Blog

01 August 2020

Towards better beans and a more sustainable cocoa sector

If you’ve had a piece of chocolate recently, there is a good chance the cocoa was grown in West Africa. The region produces over 80 percent of the world’s cocoa, which is farmed by nearly 2 million smallholders, who are living in extreme poverty. Our research showed, that improving their livelihoods (e.g. access to clean water, clinics, food security) is essential to addressing sustainability concerns.
20 July 2020

Fighting over water: Development trajectories and Nile waters

With the world’s attention focused on the coronavirus, a long-simmering water dispute in Africa is nearing a rolling boil. Behind this dispute lies a history of unjust water distribution, a century-old colonial agreement and a need for electrification. The culmination of the dispute was the construction of the largest hydroelectric dam in Ethiopia which has serious implications on the water quotas of Egypt and Sudan.
02 July 2020

The Covid-19 crisis in Colombia – Slowing the virus while accelerating social and economic impacts

In Colombia, where almost half of the population is economically vulnerable, achieving a low number of cases and deaths due to SARS-CoV-2 is not, on its own, a sufficient measure of success. The government must also increase its investments in effective public policies to mitigate the economic and social impacts of the pandemic.
15 June 2020

Another health crisis: German forests

As we are coping with a public health crisis, I spend a lot of time on our balcony looking at the sickly tree in our yard and can’t help but wonder about this other health crisis. It isn’t caused by a single virus but by weather extremes in combination with other environmental stressors and drivers of devastation. Looking at the statistics, forests all over Germany are in a bad state - with a risk of disappearing completely.
03 June 2020

A recipe for disaster: combine Covid-19 with the deforestation crisis in the Colombian Amazon

Deforestation in the Colombian Amazon is increasing during the pandemic. This directly affects the living conditions of ancestral communities, with Covid-19 putting additional pressure on indigenous communities.
30 May 2020

Bolsonaro-19 and Brazilian forests

For its many dreadful consequences, Covid-19 has momentarily led to a reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions around the globe. But not in Brazil, which is battered by the full force of the pandemic, but yet sees increased GHG emissions due to a surge in deforestation rates in the Amazon. It is as if Brazilian forests are suffering from a unique strain of the Covid family – one we term here ‘Bolsonaro-19’.
27 May 2020

Working through wicked problems: Coronavirus and implications for the future

“Wicked problems”, such as climate change or the Covid-19 pandemic, are the most complex challenges our societies face. Despite there being no single solution to such problems, it is clear that we need a total systems change and societal transformation or else the domino effects and feedback loops of wicked problems will perpetuate.
21 May 2020

The Amazon is still on fire amid Covid-19 increased pressure

Following a recent initial blog article on the impact of Covid-19 on global meat supply chains, it is becoming increasingly clear, that coronavirus impacts on the global economy and food supply chains are adding up critical pressure on the Amazon. The current pandemic is focusing all public attention and shadows the existing risks for the Amazon forest.
12 May 2020

A crisis among crises: Reflections on the Covid-19 pandemic in Afghanistan

Since the first Covid-19 cases reached Afghanistan, the overall sentiment among ordinary people has been fear. Not only fear of the virus but also of hunger, which can be summed in what many people have told me: “Corona is bad but starvation is worse!”.
15 April 2020

The thin line, between pushing out the virus, but not basic constitutional rights with it

We must be prepared to speak up and ask governments to ensure measures to contain the pandemic last no longer than absolutely necessary. Constant reminders to keep on social distancing are as much required now as calls on governments to re-establish all basic constitutional rights as soon as possible.