The Stockholm Journal of International Affairs Issue 6 â€˘ 2012
Sustainable Development In
Welcome to the final issue of the Stockholm Journal of International Affairs of year 2012. For this issue the Sustainable Development in the south has been chosen as an issue that is concerned with a multifaceted and evolving field involving the embetterment of the lives of individuals, societies and cultures in the south. Sustainability in the south is essentially an investment for a future with returns not only to human beings but the mother nature as well; Development, albeit a relevant factor for economic growth and standard of living is constantly battling the idea of immediate gain versus that of a rather longer return investment, especially in developing countries. These two words ostensibly compliment one another but rather, individually represent two very different routes, nevertheless development when tied together with sustainability begins to associate with people, resources and the environment. Mahatma Gandhi once said that ”earth provides enough to satisfy every mans need, but not every mans greed”. The selected articles in this issue brings to light concerns, critique, instances and information on sustainable development with just that same concern.
UF Stockholm Board 2012
Editor-In-Chief Meenakshi Malik Editor Lisa Backman Writers Erick Modén Carmen Price Sanna Gustafsson Sophia Elvira Cover Photo April Pierce Illlustrations Svante Hultman Pictures The Creative Commons; Flickr. By: Sustainable sanitation 29/4/09
President Sophia Wallin email@example.com Vice President Jon Gjønnes firstname.lastname@example.org Treasurer Henrik Berg email@example.com Secretary Arianna Framvick Malick firstname.lastname@example.org Programme Managers Gabriella De Sá Gustafsson & Caroline Nabaveih email@example.com PR managers Carl Jensfeldt & Jasmine Heikura firstname.lastname@example.org Activities Managers Simon Rose & Linnea Wallenholm email@example.com
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Sustainable Development in Cuba: Agricultural Pioneers out of necessity
Gender Equity and Sustainable Development: A New and Necessary Way Forward
The Neglected Millenium Development Goal: Unveiling the Worlâ€™s Greatest Public Health Story
Sutainable Development in the South: The Republic of Ghana
A Word from the President...
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pioneers out of necessity
The end of the Cold War changed the international climate in many ways. The isolation of Cuba meant that economic development couldnt prosper solely based on imports and exports. In his article, Erick Modén elaborates on the consequential developments of Cubas unique situation. In a world where ecological and organic products are seen as an exception to the norms of the mainstream food markets, the Cuban experience provides an alternative narrative to the otherwise globally accepted petrochemical discourse that characterises modern agriculture. - In the wake of the Soviet Union’s disintegration, Cuba lost not only it’s most important military ally but also its most important import and export market. The collapse of the Soviet Union also meant that Cuba would not receive any more subsidised oil, on which both its civilian and military sectors had heavily depended. This loss of subsidised petrol, which up until then had helped the Cuban state to operate, led to a restructuring of the Cuban economy concerning more labour intensive and less petrol intensive paths. The Cuban agricultural sector was hit doubly, as it lost both its protected export market for sugar and at the same time, due to the shortage of petrol, was unable to scale up its production. This would have been necessary in order to compete in other markets. The Cuban economy, which was based on sugar exports to the now non-existent Soviet Union, took a complete nosedive, which further deteriorated the already mauled Cuban economy. To further add to their problems, the end of the Cold War did not mean the end of the US embargo on Cuba, which made it difficult for Cuba to enter into new markets, along with acquiring heavy machinery. Unfortunately for the Cuban agriculture sector, most of the pesticides and modern farming equipment were subject to the US embargo, which meant that the Cuban government had to replace the loss of these imports internally. At the same time as the petrochemical economical crisis and the embargo were a cause for alarm; they also presented a relatively unique opportunity for sustainable development for the Cuban state at large. A unique situation as it was a nationwide shift from the modern global petroche-
mical economy, which relies heavily on the import of raw materials, to an economy that would be both sustainable and as independent from the global economy as possible Fortunately, the Cuban government had had some experience with nationwide ecological policies, as it had long before the crisis been an advocate for sustainable development. One of their first policies after establishing control was the replanting of the Cuban forests, which had originally covered more than 50 per cent of Cuba’s area, but in 1959 only covered less than 15 per cent. The purpose behind this forest regeneration was to limit soil erosion, to protect and improve biological diversity and to reclaim land that had been damaged through an overuse of artificial fertilizers, pesticides and depletion. Thanks to these policies, the Cuban forests now cover about 22 per cent of the country’s total area. Due to the lack of petrol, the Cuban agriculture had to limit the use of tractors and other energy intensive machinery and replace it with more labour intensive methods. The agricultural production shifted from industrial sized farms to smaller cooperatives, which was made possible because the largest overhead pesticides were unattainable. The lack of pesticides was at first strenuous, for the crops lost to different pests increased immediately after the beginning of the crisis. But what had first been a loss turned into a boon for Cuban agriculture, as it necessitated the development of an alternative science of pesticide. Instead of using artificial chemical compounds, which are an intricate part of modern agriculture, Cuban agriculture began to utilize a method of pesticide-pests, which in essence is the use of indigenous insects to fight off other harmful insects in order for the crops to be saved. By planting flowers to attract the pest fighting beneficial insects, the crops both receive the protection of the pest-fighting insects and a spatial barrier from weeds that the flowers produce. This is a, not only revolutionizing, but also more sustainable idea for the long term. This method can respond to new
Sustainable Development in the South
threats much faster and with much more accuracy; without harming the soil, the crops, or non-pest flora and fauna. The pesticide-pest approach offers a higher degree of precision to pests and conditions as it can be operated by relatively few researchers with a small (sometimes even mobile) laboratory, essentially abandoning the traditional, capital and labour intensive pesticide research. The Cuban crisis also presented the question of sustainable meat consumption to the Cuban government as well as to the Cuban society at large. With the agricultural sector under stress to alleviate domestic demand and declining resources for animal husbandry, Cuban agriculture was forced to scale down on its meat production, as it proved to give a low yield compared to the resources put into it. Faced with declining resources, it became important to find
the most energy efficient meat sources, which led to a larger investment in energy efficient meats, such as pork and poultry, in favour of the energy intensive beef production. The extended Cuban crisis; the shift to a more sustainable development and an economy less dependent on import became known as the â€œSpecial Periodâ€? which lasted from 1991 to circa 1996. The Special Period, although putting the Cuban economy under great pressure, helped to create a platform for future sustainable development. The experience and the questions posed by it are - today more than ever - relevant to us, as it demonstrates that there are alternatives to the modern industrial petrochemical agricultural narratives.â€˘
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Gender Equity New
When discussing developmental differences between the north and the south, it is often forgotten that the comparison is usually made in terms of western standards, even when it is concerning gender equlity. Carmen Price questions the validity of importing rather than maintaining holistic solutions pre-existing within societies and cultures in the south.
Sustainable development is at the forefront of the global agenda; finding ways to promote economic growth that simultaneously conserves the environment is of paramount importance for everyone from politicians to local farmers. Yet many people fail to see gender equity as a salient feature of this pressing issue. The truth is, however, that sustainable development and gender equity now go hand in hand — if we want to save the planet, then men and women need to be on equal grounds. Both sustainable development and gender equity are issues of marginalisation; on the one hand, we have the marginalisation of the limited natural resources of the planet and on the other hand, we have the economic marginalisation of women. One group of women that are particularly vulnerable in both these respects is indigenous women. While indigenous peoples often fall victim to economic exploitation, it is the women in these societies that bear the brunt of rural poverty. According to the International Fund for Agricultural Development, this phenomenon can be deemed “the so-called feminisation of poverty.” Therefore, it is critically important to find a way to discuss sustainable development and gender equity together and as interlinked issues. Indigenous women, with a very general reference to a diverse array of cultures in Latin America and Asia, are extremely disadvantaged when it comes to the economic exploitation of natural resources they have access to. The imposition of Western economic practices (in other words the cash culture) has effectively stripped indigenous women of their ability to operate within the confines of their very gender specific societies. Traditionally, indigenous women belong to the domestic sphere in which they are producers of food, are nurturers and healers — and also the purveyors of their ecosystems. Indigenous women often hold the keys to knowledge of specific forms of biodiversity within their respective communities; this knowledge includes, for
example, understanding how to cultivate and use herbs and plants for medicinal purposes. Unfortunately, when the Western economic model takes root in indigenous societies, invaluable environmental knowledge is often lost due to the fact that women are usually barred from obtaining education, credit, land and other emblems of Western-based market successes. Yet what we run into here is an interesting problem. The Western world seems to be more advanced in terms of gender equity, however we must remember that this is according to its own definition of the term; it is Western thought and culture that inform and set the standards for gender equality as such. It is also Western culture that has imposed an economically and ecologically unsustainable system on the rest of the world, as has been mentioned by known theorists such as Marx, Engles and Wallerstien. Were it not for Western society’s wide-reaching influence, marginalisation of contemporary indigenous women would not manifest in the same way. Unfortunately, from the United Nations to the International Fund for Agricultural Development, Western discourse exhibits a strong inclination to leave this fact as an epigraph vis-à-vis indigenous gender equity. Nonetheless, acknowledging the ethnocentrism of Western models does not always equate with finding solutions. The world is constantly changing, and denying or fearing this fact leaves us vulnerable to the dangers of wishful thinking and nostalgia (Tea Party anyone?). With respect to Western economic hegemony, it’s not right, it’s not fair, but it is. Globalisation is the way of the future and, at times fortunately at other times unfortunately, it has a very Western tint to it. So we have to make the best with what we’ve got and that means finding ways to have indigenous women as bigger stakeholders in the sustainable development of their societies. It is a new and necessary way forward. And here, women have a lot to teach all of us.
Sustainable Development in the South One example of empowering indigenous women in the sustainable development field is The Hills Leasehold Forestry and Development Project in Nepal, which is helping women to become landowners or at least giving them regular access to land. Such actions allow women to participate in the Western cash economy while at the same time managing their natural resources in a sustainable way based on their traditions. In fact, HLFDP reports that biodiversity has increased from 57% to 81 % in regions under the control of indigenous women, thus indigenous women are able to support themselves by selling their natural resources. It is a method of fighting poverty in a sustainable way. This is the type of sustainable development and gender equity initiative that provides a win-win situation for everyone. There are also initiatives that are helping women in indigenous communities to realise the potential of social as well as natural capital. In India, there are projects underway to create self-help groups for women that create employment and support networks. One such project in Andhra Pradesh, India (with the support of Community Forestry International), is helping indigenous women find jobs in environmental services while also connecting with each other to increase female political representation and policy influence. The no-limits Western economic model is running into its limits, limits erected by our planet. As Johan Rockström of the Stockholm Resilience Center would say, we need to find a “safe operating space for humanity” that respects our planetary boundaries. In order to do so, we must pay closer attention to the way that indigenous people, and specifically indigenous women, are stewards of biodiversity and community. As we have seen from the examples above, there is hope left for us if we can all agree that the time for finger pointing is past. Regardless of gender or culture, we all need to be working together to find sustainable solutions to our natural and economic crises; in this way, blending sustainable development and gender equity make all of us equal partners in bringing our planet’s communities back into balance. •
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The Neglected Millennium Development Goal: Unveiling
World’s Greatest Public Health Story
In this informative and prodding article, Sanna Gustafsson examines how one of the most important Millenium Development Goals- water and saniatation- has been overlooked by the international community. An urging need for drastic reform in helping with water and sanitation is needed and can make a difference of life and death for many.
In 2002, World Leaders committed to eight UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Subsection 10 of the seventh goal target aims to “halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation”. Although progress varies between regions, the world is on track to meet the safe drinking water target. While this is great news, current estimations show that it is far too early for us to start celebrating.
and c) an extremely costly socio-economic concern. All these aspects will be further elaborated below. Without proper sanitation, people have to defecate in the open, which severely contaminates water and food and rapidly spreads disease. Sanitation is a matter of life-and-death, particularly for our young ones. In the countries with poorest access to basic sanitation, the infant mortality rate is much higher than anywhere else in the world. UNICEF estimates that 88 per cent of childhood deaths from diarrhoea stem from the combined effects of improper sanitation, unsafe water supply and poor personal hygiene. This whilst diarrhoea every year claims the lives of more children than AIDS, malaria and measles combined.
On a global scale, there are still 783 million people lacking access to safe drinking water and 2.5 billion people, equivalent to a third of the world’s population, are without access to adequate sanitation. These figures can be seen as a testimony to the low priority given to sanitation and water issues by the political leaders of today. Progress on the sanitation target is off-track and brutally struggling in comparison with the other MDGs. Prognoses of current trends reveal that the total population without improved sanitation will only slightly have decreased by 2015 – from 2.5 to 2.4 billion. Halving the amount of people with insufficient access to basic sanitation by 2015 thus seems to be an unattainable goal.
Sanitation is a dirty issue in many ways. The burden of inadequate water and sanitation falls most heavily on girls and women, as they typically care for the sick and are in the greatest physical contact with human waste. Lacking toilets in overcrowded slums means that women are forced to go the whole day without relieving themselves, and then risk exposure, assault, sexual harassment and rape at night when seeking privacy in the darkness. This mortifying routine not only endangers women’s physical well-being and damages their health, it also hampers their possibilities to fully participate in the economic and social life of their societies.
Most disheartening are the figures for sub-Saharan Africa, where currently only a mere 31 % of the population has access to and uses improved sanitation facilities, in contrast to the world average of 80 %. In some areas of sub-Saharan Africa, progress is stalled or even reversed, and there are great disparities between rural, urban and peri-urban settlements. In 2008, urban coverage was 44 % while rural provision was only 24 %. The challenges are tremendous. To give just one example; every day half of all the sick beds in sub-Saharan Africa are occupied by people affected by water related diseases.
The sanitation issue is also an extremely costly one. Countries with large portions of population lacking access to safe drinking water and sanitation show slower economic growth than those who have it. WHO estimates that the burden of disease costs the world USD 4.1 trillion each year. Nearly one-tenth of this burden could be averted by improved water supply, sanitation, and hygiene. Devoting money to sanitation is actually a fruitful investment - UNICEF estimates that every US$1 invested in sanitation saves up to US$34 more in health, education, and social and economic development costs.
This is but one reason why we need immediate action on water and sanitation issues. The stagnant development is particularly unnerving as the lack of safe sanitation is a) the world’s biggest cause of infection, b) an impediment for sustainable development and the empowerment of women in vulnerable areas,
Sustainable Development in the South Albeit the pressing and immediate urgency of the matters discussed in this article, sanitation is a continuously neglected issue. Why are we so reluctant to deal with this matter? In a newly launched report, WaterAid and Development Initiatives reaches the painful verdict that resourcing of the water, sanitation and hygiene sector falls well short of what is required for national and international commitments to be reached. Whilst water and sanitation aid has grown steadily over the last decades, growth has been much lower than that in the health, education and governance sectors. Consequently, the delivery of safe water and sanitation remains low in terms of donor priority, even though aid is crucial to reduce fatal diseases, tackle gender inequality and other sustainable development outcomes. Furthermore, water and sanitation aid is more often than not erroneously targeted. The 28 countries that account for 90 % of people without basic sanitation receives only 47% of water and sanitation aid. Water and sanitation aid provided to sub-Saharan Africa each year totals less per person than the price of a cup of coffee; just US$2.39. Time is running out, and urgent measures are needed. Resolutions adopted by the UN in 2010 and 2011 deem the safe and affordable access to drinking water and sanitation a ‘human right’. Still, the sanitation target is nowhere near being reached. According to WHO, US$190 billion
of investment is needed each year until 2015 to be able to accomplish and preserve the water and sanitation targets in all regions. This in contrast to US$7.8 billion of global aid flows in 2010. Water and sanitation specialists therefore plead to international organisations and national governments to instantly increase and better target the aid directed towards water and sanitation issues. However, it is essential to keep in mind that money alone will not eventuate in the urgently needed changes; without the right people, systems and processes in place, governments in developing countries may be unable to spend and distribute the money well. Investments towards local management capacity and structural reforms are therefore critical. The time has come to lift the level of action regarding this alarming issue. Examples of current work can be observed around the world, not least close to home. In this year’s budget, Sweden will increase the water and sanitation aid as a means to spur the progress towards reaching the MDGs by 2015. This is comforting news. However, there is still a long way to go and billions of people to help. Two years are left until 2015, and we cannot afford to lose a single minute of this precious time. Let’s make sure we strive for a future where the right to access to safe drinking water and sanitation becomes a reality for everyone.•
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Sustainable Development Republic
Sustainable development is a momentous issue for the entire world. In a world system dominated, to a large extent, by the capitalist desire for extensive consumerism, sustainability is undermined. The question then arises: what sustainable potential does consumerism have? Depletion of the environment, soil and resources – the antagonist to sustainability - cannot be curtailed easily, especially given the rapid acceleration in global population growth, which calls for an equally rapid growth of production – but as a short-term solution. Climate change, being an unprecedented by-product of capitalist consumerism, has lead to more difficult agricultural circumstances in a majority of areas, affecting poorer countries first and worst. Developmental aid focusing on sustainability is therefore of high importance. The Republic of Ghana has been called “the leading light in Africa”. It is regarded as one of the few countries likely to achieve the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDG) set by the United Nations in 2000. The first and foremost goal of which is to “[h] alve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than one dollar a day” (www.endpoverty2015.org). Ghana’s agricultural sector, constituting for ¼ of its GDP and employing more than half its labour force, plays a vital role in realising the MDG’s. Especially in the rural areas, where subsistence production often is the main source of income and survival, people are dependent on future sustainability. Ghana’s plan for poverty reduction sees the modernisation and commercialisation of its agricultural sector as a major act to increase equally distributed economic growth, resulting in an acceleration of the sustainable decrease of poverty. Like many other developing countries, it receives (financial and practical) aid from multinational institutions (IDA, AfDF, IMF) and governments (US, UK, EU, CA etc.). As a member of the African Union it participates in the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), which was established by the African Union’s “New Partnership for African Development” in 2003 and focuses on food security and increasing incomes in Africa’s largely agricultural based economies. One of the current 17 inter- and multinational partners of the Ghanaian government aiming at improving development and distributing aid is the German Development Cooperation (GIZ), which runs projects focused on applying developmental aid in fields ranging from peace and safety to social development and employment in Ghana today. I have had the opportunity to be surrunded by developmental agents as i was growing up, all working in different fields of sustainable development. I took the opportunity to ask, dipl. Agronomist and Consultant Dr. Peter Schröder, a few questions concerning his work in the field and his personal opinion on cer-
tain terms based on his experiences. He has been working in the tropics for various governmental and non-governmental organizations in agricultural development for around forty years Mr. Schröder, you are an Agronomist who has worked in the field of developmental aid for a very long time. In your perception, how has the concept of developmental aid changed over time? “From the early approaches in the seventies and eighties of the last century, economic cooperation resulted in an approach to launch projects in the fields of the health, education, agricultural sector and rural development. These projects were designed to last several years – in the agricultural sector the planning period covered even two or more decades. In the sector of infrastructure it was relatively easy to construct bridges, to build roads or to erect hospitals. When these projects were evaluated, some evident indicators could be measured without difficulty. However, when the question of sustainability was raised, one had to recognize that the maintenance of the roads was not really possible and the running costs for hospitals were not met because the budget from the partners (target groups) were just not available. The evaluations of agricultural projects were not simple either. One could e.g. realize that the production was enhanced, but did the local farmers, smallholders, really have a higher income? This was difficult to measure. And after the project closed – who would provide for e.g. transport costs for the fertilizer? Nowadays, economic cooperation focuses on advisory work: to enable the partner with better organization and an improved policy approach. This is labeled as ‘organizational development’ – and works on the assumption that with structural reform the economic development can be speeded up. Of course it is more difficult than a restricted project and consumes a lot of effort and time. And unless it is supplemented with funds, out of which accompanying physically apparent measures are financed in order to un-
Sustainable Development in the South derpin the management of change, the chances to guarantee the sustainability are equally meager. You have worked for the GTZ (GIZ) on a 3-year-project in the 90s. What was it exactly that you did there? As an adviser to the ministry of agriculture I introduced record keeping and accounting for smallholders in the country. Thus, they were enabled to do contribution margin calculation for their various agricultural activities (enterprises). With limited resources (farmland, family work force) and the help of the field-advisors from the agricultural service financed by the ministry, the farmers could now maximize the combination of their cropping pattern, so that their income was increased – likewise the organization of animal husbandry. The other aspect was, that the advisory service was enabled to transfer the achieved know-how to other farmers – thus the productivity of the agricultural sector as such was raised on a sustainable basis, using the local resources. The sustainability of this approach was curbed, however, as funds to finance the training and the salary of the field-advisors were not made available – due to the limited budgets of the ministry. Having also experienced other sub-Saharan countries, such as Sierra Leone, what is it – in your personal opinion – that Ghana has that the others lack?
Ghana has some proceeds from exports, like cocoa, and mineral resources like gold, which contribute to funding the state budget. The government itself is quite well organized; the administration is functioning and is quite disciplined for West African standards. A lot of drug money is supposed to be laundered and flow through this country. This has some kind of welfare effect as well. The most important fact though is that the middle class was hardly impoverished during the various economic crises. Thus, life of the civil society went on smoothly and ethnic clashed could be contained – for the well being of all Ghanaians! How sustainable is sustainable development really? ‘Sustainable development’ is a challenging term that is often used to distract from the fact, that funds to invest in sustainable development are just too sparse. If you compare how many billions in the past twenty years have been used to improve living conditions in the former German Democratic Republic, reading the reports that a huge discrepancy between the concerned federal countries prevails makes you wonder. You wonder even more, how countries in Africa, which receive comparatively homoeopathic doses, shall improve their economic performance and keep pace with the increase of the population. Sustainability is a visionary target. However, it needs a lot of policy work, transfer of skills, and transfer of capital to be done in order to enable the poorer countries to seek their path of economic and social improvement towards sustainability Thank you very much for your time!.•
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word from the president...
In the aftermath of Christmas, New Year’s and mid-season sales, it might be time to reflect upon our consumer behavior and way of living. While people’s purchasing power is increasing thanks to economic growth in third world countries, the world’s resources are not infinite.
As I am writing this, our political leaders are gathering at the UN Climate Change conference in Doha to discuss, and hopefully reach an agreement, on these challenges. The actual expectations, however, are rather pessimistic considering previous failures in reaching such agreements in e.g. Copenhagen in 2009. That This issue of The Stockholm Journal of being said, we cannot afford nor allow ourselves to International Affairs deals with the topic of give up. sustainable development. The economies of some “southern” countries are growing rapidly, and A new year implies the possibility of a fresh people in these countries are increasingly adapting start. In such times, we might ask ourselves: what a western lifestyle. Economic growth is obviously behavioral changes need to be made in order to appreciated when people’s economic well-being makes sure that economic growth and sustainable increases, but this must be compatible with development can coexist? sustainable development. If you, in your New Year’s contemplations feel Considering the pace of world population growth the urge to turn those reflections into something in combination with economic growth, we need constructive, joining our association – in one to develop more effective ways of handling the way or another – could be one way of doing this. resources of the planet. Welcome!
Jon Gjonnes Vice-President
Sophia Wallin President
Published on Dec 18, 2012
Published on Dec 18, 2012
Stockholm Journal of International affairs presents the sixth issue of political journal. This issue deals with an arena of issues when it c...