Rural 21 (Englische Ausgabe)
Rural 21 (engl. Ausgabe 2/2021)
Focus 2/2021: Biodiversity
In mid-June 2021 the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration was officially launched by the UN General Assembly. It follows the UN Decade on Biodiversity, which closed with the sobering assessment that none of the targets which the international community had set itself on world-wide conservation of biodiversity, the so-called Aichi Targets, had been fully achieved. On the contrary, never before has species extinction progressed as rapidly as during the last 100 years. And this is happening despite our all being fully aware that biological diversity and its related ecosystem services – such as food, clean water, clean air and natural ingredients of medicines, to name just a few – are essential for the survival of humankind.
When the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration draws to a close, we will also have reached the target year of Agenda 2030, the year by which the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) ought to have been achieved. All of us know that the majority of these Goals cannot be reached if the current pace of biological extinction is not slowed down. And since the corona pandemic at the latest, it has become unambiguously clear just how closely the well-being of humans and that of nature are linked. So it is high time for us to rethink and completely revise our relationship with nature.
One opportunity for this comes up this year’s October, when the international community gathers in Kunming, China, at the 15th Conference of the Parties of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15) to negotiate a new global biodiversity framework. What do we expect from these talks? We couldn’t put it better than Christian Schwarzer, Founding Member of the Global Youth Biodiversity Network, who said at the recent European Development Days: “I want you to fight for biodiversity as if the life of your beloved family were at stake.”
Rural 21 (engl. Ausgabe 1/2021)
Focus 1/2021: The challenge of innovation
“Innovate or die” is a known mantra in the business world. It has already accompanied generations of entrepreneurs, reminding them that if they seek to survive on the market in the long run, “business as usual” cannot be an option. The stakeholders in development cooperation, too, have long been aware that resorting to tried and tested insights and methods simply isn’t enough when it comes to coping with global challenges such as climate change and biodiversity loss, depletion of natural resources and a growing number of conflicts – including newly emerging epidemics.
Meanwhile, there is far-reaching agreement that progress in development in the rural regions of our world not being at the level desired cannot be put down to a lack of new knowledge. Rather, the problem is that of implementing this knowledge and hence the question of how new ideas get “from the lab to the field”, how innovative solutions can be taken to scale, and quickly at that, for there is no time to lose.Erfahren Sie mehr
Rural 21 (engl. Ausgabe 4/2020)
Focus 4/2020: One Health
Against the backdrop of current developments surrounding COVID-19, the “One Health” approach is gaining momentum. It is based on the insight that zoonoses, i.e. diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans, can be predicted, prevented and controlled much more quickly and at a lesser cost than if the two disciplines are working separately. But the One Health concept also implies that human and animal health are intrinsically linked to the health of our environment. In other words, it is a comprehensive approach that reaches way beyond tackling infectious diseases.Erfahren Sie mehr
Rural 21 (engl. Ausgabe 3/2020)
Focus 3/2020: Changing times, changing diets
In its 2019 publication Food in the Anthropocene, the EAT-Lancet Commission described the link between nutritional targets and environmental sustainability. In brief, the study argues that diets and food production will need to change in order to improve health and avoid damage to the planet, emphasising that people will have to eat more fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds, legumes and whole grains while reducing the consumption of ruminant meat in particular. Setting out from this, the authors presented a proposition for a global reference diet. Whereas it is undisputed that the recommendations of the Lancet Commission point in the right direction, the question remains how the world population can be urged to take precisely this course.Erfahren Sie mehr
Rural 21 (engl. Ausgabe 2/2020)
Focus 2/2020: Employment for rural Africa
Many people in the Global South have no option to earn an income enabling them a life beyond poverty, not to mention a decent living. The situation is particularly volatile in Africa, for the population there will double by 2050, and every year, 25 million new jobs need to be created for the surge of young people entering the labour market. These young people are more educated, more entrepreneurial, more savvy and more technical-skilled than any other generation before them. So this is a huge potential that can be put to use – provided that the existing hurdles can be cleared, and that the impacts of the corona crisis can be contained as quickly as possible.Erfahren Sie mehr
Rural 21 (engl. Ausgabe 1/2020)
Focus 1/2020: Water for food and agriculture
Water is the basis of all life on Earth. Without water, agriculture, and hence food production, would not be possible, and this sector accounts for more than two thirds of global freshwater consumption. However, freshwater is a scarce resource. And it is becoming ever scarcer, also because of global warming effects. Here, clever solutions are needed, solutions ensuring that the scarce resource of water is used optimally while taking the needs of all stakeholders into consideration – in line with the “Leave no one behind” principle of the Sustainable Development Goals.Erfahren Sie mehr
Rural 21 (engl. Ausgabe 4/2019)
Focus 4/2019: Forests under threat
The world’s forests are under threat. Forest fires and deforestation are reaching frightening proportions. Even though considerable progress has been made in reforestation, this cannot obscure the simple fact that, at least in terms of tropical forests and primary forests, the net balance is negative – despite everyone being aware of the immense significance that forested landscapes in maintaining ecosystem equilibrium and for people’ livelihoods and well-being. Of course, besides seeking to draw attention to these worrying developments, our articles are above all meant to point to solutions. How can previously intact forest stocks be restored? What are the conditions that need to be created in order to avoid further deforestation and forest degradation? And above all, how can people in rural areas benefit from the environmental services of trees without a conflict arising between using and protecting the forest?Erfahren Sie mehr
Rural 21 (engl. Ausgabe 3/2019)
Focus 3/2019: Multi-stakeholders for better food systems
The more globalisation moves forward, the more complex the interplay between different stakeholders becomes. Sustainable Development Goal 17 is dedicated to partnerships for the goals to harmonise and plan interaction among multi-stakeholders together. But what does this mean for the agricultural and food sector in rural areas in particular? A food system comprises not only traditional value chains, but also consumption and the environment. This calls for concerted action among governments, the private sector and civil society to achieve a sustainable and healthy food system, including its value chains, while considering the different conflicts of interest among the parties involved. In order to understand each other, a common language should be created. This can be achieved through standards and certifications, but also through clearly formulated agreements such as in contract farming. Over the last decades, products produced under labour and social standards or certified by sustainability standards such as Fairtrade or organic standards have come into play and are more popular with the consumer side. But who benefits from this? Is it the small-scale farmers, who have to adapt their production, increase their income and yields, reduce health and environmental risks caused by inappropriate farming practices and enhance nutrition diversity on their own plate while creating traceability and transparency at the same time?
This edition gives special emphasis to this complexity of actors and their interests to work together, sometimes even at inter-sector level. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, for local circumstances play an important role. We have chosen examples of typical interactions in food systems either to show who is involved in a particular case and what the outcome is – the added value of the common action – or to point out advantages and disadvantages of all actors involved and their incentive to participate in a specific step in the value chain.Erfahren Sie mehr
Rural 21 (engl. Ausgabe 2/2019)Focus 2/2019: Plant breeding / Impact measurement
For this section of the current edition, we asked specialists from international agricultural research centres to give accounts of their activities in plant breeding. This had been prompted by the ruling of the European Court of Justice in late July 2018 stipulating that new plant breeding technologies such as genome editing receive the same legal treatment as conventional genetic engineering methods do. While this does not ban their application (in Europe), they are now subject to stringent regulatory conditions. In response to this development, leading scientists from more than 85 European plant and life science research centres issued a position paper warning that the ruling was “irresponsible in the face of the world’s current far-reaching agricultural challenges”. This edition of Rural 21 is by no means intended to once again spark the old debate on the pros and cons of genetic engineering – the arguments here are by and large well familiar, and positions regarding the issue are more or less firmly established. Rather, what we want to show is which developments plant breeding has seen over the last few decades and what challenges it faces today given climate change and more and more global crises. In face of eleven years left to achieve Agenda 2030 and monitor the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on the way there, data access, management and protection is becoming more important than ever. Moreover, identifying measures to combat climate change for resilience and food security requires the availability of accurate and up-to-date data. But data have to be collected, analysed, disseminated and maintained, and in many cases, the capacities needed for this are lacking. This section of the latest Rural 21 edition is dedicated to showcasing how to close this data gap. Erfahren Sie mehr
Rural 21 (engl. Ausgabe 1/2019)Focus 1/2019: The nexus
Recurring crises and protracted conflicts world-wide have become the new normal and are leading to fragility, insecu¬rity and migration. Since refugees flee from their insecure region to a less fragile one, the demands in the new region are twofold – the refugees need basic services such as shelter, medical service, food and sanitation, while the host coun¬tries and communities request support for a sustainable use of natural resources in what is now a region of increased popu¬lation density. On-going crises and conflicts not only demand humanitarian assistance but also call for development co-op¬eration and peace-building. If a crisis is protracted, as is the case in Bangladesh with the Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar camp, then it becomes important to provide solutions bridging the gap between humanitarian assistance and development co-operation, while supporting peace-building. This interac¬tion is called the Humanitarian-Development-Peace Nexus, or simply the triple nexus. But how do the different international institutions and organ¬isations benefit from synergies when working together? Who develops and oversees the diverse approaches of the various actors to complementing each other’s work? To align these actions at global level, the first United Nations World Humanitarian Summit was held in Istanbul, Turkey, in 2016. Since then, different methods have been set up or gained more significance, such as the UN’s New Way of Working, the Whole-of-Govern¬ment approach and Linking Relief, Rehabilitation and Development (LRRD). Global actors coming from the European Commission, the German Government, the International Com¬mittee of the Red Cross, as well as the World Food Programme present their views and approaches in this edition. Case studies and examples come from crises and conflictive regions such as Syria and neighbouring coun¬tries, the Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh, as well as the Lake Chad conflict in the Sahel. But what about natural disasters such as the earthquake in Haiti? How did the country return to agriculture with life disrupted on a destroyed island? Further case studies on adapting to climate change and to more resilience to recurrent (food) crises such as in Mali complement this edition’s selection of articles. Erfahren Sie mehr