goals of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the international communit y took responsibility for building a sustainable future. But meeting the goals of eradicating hunger and poverty by 2030, while addressing the threat of climate change, will require a profound transformation of food and agriculture systems worldwide.

The effects of climate change on agricultural production and livelihoods are expected to intensify over time, and to vary across countries and regions. Beyond 2030, the negative impacts of climate change on the productivity of crops, livestock, fisheries and forestry will become increasingly severe in all regions.

Policymakers must recognize the need to manage trade-offs, and set out concrete measures for better aligning multiple objectives and incentive structures. For example, the gender equity trade-offs of planned actions need to be systematically analysed – a shift to more resilient intercropping systems has sometimes cost women their control over specific crops. One area with a large potential for policy realignment is the redesign of agricultural support measures in a way that facilitates, rather than impedes, the transition to sustainable agriculture. In 2015, developed and major developing ountries spent more than US$560 billion on agricultural production support, including subsidies on inputs and direct payments to farmers. Some measures, such as input subsidies, may induce inefficient use of agrochemicals and increase the emissions intensity of production. Making support conditional upon the adoption of practices that lower emissions and conserve natural resources is one way of aligning agricultural development and climate goals.

Policies on nutrition, food consumption, food price support, natural resources management, infrastructure development, energy and so on, may similarly need to be re-set. To address trade-offs, the process must ensure greater inclusiveness and transparency in decision-making, as well as incentives that provide long-term public and collective benefits.

More climate finance needs to flow to agriculture to fund the investment cost associated with the required large-scale transformation of its sectors and the development of climate-smart food production systems.

Oil and fisheries in Ghana: prospects for a socio-ecological compact

14 Oct 2016 10:00:08 GMT

Fisheries play a crucial role in supporting livelihoods and food security in Ghana. While there is a sizable industrial fishing fleet, more than two-thirds of Ghana’s total marine fish catch is accounted for by artisanal fishers. These fishers now share Ghana’s marine domain with the country’s emerging oil sector, an industry that has raised hopes of a significant economic boost for the country while at the same time eliciting concerns around potential environmental and social impacts.

This paper explores the relationship between Ghana’s oil and gas sector and the artisanal fishery sector, highlighting areas where greater co-operation may support improved trust between stakeholders and contribute to the long-term sustainability of Ghana’s artisanal fisheries.

The current debate focuses on minimising negative impacts of the oil sector, but the paper argues for a more constructive engagement that would see effective partnerships addressing the broad set of stressors and challenges currently facing the artisanal fisheries sector. Increasingly, stakeholders are accepting that the oil sector is not the most important threat to the long-term sustainability of Ghana’s small-scale fisheries. However, more needs to be done to explore opportunities through which the oil sector, together with government authorities and other stakeholders, can support artisanal fisheries in addressing the core challenges facing the sector. These challenges include fleet overcapacity, the widespread use of illegal fishing gears, climate change, pollution, a lack of research to inform fisheries management decision-making, and a lack of marine protected areas to support stock recovery.

Climate change, children and poverty: engaging children and youth in policy debate and action

14 Oct 2016 04:00:19 GMT

Children’s vulnerability to climate change can be understood as an intersection of three axes. The first is exposure; the extent to which children live in a physical location that is vulnerable to drought, floods, extreme weather events and sea level rise. Recent estimates by UNICEF indicate that 160 million children live in drought-prone areas, and half a billion more live in zones at risk to high floods and severe storms.

The second axis is socio-economic, with vulnerability to hazards due to a lack of resources, poverty and marginalization. Families without adequate incomes and assets, protective infrastructure and housing, access to basic services, and inadequate nutrition and clean water, face the greatest risk in a changing climate. The third axis is time, today’s children and future generations will bear the brunt of environmental impacts, creating an inter-generational injustice without precedent. All children fall somewhere along these three axes, but it is the children who live in greatest poverty and in the most exposed places that face the greatest risks. More than just passive victims, these young people, often with the support of their caregivers and communities, also represent agents of change and have consistently demonstrated the capacity to devise local solutions, participate in global conversations and contribute to a safe and sustainable future.

This brief argues that:

  • children and young people, particularly those living in poverty, are among the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change
  • nevertheless, children and youth have shown that they can take an active role in raising awareness and creating innovative solutions
  • they must be empowered and supported to project their voice and to be part of the conversation in mitigation and adaptation planning and action
  • including the voice and needs of children at all levels of decision-making will help create a more sustainable, equitable and resilient society

Youth in Tanzania’s urbanizing mining settlements

14 Oct 2016 03:48:04 GMT

Over the last fifteen years many African countries have experienced a ‘mining takeoff’. Mining activities have bifurcated into two sectors: large-scale, capital-intensive production generating the bulk of the exported minerals, and small-scale, labour-intensive artisanal mining, which, at present, is catalyzing far greater immediate primary, secondary and tertiary employment opportunities for unskilled African labourers. Youth residing in mining settlements, have a large vested interest in the current and future development of mining.

Focusing on Tanzania as typical of the emerging ‘new mineralizing Africa’, this paper, examines youth’s role in mining based on recent fieldwork in the country’s northwestern gold fields. Youth’s current involvement in mining as full-fledged, as opposed to part-time, miners is distinguished. The attitudes of secondary school students towards mining as a form of employment and its impact on economic and social life in mining communities are discussed within the context of the uneasy transitions from an agrarian to a mining-based country, from rural to urban lifestyles, and the growing scope and power of foreign-directed, capital-intensive, corporate mining relative to local labourintensive artisanal mining.

Youth, mobility and mobile phones in Africa: findings from a three-country study

14 Oct 2016 03:42:58 GMT

The expansion of mobile phone use in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly over the last five years, has been remarkable in terms of speed of adoption, spatial penetration and, not least, the fact that this is an essentially spontaneous development firmly embedded in private sector activity. Country-level adoption and usage rates suggest that, in many countries, mobile phone use, even in poor households, is rapidly becoming an everyday part of life. Much of this use is based on shared access, rather than ownership, but for millions of very poor children and young people1 the mobile phone is now perceived as an essential requisite: an object of desire and a symbol of success.

This paper we examine mobile phone use by young people across 24 sites in three countries, Ghana, Malawi and South Africa, drawing on intensive qualitative and survey research, and relate this to issues of gendered physical mobility.

Findings point to significant variations between the three study countries and between urban and rural locations within them. There is also, of course, variation within individual sites, since the circumstances of young people living in one neighbourhood can differ quite substantially, depending not only on gender and age but also on factors such as family structure and socio-economic circumstances.

Nonetheless, some trends can be discerned from this socio-spatial analysis which build on findings from earlier (often single site or single country) studies in Africa: in particular, the growing importance of phones as urban-rural connectors, enhancing resource flows and young people’s construction of network capital, and concerns about their less positive aspects, not least the potential for encouraging or supporting illicit activities such as robbery or possibly dangerous underage sexual liaisons.

The equity impact of participatory womenâ's groups to reduce neonatal mortality in India: secondary analysis of a cluster-randomised trial

14 Oct 2016 03:32:57 GMT

Progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) has been uneven. Inequalities in child health are large and effective interventions rarely reach the most in need. Little is known about how to reduce these inequalities.

This paper describes and explains the equity impact of a women’s group intervention in India that strongly reduced the neonatal mortality rate (NMR) in a cluster-randomised trial. The authors conducted secondary analyses of the trial data, obtained through prospective surveillance of a population of 228 186. The intervention effects were estimated separately, through random effects logistic regression, for the most and less socio-economically marginalised groups.

Among the most marginalised, the NMR was 59% lower in intervention than in control clusters in years 2 and 3 (70%, year 3); among the less marginalised, the NMR was 36% lower (35%, year 3). The intervention effect was stronger among the most than among the less marginalised (P-value for difference = 0.028, years 2-3; P-value for difference = 0.009, year 3).

The stronger effect was concentrated in winter, particularly for early NMR. There was no effect on the use of health-care services in either group, and improvements in home care were comparable. Participatory community interventions can substantially reduce socio-economic inequalities in neonatal mortality and contribute to an equitable achievement of the unfinished MDG agenda.

New knowledge on children and young people: a synthesis of evidence

14 Oct 2016 03:22:41 GMT

Improving children and young people’s (CYP) wellbeing, and recognising the role they can play in creating a more sustainable world will be critical to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This timely report provides insights into how ESRC-DFID funded research has provided new knowledge that can inform and strengthen policy making in relation to CYP issues and help meet global development ambitions.

Key research findings:

  • recognising young people’s agency and the role they can play in research and policy making around the issues that matter to them most is critical
  • enhanced participation and community engagement programmes amongst the most marginalised can contribute to reduction in inequalities of new born survival rates
  • religion can have a significant impact on child wellbeing outcomes in India
  • CYP’s psychological wellbeing is positively associated with staying in school and negatively associated with entering the labour market in China. However for CYP in Tanzania there is often a clash between their perceptions of the long term gain of education and the more immediate benefits of employment
  • marriage is often viewed by both CYP and their families as a key livelihood strategy
  • young people are using mobile technologies to access services and build up social capital. They also have concerns around mobile phones and the potential negative impact on their personal safety and wellbeing

New knowledge on children and young people: a synthesis of evidence

14 Oct 2016 03:12:58 GMT

This report synthesises insights on children and young people (CYP) from research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID) Joint Fund for Poverty Alleviation Research. It identifies the major contributions the scheme has made to knowledge on CYP in low- and middle-income countries and on effective policies for promoting CYP wellbeing. It situates learning from scheme-funded research within the wider field of CYP-oriented international development research and reflects on the ways in which findings relate to contemporary
development policy agendas for CYP. The report is based on a thorough review of all available documentation and outputs related to the 126 grants funded at the start of the review period and on conversations and interviews with current grant-holders.

  • 44 grants (35% of all scheme-funded research) generated insights on children and young people. Of these two-thirds had a strong or moderate focus on CYP. Insights are diverse, with no two grants examining the same issue
  • most new knowledge has been generated on education and health, followed by livelihoods issues, transitions to marriage and sexual relationships and violence against children and young people
  • 55% of grants provide insights into the effectiveness of particular policies and programmes. Many studies address current policy dilemmas; others probe the impact of significant development trends on children and young people
  • there was a strong youth focus in these grants with 73% of grants producing knowledge on young people aged 15 and over, or on key policy issues affecting them
  • a third of research projects had achieved positive impacts on children and young people or are expected to do so



The Republic of the Marshall Islands: disaster management reference handbook

13 Oct 2016 12:39:27 GMT

The Disaster Management Reference Handbook Series is intended to provide decision makers, planners, responders and disaster management practitioners with an overview of the disaster management structure, policies, laws, and plans for each country covered in the series. Natural and man-made threats most likely to affect the country are discussed. The handbooks also provide basic country background information, including cultural, demographic, geographic, infrastructure and other relevant data.

Conditions such as poverty, water and sanitation, vulnerable groups and other humanitarian issues are included. A basic overview of the health situation in the country and disease surveillance is also covered. The handbooks include information on key national entities involved in disaster management, disaster response and preparation, and the military’s role in disaster relief. Information on United Nation agencies, international NGOs, major local NGOs, and key U.S. agencies and programs in the country, are also provided.

The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) comprises 29 atolls and five low-lying islands, including the atolls Bikini, Ebetem Kwajalein, Ebeye Enewetak, Majuro, Rongelap, and Utirik. Twenty-two of the atolls and four islands are inhabited.

RMI faces numerous development challenges with geographical, social and economic factors contributing to high levels of vulnerability, and climate change is expected to exacerbate existing challenges. Current progress in disaster risk reduction (DRR) varies. Most progress has been made in addressing water issues and education and awareness on DRR. Progress has been weakest in relation to creating an enabling environment for improved DRM; mainstream DRM in planning, decision making, budgetary
processes at the national and local levels; and implementing and enforcing building codes and zoning. Currently DRR is not specified in national budgeting expenditures and RMI faces the challenge of limited technical and financial resources across ministries. The integration of DRR and disaster management (DM) into sustainable development policies, planning and programming needs further strengthening. The level of awareness amongst all national and local
level stakeholders and decision makers that DRR and DRM are key development issues also needs to be improved. Little progress has been made in developing local plans for emergency response. Although Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) are working with outer island communities, there is a lack of a coordinated approach to disaster preparedness and response.

Poverty & death: disaster and mortality 1996-2015

13 Oct 2016 10:55:24 GMT

The period 1996 to 2015 saw 7,056 disasters recorded worldwide by EM-DAT, the Emergency Events Database. The frequency of geophysical disasters (primarily earthquakes, including tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions) remained broadly constant throughout this period but there was a sustained rise in climate- and weather-related events (floods, storms and heatwaves in particular) which accounted for the majority of disaster deaths in most years.

Of the 1.35 million people killed by natural hazards over the past 20 years, more than half died in earthquakes, with the remainder due to weather- and climate-related hazards. The overwhelming majority of these deaths occurred in low- and middle-income countries. The poorest nations paid the highest price in terms of the numbers killed per disaster and per 100,000 population.

The global plan for reducing disaster losses, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, adopted by all UN member States in March 2015, sets a target for a substantial reduction in global disaster mortality; the statistics in this report point towards several major conclusions with implications for achieving this target:

  • the high death tolls from earthquakes, including tsunamis, over the last 20 years is a deeply troubling trend given the pace of urbanization around the world in many seismic zones. This underlines the need to promote the mainstreaming of disaster risk assessments into land-use policy development and implementation, including urban planning, building codes and investing in earthquake-resistant infrastructure, notably housing, schools, health facilities and work places. The private sector, and the construction industry in particular, need to be partners in this endeavour
  • while better data is needed on overall disaster mortality, particularly in relation to weather- and climate-related hazards in low-income and lower-middle-income countries, it is clear that there needs to be more focus on alleviating the impact of climate change on countries which contribute least to greenhouse gas emissions but which suffer disproportionate losses of life because of extreme weather events exacerbated by rising sea levels and the warming of the land and sea

Caste and care: is Indian healthcare delivery system favourable for Dalits?

13 Oct 2016 04:20:13 GMT

The development literature in the recent past has brought out the stark differences in the social and economic status of Dalits and Adivasis as compared to other social groups in India. Most of these studies tended to focus on the correlates of group identity, material deprivation and poverty of these groups to their development deficit.

Dominant discussions in public health in India have often tended to sideline the questions of discrimination while examining the gap in health status among social groups mainly due to the over influence of more visible issues such as unbalanced resource allocation and spending, poor coverage of services, infrastructure lacuna, human resource shortage, affordability and issues of governance. Whilst not many, there, are evidences that discrimination and resulting deprivation have an impact on health of the people in the Indian context.

The paper examines whether the dalit castes are adequately represented in the health service system in rural India in the context of the already established caste based discrimination in service delivery. Drawing from official data, the paper shows an overall domination of non-dalits in healthcare services. The paper presents two scenarios to understand it further. Fist is the similarities in health disparities between Scheduled Castes (SCs) and non-SC/Scheduled Tribes (STs) of Bihar and Tamil Nadu, which have huge presence of non SC/STs in significant positions of healthcare delivery. Second is the case of Andhra Pradesh (undivided), which has less intergroup disparities and better distribution of health personnel from dalit castes at all levels of health services. These cases confirm the persistence of unfavourable environments for dalits with the domination of non-dalits in health services.


The political economy of conservation at Mount Elgon, Uganda: between local deprivation, regional sustainability, and global public goods

13 Oct 2016 04:15:34 GMT

This paper presents a case study from Mount Elgon National Park, Uganda, examining and deepening an understanding of direct incomes and costs of conservation for local people close to protected areas. In the early 1990s, collaborative arrangements were introduced to Mount Elgon National Park to improve people-park relations and enhance rural livelihoods after a period of violent evictions and severe resource access restrictions. In areas with such arrangements – including resource access agreements, Taungya farming, and beekeeping schemes – we observe a marginal increase in annual incomes for involved households. Other incomes accrue from tourism revenue sharing schemes, a community revolving fund, and payments for carbon sequestration. However, these incomes are economically marginal (1.2% of household income), unevenly distributed and instrumentally used to reward compliance with park regulations. They do not necessarily accrue to those incurring costs due to eviction and exclusion, crop raiding, resource access restrictions and conflicts. By contrast, costs constitute at least 20.5 % of total household incomes, making it difficult to see how conservation, poverty alleviation and development can be locally reconciled if local populations continue to bear the economic brunt of conservation. We recommend a shift in policy towards donor and state responsibility for compensating costs on a relevant scale. Such a shift would be an important step towards a more substantive rights-based model of conservation, and would enhance the legitimacy of protected area management in the context of both extreme poverty and natural resource dependence.

The flow of IWRM in SADC: the role of regional dynamics, advocacy networks and external actors

13 Oct 2016 03:54:02 GMT

This article explores the entry and spread of IWRM in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. It traces how the idea of IWRM was promoted and sustained throughout the region by mapping key events, actors and networks that were involved in promoting the approach. It highlights the importance of regional networks in promoting IWRM and shows how regional dynamics, playing out at the interface between the global and local levels, influenced the adoption/adaptation and spread of IWRM. The article finds that the idea of IWRM 'hit the ground running' in SADC due to several contributing factors. These include: historical political connections between the member countries; historically rooted well-established channels and connections with bilateral and multilateral donors; the success of networks such as the Global Water Partnership and WaterNet whose mandate was to promote the concept; and the fact that two-thirds of the region’s population live in transboundary basins with IWRM providing a suitable  hook for transboundary cooperation, often inspired by European models. The article further argues that IWRM thrived because of strong donor agendas that were adapted by key SADC actors to suit strategic interests. It thus provided a platform for complex politically charged negotiations to reconcile apparently divergent goals such as infrastructure vs management and regional vs national interests. The practice of IWRM in the region is very much shaped by a conflation of regional, national and donor interests and has now acquired a life of its own, despite changing donor priorities.

Research uptake: a guide for DFID-funded research programmes

13 Oct 2016 02:13:55 GMT

DFID funds research in order to contribute to its overarching goal of poverty reduction. We fund some research which aims to produce new products or technologies that directly improve the lives of poor people. Other research produces knowledge and will only have an impact if it is understood and used to inform decisions. Research uptake includes all the activities that facilitate and contribute to the use of research evidence by policy-makers, practitioners and other development actors. Research uptake activities aim to:

  • support the supply of research by ensuring research questions are relevant through engagement with potential users; communicating research effectively (not just disseminating findings through a peer-reviewed journal article!); and synthesising and repackaging research for different audiences. Activities in this area typically start with a focus on a particular research project or body of research and consider how it can be communicated
  • support the usage of research by building capacity and commitment of research users to access, evaluate, synthesise and use research evidence. Activities in this area typically start with a focus on a particular decision or decision-making process and consider how it can be informed by a range of research evidence

This guidance aims to support DFID-funded research programmes as they develop and implement their research uptake strategy. Research programmes which are part-funded by DFID should consult with their DFID programme manager to determine which part(s) apply to them.

Key messages:

  • research uptake requires adequate supply of and demand for research
  • DFID-funded research programmes are expected to plan and implement a research uptake strategy'
  • research uptake strategies should encompass stakeholder engagement, capacity building, communication and monitoring and evaluation.

Global mental health from a policy perspective

11 Oct 2016 10:53:22 GMT

Mental health is a critically important issue in global health today, and yet does not receive due policy attention. Mental illness will likely affect one in four people within their lifetime and neuropsychiatric conditions now account for 13% of the global burden of disease - with 70% of that burden in low- and middle-income countries. Despite this, mental health has not yet achieved the policy influence that would be proportionate to its burden.

This report applies several theoretical approaches to analyse mental health as a policy issue and the particular challenges it faces. It also applies other supporting analytical approaches regarding the tractability of a policy issue and for assessing the effectiveness of global health networks.

The report focusses on mental health at a global level, but highlights the need for more detailed analysis at a more local level, given that policy traction is highly dependent on local context, actors and systems of decision-making.

Mental health funding and the SDGs: what now and who pays

11 Oct 2016 10:44:46 GMT

In 2015 the world took a huge step forward by including mental health in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which set the global agenda for the next three decades. Now that they have been agreed, the world is looking to how the SDGs will be funded and how progress towards achieving them will be measured. Mental health is severely underfunded. Despite the huge burden it places on global health, it receives a fraction of the funding of other diseases.

Reporting of mental health spending by country governments and donors is inconsistent, and tracking of spending all but non-existent (as it is often
rolled into general health budgets).

This report provides an overview of who is currently funding mental health and who isn’t, but could be. It is a synthesis of research previously conducted in this field and analyses both existing and new funders. It highlights how little information there is on what donors are spending on mental health globally, what types of activities are funded and why funding mental health delivers a variety of benefits, and it suggests how to frame the issue to encourage more investment.

Every last girl: free to live, free to learn, free from harm

11 Oct 2016 10:21:25 GMT

More than 700 million women in the world today were married before their 18th birthday and one in three of those women was married before age 15. Child marriage can trigger a cycle of disadvantage across every part of a girl’s life.

Maternal mortality is the second leading cause of death for adolescent girls aged 15–19 years old (after suicide). An estimated 70,000 adolescent girls die each year from complications during pregnancy or childbirth. Every year 2.5 million girls under 16 give birth.

Aside from child marriage and inadequate sexual and reproductive helath care, this report highlights further barriers to girls' equality, including gender-based violence, trafficking, economic exclusion when household resources are limited and boys are prioritised, education and learning gaps, and gender issues arising from conflict and disasters.

This report identifies the three specific Guarantees to Girls that governments must make - fair finance, equal treatment and accountability - that governments must make to reach excluded children.

Fiscal policies for diet and the prevention of noncommunicable diseases

11 Oct 2016 04:29:29 GMT

The Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases 2013–2020, endorsed by the World Health Organization, provides a roadmap and a menu of policy options for Member States and other stakeholders to take coordinated and coherent action to reduce mortality from noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and exposure to risk factors.

To address the increasing number of requests from Member States for guidance on how to design fiscal policies on diet, WHO convened a technical meeting of global experts in fiscal policies on 5–6 May 2015 in Geneva. The main objectives of the meeting were to review evidence and existing guidance, discuss country case studies and provide considerations with regards to the scope, design and implementation of effective fiscal policies on diet. The meeting consisted of presentations and discussions during plenary and in working groups on the evidence, country experiences and technical aspects of policy design and implementation.

It was concluded that there is reasonable and increasing evidence that appropriately designed taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages would result in proportional reductions in consumption, especially if aimed at raising the retail price by 20% or more. There is similar strong evidence that subsidies for fresh fruits and vegetables that reduce prices by 10–30% are effective in increasing fruit and vegetable consumption. Greater effects on the net energy intake and weight may be accomplished by combining subsidies on fruit and vegetables and taxation of target foods and beverages. Vulnerable populations, including low-income consumers, are most price-responsive and, in terms of health, benefit most from changes in the relative prices of foods and beverages.

Consistent with the evidence on tobacco taxes, specific excise taxes – as opposed to sales or other taxes – based on a percentage of retail price, are likely to be most effective. In countries with strong tax administration, taxes that are calculated based on nutrient content can have greater impact. A proper situation analysis, good political advocacy, appropriate objective setting and evaluation, should be part of the multidisciplinary development and implementation of such policies.

There are evidence gaps that could be addressed, with more countries developing and implementing such fiscal policies. Lack of standards or criteria for determining exactly what to tax is a challenge experienced by countries and the development of a nutrient profile model for designing and implementing fiscal policies was recommended. In addition, there was a call for a manual on developing and implementing fiscal policies for diet.

It is recommended that:

  • the report of the meeting be disseminated for use by countries as information to assist in the development and implementation of fiscal policies as appropriate
  • the current evidence gap – including the impact of SSB tax on improving weight and health outcomes, and ultimately the prevention of NCDs – be addressed through research and evaluation in countries
  • a nutrient-profiling tool be developed for use by countries for the implementation of fiscal policies
  • an implementation manual be developed to provide further guidance to countries on the development and implementation of fiscal policies for diet

Tropical Forest Fire Susceptibility Mapping at the Cat Ba National Park Area, Hai Phong City, Vietnam, Using GIS-Based Kernel Logistic Regression

11 Oct 2016 02:21:46 GMT

The Cat Ba National Park area (Vietnam) with its tropical forest is recognized as being part of the world biodiversity conservation by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and is a well-known destination for tourists, with around 500,000 travelers per year. This area has been the site for many research projects; however, no project has been carried out for forest fire susceptibility assessment. Thus, protection of the forest including fire prevention is one of the main concerns of the local authorities. This work aims to produce a tropical forest fire susceptibility map for the Cat Ba National Park area, which may be helpful for the local authorities in forest fire protection management. To obtain this purpose, first, historical forest fires and related factors were collected from various sources to construct a GIS database. Then, a forest fire susceptibility model was developed using Kernel logistic regression. The quality of the model was assessed using the Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) curve, area under the ROC curve (AUC), and five statistical evaluation measures. The usability of the resulting model is further compared with a benchmark model, the support vector machine (SVM). The results show that the Kernel logistic regression model has a high level of performance in both the training and validation dataset, with a prediction capability of 92.2%. Since the Kernel logistic regression model outperforms the benchmark model, we conclude that the proposed model is a promising alternative tool that should also be considered for forest fire susceptibility mapping in other areas. The results of this study are useful for the local authorities in forest planning and management.

No sense of ownership in weak participation: a forest conservation experiment in Tanzania

11 Oct 2016 01:47:17 GMT

Sense of ownership is often advocated as an argument for local participation within the epistemic development and nature conservation communities. Stakeholder participation in initiating, designing or implementing institutions is claimed to establish a sense of ownership among the stakeholders and subsequently improve the intended outcomes of the given institution. Theoretical and empirical justi cations of the hypothesis remain scarce. A better understanding of the effects of local participation can motivate more extensive and stronger participation of local stakeholders and improve institutional performance. This paper applies theories from psychology and behavioral economics to better understand sense of ownership. The empirical investigation is a framed fi eld experiment, in the context of tropical forest conservation and payments for environmental services in Tanzania. The results lend little support to the hypothesis in this context. The participation treatment in the experiment is weak, and a possible explanation is that sense of ownership is sensitive to the form of participation.

The Importance of addressing housing, hand and property (HLP) challenges in humanitarian response

10 Oct 2016 12:11:32 GMT

This paper was published by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to inform the round table talks on ‘the importance of housing, land and property (HLP) rights in humanitarian response’ held in Geneva.

The NRC and IFRC are the global focal point agencies within the HLP Area of Responsibility under the Global Protection Cluster, a collaboration between NGOs, UN agencies, and academic institutions. The statement of the Global Protection Cluster provides the basis for this paper to develop a deeper understanding of how a human rights framework, specifically the right to adequate housing, can inform responses to disasters and conflict and promote protection within humanitarian operations. This paper aims to present that HLP rights is a cross-sectoral issue, and although this manifestation is acknowledged by some, it still represents a barrier to operations.

Assistance for this report was provided by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (NMFA).

Pushed aside: displaced for "development" in India

10 Oct 2016 11:41:35 GMT

By providing a first-hand account of development projects and business activities that have caused displacement across India, this report documents and analyses the scale, process and impacts of this phenomenon. It contributes to the existing body of evidence on this type of displacement and aims to raise awareness among policy-makers, business elites, academics, NGOs and operational decision-makers at the national and international level.

The report examines nine cases of displacement caused by development in the states of Gujarat, Jharkhand, Kerala and the national capital territory of Delhi. They reveal failed regulation, inadequate enforcement and harm to communities that extend to other cases elsewhere in India. They show that land acquisitions have pushed people aside with no regard for their rights or needs for decades. They are the result of government indifference and a failure to monitor the human rights impacts of projects and establish accountability mechanisms to address them.

The case studies for this report contribute to the global evidence base on displacement caused by development. The detrimental impacts of development projects in India highlight the need to address the issue in key policy agendas and discussions. Despite IDPs’ awareness of their rights and resistance to their eviction and displacement, they will not escape poverty without significant external support and systemic changes to social and economic policies.

Global development agendas should ensure that while development projects may alleviate poverty for some, they should not at the same time create new poor or heighten the existing economic vulnerabilities of those evicted. Neglecting those evicted and displaced would undermine the achievement of global development goals. The timescale for planning and implementing projects provides ample opportunity to avoid or minimise  displacement, and to put measures in place to ensure that those who are displaced achieve durable solutions.

Adaptation measures in agricultural systems: Messages to the SBSTA 44 Agriculture Workshops

07 Oct 2016 12:10:31 GMT

It is well recognized that if livelihoods and food security of farmers are to be improved in the face of climate change challenges, adaptation measures at massive scale will be needed. This will require an enabling environment to catalyse the positive behavioural changes that will be needed to move towards climate resilient food systems.

This working paper synthesizes knowledge within CGIAR on adaptation measures in agricultural systems, for the benefit of parties and observers preparing submissions to the UNFCCC SBSTA. Experience from CGIAR and partners indicate that adaptation measures covering policy, technological, financial, institutional, and research interventions are being tested and applied in agricultural systems in low-income and middle-income countries. Lessons include the need to ensure context-specificity when designing adaptation measures, engaging farmers in decision-making, and combining indigenous and scientific knowledge. Adaptation measures in agricultural systems are able to generate various added benefits in addition to adaptation benefits. These include enhanced food security, environmental benefits including mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions, and positive outcomes for gender and social inclusion. However, good design and implementation of these measures is important, for which capacity enhancement and technology transfer are essential functions.

Agricultural practices and technologies to enhance food security, resilience and productivity in a sustainable manner: messages to the SBSTA 44 agriculture workshops

07 Oct 2016 11:59:17 GMT

This paper synthesizes knowledge within CGIAR and its partners on agricultural practices and technologies to enhance food security, resilience and productivity in a sustainable manner.

A number of agricultural practices and technologies which contribute to these objectives were identified and assessed to generate four key lessons.

Firstly, agricultural practices and technologies do not necessarily have universal applicability, they will have to be selected, tailored and applied as appropriate for the context, including agro-ecological zones, farming systems as well as cultural and socio-economic context.

Secondly, strong mechanisms for capacity enhancement and technology transfer are prerequisites for success of interventions.

Thirdly, suitable sources of funding are required to support implementation and scaling up efforts.

Lastly, many agricultural practices and technologies have the potential to achieve co-benefits for environmental health and climate change mitigation.

In contexts where mitigation is feasible, managing for multiple outcomes can help countries and smallholder farmers adopt low carbon development pathways.

Measures for climate change adaptation in agriculture

07 Oct 2016 11:50:50 GMT

In 2014 the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), as part of its mandate to consider issues related to agriculture, invited submissions from parties and observers, covering four topics, in 2015 and 2016. Of the two topics for consideration in 2016, one relates to “Identification of adaptation measures, taking into account the diversity of the agricultural systems, indigenous knowledge systems and the differences in scale as well as possible co-benefits and sharing experiences in research and development and on the ground activities, including socioeconomic, environmental and gender aspects”.

This info note provides a brief overview of key adaptation measures in agriculture. A twinned info note considers agricultural practices and technologies, which are one sub-set of adaptation measures.

Key messages:

  • international governance arrangements and national policy frameworks already provide a robust foundation for adaptation in agricultural systems
  • national planning using prioritization tools can result in efficient, effective and equitable allocation of limited resources to benefit the most vulnerable farmers and systems
  • local planning involves devolution of decisionmaking and participatory approaches to match local contexts, capacities and preferences
  • access to adaptation finance remains critical to achieving local and global goals for adaptation. Both economic incentives and value chain initiatives can ensure that financial investments achieve adaptation at scale
  • effective research and knowledge systems connect farmers, policy-makers, businesses andresearchers to accelerate sharing of emerging knowledge, and help adapt to dynamic current climates and to future scenarios for climate and development
  • modernising extension services, capacity building and technology transfer approaches are important to capture the attention and participation of a wider group of rural people, including youth
  • indigenous knowledge strengthens adaptation measures by working closely with knowledgeholders at both local and national levels
  • gender equality and social inclusion can be strengthened if adaptation measures are well designed
  • adaptation measures in agricultural systems also offer opportunity to achieve multiple cobenefits, for environmental health and mitigation

Climate change adaptation in agriculture: practices and technologies

07 Oct 2016 11:36:17 GMT

In 2014 the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), as part of its mandate to consider issues related to agriculture, decided to invite submissions from parties and observers, covering four topics, in 2015 and 2016. Of the two topics for consideration in 2016, one relates to ‘identification and assessment of agricultural practices and technologies to enhance productivity in a sustainable manner, food security and resilience, considering the differences in agro-ecological zones and farming systems, such as different grassland and cropland practices and systems’.

This info note provides a brief overview of key practices and technologies. A twinned info note considers higher-level measures of adaptation in agriculture, such as policies and institutions.
Key messages:
  • many agricultural practices and technologies already provide proven benefits to farmers’ food security, resilience and productivity
  • indigenous knowledge provides the backbone of successful climate change adaptation in farming, livestock and fisheries
  • agro-ecological zones and farming systems are extremely diverse. Thus interventions need to be targeted to specific contexts. Decision support to match practices and technologies with agroecological zones is a priority
  • portfolios of practices and technologies are more likely to realize goals of food security, resilience and increased productivity. Trade-offs and synergies among these goals may exist and the focus should be on maximizing synergies
  • bringing practices and technologies to scale is possible and underway. Strong mechanisms for finance, capacity enhancement and technology transfer are prerequisites for success
  • engaging women in design and management of new technologies and practices will help close the gender gap in agriculture and deliver positive outcomes for the whole of society
  • case studies demonstrate the potential for agricultural practices and technologies to achieve co-benefits for environmental health, and climate change mitigation

Mitigation of climate change risks and regulation by insurance: a feasible proposal for China

07 Oct 2016 10:49:45 GMT

Climate change is one of the most fundamental challenges of our time. The extraordinary growth of greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions in China represents the single greatest obstacle to global climate change efforts in the coming decades. Meanwhile, China suffers from the adverse consequences of climate change. It has been recognized that two factors may increase climate change risks: (a) the increase in GHG emissions, which will increase the frequency and intensity of climate hazards; and (b) the increase of value-at-risk, such as the increased concentration of the world’s population and property in vulnerable areas.

Therefore, mitigation of climate change risk involves not only human intervention to reduce GHG emissions but also prevention of potential losses caused by climate hazards. Among many solutions to risk mitigation, insurance has received increased attention due to its expertise in risk management and regulatory function in influencing policyholders’ behavior. This Article examines the ability of two types of insurance—liability insurance and catastrophe insurance—to regulate and thus help mitigate climate change risks, and considers the potential lessons for China.

In the context of climate change risk management, either private insurance or the state can play a crucial role in mitigating risks. The discussion of liability insurance and catastrophe insurance in this paper makes clear that catastrophe insurance is a much more feasible method of regulating climate change risks.

In addition, to take advantage of the state’s compulsory power, this article proposes a feasible solution marrying the merits of both state and private insurance. Compulsory catastrophe-insurance-based private-public partnership will not only enhance mitigation of value-at-risk but also provide the victims with sufficient financial protections for climate hazards that are not eliminated. This hybrid mechanism has become a prototype for developing catastrophe insurance in several countries. It should be developed as soon as possible in China to cope with the increasing risks of climate change.

Insurance options for addressing climate change

07 Oct 2016 10:29:36 GMT

Climate change has proven to be a major stumbling block to development in emerging markets. Floods in Thailand, typhoons in the Philippines, and droughts in Africa and India have cost thousands of lives and stalled economic development. Temperatures are likely to rise even higher, which will only worsen the impact of climate change. And extreme heat can affect productivity and economic activity. In 2015, for example, when temperatures across Iraq topped 50 degrees Celsius, the government called for a mandatory four-day holiday. Such incidents are likely to become common.
In emerging countries, insurance markets are under development and don’t play a major role in helping businesses mitigate climate change threats. Because insurance is viewed as a luxury product, many emerging markets have yet to prioritize the regulations and standards that insurance markets needs to function.
But now a number of factors are driving emerging markets to use insurance as a tool to adapt their countries to the changing climate. The insurance industry has been looking to emerging markets, where penetration rates have historically been low, in order to grow their business. In addition, cellular and digital technologies now make it possible to reach customers in remote areas.2 Many international donors are also realizing the importance of heading off climate change to promote growth in emerging markets. Their efforts have shifted from programs that focus on distributing aid after a disaster to complementary programs that also reduce the impact of natural disasters, such as insurance.
Finally, as awareness about climate change risks grow, people and businesses are looking for solutions that minimize the impact of climate related threats. Many governments are further boosting awareness by taking steps to increase financial literacy in their countries. As a result, more people are starting to see insurance as one tool that can help them address climate change.

The sustainable Infrastructure imperative: financing for better growth and development

07 Oct 2016 10:10:18 GMT

Investing in sustainable infrastructure is key to tackling three simultaneous challenges: reigniting global growth, delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and reducing climate risk. Following the milestone achievements of 2015 – including the ambitious global goals set for sustainable development and
its financing in Addis Ababa and New York, and through a landmark international agreement on climate action in Paris – the challenge is to now to shift urgently from rhetoric into action.
A comprehensive definition of infrastructure includes both traditional types of infrastructure (everything from energy to public transport, buildings, water supply and sanitation) and, critically, also natural infrastructure (such as forest landscapes, wetlands and watershed protection).
More money alone won’t do the job. A range of barriers must be tackled to raise the quantity and the quality of infrastructure investment. Concerted action in four, inter-linked areas can together help
us overcome these barriers and build the sustainable infrastructure of the 21st century:
  • we must collectively tackle fundamental price distortions – including subsidies and lack of appropriate pricing especially for fossil fuels and carbon – to improve incentives for investment and innovation, to drastically reduce pollution and congestion, and to generate revenue that can be redirected, for instance, to support poor people
  • we must strengthen policy frameworks and institutional capacities to deliver the right policies and enabling conditions for investment, to build pipelines of viable and sustainable projects, to reduce high development and transaction costs, and to attract private investment
  • we must transform the financial system to deliver the scale and quality of investment needed in order to augment financing from all sources (especially private sources such as long-term debt finance and the large pools of institutional investor capital), reduce the cost of capital, enable catalytic finance from developmentfinance institutions (DFIs), and accelerate the greening of the financial system
  • we must ramp up investments in clean technology R&D and deployment to reduce the costs and enhance the accessibility of more sustainable technologies

The State of African Cities 2014: re-imagining sustainable urban transitions urban transitions

07 Oct 2016 03:42:44 GMT

The overarching challenge for Africa in the decades to come is massive population growth in a context of wide-spread poverty that, in combination, generate complex and inter-related threats to the human habitat. The main premise of this report is that successfully and effectively addressing the vulnerabilities and risks to which the African populations are increasingly being exposed may, perhaps, require a complete re-thinking of current urban development trajectories if sustainable transitions are to be achieved. This report is the third in The State of African Cities series.
It is not only Africa’s largest urban population concentrations that are becoming more prone to vulnerabilities and risks; these are actually increasing for all African settlements. This will add to the already significant social, economic and political hazards associated with Africa’s still pervasive urban poverty. The
combination of demographic pressures, rapid urbanization, environmental and climate change now appear to reinforce a host of negative urban externalities.
Ubiquitous urban poverty and urban slum proliferation, so characteristic of Africa’s large cities, is likely to become an even more widespread phenomenon under current urban development trajectories, especially given the continuing and significant shortfalls in urban institutional capacities. Since the bulk of the urban population increases are now being absorbed by Africa’s secondary and smaller cities, the sheer lack of urban governance capacities in these settlements is likely to cause slum proliferation processes that replicate those of Africa’s larger cities.
This report argues for a radical re-imagination of African approaches to urbanism, both to strengthen the positive impacts of Africa’s current multiple transitions and to improve urban living and working conditions. Africa’s population is still well below the 50 per cent urban threshold. This implies that a major  reconceptualization of its approaches to urban development can still be undertaken. Given the rapidly changing global conditions, especially those associated with environmental and climate change, looming resources scarcity and the dire need to move towards greener and more sustainable development options, Africa has the opportunity to take a global lead in innovations towards greener, healthier and more sustainable urban societies

Gender dynamics in a changing climate: how gender and adaptive capacity affect resilience

07 Oct 2016 02:29:01 GMT

Gender, climate change and adaptive capacity are intricately linked. Poor and marginalised women and men face multiple and complex challenges. Climate change further exacerbates these challenges and threatens to erode development gains made to date. Unequal distribution of resources and power imbalances are both the root cause of poverty and also impact on a person’s capacity to adapt. Adaptation interventions are often based on the belief that women’s role in the home makes them critical agents of change and, thus, a focus for adaptation interventions. But many women do not have decision-making power within the home or over all household resources, let alone over valued livelihood resources and may not be able to keep or manage their own earnings. Even in some female-headed households, social stigma may prevent many women from being treated as economic or social equals, despite their sole management of their livelihoods. These barriers tend not to be addressed by climate change adaptation programmes, which can inadvertently entrench gender inequality and even increase women’s workloads. This learning brief synthesises lessons drawn from CARE’s Adaptation Learning Programme for Africa (ALP), which has been supporting vulnerable communities in sub-Saharan Africa to adapt to the impacts of climate change since 2010. It is based on evidence and practical experience in implementing community based adaptation (CBA), about gender dynamics and the ways in which CBA can increase adaptive capacity and promote gender equality. It identifies the factors shaping gender dynamics and adaptive capacity and gives examples of how to integrate gender into CBA approaches as well as outlining knowledge gaps and recommendations for policy and practice. Recommendations for policy and practice include:tackle the gender dimensions of livelihoods: they are context-specific and addressing them in appropriate ways demands context-specific action. Gender-sensitive analysis, policy and planning is critical to thisinclude gender equality in climate change policy goals and strategiesnational and sub-national adaptation planning needs to be led by affected communities, and be based on an understanding of the gendered nature of climate change impacts as well as adaptation initiatives themselves so as not to further entrench inequality. Gender-equitable participatory actions will bring more gender balance into initiativesstrengthen interdepartmental work between women’s departments and climate change departmentspower imbalance and access to decision-making in the home, community and country must be recognised and addressed in the global responseapproach efforts to address adaptive capacity and gender equality not as an issue for women alone, but as an issue that is critical for the advancement of everyone in society; it is an indispensable part of achieving social justiceinvest in improving women’s economic empowerment in the face of climate change to address the way resources and labour are distributed and valued in the economyprogrammes need appropriate timeframes and adequate resources i[...]

To farm or not to farm? Indian farmers in transition

07 Oct 2016 02:14:07 GMT

Few studies of agrarian transition examine what farmers themselves feel about farming. Are they cultivating out of choice or a lack of options? What distinguishes farmers who like farming from t hose who do not: their personal and household characteristics and endowments? The local ecology and regional economy? Or a mix of these and other factors?

Understanding farmer satisfaction is important not only for assessing citizen well - being but also for agricultural productivity, since occupational satisfaction can affect a farmer’s i ncentive to invest and reveal production constraints. Using a unique all - India data set which asked farmers — do you like farming? — this paper provides answers and policy pointers, contributing a little - studied dimension to debates on the smallholder’s future and subjective well - being.

Cocoa farmers' perception on climate variability and its effects on adaptation strategies in the Suaman district of western region, Ghana

07 Oct 2016 01:56:16 GMT

Climate Change has gained global attention due to its adverse impact on agriculture. Cocoa production in Ghana is also under threat following climate change. This study, therefore, examined farmers’ perception on climate variability and its effect on adaptation strategies in the Suaman district of Western Region, Ghana. It involved 240 cocoa farmers. The study estimated Heckman’s treatment effect model that corrected the presence of selectivity bias in the sample.

From the result, 69.5% of the farmers perceived an increase in the average temperature while 22.5% perceived an increase in the average rainfall over the years. The factors that significantly influenced farmers’ perceptions were farm size, farm management training, household size and farmer-based organization (FBO) membership.

The major adaptation strategies adopted by the farmers were pesticides application, planting improved varieties, mixed planting and changing planting dates. Farmers’ perception was found to have a positive impact on their adaptation. Other factors that significantly influenced adaptation were age of cocoa farm, household size and FBO membership.

The study concluded that perceptions are essential in adapting to climate variability in the district. Training of farmers on cocoa production and other agricultural activities in relation to climate variability and its impact is highly recommended. Similarly, enhancing access to weather forecast information is important to enhance farmer’s perceptions and also effectively implement adaptation strategies such as changing planting dates.

Agriculture under uncertain climate change predictions: land use options for Malawi’s smallholder farmers

07 Oct 2016 01:37:27 GMT

Climate change will have widespread and varied effects across the globe – increasing rainfall and flooding in some areas, decreasing rainfall and droughts in others. The average global temperature is set to increase by more than 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the 21st century. For agricultural land-use policy makers, planning for this future is made more difficult because climate change scenarios for precipitation vary in their predictions, even for the same areas

For Malawi, climate predictions range from a severe decrease in rainfall to a marked increase. This uncertainty, especially in poor areas, means that land management strategies must be effective in improving livelihoods under both scenarios.
Key points in this Technical Report:
  • what’s going on? Uncertainty over the effects of climate change on precipitation for Malawi makes it difficult to create effective land use management policies
  • what does this mean? Economic models that predict the effects of climate change on rural livelihoods have to take into account that an effective policy is one that tackles both the possibilities of an increase or decrease in precipitation
  • how the economic model does this? In comparing the effectiveness of three different land use management options for the Shire catchment in Malawi, the model described in this report took into account likely wet and dry climate scenarios. In addition, a sensitivity analysis helped check which land use management option held up best if model assumptions regarding key variables, (e.g. global maize prices, erosion impacts, fertilizer use) were not to hold true in reality
  • what do results show? An agroforestry approach to land use management is likely to produce positive results for livelihoods, regardless of a decrease or increase in precipitation, and regardless of what happens to key variables. Also, the agroforestry approach is likely to perform better than a conservation agriculture approach, and much better than a business-as-usual approach
  • moving forward: A reconsideration of rural land use management policies for Malawi is necessary for local, national, and international policy makers so as to effectively prepare Malawian agriculture for potential climate change in the future

Scoping Report: current status of index-based insurance in Bangladesh

07 Oct 2016 01:19:41 GMT

With current and anticipated increases in magnitude of extreme weather events and a declining consistency in weather patterns, particularly challenging for agriculture, there has been a growing interest in weather index-based insurance (IBI) schemes in Bangladesh. A number of weather index-based insurance products have already been tested and applied across Asia and Africa, with varying degrees of success, as a mechanism to improve livelihood security by enabling vulnerable populations to transfer risk associated with climate change, extreme weather events and other hazards. In the process, these efforts have generated important new knowledge on how these schemes can be designed and implemented for optimal results.

However, the practice of index-based insurance is still limited in Bangladesh, and the experience and knowledge generated by the different stakeholders involved needs to be better communicated.

To identify and facilitate the diffusion of knowledge and best practices in this unique field, Worldfish will hold a two-day workshop for experts and practitioners who are working on this issue in Bangladesh. This event aims to map past and present index-based insurance schemes that have been undertaken in Bangladesh, and to facilitate knowledge sharing and capacity building among relevant organizations. Prior to this event, the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) has conducted this scoping study to inform the design and objectives of the two-day workshop.

Aligning social protection and climate resilience: a case study of WBCIS and MGNREGA in Rajasthan

07 Oct 2016 01:03:12 GMT

Social protection and climate change programmes are two public policy responses that governments use to address the challenges of poverty, climate vulnerability and gender inequality. Social protection programmes provide a safety net for households by providing cash/asset transfers and labour market instruments to address the immediate and underlying socio-economic risks facing the poor. Climate change programmes use a  range of policy, financial, technological and capacity-strengthening measures to address
climate change vulnerability. Despite the fact that most countries have comprehensive strategies for both social protection and climate change, there have been few attempts to align the two to develop more durable pathways out of poverty and climate vulnerability.

This paper is the second of two case studies that examine how aligning social protection and climate change interventions could help households manage the risks they face, and set them on a path out of poverty and into climate-resilient livelihoods. It presents a case study of the Weather-Based Crop Insurance Scheme (WBCIS) and the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) in India, based on fieldwork in the northwestern state of Rajasthan.

China’s African infrastructure projects: a tool in reshaping global norms

06 Oct 2016 11:33:41 GMT

The resilience of China’s investments in African infrastructure has been called into question in the light of its own economic slowdown. The substantial reduction in Chinese demand for African commodities has resulted in a significant drop in commodity prices, causing an adverse economic outlook in many commodity-dependent African economies and potentially decoupling the African growth story from China’s influence and economic engagement.
This policy insights paper argues that China’s infrastructure-based economic statecraft in Africa has shown and will continue to show resilience in the face of new economic realities in the China–Africa relationship, as these projects fit into China’s broader goals of reshaping global norms.

Strengthening adaptive capacity to climate change: learning from practice, practionioner brief

06 Oct 2016 11:00:07 GMT

Building adaptive capacity is increasingly understood as a critical piece in successful adaptation to climate change, and there has been much conceptual debate on what it consists of. Yet, there is still lack of clarity as to what it may look like in practice.

This practitioner brief synthesises the learning on adaptive capacity that has emerged from the Adaptation Learning Programme (ALP) for Africa, a multi-country programme designed to demonstrate, document and disseminate innovative approaches for community based adaptation (CBA). Because it was explicitly designed as a learning programme, ALP has adopted a range of learning approaches, with a focus on learning by doing, reflecting and co-generating new knowledge with others. After five years of  implementation, the programme is now in a position to synthesise and share learning on a range of aspects of CBA and related policy and practice.

Specifically, this brief explains in simple, practical terms how strengthening adaptive capacity is critical for effective adaptation. It does this by presenting how ALP has interpreted the Local Adaptive Capacity Framework developed by the Africa Climate Change Resilience Alliance, in its practical approaches to engaging communities and other actors in community-based adaptation. This brief draws on ALP’s work with vulnerable communities living in Niger and Northern Ghana, which are Sahelian climate change hotspots also affected by high levels of chronic poverty. It gives insights into the dynamic interplay between analysis and planning processes, information, resources and decisions required for strengthening adaptive capacity, which is a key condition for adaptation.
With recent attention on resilience, different types of critical capacities have been in discussion; for example, “absorptive”, “anticipatory” and “transformative” capacity. ALP’s work on adaptive capacity has been approaching these concepts in practical ways, exploring how vulnerable people can realise their own development, with adequate support, in the face of changing conditions. Through the lens of these experiences the brief aims to provide conceptual and practical knowledge for actors in adaptation, disaster risk reduction, development and humanitarian action, including NGOs, local government institutions, researchers, donors, sectoral ministries and policymakers across Africa.

Climate change in Kenya: projections, impacts and way forward

06 Oct 2016 10:35:14 GMT

Climate change (CC) poses an ongoing threat to development in Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALS) in theHorn of Africa (HoA) (IPCC, 2012). Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) have been implementing development interventions in the region for many decades. The effectiveness and sustainability of suchinterventions are questionable as Africa is still lagging behind other regions of the world in achieving theMillennium Development Goals (MDGs) (United Nations, 2011). This calls for a shift in current developmentstrategies. Increased vulnerability in the region has acquired increased attention to climate change as one of the many obstacles for achieving sustainable development and increasing resilience in the ASALS. This has given rise to a new era for development agencies as they are now attempting to build resilience through mainstreaming Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Climate Change Adaptation (CCA). This brief will focus specifically on the significance of mainstreaming CCA into development interventions. Some key findings relevant to Kenya:in 2007 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - released the Fourth Assessment Report. This section highlights some key statements and findings relevant to the Horn of Africathere is high agreement and evidence that Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions will continue to increase over the coming decadeswarming of about 0.2°C per decade is projected over the next two decadesProvided with the trends from this brief, the recommendation for Save the Children is to promote development interventions in the region using a precautionary approach to climate change. This is the only responsible and ethical choice for an organisation that is working specifically towards saving children who are the future generation.Mainstreaming climate change adaptation does not necessarily incur an increased financial burden on different sectors. It does however involve forward thinking and a shift in approach in terms of going beyond accepting what we are implementing and focusing more on how we are implementing projects. This will require the following:establishing a culture of prevention and mainstreaming DRR/CCAtaking an integrated management approach and understanding the current and future context of the region (socio-economic, environmental, and climatic)to ensure sustainability of any intervention, these must be aligned with governments and existing plansadvocate for longer term funding in project proposals where building resilience is identified as an overall objective[...]

Costs of non-cooperation in South Asia: an illustration and way forward

06 Oct 2016 01:37:17 GMT

The South Asian economic integration has remained afflicted with a narrative that is more often than not a negative one. As a part of this, the arguments put forth include the assertion that the region lacks in trade complementarities due to similarities in production structures. Therefore, the region can only compete in
products and there is limited scope for intra-regional trade.
The effect of such an argument is enormous. It has apparently led to a tendency to neglect trade integration in South Asia let alone adopting a comprehensive approach towards it, whereby trade in goods, trade in services and investment are sought to be regionally integrated simultaneously. Pakistan’s consistent postponement of Most Favoured Nations (MFN) status to India and Sri Lanka’s ever evasive approach towards Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) are but two glaring examples. The examples of Pakistan and Sri Lanka are deliberate as they both are the only two non-LDCs (Least Developed Countries) apart from India in the region.

On becoming a responsible great power: contextualising China’s foray into human rights and peace & security in Africa

06 Oct 2016 01:18:39 GMT

The deepening of China’s engagement with Africa has also prompted the broadening of its interests on the continent. This has resulted in China’s expansion into increasingly riskier territories, which means there is a greater urgency to protect its interests from the political vagaries endemic to conflict-affected African states. This evolution marks a shift away from traditional perceptions of Chinese engagement in Africa as being limited to its economic interests, towards one where China becomes a politically interested and invested actor. This trend is paralleled by a macro-level reorientation of China’s foreign policy goals, where it envisions itself playing a stronger norm-setting role in the global arena.

This policy insights paper explores the values and imperatives that motivate China’s engagement in peace and security, human rights and human security in Africa.

China’s foray into political matters is a consequence of the growing need for it to respond to attacks on its citizens and investments on the ground, but can also be traced to grander foreign policy underpinnings associated with its desire to position itself as a norms entrepreneur in the global arena. What emerges from the interplaybetween these two factors is a dynamic foreign policy that is responsive to the political contexts of African states while guarding the sanctity of state sovereignty.

To be a successful player in promoting peace, security and human rights in Africa, China has found it necessary to develop an approach that mitigates the challenges of operating in volatile environments by increasing its engagements in multilateral organisations. In doing this, China positions itself as an important alternative to established global norms, projecting its aspirations of becoming a more responsible great power in world affairs.



Realising income security in old age: A study into the feasibility of a universal old age pension in Malawi

04 Oct 2016 12:15:51 GMT

Many governments in developing countries are setting up non-contributory programs to assist older people, most of whom are not covered by formal pension schemes. Malawi is no stranger to the international advancement of social security and social protection. That said, further analysis on the implementation and the role of social pensions in tackling old-age poverty was needed to inform government policy and practice.

The aim of the study was to address the knowledge gap of social pension reforms in Malawi. The study examined what has been learned from the programs operating in different African countries, and highlights the key policy and budgetary issues that arise. The study has concluded that social pensions represent an important component of an institutional foundation for old-age social protection.

There are affordable options for Malawi to begin expanding a universal pension in the coming years. Various scenarios exist for universal pensions costing a fraction of GDP, which could be financed through wider efforts to increase revenue for social protection spending. Malawi could then seek to
increase the coverage and adequacy of a universal pension as more revenue can be secured, and as the economy grows.

The path chosen will depend on the political will of the government, but a potential option would be:


  • make a start but introducing a relatively low cost scheme, such as benefit of MWK 3,720 to over 70s (a cost of 0.4 per cent of GDP). This would be in line with current levels of fiscal space, and would also allow for administrative systems to be developed gradually before rolling out to national level
  • as soon as possible, expand the scheme to all older people aged 60 years and over. This would recognise the relatively short life expectancy in Malawi, and that many of the challenges of old age can kick in relatively early
  • in the longer run, move towards a benefit level at the level of the national poverty line (approximately MWK 8,750 in 2016 prices), to ensure that no older person lives in poverty. This higher level of adequacy can be achieved both through growth of the economy, and also by devoting increased revenue to the scheme

Meeting the need, fulfilling the promise: youth and long-acting reversible contraceptives

04 Oct 2016 12:07:53 GMT

The highest proportion of young people today - 89 percent - live in developing countries. In some sub-Saharan African countries, where fertility remains high, we can expect growing cohorts of children and youth, unless fertility needs can be met. Addressing the sexual and reproductive health of this large youth population is critical to support their universal right to health-including access to contraception-and to contribute to efforts to expand education, provide meaningful employment, and reduce poverty.
Fortunately, the importance of providing reproductive health information and services to youth is gaining worldwide attention. In 2015 the Global Consensus Statement on youth and long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) was launched and more than 50 influential organizations and governments have signed on. The Consensus Statement says that ensuring young people’s access to LARCs will help to prevent unintended pregnancies, reduce maternal and infant morbidity and mortality, decrease unsafe abortions, and ensure full and informed contraceptive choice for youth.
This brief discusses the advantages and challenges of providing LARCs - specifically contraceptive implants and intrauterine devices (IUDs) - to youth, and provides case studies from Ethiopia and Madagascar. It also outlines actions for policymakers and donors to make youth access to LARCs a reality.

Brexit: implications for climate change commitments

04 Oct 2016 11:31:54 GMT

When the UK voted to leave the EU, climate change was far from the minds of both the electorate and politicians. Climate change had scarcely featured in the referendum campaign. Yet, the UK’s decision to exit has consequences for climate change policy in the UK and EU, as for almost every other area of policy.
There is still considerable uncertainty about how the UK’s exit from the EU will affect climate change policy
and its implementation. However, it is worth reflecting on what the implications might be. It may be two or more years before the details of the UK’s new relationship with the EU are fully known but during this time, the global climate change agreement will continue to evolve in a number of areas. Parties to the UNFCCC are expected to confirm their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), examine the options for making them more ambitious, and begin to consider longer-term commitments of climate finance. The EU is due to reform its emission trading system (ETS), revise policies on renewable energy and energy efficiency, and set 2030 targets for emissions outside the ETS. The urgency of deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions to ensure the average global temperature rise is well below 2°C, will become even greater.

Key messages:

  • departure from the EU is unlikely to affect the UK or the EU’s international commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. These are enshrined in law in the case of the UK, and in Council Conclusions for the EU. In addition, the UK’s departure will not affect existing commitments to support developing countries to address climate change
  • the UK will need to decide whether to implement the Paris Agreement jointly with the EU or as an individual party. The terms of the UK’s exit from the EU may determine this decision
  • if the UK acts as an individual party after departure from the EU, it will need to submit its own Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) to the UNFCCC. The EU’s NDC will need to be revised, which may affect the individual contributions of the remaining EU member states
  • how the UK sets its carbon pricing, whether within or outside of the EU emissions trading system (ETS) will be integral to the UK’s energy policy in achieving ambitious emission reductions
  • prolonged delay by the EU and the UK in revising international climate change commitments may weaken their influence and leadership in multilateral climate change negotiations.

Climate resilient planning toolkit: Booklet 3: worksheets

04 Oct 2016 11:22:05 GMT

This toolkit, developed through the Building Resilience and Adaptation to Climate Extremes and Disasters (BRACED) programme, is designed to develop and deliver health, education, water and sanitation hardware interventions that are more resilient to climate extremes and disasters. It provides a generic framework to help users:

  1. Assess if resilience in a specific service delivery project should be treated as a high, medium or low priority.
  2. Identify how the different components of basic service delivery systems might be vulnerable to a range of climate extremes and disasters.
  3. Think through measures that can be taken to mitigate risks to service delivery.
  4. Establish a plan to follow up on integration of resilience in the service delivery project.

The toolkit can help project, technical and field staff of implementing agencies who plan and manage service delivery projects in developing country contexts. With early planning, the impacts of disasters can be reduced through preparation and minimising risk to people and equipment. Some hazards can be avoided entirely by building infrastructure out of harm’s way.

The downloadable toolkit consists of three booklets. These include:

  • Booklet 1: guidelines that explain the tool and how to fill in the worksheets.
  • Booklet 2: worked examples to illustrate how other organisations have used the toolkit.
  • Booklet 3: worksheets that you can fill in straightaway.