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Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)


Sustainable development research

Shaping EU trade agreements to support human rights
Trade between Europe and developing countries should be shaped such that market shares are just and trade flows foster sustainable development. But this is not always the case. While developing countries have much to gain from trade, they can also suffer serious losses. This is especially apparent with regard to food security, which often depends largely on smallholders and informal markets in poorer countries. This policy brief sketches the link between trade and the right to food, and describes how integration of Human Rights Impact Assessments in EU trade policy can help ensure sustainable trade regimes that do not cause undue harm. 

Call for panels, papers, and posters for conference on the commons

Taking place 10–13 May 2016, the 4th Regional European Meeting of the International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC) will focus on global connections and local responses. It seeks to advance our understanding of such global–local, or “glocal”, processes and how Europe has adapted to them in its management of the commons. The call for papers, panels, and posters is now open!

The Commodity Sector from a Sustainable Development Perspective

Commodity trading in Switzerland has attracted increasing scrutiny in recent years, in particular because of its rapid growth and its importance to resource-exporting developing countries. Written by researchers from CDE, the World Trade Institute, and the Institute for Business Ethics (IWE), this working paper seeks to identify critical knowledge gaps and to provide a basis for further academic research on the commodity industry.  It also seeks to inform relevant policy debates and decision-making processes in Switzerland.

What scale for water governance?

The journal Science has invited essays to debate key issues in freshwater research and management. An article by researchers of EAWAG, CDE, and other institutions discusses local and global perspectives on water governance. Water management has historically been the province of local and regional planners, managers, and end users. Yet emerging research suggests that understanding and meeting future water challenges could benefit from thinking in broader spatial domains. When, and to what extent, should a global viewpoint replace or complement localized perspectives?

Is a just world in sight?

A panel discussion on 9 September 2015, organized by the Swiss development organization Helvetas in collaboration with CDE, will spotlight the United Nations’ new Sustainable Development Goals. The SDGs address issues of growth and resource use, also placing obligations on industrialized countries. At the event, representatives from Swiss government, the scientific community, civil society, and the private sector will discuss past achievements and future challenges in realizing equitable and environmentally sustainable development.
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