Sand and gravel: Rethinking aggregate consumption and distribution

By Arpita Bisht

Of all natural resources, mineral aggregates (sand and gravel) have been the fastest growing and most extracted material group over the 21st century. This growth has not only been associated with large-scale ecological degradation, but also with violent extractive operations on local levels.

Given that sand and gravel are heavily used in the construction industry, particularly in concrete production, it comes as no surprise that the growth of infrastructure is the main driver for the overall rise in their consumption. What’s more, since 1970, increasing aggregate consumption has largely been observed in the global South—in regions which have witnessed massive economic and infrastructure growth. Continue reading “Sand and gravel: Rethinking aggregate consumption and distribution”

The EU Conflict Minerals Regulation – a trial run for responsible sourcing of raw materials?

By Karin Küblböck

On 1 January 2021 the EU Conflict Minerals Regulation entered into force. From now on, companies importing certain minerals into the EU must ensure that their sourcing practices do not contribute to conflict and human rights abuses. The regulation therefore introduces for the first time mandatory human rights due diligence for companies in the EU. In its current version, the scope of the regulation is extremely limited. Nevertheless, its implementation can provide important lessons for the upcoming comprehensive EU due diligence legislation. Continue reading “The EU Conflict Minerals Regulation – a trial run for responsible sourcing of raw materials?”

Advocacy in Fragile Contexts

By Margit van Wessel

There is a lot of interest in advocacy in the development sector. It is commonly accepted that projects in themselves are poorly geared to tackling structural causes of problems like poverty and injustice, and advocacy is taken by many as a necessary for addressing these structural causes.

However, despite all the interest in localization, and the acceptance that many important changes need to take place at country level rather than only in the Global North or international levels, there is little attention to how advocacy works in different national and sub-national contexts – the contexts in which many ‘partner organizations’ work. Continue reading “Advocacy in Fragile Contexts”

State and Development: What Has Changed in India?

By Anthony P. D’Costa

Lately the Indian state under the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP or Indian People’s Party) has attracted a lot of attention. Aside from its divisive, populist Hindu-chauvinist politics, the government under Modi has unleashed an array of programs and projects, ostensibly designed to lead to a “new” united and prosperous India. Alas, the Citizenship Amendment Act, the poorly thought-out demonetization program, and the draconian nationwide lockdown during the corona virus pandemic did not unite India or make it prosperous. Continue reading “State and Development: What Has Changed in India?”

Transforming the Production and Use of Knowledge as a Key to Sustainable Development

By Niko Schäpke and Ioan Fazey

To shift global development to a sustainable and resilient path, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the2030 Agenda call for far-reaching transformations. In this endeavor, the use and generation of knowledge has an important role to play in shaping the direction, form and distribution of development. This is why formalized knowledge systems such as universities, research institutes and education, must change in order to best support transformations to more sustainable societies. What kinds of changes are needed in these knowledge systems and how can they be encouraged? Continue reading “Transforming the Production and Use of Knowledge as a Key to Sustainable Development”