All posts by Helena

Irrigation water rights: options for pro-poor reform (B. Bruns)

Author

Bryan Bruns

Keywords

Irrigation, water rights, poverty, property, negotiation, legal empowerment.

Abstract

Disempowerment and deprivation of access to irrigation water contribute to poverty. Water rights can yield significant benefits for poor farmers, but changes in water rights institutions pose risks if not well designed and developed. This paper describes pro-poor options for improving irrigation water rights. Project interventions can deliberately negotiate water rights, for example through share systems, to reduce inequities in distribution and target improved supplies to poor people. Recourse to outside assistance for resolving water conflicts offers protection against local injustice, if water rights of user communities and individuals are suitably recognised. Measurement of water quantities, including suitable proxies such as proportional division of flows and time-based turns, makes rights meaningful and management more accountable. Legal education and aid can empower poor water users to understand and defend their rights. Reforms in water rights can be sequenced to prioritise secure rights for poor water users. Thus, a range of institutional options is available for designing and implementing pro-poor reforms in irrigation water rights.

Citation

(2007) 56(2) Irrigation and Drainage, 237-246.

Paper

Irrigation water rights: options for pro-poor reform.

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrmailFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Life history trade-offs in human growth: Adaptation or pathology? (B. Bogin et al)

Author(s)

Barry Bogin, Maria Inês Varela Silva, Luis Rios

Keywords

Human health, undeveloped countries, poverty, disease, developmental programming (DP), predictive adaptive response (PAR), human development, biological and cultural resources.

Abstract

Human beings growing-up in adverse biocultural environments, including undernutrition, exposure to infection, economic oppression/poverty, heavy workloads, high altitude, war, racism, and religious/ethnic oppression, may be stunted, have asymmetric body proportions, be wasted, be overweight, and be at greater risk for disease. One group of researchers explains this as a consequence of developmental programming (DP). Another group uses the phrase predictive adaptive response (PAR). The DP group tends to view the alterations as having permanent maladaptive effects that place people at risk for disease. The PAR group considers the alterations at two levels of adaptation: (1) short-term adaptive responses for immediate survival and (2) predictive responses required to ensure postnatal survival to reproductive age. The differences between the DP and PAR hypotheses are evaluated in this article. A life history theory analysis rephrases the DP versus PAR debate from disease or adaptation to the concept of trade-offs. Even under good conditions, the stages of human life history are replete with trade-offs for survival, productivity, and reproduction. Under adverse conditions, trade-offs result in reduced survival, poor growth, constraints on physical activity, and poor reproductive outcomes. Models of human development may need to be refined to accommodate a greater range of the biological and cultural sources of adversity as well as their independent and interactive influences.

Citation

(2007) 19(5) American Journal of Biology, 631-642.

Paper

Life history trade-offs in human growth: Adaptation or pathology?

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrmailFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrmail

A Practical Guide to Creating a Collective Financing Effort to Save the World (S.E. Smyth)

Author

Sophie E. Smyth (TempleUniversity)

Keywords

Global Environment Facility, international finance, paradigm-changing, governance, flexible financing

Abstract

As countries grapple with challenges of a global dimension; a worldwide economic meltdown, global warming and HIV Aids among them, calls for the developed world to make funds available to the developing world to address these challenges are inevitable. The Global Environment Facility and the Global Fund for HIV AIDs are testament to this trend. Recently, the President of the World Bank suggested that developed countries create a vulnerability fund to blunt the effects of the financial crisis on developing countries and Muhammad Yunus, the Nobel prize-winning microfinance pioneer, is calling for the developed world to create a fund to support microfinance in developing countries. This article shows what it takes to translate such a hortatory call for action into an international collective financing vehicle that will function as a solid funding machine.

Drawing upon the experience of the Global Environment Facility, a paradigm-changing international financing effort, I show the choices that must be made for such an effort to succeed; choices that include critical decisions about the effort’s financial plan and governance structure. On the financing side, supporters of the effort must address threshold questions, such as how they will share the financial burden and whether the effort will be a long-term initiative. These initial decisions must then be followed by a series of second order decisions, such as how a long term effort will be replenished and how, if at all, its supporters will deal with a failure on the part of one or more of them to follow through on the commitments they have made.

On the governance side, the threshold question is who will control the allocation of the effort’s pooled resources. Its supporters must decide whether they will retain that power for themselves or delegate it to an intermediary. If they retain it for themselves, they will have to devise a governance structure with the basic component parts (fund allocation council, secretariat and trustee or other financial manager) that will be necessary to facilitate that choice. Second order choices will include deciding on the flow of funds, whether they will go direct to beneficiaries from the financing vehicle or through a pre-approved list of intermediaries, and if the latter, who should be on that list. Supporters will also have to balance between creating a flexible financing vehicle that can adapt to changing demands and warding off the danger of mission creep.

The considerations underscored in this article are poorly understood and frequently overlooked when new funding efforts are launched, becoming lost in the rhetoric of the moment. In the realm of international cooperation, there are no stock answers to the decisions that have to be made. To the contrary, they are fraught with supporters’ political and other sensibilities. Nonetheless, it is important that the supporters of new funding efforts are made aware of the choices and the lessons that can be drawn from the mistakes and triumphs of landmark precedents such as the Global Environment Facility. This article aims to serve as that consciousness-raising tool and analytical road map. In doing so, it fills a significant gap in the legal scholarship on inter-governmental financing initiatives, all of which focuses on the public international law aspects of these initiatives to the exclusion of the significant international finance and corporate governance issues involved.

Citation

(2010) 22 Georgetown International Environmental Law Review 29

Paper

A Practical Guide to Creating a Collective Financing Effort to Save the World: The Global Environment Facility Experience

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrmailFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrmail