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Dams and Development : A New Framework for Decision-Making
Buy Dams and Development : A New Framework for Decision-Making

Dams and Development: A new framework for decision-making

The Report of the World Commission on Dams
Published by Earthscan, 120 Pentonville Road, London, N1 9JN, UK
Email: earthinfo@earthscan.co.uk
or http://www.earthscan.co.uk
2000, 404pp., ISBN 1 85383 798 9 (Pb) £20.00

For many years it has been the habit of popular prejudice to write-off large dams as the classic example of blind, donor-driven development. Clearly a proper, detailed analysis of exactly how large dams - and there are over 45,000 of them in the world - have had an impact for better or worse, is long overdue. Enter 'Dams and Development', the report of the World Commission on Dams.

The scope of the report is huge, but falls into two principal sections. The first is a global review of the impact of large dams, examining both the technical and economic issues, as well as the social and environmental effects. Two further chapters set out the alternative options for water and energy resource development, and the traditional decision-making processes that have resulted in dam constructions.

The report tries to untangle the frightening mass of issues that lies behind the 'to build or not to build a dam' question, and rejects the traditional 'balance sheet' approach of weighing up costs and benefits. This, it argues gives inadequate consideration to the values that different societies may attach to the different options for development.

Instead it argues that the planners must first identify the stakeholders in their plans, those whose rights are likely to be affected or whose way of life, livelihood or culture may be at risk. The central message of the report is that these stakeholders must be fully integrated into a transparent, legitimate and publicly accepted decision-making process.

Setting out a framework to achieve such a process is the task of the report's second section. It presents seven priorities that planners should focus on, which include assessments of how existing dams can be used more productively, how rivers and river-based livelihoods can be sustained, and how to ensure compliance.

The report accepts that sharing resources, for example between a local community and the wider population of a country, is unlikely to be without controversy, and moreover admits that many countries do not have the legal and institutional structures necessary to implement such a participatory way of decision-making. But through a careful structure it breaks down the mass of considerations into more manageable chunks, and offers a comprehensive theory as to how planners might approach the issue of water and energy provision.

It is, ironically, fairly dry reading, with very little in the way of examples or case studies. However for those concerned with water and energy resource development, whether in governments, NGO's or financial institutions, the report offers a useful summary of the impact of big dams, and a detailed theoretical framework as to how future decisions could be made.

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The Baobab and the Mango Tree
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The Baobab and the Mango Tree

By Nicholas and Scott Thompson
Published by Zed Books Ltd, 7 Cynthia Street, London N1 9JF, UK
www: http://zedbooks.co.uk
2000, 212pp., ISBN 1 85649 810 7 (Pb), £14.25/US$25

Father and son Scott and Nicholas Thompson's study of the development experiences of Ghana and Thailand aims to find a middle path between what they regard as the 'impoverished dysfunctionality' of Ghana, and the economically rich yet environmentally and culturally impoverished Thailand. It is extremely readable, opening with an analysis of the different styles of street football in Accra and Bangkok, and including 'overheard' conversations in Thai hostels about the state of the country. Yet it has a very serious case to present, and argues that the contrasts in experience result from three main causes: historical trajectory - in particular the transition from colonialism - the nature of leadership, and the openness or otherwise of society

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Breaking ground: Development aid for land reformBreaking Ground: Development aid for land reform

By Martin Adams
Published by Overseas Development Institute, 111 Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7JD
Email: publications@odi.org.uk or www.odi.org.uk/publications
2000, 133pp., ISBN 0 85003 500 7 (Pb) £10.95

While land reform nearly always poses great difficulties, its advocates believe it to be the surest way to achieve poverty reduction in the long term. Drawing from many years' experience, Martin Adams offers a clear and concise review of the key issues. He focuses on how and why donor organizations have been involved in land reform, and helpfully concentrates on three different cases, in The Philippines, Zimbabwe and South Africa. A further chapter looks at issues that land reform raises, including redistribution of land versus increasing agricultural productivity, the cyclical nature of support for land reform, rights-based issues, environmental issues, and the co-ordination of support services for land reform farmers.

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Community Forest Management: A Casebook from India
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Community Forest Management: A Casebook from India

By Joe Human and Manoj Pattanaik
Published by Oxfam Publishing, 274 Banbury Road, Oxford,OX2 7DZ, UK
Email: publish@oxfam.org.uk or www.oxfam.org.uk
2000, 176pp., ISBN 0 85598 4392 (Pb), £7.95/US$12.95

For those who have been saddened by endless views of deforested hills and scarred valleys, this Oxfam casebook could provide some hope. Drawing on personal testimonies, it tells the story of the 'Friends of Trees and Living Beings', a forest-protection movement which began as local protests in the mid-1970s and grew to be a respected and influential network of forest-management organizations. The story is based in Kesharpur, a small village in the state of Orissa, where once the hills were bare but now, through hard decisions and Gandhian perseverance, they have been reclothed with forests.

In addition to charting the growth of the movement that achieved this, and evaluating the problems it has faced and still faces, the casebook has three chapters devoted to the wider context of forests in India, the forest peoples who depend on them, and other examples of environmental activism in the area.

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Why Poison Ourselves ? A precautionary approach to synthetic chemicalsWhy Poison Ourselves? A precautionary approach to synthetic chemicals

By Anne Platt McGinn
Published by Worldwatch Institute, 1776 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20036-1904, USA
Email: dbell@worldwatch.org or http://www.worldwatch.org
2000, 92pp., ISBN 1 878071 55 6 (Pb) Single copy $5

What will be the long term effects of the millions of tons of synthetic chemicals that are entering our environment? Forty years of scientific research has largely come to the conclusion 'We don't know.' Through the UN Environment Programme a treaty will be signed this year to eliminate the worst 'Persistent Organic Pollutants'. McGinn argues that with three new synthetic chemicals being produced every day, and regulatory agencies unable to keep up, we need to introduce a 'Precautionary Principle'. We rarely understand environmental risks until after the damage has been done, and the burden of proof should therefore be placed on the industries that are developing the chemicals. Restrictions should be put on any activity that may cause long term or irreversible harm.

She takes three industries - paper, PVC and pesticides - and suggests that far from needing synthetic chemicals to remain economic, alternative methods of production can improve efficiency. The section on pesticides reviews their limited success in controlling pests, and summarizes the organic alternatives which, she claims, are increasing yields at reduced costs in countries from China to the US.

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Highland Rice Production in the Philippine Cordillera Highland Rice Production in the Philippine Cordillera

By Central Cordillera Agricultural Programme (CECAP) & Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice)
Published by International Institute of Rural Reconstruction, Silang, Cavite, Philippines
Email: bookstore@iirr.org
For orders contact: Ms.Karen Barroga, PhilRice
Email: tpd@mozcom.com
2000, 213pp., ISBN 971 9081 09 0 (Pb) PhP150.00

This is a nicely presented and extremely practical manual on rice growing in the Cordillera Highlands of the Philippines. All the ideas presented are field tested and farmer-approved, and include improving soil fertility, constructing efficient irrigation systems, controlling pests and weeds, enhancing traditional cropping systems, and increasing income through other rice products. Virtually every point is illustrated by simple hand-drawn diagrams, making the book a real asset to extension workers and community groups as well as farmers themselves.

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Seed policy and programmes in the Near East and North AfricaSeed policy and programmes in the Near East and North Africa

FAO Plant Production and Protection Paper No. 159
Email: publications-sales@fao.org or http://www.fao.org/catalog/giphome.htm
2000, 244pp., ISBN 92 5 104473 2 (Pb) US$20

This paper presents the proceedings of the Regional Technical Meeting on Seed Policy and Programmes in the Near East and North Africa, held in Larnaca, Cyprus, 27 June - 2 July 1999. The objectives of the meeting included how to enhance government initiatives addressing the seed variety needs of small-holder farmers, strengthening links between genebanks, plant breeding organizations and small-scale seed producers and distributors, and consideration of seed quality control schemes. The meeting agreed to establish a Regional Consultative Forum on Seed Policy and Programmes for the Near East and North Africa.

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Seed policy and programmes for Asia and the PacificSeed policy and programmes for Asia and the Pacific

FAO Plant Production and Protection Paper No. 160
Email: publications-sales@fao.org or http://www.fao.org/catalog/giphome.htm
2000, 252pp., ISBN 92 5 104487 2 (Pb) US$22

This paper presents the proceedings of the Regional Technical Meeting on Seed Policy and Programmes for Asia and the Pacific, held in Bangkok, Thailand, 2-6 May 1999. The objectives of the meeting included providing a comprehensive assessment of seed improvement activities, and evaluating trends and requirements related to seed production in terms of different crops and varieties, infrastructure, and capacity building issues. The meeting agreed to establish the Seed Network for Asia and the Pacific, which will facilitate inter-country scientific and technical collaboration on seed production and supply, and promote evaluation of crop genetic resources, conservation and utilization in the region.

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LLearning from change: Issues and experiences in participatory monitoring and evaluationearning from change: Issues and experiences in participatory monitoring and evaluation

Edited by Marisol Estrella et al.
Published by ITDG publishing, 103-105 Southampton Row, London WC1B 4HH, UK
Email: orders@itpubs.org.uk
2000, 288pp., ISBN 1 85339 469 6 (Pb) £8.95

The strength and interest of this excellent guide to Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation lies in the case studies, drawn from all over the world, that make up the first two-thirds of the book. They describe in detail participatory techniques that have been developed, and their advantages and disadvantages, across many different sectors, in countries from Mexico and Ecuador to Nepal, Mongolia, Laos and The Philippines. The last section draws out what can be learned from the case studies, and proposes areas for future research and action. Recommended for all those interested or working in participatory development.

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The Conservation Handbook: Research, Management and Policy
Buy The Conservation Handbook: Research, Management and Policy

The Conservation Handbook: Research, management and policy

By William J. Sutherland
Published by Blackwell Science, Osney Mead, Oxford, OX2 0EL
Email: sarah.kate.powell@blacksci.co.uk or www.blackwell-science.com
2000, 296 pp., ISBN 0 632 05344 5 (Pb), £24.95

Written for conservation biology students and practising conservationists, this 'handbook', which reads like a text book, aims to provide a comprehensive guide to how the principles of conservation biology can be implemented in the field. It covers a lot of ground, including techniques for assessing bio-diversity, setting conservation priorities, monitoring techniques (eg for plants, animals, weather, human impacts), making site and species plans, managing habitats, as well as guidance on organizational management and fund-raising. Case studies illustrate how the methods have been applied. Not surprisingly, covering so much in 250 pages means that the depth of detail is limited, but as an overview, and starting point for closer study, the handbook is worth looking at.

Note also that for every copy sold, a free copy will be sent to a practising conservationist in a less developed country: purchasers can recommend possible recipients.

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Future Positive: International Co-operation in the 21st Century
Buy Future Positive: International Co-operation in the 21st Century

Future Positive: International Co-operation in the 21st Century

By Michael Edwards
Published by Earthscan Publications Ltd, 120 Pentonville Road, London N1 9JN, UK
Email: earthinfo@earthscan.co.uk or http://www.earthscan.co.uk
2000, 292pp., ISBN 1 85383 740 7 (Pb) £12.99/US$19.95

Future Positive reads like a labour of love. This is not a dry academic study, but an impassioned vision of how the world could be. In tackling the problems of global poverty and violence, Michael Edwards believes that there is a third way falling between heavy-handed intervention and complete laissez-faire. This lies in finding a new balance between the forces of competition and co-operation that motivate each of us.

It is not a light read: the chapters are dense with ideas. However the writing style is accessible and the reader is encouraged by the optimism of Edwards' thesis. For all interested in globalisation, international affairs and overseas development, Future Positive is a thought-provoking and challenging choice.

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Home Gardens in Lesotho

Home Gardens in LesothoBy Hopolang Phororo
Published by Institute of Southern African Studies, The National University of Lesotho, PO Roma 180, Lesotho and distributed by African Books Collective Ltd, The Jam Factory, 27 Park End Street, Oxford, OX1 1HU
Email: abc@dial.pipex.com or www.africanbookscollective.com
1999, 59pp., ISBN 999 1131221 (Pb) £8.95/$14.95

This simply written report of research done on home gardens in Lesotho in 1993-94 will be of particular interest to agricultural extension workers involved with urban agriculture. The research, done by university students in their own villages, looked at among other things, the different motivations for having home gardens, the nature of production and marketing, gender roles in the gardens, and their effects on the environment.

One conclusion of the report is that enabling those on low incomes to move from the crowded 'malaene' (blocks of single rooms, with no land for gardening), to high density housing areas where small gardens are a possibility, would benefit them nutritionally and economically. This would however require a commitment to converting agricultural land to residential, and raise the thorny issue of access to land for the landless.

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The Economic Role of Women in Agricultural and Rural Development: promoting income-generating activities

The Economic Role of Women in Agricultural and Rural Development: promoting income-generating activities

By G Booth and J Protais
Published by CTA, Postbus 380, 6700 AJ Wageningen, The Netherlands
Email: cta@cta.nl or http://www.cta.nl
2000, 64pp, ISBN 92 9081 2249 (Pb)
Copies may be purchased from CTA's bookseller:
TRIOPS, Hindenburgstrasse33, D-64295 Darmstadt, Germany
Email: triops@triops.de

Traditional economic models tend to view households as altruistic units in which all the outputs and inputs are ordered for the equal benefit of all the members, regardless of age or gender. The reality in Southern Africa is very different. At a time when more men are migrating in search of work, the burden falling on the women who stay behind is increasing. In particular there is now greater pressure for them to generate extra income, yet despite this, the social and legal restrictions that have traditionally denied women access to possible production inputs, are as strong as ever.

This report summarises the findings of a seminar organised by CTA. It reviews the traditional and contemporary status of women in sub-Saharan Africa, and makes suggestions as to how an enabling environment for women might be created.

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Coming Clean: Corporate Disclosure of Financially Significant Environmental Risks

Coming Clean: Corporate Disclosure of Financially Significant Environmental Risks

By Robert Repetto and Duncan Austin
Published by World Resources Institute, 10 G Street NE, Washington, DC 20002, USA
Email: lorih@wri.org or http://www.wristore.com
2000, 44pp., ISBN 1 56973 453 4 (Pb) US$20

As the companion to the prize winning 'Pure Profits', Coming Clean reports on the extent to which 12 leading pulp and paper companies in the US are disclosing the environmental risks that will potentially affect their financial performance. It also questions how vigorously the Securities and Exchange Commission, the body that is meant to enforce the rules about disclosure, is enforcing those rules. Without adequate information on the financial risks and opportunities facing companies, securities are likely to be mispriced and investors misled. The report is serious reading for investors, companies and regulators alike.

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Communicating Sustainability

Communicating Sustainability

Edited by Walter Leal Filho
Published by Peter Lang GMBH, Europaischer Verlag der Wissenschaften, Eschborner Landstr. 42-50, D-60489 Frankfurt/M.
Email: zentrale.frankfurt@peterlang.com
2000, 496pp., ISBN 3 631 37174 8 (Pb) £40/DM118

Prepared as a contribution to the Rio +10 process, this book offers a range of views and perspectives on sustainability per se and on environmental education and communication in particular.

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Communicating the Environment

Communicating the Environment

Edited by Manfred Oepen and Winfred Hamacher
Published by Peter Lang GMBH, Europaischer Verlag der Wissenschaften, Eschborner Landstr. 42-50, D-60489 Frankfurt/M.
Email: zentrale.frankfurt@peterlang.com
2000, 294pp., ISBN 3 631 36815 1 (Pb) £19/DM54

This reader has been put together by communication and environment specialists, and show-cases related concepts, success-stories and lessons learned in this field.

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