CDE Policy Briefs provide useful research insights on important development issues. The series offers accessible, timely and policy relevant information on topics such as global change, innovations, sustainable development, natural resources, ecosystem services, governance, livelihoods, and disparities.
Agricultural cooperatives: Finding strength in numbers
Despite their fundamental importance, many small farmers lead lives of deepening vulnerability. Alternative agricultural models are urgently needed. One long-running movement still shows major untapped potential: that of agricultural cooperatives. These can enable smaller food producers to band together and access markets without losing control of their land, livelihoods, or food sovereignty.
Making food systems safer: Time to curb use of highly hazardous pesticides
Many commonly used pesticides – especially in developing countries – are now considered “highly hazardous” by experts due to their proven or likely harms to nature and people. This policy brief outlines key harms and research findings, highlights alternatives to pesticide-intensive agriculture, and calls for phasing out the riskiest substances.
Inequality: What’s in a word?
The shockwaves of the global financial crisis continue to be felt. While polarizing tendencies have spread through politics, the discourse around economics has opened up. Instead of poverty, people are talking about inequality. It’s an issue that calls attention to the bigger picture.
A burning challenge: Making biomass cooking fuels sustainable in East Africa
In East Africa people still rely on time-tested, “bottom-rung” energy sources like wood and charcoal. With proper resource management and improved cookstoves, use of biomass fuels like wood and biogas could be made more sustainable, while helping meet people's cooking-energy needs.
Conservation vs local livelihoods in Madagascar?
Northeast Madagascar’s tropical rainforests are recognized as one of the world’s most important biodiversity hotspots. But protected areas threaten the needs of local subsistence farmers. While no simple solution exists, several policies show promise.
Enough is good enough: Sufficiency to curb resource overconsumption
Despite widespread implementation of various measures to increase efficiency, global consumption of resources continues to rise. This policy brief considers how practising a sufficient lifestyle may help to decrease resource consumption and enable a good life.
Shifting water demands onto the vulnerable? Water impacts of agricultural trade and investment
Worldwide, people’s water uses contribute to an increasingly complex web of “virtual” water flows implied in agricultural production, trade, and investment. This policy brief examines key issues, with a particular focus on the water risks of market-driven agricultural investment in developing countries.
Good intentions, big footprints: Facing household energy use in rich countries
Emission of CO2 by burning fossil fuels is altering our climate. Households account for a large share of CO2 emissions. But which households consume the most energy and how could their carbon footprints be reduced?
Commercial Horticulture in Kenya: Adapting to Water Scarcity
Commercial horticulture is Kenya’s second largest foreign exchange earner, exporting flowers and vegetables to Europe in particular. The economic benefits must be weighed carefully against social and environmental risks.
Sustainable livestock production? Industrial agriculture versus pastoralism
People who herd animals or combine livestock keeping and cropping at a smaller scale – called pastoralists or agro-pastoralists – can sustainably produce animal products while providing vital ecosystem services.