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Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)


Sustainable development research

CDE policy brief: Land deals intensify competition for scarce resources
Since the worldwide food price crisis of 2008, foreign investors have rushed to acquire large amounts of agricultural land in poorer countries. Some observers welcome this, claiming that outside investment in ostensibly underused land will jump-start local development. Others regard such investments as land grabs, stressing that the areas are rarely empty and that local people have little say. This brief identifies the types of land targeted by investors and reveals key socio-ecological patterns of such deals. The evidence indicates that foreign investments are intensifying competition for the best land. Ensuring that such deals instead contribute to sustainable, inclusive use of land requires strong public guidance and oversight.

Three new long-term research projects for CDE

CDE is participating in three new long-term research projects under the Swiss Programme for Research on Global Issues for Development (r4d programme). CDE was named Leading House of two of the projects, Food Sustainability and Telecoupled Landscapes, which it will carry out with various partners in Switzerland and in developing countries. Food Sustainability aims at finding ways of improving the sustainability of food system, while Telecoupled Landscapes examines changes in land use amid the influence of global markets. CDE was designated Junior Partner in the third project, Invasive Species: investigating the spread of invasive plants in East Africa. Each project runs for six years, starting in 2015.

Water management in times of scarcity and global change

Ensuring water distribution without conflict is becoming increasingly difficult, especially in dry regions. The MontanAqua project has been addressing this issue in Crans-Montana-Sierre, in the Swiss canton of Valais. There, MontanAqua shows how cooperation with local leaders and interested community members can bring about optimal and balanced management and distribution of water resources. In a short film, researchers and local representatives present their findings and possible future prospects for the region.

Ground-breaking Socio-Economic Atlas of Kenya

Together with its partners in Kenya, CDE has just released the first-ever Socio-Economic Atlas of Kenya. The atlas features high-resolution spatial depictions and analyses of data collected in the 2009 Kenya Population and Housing Census. The combination of geographic and socio-economic data enables policymakers at all levels, development experts, and other interested readers to gain a spatial understanding of different dynamics affecting Kenya. By supplying precise information at the sub-location level and summarizing it at the county level, the atlas facilitates better planning that accounts for local contexts and needs.

From Growth to Sustainable and Inclusive Development: A Shift in Paradigm

In recent years the development debate has witnessed a paradigm shift, away from purely growth-oriented policies to broader concepts of sustainable and inclusive development. A round-table debate on Thursday, 13 Nov. 2014 at the University of Bern will inquire to what extent this paradigm shift has already materialized in different development concepts and policies. The event is organized by the Swiss Network for International Studies and CDE. The debate will be followed by the award ceremony for the winners of the International Geneva Award 2013
University of Bern | Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) | Hallerstrasse 10 | CH-3012 Bern | Tel: +41 31 631 88 22
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