Par­a­digms of Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment in South Asia

Jointly pub­lished by SDPI and Sang-e-Meel

Enterprise - - Book Review - By Sarah S. Aneel

Over the last five to six years, there has been much de­bate, dis­cus­sion and ar­gu­ment about the mul­ti­ple crises the world has been grap­pling with, forc­ing gov­ern­ments and other in­sti­tu­tions alike to crit­i­cally eval­u­ate sys­temic con­cerns linked to lo­cal, national and global in­sti­tu­tions and struc­tures. This book show­cases re­search con­ducted by aca­demics and to pro­vid­ing unique and fresh per­spec­tives about how some of the chal­lenges South Asia faces can be tack­led, us­ing in­no­va­tive, lo­cal and ‘re­de­fined’ ini­tia­tives and ideas.The pur­pose of the book is to share the lessons learned and to fo­cus on ad­vice and rec­om­men­da­tions from ad­vo­cates in the field of economics, en­vi­ron­ment, pub­lic pol­icy, so­cial sciences and be­yond.

Sec­tion one of the book dwells on New di­rec­tions in en­ergy sus­tain­abil­ity and cli­mate change. It ex­plores trans­for­ma­tive ad­vances in en­ergy sciences, given the com­plex chal­lenges posed by cli­mate change to mod­ern tech­nol­ogy, re­quir­ing re­searchers to delve into un­fa­mil­iar ter­ri­tory such as hy­dro­gen en­ergy, es­pe­cially in a coun­try like Pak­istan. While fuel cells and a hy­dro­gen in­fra­struc­ture can to­gether pave a sus­tain­able en­ergy fu­ture for the coun­try, the state has to play a crit­i­cal role in en­cour­ag­ing and fund­ing Re­search and De­vel­op­ment (R&D) in al­ter­na­tive en­ergy. The fea­si­bil­ity of bring­ing state forests un­der a com­mu­nity-based, par­tic­i­pa­tory in­sti­tu­tional frame­work for ef­fec­tive man­age­ment of for­est re­sources for Ut­tark­hand State in Hi­malaya, In­dia, is dis­cussed at length in chap­ter two. The third chap­ter draws link­ages be­tween cli­mate change and food se­cu­rity from the per­spec­tive of farm­ers in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, In­dia, and Pak­istan, and rec­om­mends es­tab­lish­ment of a food bank, knowl­edge shar­ing and in­vest­ing in cli­mate re­silient agri­cul­ture.

Sec­tion two con­cerns sus­tain­able liveli­hood op­tions and lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties. It dis­cusses the case of the Sri Lankan fish­er­men’s com­mu­nity and pro­vides in­dica­tive in­sights into the ten­sions be­tween lo­cal and mi­gra­tory fish­er­men based on per­cep­tions of in­equal­ity and iden­tity, man­i­fest­ing them­selves in com­pe­ti­tion for a rapidly de­clin­ing re­source. The case iden­ti­fies sev­eral creative and al­ter­na­tive prac­tices for peace­ful co-ex­is­tence. The next two chap­ters on Nepal look at the po­lit­i­cal econ­omy of ex­ist­ing land dis­tri­bu­tion in the coun­try that has caused so­cial ex­clu­sion, in­jus­tice, in­equity and dis­par­ity, lead­ing to skewed power re­la­tions. Then there is the in­spir­ing story of re­mote Nangi vil­lage where in­stal­la­tion of a wire­less fi­bre (wi-fi) pro­ject has left a re­mark­able im­pact on the lives of the lo­cal pop­u­lace from on­line sell­ing and buy­ing por­tals to vir­tual ed­u­ca­tional classes and an op­er­a­tional tele-medicine clinic sup­ple­ment­ing the lack of med­i­cal fa­cil­i­ties in the vil­lage.

Sec­tion three is on readapt­ing for­est man­age­ment deals with the his­tor­i­cal and le­gal nu­ances of for­est own­er­ship in Swat dis­trict of Pak­istan, con­tested by both the state and the peo­ple. Based on archival record and statu­tory and oral sources, the pa­per calls for im­me­di­ate and ur­gent ac­tion to re­solve the cri­sis of own­er­ship be­fore it es­ca­lates into po­ten­tial con­flict. High­light­ing Nepal’s com­mu­nity forestry model, the sec­ond pa­per in this sec­tion dis­cusses five in­no­va­tive in­ter­ven­tions for im­ple­ment­ing REDD+ in­clud­ing com­mu­nity-based mon­i­tor­ing, re­port­ing and ver­i­fi­ca­tion (MRV); cre­at­ing for­est car­bon ad­di­tion­al­ity and per­ma­nence; es­tab­lish­ment of a For­est Car­bon Trust Fund; for­malised dis­tri­bu­tion of REDD+ pay­ments to lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties and initiation of in­sti­tu­tional and bio­phys­i­cal bundling.

Sec­tion four is based on in­ter­ro­gat­ing re­li­gious and gen­der iden­ti­ties. It first traces the his­tor­i­cal tra­jec­tory of the re­li­giously and legally de­fined cit­i­zenry in Pak­istan. It ar­gues that Pak­istan’s po­lit­i­cal elite in­stru­men­talised Is­lam as a means of forg­ing an all-inclusive national iden­tity in a state marked with re­li­gious plu­ral­ity and eth­nic di­ver­sity, by cre­at­ing dis­tinc­tions be­tween Mus­lim and non-Mus­lim cit­i­zens of the coun­try. The chap­ter on Pales­tinian women’s move­ment rec­om­mends that it needs to find strate­gies that main­tain the con­nec­tion be­tween achiev­ing Pales­tinian national rights and women’s rights, with the po­ten­tial to cre­ate con­di­tions con­ducive to reach­ing women in all sec­tors of Pales­tinian so­ci­ety, not just the elite and ed­u­cated. For women to ben­e­fit from both col­lec­tive and in­di­vid­ual rights, sta­ble democ­racy and econ­omy as well as a ro­bust civil so­ci­ety is cru­cial.

Sec­tion five fea­tures in­te­grat­ing pol­icy pro­cesses with trade and de­vel­op­ment. It ex­plores an em­pir­i­cal study of the con­sumer wel­fare im­pact of South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) on Bangladesh, In­dia, Nepal, Pak­istan and Sri Lanka. It high­lights the need for trade pol­icy re­forms at the re­gional level in South Asia in or­der to fuel growth of trade re­la­tion­ships, re­sult­ing in bet­ter trade fa­cil­i­ta­tion mea­sures, pro­ce­dural ease and economies of scale in the trans­port sec­tor. The next chap­ter in this sec­tion shares the find­ing of a pol­icy com­mu­nity sur­vey that points out that while pol­icy mak­ers in South Asia have a pos­i­tive view of the qual­ity of pol­i­cy­mak­ing pro­cesses, re­search-based ev­i­dence is of­ten hard to get and its use­ful­ness and qual­ity is ques­tion­able. The study sug­gests that think tanks should work to build more trust with pol­icy ac­tors in govern­ment and en­sure that their find­ings are eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble, rel­e­vant and of high qual­ity over time, in a re­gion where post-MDG de­vel­op­ment agen­das con­tinue to un­fold in highly dy­namic po­lit­i­cal, eco­nomic and so­cial con­texts.

Through the lens of re­flex­ive gov­er­nance, the fi­nal chap­ter of the book fo­cuses on the emer­gence of new kinds of in­sti­tu­tions, strate­gies, pro­cesses and in­ter­ac­tions in the lo­cal gov­er­nance sys­tem in post-con­flict ru­ral Nepal. It shows how dif­fer­ently po­si­tioned peo­ple en­act, sub­vert and re­sist lo­cal gov­er­nance and de­vel­op­ment projects; and how lo­cal gov­er­nance tran­spires through or­di­nary peo­ples’ par­tic­i­pa­tion, net­worked ar­range­ments, and ar­tic­u­la­tion of lo­cal state au­thor­ity and civil so­ci­ety.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Pakistan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.