Welcome to Global Focus, a website feature that spotlights our breaking news.
Not just about the money: corporatization is weakening activism and empowering big business
The corporatization of activist groups, including Greenpeace, is the focus of a new op-ed co-authored by Liu Institute Director, Peter Dauvergne, and former Postdoctoral Fellow, Genevieve LeBaron.
“Corporatized activism is shoring up big business, sustaining capitalist states, and building support for a lightly-reformed status-quo. It threatens no one in power,” wrote Dauvergne and LeBaron. “But it weakens grassroots activism and poses a major threat to those who are struggling to transform the world.” Read the op-ed here, and more on their book here.
Illegal Timber in Retail Supply Chain
Researchers from the Liu Institute and the Graduate School of Journalism will be working to answer important questions on illegal logging and the connection to global retail, thanks to a partnership development grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. The project will use journalistic investigative techniques and video to reveal and communicate the connections and consequences between illegal logging and big retail. It builds on research on the global political-economy of timber by Jane Lister and Peter Dauvergne of the Liu Institute, and on global illegal logging by the Investigative Reporting Program and the Centre for Digital Media. Initial project output from the Graduate School of Journalism includes Pirating Russia’s Hardwood, a video featured on the New York Times on October 18, 2013.
Food Security in Asia and the Pacific
In Asia and the Pacific, despite rapid economic growth and ongoing structural transformations, providing enough safe and nutritious food remains a challenge. This report - “Food Security in Asia and the Pacific” - aims to investigate key policy options for dealing with the food security challenges in the region. Read more.
Video: Ashok Kotwal presents his research on Food Security and Safety Nets at the September 5th launch event.
Modern Warfare: Armed Groups, Private Militaries, Humanitarian Organizations, and the Law
To bridge the widening gap between the theory and practice of the law, Modern Warfare brings together both scholars and practitioners who offer unique, and often divergent, perspectives on four key challenges to the law's legitimacy: how to ensure compliance among non-state armed groups; the proliferation of private military and security companies and their use by humanitarian organizations; tensions between the idea of humanitarian space and counterinsurgency doctrines; and the phenomenon of urban violence. Read more.
Spring 2012 marked the inaugural International Development Research Network (IDRN) Development Challenge, in which teams submitted detailed proposals outlining suggestions for addressing a specific development challenge affecting a less-developed region. Ten teams had to pass through two stages of competition in order to be eligible for the cash rewards that would allow them to begin implementation of their projects.
The competition concluded at a final event on May 22 at which teams presented their proposals to a panel of judges, and three finalists were selected to receive the prize money. Read more.
Eco-Business: A Big-Brand Takeover of Sustainability
Jane Lister speaks on CBC's Lang & O'Leary Exchange about Eco-Business: A Big-Brand Takeover of Sustainability, her new book co-authored with Peter Dauvergne. Watch the interview on cbc.ca [at 33:34 / 42:16 mins].
Solving the Global Food Crisis
The Liu Institute's International Development Research Network (IDRN) recently interviewed Professor Navin Ramankutty (Tier II Canada Research Chair in Land Use and Global Environmental Change at McGill University) about his research. Watch the interview below, and visit the IDRN's blog for more information.
Food Security in Asia and the Pacific
On September 17 and 18, the Liu Institute hosted a group of experts for a symposium on Food Security in Asia and the Pacific. Hosted in collaboration with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC), the Symposium brought together academics, policy makers, and private sector representatives to further understand key policy challenges and opportunities related to food security in Asia and the Pacific region. Read more
Researchers at the Institute are also working to answer important questions on food security in India, thanks to a grant from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). Read more on this project here.
A framework for screening human health and environmental risks from nanomaterials
On May 24th and 25th, 2012, the Liu Institute hosted a group of experts for a workshop on nanotoxicology, human exposure assessment, and environmental fate and transport. The workshop forms part of a project which aims to generate a more complete understanding of risks and uncertainties for emerging nanomaterials. The end goal? A tool that enables regulators and industry to identify hot spots and areas of concern, to compare and rank risks from various engineered nanomaterials and to identify opportunities for re-engineering materials and products to minimize risks. Read more
The Right to Food: Food Access, Food Subsidy, and Residue-Based Bioenergy Production in India
Liu Institute researchers will be working to answer important questions on food security in India, thanks to a $345,000 grant from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). The project, titled “The Right to Food: Food Access, Food Subsidy, and Residue-Based Bioenergy Production in India” has two themes: access to food and food subsidy, and the relationship between biofuels, agricultural productivity and food security. Read more
Energy poverty creating a respiratory disease ‘epidemic’ for almost half the world’s population
Limited access to clean sources of energy, known as energy poverty, makes nearly half the world’s population reliant on burning wood, animal waste, coal or charcoal to cook. This leads to severe respiratory diseases that kill roughly two million people worldwide each year - a problem Hisham Zerriffi (Liu Institute) and Michael Brauer (SPPH) are trying to solve. Read more
Liu Institute researchers provide recommendations for $100 billion in annual climate change aid
In advance of a major United Nations climate conference, Liu Institute researchers are providing recommendations for managing a $100 billion annual commitment made by the international community at last year's United Nations climate conference to help the developing world respond to climate change -- a funding promise almost equal to all existing official development aid from major donor countries today.
In today's issue of Science, Simon Donner, Milind Kandlikar and Hisham Zerriffi argue that the aid commitment made by developed nations is unprecedented and that the world must learn from the troubled history of international development to ensure that countries meet the commitment and provide real actions on the ground. Read more
India: Can solar power become a tool for pro-poor development?
Recepients of the Martha Piper Research fund, associate professor Milind Kandlikar and Sumeet Gulati want to find out if solar power can be a viable energy solution for the 100 million households in rural india who do not have access to electricity.
India is one of the most energy poor countries in the world. In rural India, about one in five villages are not connected to the electrical grid. Even in villages with grid connectivity, about 100 million households do not get power from the electrical grids due to a lack of last mile connectivity. Read more
Rural Electrification: Strategies for Distributed Generation
For an estimated 1.6 billion people worldwide, the absence of electricity is their daily experience. An untold number of others live with electricity that is erratic and of poor quality. How can electric power be brought into their lives when the centralized utility models that have evolved in developed nations are not an economically viable option?
Small-scale Distributed Generation (DG), ranging from individual solar home systems to village level grids run off diesel generators, could provide the answer. In his new book, Professor Zerriffi compares 20 DG enterprises and projects in Brazil, Cambodia and China, and shows that privately run and localized solutions can be both self-sustaining and replicable. Read more
Colombia: The Task of Reconstructing Historical Narratives when the Conflict is Ongoing
During Colombia’s ‘Week of Memory’ this week, the Commission of Historical Memory presents four major reports on emblematic episodes of the war in Colombia. As a researcher for the Commission, Prof. Pilar Riaño-Alcalá has been working to document the different narratives generated during the conflict. Pilar is the rapporteur of “The Massacre of Bahia Portete: Wayuu women in the crosshairs” and the co-rapporteur of “Bojaya. The war without limits”. Read more
UBC researchers call for “social offset” to tackle neglected tropical diseases
Public health and international development experts at the Liu Institute are calling for a “social offset” mechanism to set aside a portion of research funding slated for neglected tropical diseases (NTD) to address broader social determinants of disease. Their comments are published today alongside other perspectives in the Debate section of the online journal PLoS Medicine. Read more
On the Edges of Conflict
Armed conflict in the early 21st century tends to be asymmetrical and protracted, fought by an array of armed groups on both physical and political battlefields, and causing disproportionate suffering and death to civilians. The Edges of Conflict Project is working to better understand the nature of such conflict and to improve respect for the rule of law in complex security environments. Read more
A Daunting Nuclear Agenda for 2010
A year ago, President Obama took office with the stated goal of making the elimination of all nuclear weapons a central element of its nuclear policy. In a landmark speech delivered in Prague on April 5, 2009, he further detailed his vision of a world free of nuclear weapons and he outlined an ambitious arms control agenda for the next decade. The task of translating this vision into action is now upon him. In this op-ed, David Santoro looks at 2010, and the challenging task of driving that vision to completion. Read more
Former UN Special Rapporteur Calls for National Housing Program for Canada
In his recent lecture at the Liu Institute for Global Issues, Miloon Kothari, a former UN Special Rapporteur, explained that the right to housing is in fact included in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in numerous international covenants such as the Rights of the Child and the Status of Refugees. Mr Kothari is also the author of the 2007 UN Human Rights Council Report on Adequate Housing in Canada. Read more
"Her Name is Beatrice, My Name is Lara: experiences in witnessing, internal displacement and conflict in Northern Uganda after 23 years of war" is a documentary project examining a documentary’s potentials and pitfalls in critical 'witnessing,' while exploring how voices from those living in the centre of conflict can challenge dominant media and humanitarian narratives. A photo- and video-based exhibition will be featured in the Liu Institute's lobby starting 14 January 2010. Read more
Global Climate Change: Reaching Agreement in Copenhagen
Leading up to the Copenhagen talks this month, the Liu Institute and its faculty members have been involved in a series of events aiming to inform, highlight, debate, and discuss the challenges and opportunities that world leaders face in the task of agreeing on an ambitious, global agreement that meets the challenge set by science. Read more
What should Canada be doing in Afghanistan post-2011?
To discuss this issue, the Liu Institute hosted a workshop on "Peacebuilding - Afghanistan after 2011", chaired by Taylor Owen and Emily Paddon, with support from Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and the Trudeau Foundation. Read More
From obscurity to action: Why Canada must tackle the security dimensions of climate change
On October 29th, 2009, Margaret Purdy spoke to the Canadian Association for Security and Intelligence Studies (CASIS) International Conference, about the security implications of climate change for Canada. Margaret outlined why the climate change-security nexus is so critical for Canada and offered five recommendations for action. Read more
Rape in the DR Congo: Canada, where are you?
On September 14, 2009, the Africa Canada Accountability Coalition, a student led initiative at the Liu Institute for Global Issues, spoke before the Canada Senate Committee for Human Rights about why and how Canada should address mass rape in the eastern regions of the Democratic Republic of Congo; regions where mineral exploitation fuels a conflict that preys upon women and girls, and where Canada is the largest non-African investor in the mining industry. Read more
Hybrid vehicles produce scant environmental benefits, high cost
Despite major costs to taxpayers in the U.S. and Canada, government programs that offer rebates to hybrid vehicle buyers are failing to produce environmental benefits, a new UBC study says. The study finds that hybrid sales have come largely at the expense of small, relatively fuel-efficient, conventional cars, rather than large SUVs, trucks and vans, which produce substantially greater carbon emissions. Read more
Ending the Vacation of Canada’s Travelling Sex Offenders
A new study by researchers at the University of British Columbia (UBC) finds that Canada has fallen behind Australia and the United States in cracking down on its travelling child sex offenders, and calls on the RCMP to pro-actively enforce Canada’s so-called “child sex tourism” laws. The study is particularly timely with the recent extradition of an alleged Canadian child sex offender on child sex tourism charges in the U.S. Read more