Contours of South-South Cooperation and Biotechnology in Asia: strategising for agricultural and industrial growth
Several Asian economies have adopted biotechnology for harnessing development and efforts are on for integrating biotechnology in the national development plans. While some countries have progressed well, many others continue to face challenges in terms of sustaining the momentum and are facing problems in moving beyond the initial stages, particularly in wider application and commercialisation of biotechnology.
This policy brief suggests that a focused approach to biotechnology is essential for developing countries in Asia and calls for closer interaction and effective collaboration among countries and among various funding agencies, bilateral/multilaterals, besides UN agencies. While the potential of biotechnology is obvious the progress so far is the proof of the pudding. Hence the lessons learnt so far combined with well developed strategies will propel many countries to the next stage of developing and utilization of biotechnology.
This policy brief has identified some issues that deserve attention lest the bottlenecks should impede the utilisation of biotechnology. It advocates some plans besides increased commitment from national governments, aid agencies and UN agencies. The progress in Africa is gathering momentum and this progress has to be sustained. South-South cooperation (SSC) can play an important role in this. While some problems are specific to the respective countries some common problems are faced by many countries and finding innovative solutions for them would benefit all these countries.
The food price crisis of the last decade provided an impetus to the discussions on sustainable development of agriculture. What has since emerged is the belief that agricultural policies need to be revamped to meet the growing demands for food and fibre in most countries. Such an imperative is felt particularly in the developing countries where agriculture seems to be facing impending crisis.
Can the new strategy for sustainable agriculture that has since been put in place be a mere extension of green revolution strategies – input intensive farming for higher outputs? Or would the ‘evergreen revolution’ approach, put forwarded by Dr. M S Swaminathan, the father of green revolution in India, provide a sustainable solution for the development of sustainable agriculture?
The evergreen revolution approach emphasizes on the conventional farming practices such as organic farming and green manure as well as on the use of modern biotechnology. Emerging evidence suggests that the evergreen approach would undoubtedly help the sustainable growth of the agrarian sector, but this needs to be complemented by major changes in the institutions that govern the agricultural sector.
Education is both the product of society and an instrument for bringing about further change. Leh is one of the districts of Ladakh where still many loopholes are found in the education system needing immediate attention for the development of the society.
The current brief illustrates that Leh has numerous schools but they do not fulfill the criteria for a quality education. Accordingly, students face multiple challenges and problems when they pursue higher education because they were not conditioned to quality education. Moreover, education is still not a fundamental right in Leh as right to education (RTE) has not been implemented in the state because of the different constitution.
The document emphasises that prevailing limitations must be eradicated or overcome in order to have an overall development of the individual or society.
Key findings include:
- if the people of Leh want their children to have the ability to go beyond the notion of learning to read and write, they must stress on the quality of education for it not only improves the learning but also develops skills to face the challenges
- Leh has the opportunity to knock out the issues and problems related to the education through Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) from the very foundation and can set a shining example to the world
- still, in terms of legislation, the Jammu and Kashmir school education act needs to be strengthened for effective results
Article 26 of the Cartegena Protocol on Biosafety (CPB) requires the Parties to have in place mechanisms to incorporate socio-economic considerations while reaching a decision on the import of living modified organisms (LMOs) and encourages the Parties to cooperate on research and information exchange on any socio-economic impacts of living modified organisms. The “Nagoya Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol” and “Decision BS V/3” of the COP MOP-5 have provided fresh impetus to the discussions on the socio-economic considerations. It is now held that the manufacturers are also accountable for damages arising out of the use of LMOs, a proposition that was vehemently opposed till the deliberations at Nagoya last year. The Parties are also required to cooperate in the capacity building process by sharing the research and information and best practices.
In this context, this Policy Brief aims at providing an overview of the socio-economic aspects that are already there in the decision making process in different countries and at identifying phases in the commercialization of LMO’s where different socio-economic factors are considered for identifying the capacity building requirements.
Public Health and Pharmaceutical Industry: making the Indian generic pharmaceutical industry vibrant
Reducing the disease burden of its population has emerged as a major development challenge for several developing countries like India. In most of these countries, medicines play a significant role in the health programmes since they constitute up to two thirds of the cost of healthcare. Access to medicines at affordable prices has, therefore, become a key component of an effective healthcare system.
While there are many factors influencing access to medicines, this policy briefing looks at the main factors that are of critical importance in India and what can be done to optimize access to medicines. These factors are:
- the nature of the pharmaceutical industry;
- the ability of the Research and Development (R&D) system to respond to the challenge of disease burden;
- the optimal pricing mechanism that can ensure medicines at affordable prices; and
- the overarching presence of a product patent regime in the pharmaceutical sector.
Reserve management assumed centre stage in policymaking in Asia after the massive collateral damage caused during the 1997-98 East Asian financial crisis spreading all over the region. In addition to the after-crisis retreat to policy conservatism, the renewed activism on promoting regional self-help mechanisms and reducing reliance on IMF for crisis management have gained momentum in the policy circles. Moreover, the present global economic crisis has paved the way for an assessment of the crisis resolution mechanisms that are already in practice (or under consideration). Among the feasible options that emerged out of this crisis-inspired academic and policy discourse, the idea of mobilising surplus reserves in the region and expanding swap lines as alternatives to reserve use by affected economies in events of liquidity shortage gained priority in the regional cooperation agenda..
Is this current policy dialogue on regional cooperation different from the post-1997 developments? Unlike the financial crises of the 1990s, the present global economic recession exposed vulnerability of the mature financial systems in the west and questioned the relevance of the existing global financial superstructure. In the changing global scenario, there is a need to shift the thrust from identifying the new areas of cooperation to consolidating the regional efforts already in place. The region is yet to attain critical mass on many fronts of financial cooperation, particularly in the areas of bond market development, exchange rate policy cooperation and the very usefulness of the Chiang Mai Initiative (Zhang, 2011). While the process of regional cooperation may follow a gradualist approach in the near future, there is hardly any doubt about the importance of establishing credible, timely and effective crisis monitoring and prevention mechanisms in the Asian region.
Identity is a fluid concept and there are multiple identities which an individual can approximate based on various circumstances. This applies to the case of Ladakh wherein any attempt to label the society in terms of primordial identities leads to a very parochial understanding of what it means to be a Ladakhi.
The paper indicates that in such societies there is a need felt by the locals to appropriate an identity from which they can gain a sense of belonging. The Ladakhis in this case have mostly resorted to emphasise their religious identity.
The brief points to the fact that due to the overemphasis on the religious differences amongst the two groups, other parameters of social exclusion such as caste based discrimination are being totally ignored.
The author deems it is necessary for people to stop identifying the other and instead focus on shared cultural heritage and commonalities in language and aspirations to identify or relate to each other.
Key points are that:
- the ongoing research in this area gives hope that questions and issues related to identity will be examined well so as to find possible solutions to such problems
- such a process is detrimental to the peace, stability and development of the region for important issues get sidelined in the fervor of religious identification
- above all it is the masses that need to find a voice of their own and use their agency to spread and strengthen inter-communal networks to build a society without religious divides
The award was jointly presented by the president of WWF International Yolanda Kakabadse and the Director General of WWF International Jim Leape amidst a ceremony organized in Chitwan on 5th March 2014.
The organizations who have been honored were Chitwan National Park, Bardia National Park, Nandabox Battalion, Ranadal Company and Narsinghadal Battalion of Nepal Army, Central Investigation Bureau of Nepal Police, Buffer zone management committees of Chitwan National Park and Bardia National Park, and the National Trust for Nature Conservation.
WWF's greatest strength is its people who together strive for a living planet to achieve conservation success and sustainable development. "Leaders for a Living Planet" award highlights these champions for the environment, recognizes their contribution, while profiling conservation success and, above all, showing what can be achieved and inspiring others to take up the challenge to secure a living planet.
Minimum wage in the RMG sector of Bangladesh is a debated issue, mainly due to lack of an operational definition and method for calculation. This study was undertaken to come up with a definition and method for calculation of the minimum wage based on the ILO Minimum Wage Fixing Convention,1970 (No. 131).
The underlying principle of this definition is that minimum wage should be sufficient enough to meet the basic needs of workers and their families, and should provide some discretionary income. Based on the definition, the minimum wage has been estimated under three scenarios – poverty line, actual expenditure and aspirational diet. Considering the industry’s capacity, the study proposed a phase-wise implementation of the minimum wage under which about 80 per cent of the proposed wage (Tk. 8,200) equivalent to Tk. 6,500 could be provided in the first phase.
The 40 Chances Fellows program will fund four 40 Chances Fellows with the most innovative social enterprise plans that use strategies built on the principles of 40 Chances: Finding Hope in a Hungry World. These social enterprises must seek to address issues of hunger, conflict, or poverty and may be established in any one of the following four countries where the Africa Governance Initiative has a strong presence: Rwanda, Liberia, Sierra Leone, or Malawi.
Each strategy must involve local leadership and management into the operations of the social enterprise by integrating local place-based ownership and relying on locally driven design, development, and deployment in its programs or services. In addition, these enterprises should fill gaps in existing value chains, or otherwise combine a variety of complementary and existing efforts into a comprehensive and integrated approach to solve the intended challenge.
Each of four fellows will receive $80,000 in start-up funds and $70,000 for living and transportation expenses (a total of $150,000) for one year.
Deadline: May 31, 2014
A new publication from IIED.
This report summarises a strategic assessment of the potential of different options for investing in locally controlled forestry (ILCF), with a strong focus on local enterprise development. It looks in particular at the Province of Niassa in Mozambique. This assessment has its origins in mutual engagement by both SIDA and IIED in a dialogue process on ILCF. The process brought together more than 400 investors, local right-holders and forest experts from across eleven different locations, to advance understanding on ILCF. IIED’s long-standing support to the forest sector in Mozambique provided an opportunity to explore what options for ILCF existed in Mozambique, in part to inform Sweden’s new country strategy for Mozambique.
This is a multidisciplinary call focusing on urban food systems and the role of urban agriculture, focusing on design, policy, and agricultural innovations and implementations. It will take place on 5-7 November, 2014 in Velp/Arnhem, the Netherlands.
The 6th AESOP conference aims to bring together scientists, practitioners, decision-makers and entrepreneurs to discuss and exchange current knowledge, practical projects and implementation of urban food production in relation to global food systems. Where and how can space be found to realise a sustainable food supply in cities? This is not only a pure spatial question. It requires also social innovation, new finance models, extraordinary concepts, and ‘a good reason’, which can be found in ecological, financial or health benefits. Also what are the innovations and challenges for conventional food systems planning that may work with or against urban agriculture? Finally, the way decisions are taken can make or break local initiatives and therefore deserves attention.
Deadline: April 15, 2014