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What are we reading?

Recently released books, reports, manuals, etc.

The Global Water Grab: A Primer

"Water grabbing refers to situations where powerful actors take control of valuable water resources for their own benefit, depriving local communities whose livelihoods often depend on these resources and ecosystems." This revised edition of the primer provides a comprehensive analysis of water grabbing worldwide. Informative chapters, complemented with case studies and selected further reading, explain: how water grabbing takes place; who are the water grabbers; and what are the key drivers of water grabbing. The authors critique current global water governance frameworks and propose alternative frameworks making a strong case for a human rights perspective on water. The report concludes with some insights from existing resistance to water grabbing and notes that alternative models emerging from these struggles "promote water management practices forged around common values that redefine the meaning of 'public' beyond solely 'state-run' and eschew profit-seeking approaches."

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Water for food security and nutrition: A report by the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition of the Committee on World Food Security

This report aims to help policy makers and actors around food, agriculture and water overcome the challenge of safeguarding water for the dignity, health, food and nutrition security of everyone on the planet. The authors’ broad focus – linkages between water, food security and nutrition from the household to the global level – is framed by competing demands, rising scarcities and climate change. The report includes a thorough analysis, for example of availability of water resources, managing water and governing water. And this supports findings and recommendations for improved management and governance. Agroecology is discussed and mentioned as an approach for improving management. Recommended domains for action, amongst others, include conservation of ecosystems, considering the most vulnerable and marginalised first, improving management in agriculture and inclusive and effective governance.

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Valuing variability: New perspectives on climate resilient drylands development

This book urges policy makers and development agents to overhaul present thinking about ‘controlling’ drylands and to consider an alternative pathway based on taking advantage of variability. The author explores vibrant dryland agricultural economies and in doing so inverts negative views about food security in the drylands. Case studies from drylands across the world, interspersed with brief theoretical and analytical text are the substance of this book. Amongst others, case studies include indigenous terrace systems, a mainstay of non-irrigated farming in eastern Sudan, rainwater harvesting in NW China and sheep rearing communities in Rajasthan, India. Each example demonstrates how producers use rainfall variability as an asset. A resounding message from this book is the need to better recognise local knowledge and customary wisdom of those who live with and value the inherent variability of drylands.

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Water Resilience for Human Prosperity

This book aspires to a deeper understanding of new water dynamics in the globally integrated system of people and nature. The authors have chosen to specifically address water and food in a changing world. The target audience is students, water resource professionals and water planners and as a result it is rich in detail and at times technical. Resilience is the entry point, woven into chapters on the role of water in the biosphere, human induced change to water systems, food production and water governance. A consistent message is that sustainable water stewardship is about having the capacity to deal with change. Overall the book is holistic in scope and offers plenty of ideas and insights for improved governance and management of water resources.

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Effective forest and farm producer organizations: ETFRN News 57

Farm and forest producer organizations are of critical importance to the sustainable use of our natural resources, now and into the future. So says the growing consensus of global opinion. And they hold the key to overcoming many issues, from poverty and human rights, to environmental degradation and biodiversity conservation. Producer organizations represent the collective voices of farmers and forest-dependent peoples, indigenous groups and rural communities. They, are the building blocks of local democracy, and provide essential services to members. And when truly inclusive and with the right support, management choices are sustainable and the benefits are equitable. This edition of ETFRN News contains more than 200 pages of stories from local producer organizations, associations and federations, and from those that speak for them at national and international levels. Reporting on issues of inclusiveness, this is also reflected in the authorship, with most of the 80 contributing (co)authors from the Global South, representing NGOs, UN organizations, government bodies and private companies as well as producer organizations, a third of them women.

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Scaling up multiple use water services: Accountability in the water sector

A good introduction to multiple use water services, a participatory approach that takes people’s multiple water needs as the starting point for planning and designing water services.

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The Green Quarter: A decade of progress across the world in sustainable pastoralism

The World Initiative for Sustainable Pastoralism (WISP) has now been in existence for a decade, a period during which considerable progress has been made globally towards sustainable pastoral development. Many challenges remain for pastoralists, but in the areas where gains have been made it is vital these are built upon and achievements are not squandered. This book follows WISP’s global approach and highlights key examples from its work with partners around the world. It identifies the impact of WISP’s work in empowering pastoralists through improved advocacy skills and better knowledge, and in helping to change policy and practice. Through case studies, testimonies and photos, this book aims to bring WISP’s global stories of pastoralism to a wider audience and identify opportunities for future success.

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ILEIA Financial statement 2014

Balance sheet and statement of revenues and costs 2014

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Cities and agriculture: Developing resilient urban food systems

In response to the challenges set to food systems by ongoing urbanisation processes, this edited volume presents experience and evidence-based ‘state of the art’ chapters on the key dimensions of urban food challenges and types of intra-and peri-urban agriculture. The book provides urban planners, local policy makers and urban development practitioners with an overview of crucial aspects of urban food systems based on an up to date review of research results and practical experiences in both developed and developing countries. By doing so, the international team of authors, of which many are closely connected to the RUAF network, provides a balanced textbook for students of sustainable agriculture, food and urban studies, as well as a solid basis for well-informed policy making, planning and implementation regarding the development of sustainable, resilient and just urban food systems. The book covers a wide range of relevant topics, amongst others, urban food systems and policies, multi stakeholder planning, agriculture in urban design and spatial planning, short chain food marketing, productive and safe use of organic wastes and wastewater, urban agriculture and climate change, gender, financing urban agriculture and the role of urban agriculture in disasters and emergencies.

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Food in an urbanised world - The role of city region food systems in resilience and sustainable development

This report, commissioned by the Prince of Wales’s International Sustainability Unit, seeks to provide an overview and synthesis of the current state of knowledge on city region food systems. The concept of ‘city region food systems’ has come up strongly in international policy debates in recent years as amongst others highlighted by a Global Call for Action on City Region Food Systems that was adopted by an international coalition of NGOs and government organisations at the 7th World Urban Forum in Medellín in 2014 (www.cityregionfoodsystems.org). The report aims to clarify the city region food systems concept and analyse the proposed benefits of pursuing a city-regional approach to food policy and planning. It provides recommended actions that would help stakeholders ensure improvements to food systems outcomes at a city-region level and as a means of implementing more integrated approaches to improving rural–urban linkages.

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The modern peasant: adventures in city food

Alarmed by the fact that city dwellers are ever more cut off from the countryside and that the hidden costs of the ‘supermarket culture’ are enormous, this book sought to find out if some kind of peasant-like self-sufficiency could be achieved for city dwellers. The author was quickly inspired by her discovery that London is teeming with so called modern peasants. Vivid stories of visits to producers are complemented by tips for baking, pickling, fermenting and foraging. These stories and a deep knowledge of cookery are combined to celebrate the city as a centre of food production. And the experiences from London show that taking the best from past and present traditions is exhilarating.

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Food for city building: A field guide for planners actionists and entrepreneurs

This book is a reflection of Wayne Roberts’ ten year experience as manager of the Toronto Food Policy Council, a pioneering group and the first food policy council to be officially embedded within a major city government. This book is clearly about putting people and place first in food policy advocacy and makes an impressive attempt at, “connecting many of the dots linking food... to a hometown place... to neighbourhood agencies... to community-based businesses ... to farmers... to workers... to the environment... to local governments... to residents, citizens, and activists... to democracy and empowerment... to physical and mental health.... to spirituality.” The book’s versatility is reflected in the different groups of readers it targets – including entrepreneurs, innovators and activists amongst city officials exploring food dimensions of civic development and the youth who are energising the food movement and will be the next generation of food professionals and leaders.

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Urbanisation, rural–urban migration and poverty

In an increasingly urbanised world, substantial transformations in population distribution seem inevitable. In countries where most of the population is rural, agricultural production systems are evermore based on large-scale, mechanised farming. And often inadequate access to resources puts a strain on the capacity of smallholders to adapt to droughts and climate variability. Rural–urban migration is the result of these transformations, and a critical component of urbanisation. This working paper aims to better understand migration and urban poverty and to challenge the assumption that urban poverty is a result of migration. The authors emphasise the role of cities and municipal governments in addressing the needs of their residents and stress that the lack of information on residents living in low-income and informal settlements is a reason why governments fail to reduce urban poverty.

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Sustaining local food webs

This report concludes that “local food webs are a cornerstone for the model of food provision that should be prioritised in order to secure our future food.” The authors’ set out to convince those who influence agricultural, food and nutrition polices of this statement. Case studies exploring African and the European contexts support the claim that local food webs are efficient when compared with long chains that deliver the commodities produced by industrial agriculture to distant consumers. Each case study raises different arguments for more protection, investment and support for local food webs. For instance, in Cameroon, local food production and exchange is shown to be a lifeline during failings of the formal sector. In Kenya local food webs are shown to provide food for the majority even when small scale producers are pushed to the margins. And from England, the mapping of local food webs is shown to be a powerful tool in the campaign against agribusiness. Similarities in terms of threats to the local food webs in each case study are highlighted and the mutual impacts between agricultural sectors in Europe and Africa analysed. Overall, the book provides a compelling case for sustainable food systems that help realise food sovereignty.

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Caring for Our Transboundary Landscape: Illustrations from the Kailash Sacred Landscape

This collection of simple drawings is designed to raise the awareness of rural mountain people and help them better understand the various changes and opportunities in their landscape. Rural mountain communities are highly vulnerable to the changes occurring in their landscape due to climatic and other factors (including demographic changes and migration). The first part looks at the changes and challenges in the landscape, such as impacts of climate change and unsustainable practices. The second part introduces solutions for better management and use of natural resources and introduces the concept and importance of collaborating across borders in natural resource management and conservation. The publication was created within the Kailash Sacred Landscape Conservation Initiative (KSLCI) and is intended in particular for communities living within the Kailash Sacred Landscape. However, its messages could be useful to mountain communities in a much wider context.

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Towards a resilient future: experiences with community managed disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation

This publication is based on a selection of the many stories and experiences from Cordaid partners in community managed disaster risk reduction (CMDRR) and climate change adaptation and includes details of the global declaration on CMDRR and climate change, signed by more than 80 partners and participants in Lilongwe, Malawi. The declaration and the stories provide insights into the CMDRR process, achievements with CMDRR so far and set out its potential. The stories highlight the good practices that have been developed, identify the challenges in further developing CMDRR and future opportunities to do so.

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Agro-ecology: building a new food system for Europe

There is increasing evidence which shows that "business-as-usual" for the food system is no longer an option. Agro-technologies, such as high-yielding crop varieties, agrochemical inputs and mechanization have mainly benefited large land owners and transnational corporations, at the expense of small businesses, the most vulnerable and the environment. Unless challenged, the already-significant ecological footprint of industrial agriculture is expected to increase as a result of future global environmental change.

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What do we really know about the number and distribution of farms and family farms worldwide?

Background paper for The State of Food and Agriculture 2014. ESA Working Paper No. 14-02. Rome, FAO. / The agricultural economics literature provides various estimates of the number of farms and small farms in the world. This paper is an effort to provide a more complete and up to date as well as carefully documented estimate of the total number of farms in the world, as well as by region and level of income. It uses data from numerous rounds of the World Census of Agriculture, the only dataset available which allows the user to gain a complete picture of the total number of farms globally and at the country level. The paper provides estimates of the number of family farms, the number of farms by size as well as the distibution of farmland by farm size.

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Why a "Soils Otherwise" conference?

Reflections on why a "Soils Otherwise" (or in Dutch: 'Bodem Anders') conference by agronomist Willem Stoop.

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No ordinary matter: Conserving, restoring and rnhancing Africa’s soils - A Montpellier Panel Report, December 2014

Soil is a resource that has for too long been neglected in the policy realm. This report is a strong plea to donors and governments, to adopt a long-term vision and backed by adequate financial support, to help farmers nurture, conserve and restore their soils. This book looks at the extent of soil degradation in Africa and the role of traditional and ecological approaches to building up soil organic matter and biota. Climate change, and the need for both mitigation and adaptation, is highlighted as an urgent reason why agricultural management must aim to build soil carbon and resilient systems. Recommendations range from the grassroots, building on existing local and traditional knowledge, to higher level policy decisions such as attributing values to land degradation, and securing land rights that create incentives to invest in the soil.

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