The city of Bristol, UK, set out to pursue a just transition to climate change in 2020. This paper explores what happened next. We set out to study how just transition is unfolding politically on the ground, focusing on procedural justice. Over the course of a year, we conducted interviews and observations to study decision making at three levels – public sector, private sector and civil society. We found that not only is it difficult to define what just transition means, even for experts, but that the process of deciding how to pursue such a transition is highly exclusionary, especially to women and ethnic minorities. We therefore argue there is an urgency to revise decision-making procedures and ensure that there is ample opportunity to feed into decision-making processes by those who are typically excluded. Inclusive decision making must be embedded into the process of just transition from the beginning and throughout its implementation – it is not a step that can be ‘ticked off’ and then abandoned, but rather an ongoing process that must be consistently returned to. Finally, we conclude that cities have the unique opportunity to pilot bottom-up participatory approaches and to feed into the process of how a just transition might be pursued at the global level – for example, through their participation in the United Nations Framework for the Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP) processes.
The legacies of eugenics in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and their connections to global colonialism remain uncharted. Therefore, it is worth pondering over this relationship, which requires a historical perspective and a repositioning of the recent postcolonial ‘turn’ in CEE to include the history of eugenics. For the most part of the 20th century, eugenics took shape within both colonial and nation-building projects. Eugenic strategies devised to preserve the colonial system outside Europe have always coexisted with programmes designed to improve the well-being of nations within Europe. This convergence between colonial, racial and national dimensions of eugenics requires a critical rethought. While this key line of inquiry has been a major focus in Western Europe and the US, it remains under-theorised in CEE. By highlighting the colonial implications of nation-building in the region, we attempt to destabilise the all-too-pervasive historiographic misconception that CEE nations are largely untouched by the global circulation of eugenics and scientific racism.
In spring 2021, during the COVID-19 pandemic, research projects funded by the UK’s Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) were subjected to budget cuts. The cuts were the result of UK government’s decision to reduce its Official Development Assistance (ODA), which had devastating effects for humanitarian, development and research work. This article draws on focus group discussions with project teams working on three large GCRF-funded projects to explore the effects of these cuts. The article documents how the cuts curtailed project aspirations and impact, had a negative toll on the mental health of researchers, and imperilled the trusting relationships upon which international research collaborations are built. The article argues that the cuts expose the shallow commitments to research ethics and equitable partnerships of powerful actors in the UK research ecosystem, including research councils and government. In ‘doing harm’ via these cuts, the article explores the failure of research governance structures and the continued coloniality underpinning the UK’s approach to researching ‘global challenges’.
The Conclusion surveys the issues that have arisen in the book and draws together the consensus and solutions that are emerging after two years of the global pandemic. Key ideas are outlined, and the actions, both domestic and international, that are required to align pandemic mitigation to sustainable development are highlighted.
COVID-19 poses specific challenges for people living in more remote or relatively inaccessible pockets of rural and urban settlements. This chapter focuses on how the People’s Cultural Centre (PECUC), a nongovernmental organization in Odisha, India, initiated interim relief measures for families of migrant labourers, daily wage labourers, landless, child labourers, disabled, widowed and other vulnerable families in Odisha whose lives were severely affected by the pandemic. It examines and highlights success stories from the field where PECUC has laid down a substantial COVID-19 programming handprint. For over three decades, PECUC has been engaged with children’s rights, education, health, livelihoods, environment protection, women’s empowerment, care of the aged, youth empowerment and disaster management. Having built a presence in these regions, PECUC has been able to work with communities to support alternative livelihoods during the pandemic. More importantly, this chapter shows the importance of working at all levels with all sections of vulnerable communities such as children, youth, disabled and women specifically to create sustainable futures, and to be able to cope with the ongoing pandemic. It brings into focus values of empathy, respect and sharing, which are at the forefront of coping mechanisms.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a mechanism for corporate firms, large and small, to establish their credentials as responsible and conscientious entities. The protracted COVID-19 pandemic has exposed age-old socioeconomic vulnerabilities in India, manifest via indicators like rising inequalities, reduced livelihood and economic opportunities and shrinking of democratic space. The Indian government was unprepared to handle various human crises, such as that of migrant labourers, but on the other hand came up with appropriate legislation for facilitating CSR activism, in direct contrast to the negligent attitude of the colonial government when a similar pandemic had previously hit India. A survey of CSR activism in India suggests that it had positive implications: mainly the social progress accruing from such philanthropic dispositions. Yet, they are not binding or legally enforceable upon the firms. Also, CSR activities are mostly cosmetic and fail to address deep-rooted structural problems. This chapter attempts to explore how the corporate sector may be productively engaged towards addressing various social issues.
What will be the economic legacy of COVID-19? What are the likely consequences of the pandemic for the future of international development? This chapter reflects on these questions, taking as its starting point the role of the state as an agent of development. In the post-1989 period of rapid globalization, the role of many states in economic decision-making and management was minimized as the financialization of the global economy enhanced the power and wealth of corporations and the private sector. However, the pandemic has seen the return of the state to save jobs and businesses, making a mockery of the decade of austerity that followed the 2008 crash. The chapter argues that the international development sector should assume a more overtly political role post-pandemic to challenge any return to austerity and ensure that state resources are deployed to those who need them most: the poor, marginalized and voiceless in the Global North and South.
EPDF and EPUB available Open Access under CC-BY-NC-ND licence.
Though a globally shared experience, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected societies across the world in radically different ways. This book examines the unique implications of the pandemic in the Global South.
With international contributors from a variety of disciplines including health, economics and geography, the book investigates the pandemic’s effects on development, medicine, gender (in)equality and human rights among other issues. Its analysis illuminates further subsequent crises of interconnection, a pervasive health provision crisis and a resulting rise in socio-economic inequality.
The book’s assessment offers an urgent discourse on the ways in which the impact of COVID-19 can be mitigated in some of the most challenging socio-economic contexts in the world.
Access to COVID-19 vaccines, key to ending the pandemic and its devastating consequences, is characterized by vast inequalities. High-income countries pre-purchased most of the initial supply of vaccines licensed to big pharmaceutical companies and approved in Europe and the United States, vaccinating their own populations ahead of the global interest in vaccinating healthcare workers and vulnerable people everywhere. The proposed multilateral solution to vaccine supply, the World Health Organization- and GAVI-backed COVAX initiative, has suffered from ‘vaccine nationalism’. While India was projected as the key source of COVAX’s initial supply, its vaccine production has also been redirected to domestic distribution. China and Russia have instead emerged as alternative sources of supply with their domestically developed vaccines. Amid overall scarcity, enormous controversy has emerged over how to scale up vaccine production and increase vaccine accessibility. The chapter reveals layers of vaccine inequalities not just between the Global North and South, but also within the Global South – especially between middle- and low-income countries. The chapter concludes that the challenge of providing COVID-19 vaccines, and the inequalities involved, appears indicative of wider challenges related to 21st-century global development.
Monopoly patent rewards are highly effective in stimulating successful research and development but do poorly in the next two stages: rapid scale up of manufacturing and strategic distribution to optimize containment and suppression of the disease. A Health Impact Fund (HIF) approach would do better in all three phases by focusing innovator attention on the population level: giving innovators strong incentives to minimize the number of new infections and to avert the evolution of new strains. Such incentives would motivate innovators to take full account of third-party effects of their treatments and therefore to prioritize the people whose treatment would have the largest effect rather than those who can bid the most money, including even very poor people in their strategy. This method would also encourage manufacturers to reduce the cost of producing and distributing vaccines, a goal that is paramount to the HIF’s success.