Beyond GDP

I have a new favourite blog:

It has LOADS of great articles on there. I highly recommend it.

Reading through the website I came to a post called “Global GDP may be increasing but human welfare isn’t”It provides a nice summary of a new article that examines the Genuine Progress Indicator as a more useful tool than GDP.

If you are interested, here is the reference. Downloading the article requires a subscription.

Kubiszewski, I.,Costanza, R., Franco, C., Lawn, P.,Talberth, J., Jackson, T., Aylmer, C. (2013) Beyond GDP: Measuring and achieving global genuine progress. Ecological Economics 93: 57-68. 


While global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has increased more than three-fold since 1950, economic welfare, as estimated by the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI), has actually decreased since 1978. We synthesized estimates of GPI over the 1950–2003 time period for 17 countries for which GPI has been estimated. These 17 countries contain 53% of the global population and 59% of the global GDP. We compared GPI with Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Human Development Index (HDI), Ecological Footprint, Biocapacity, Gini coefficient, and Life Satisfaction scores. Results show a significant variation among these countries, but some major trends. We also estimated a global GPI/capita over the 1950–2003 period. Global GPI/capita peaked in 1978, about the same time that global Ecological Footprint exceeded global Biocapacity. Life Satisfaction in almost all countries has also not improved significantly since 1975. Globally, GPI/capita does not increase beyond a GDP/capita of around $7000/capita. If we distributed income more equitably around the planet, the current world GDP ($67 trillion/yr) could support 9.6 billion people at $7000/capita. While GPI is not the perfect economic welfare indicator, it is a far better approximation than GDP. Development policies need to shift to better account for real welfare and not merely GDP growth.

Milk Policy and Pastoralists: Gender and Food Security Colloquium

It is my last day at Hohenheim University. My stay has been short but it has been really great connecting with researchers working on similar issues. I always find these types of exchanges so energizing, which is good because it´s expected to get up to 37° today and I need all the energy I can muster!
I am presenting at the Food Security and Gender Colloquium this afternoon. Here is what I will be talking about.
Title:  The White Revolution and the reordering of relations amongst the pastoralists of Gujarat, India:  Implications for food security and nutrition

Abstract:  This presentation will provide an overview of India’s dairy policy before analysing some of the implications of these policies on the pastoralists of Gujarat State, India, with particular focus on women pastoralists.  The case will be made that on the basis of mounting ecological and economic data, dairy policy in India needs to consider pastoralist management systems and livelihoods and develop appropriate policies and programmes to support them.  While the programmes have created important opportunities for increased earning potential for pastoralists, they have also lead to negative consequences for food security, traditional livelihoods and livestock diversity. A recognizable neoliberal turn in Indian dairy policy will most likely amplify negative impacts of the previous programme and potentially compromise existing best practices. The talk concludes with policy recommendations and a call to ground future policy processes with the normative and analytical right to adequate food framework.

You can review the presentation here: Dairy Policy and Pastoralists in Gujarat

VGGT: A case study in the effectiveness of the Committee on World Food Security

Hello from the beautiful Hohenheim University in Stuttgart, Germany.

I am lucky to be here to talk to the class on “Gender, Nutrition and the Right to Food” in the Faculty of Agriculture, Hohenheim University, Department for Gender and Nutrition.

The title of the lecture is: Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGT): A Case Study in the effectiveness of the Reformed Committee on World Food Security

Abstract: The Committee on World Food Security (CFS) was established upon the recommendation of the World Food Conference of 1974 as an intergovernmental body to serve as a forum for review and follow up of food security policies. In 2009 the Committee underwent a reform to become the most inclusive international and intergovernmental platform for all stakeholders to work together in a coordinated way to ensure food security and nutrition for all.  Central to the reform was the inclusion of civil society organizations as official participants on the Committee.

In May 2012, the CFS endorsed the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGTs). These guidelines serve as a reference and to provide guidance to improve the governance of tenure of natural resources with the overarching goal of achieving food security for all and to support the progressive realization of the right to adequate food.

To begin to evaluate the reformed CFS in terms participation and policy outcomes, this presentation uses the VGGTs as a case study and considers:

  • the engagement of civil society actors in the negotiations of the VGGT; and,
  • the VGGTs as a tool for policy making and advocacy.

The presentation is structured in three parts.

  1. The first part will review the reform of the CFS and the development of the autonomous Civil Society Mechanism.
  2. The second part will present the methods used to undertake the research and analysis, highlighting the processes, opportunities and challenges of doing solidarity research with social movements.
  3. The final section presents the VGGTs and considers the impact of civil society organizations as well as the implications moving forward. Recommendations from the Policies Against Hunger Conference 2013 will be reviewed.

Students will be encouraged to engage and interject with questions and comments throughout the presentation, leading to discussion that will link method, policy analysis and practice to broader themes presented in the course.

You can download the slides here: Honheim Lecture VGGT Case study

Legal pluralism in Madagascar: can customary and statutory law be reconciled to promote women’s land rights?

For those of you following issues of land rights and gender, this ILC discussion for you!

Online discussion, 3-14 June 2013

Country focus: Madagascar
Topic: Legal pluralism


Launched in 2010, the Gender and Land Rights Database (GLRD) was developed with civil society organizations, national statistics authorities, academics and other sources to highlight the major political, legal and cultural factors that influence the realization of women’s land rights throughout the world. The GLRD is a practical tool for policy makers and advocates of women’s land rights, providing relevant arguments and information to support processes aiming at more gender-equitable land tenure.

Expert and civil society contributions are essential to the proper functioning of the database as they help generate quality information to users. To this end, you are invited to take part in the on-line discussion that will be held through the Land Portal on 3-14 June 2013. 

The subject of the discussion will be “Legal pluralism in Madagascar: can customary and statutory law be reconciled to promote women’s land rights?”.