Institutions and policies

“Institutions and policies” focuses on the institutional and political settings of biomass production, processing and trade.

Institutions are the systems of rule in which policies are made and innovations are generated. Effective institutions are needed to improve agricultural productivity and profitability, reduce poverty, hunger and malnutrition. A conducive policy and regulatory environment is essential for farmers, processors and traders to adopt the technical and institutional innovations that will foster the transformation from a food-supplying to an interrelated bio-economy system where food and non-food biomass is suitably produced, processed, used and traded.

This thematic area features contributions related to

  • Analysis of current policies and institutions that influence the food and non-food biomass sector in Africa
  • Assessment of enabling environment for farmers and other stakeholders to adopt innovations that enhance transformation from a food-supplying to a biomass-supplying sector
  • Assessment of institutional arrangements and knowledge for the sustainable development of the emerging bio-economies in Africa

Theme coordinator: Nana Afranaa Kwapong

Legese Getachew, van Assche Kristof, Stellmacher Till, Tekleworld Hailemariam, Kelboro Girma. 2018. Land for food or power? Risk governance of dams and family farms in Southwest Ethiopia. Elsevier

We use the concepts of riskscapes and risk governance to analyze the tensions between land use for food (farms) and energy (dams) in Southwest Ethiopia. We analyze the linkages between risk perception, risk assessment and risk management for local and non-local actors. We distinguish, after empirical analysis, as main riskscapes the riskscapes of landlessness, food and energy insecurity and siltation. For the Ethiopian case, and more generally, we reflect on the potential of spatial planning as a site of risk governance, where risk perception, assessment and management can be discussed in their linkages, where different actor-related and topical riskscapes can encounter, can be deliberated and result in policy integration. We finally reflect on the ethical implications of our perspective and reconsider the idea of social cost.

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Virchow Detlef, Beuchelt Tina, Denich Manfred, Loos Tim K, Hoppe Marlene, Kuhn Arnim. 2014. The value web approach so that the South can also benefit from the bioeconomy. Rural 21

The rising demand for biomass is transforming agriculture from a food to a complex biomass-supplying and -processing sector, which the countries of the South could benefit from. New prospects could arise for them to go beyond their role of pure raw material suppliers. However, a value chain approach is insufficient in this context. The biomassbased value web appears to offer an alternative approach.

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Virchow D, Beuchelt Tina, Kuhn A, Denich M. 2016. Biomass-Based Value Webs: A Novel Perspective for Emerging Bioeconomies in Sub-Saharan Africa. Springer Open (eds.). Technological and Institutional Innovations for Marginalized Smallholders in Agricultural Development. ZEF: 225-238 pp.

Growing demand for increasingly diverse biomass-based products will transform African agriculture from a food-supplying to a biomass-supplying sector, including non-food agricultural produce, like feed, energy and industrial raw materials. As a result, agriculture will become the core part of a biomass-based economy, which has the potential not only to produce renewable biological resources but to convert this biomass into products for various uses. The emerging bioeconomy will intensify the interlinkages between biomass production, processing and trading. To depict these increasingly complex systems, adapted analytic approaches are needed. With the perspective of the “biomass-based value web” approach, a multi-dimensional methodology can be used to understand the interrelation between several value chains as a flexible, efficient and sustainable production, processing, trading and consumption system.

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Mohr Anna, Beuchelt Tina, Schneider Rafael, Virchow, Detlef. 2015. A Rights-Based Food Security Criteria for Biomass Sustainability Standards and Certifications. Working paper, ZEF.

With the shift from petroleum-based to biomass-based economies, global biomass demand and trade is growing. This trend could become a threat to food security. Though rising concerns about sustainability aspects have led to the development of voluntary certification standards to ensure that biomass is sustainably produced, food security aspects are hardly addressed as practical criteria and indicators lack. The research objective of this working paper is to identify how the Human Right to adequate Food (RtaF), which is applicable in over 100 countries, can be ensured in local biomass production and in certification systems in food insecure regions. We aim to first develop a suitable conceptual framework to integrate the RtaF in biomass production, processing and trade and derive guidance for the choice of the criteria. Second, we identify appropriate criteria to ensure that the RtaF is not violated by certified biomass operators based on a comprehensive literature review, stakeholder workshops and expert interviews with certification bodies, standard initiatives, NGOs, ministries, scientists and enterprises. The conceptual framework is based on the UN “Voluntary Guidelines to Support the Progressive Realization of the RtaF in the Context of National Food Security” and the four dimensions of food security. Based on this framework, we developed the rights-based food security principle. To ensure that the RtaF is not adversely affected by certified biomass production and trade, we propose 45 criteria, classified in 17 themes which are derived from the voluntary guidelines. The suggested criteria are applicable to all biomass types and uses and serve as a best-practice set to complement existing sustainability standards for biomass.

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Ginzky Harald, Heuser Irene L, Qin Tianbao, Ruppel Oliver C, Wegerdt Patrick. 2017. International Yearbook of Soil Law and Policy 2016. Springer.

The first volume of the International Yearbook of Soil Law and Policy includes an important discussion on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals that are the basis for the post-2015 development agenda up to the year 2030; the Yearbook focuses in particular on Goal 15, which includes achieving a “land degradation-neutral world.” It also provides a comprehensive and highly informative overview of the latest developments at the international level, important cross-disciplinary issues and different approaches in national legislation.

The book is divided into four sections. Forewords by internationally renowned academics and politicians are followed by an analysis of the content and structure of the Sustainable Development Goals with regard to soil and land as well as the scientific methods for their implementation. In addition, all relevant international regimes are discussed, including the latest developments, such as the decisions made at the 12th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The next section deals with cross-disciplinary issues relevant to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals like the right to food, land tenure, migration and the “Economics of Land Degradation” initiative. The last section gathers reports on the development of national legislation from various nations and supra-national entities, including Brazil, China, the European Union, Mongolia, Namibia and the United States. Addressing this broad range of key topics, the book offers an indispensible tool for all academics, legislators and policymakers working in this field.

The “International Yearbook of Soil Law and Policy” is a book series that discusses the central questions of law and politics with regard to the protection and sustainable management of soil and land – at the international, national and regional level.

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Dietz Thomas, Börner Jan, Förster Jan, Braun Joachim von. 2018. Governance of the Bioeconomy: A Global Comparative Study of National Bioeconomy Strategies. Sustainability 2018 (10)

More than forty states worldwide currently pursue explicit political strategies to expand and promote their bioeconomies. This paper assesses these strategies in the context of the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Our theoretical framework differentiates between four pathways of bioeconomic developments. The extent to which bioeconomic developments along these pathways lead to increased sustainability depends on the creation of effective governance mechanisms. We distinguish between enabling governance and constraining governance as the two fundamental political challenges in setting up an effective governance framework for a sustainable bioeconomy. Further, we lay out a taxonomy of political support measures (enabling governance) and regulatory tools (constraining governance) that states can use to confront these two political challenges. Guided by this theoretical framework, we conduct a qualitative content analysis of 41 national bioeconomy strategies to provide systematic answers to the question of how well designed the individual national bioeconomy strategies are to ensure the rise of a sustainable bioeconomy

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Beuchelt Tina. 2016. Gender, Social Equity and Innovations in Smallholder Farming Systems: Pitfalls and Pathways. Gatzweiler F., von Braun J. (eds) Technological and Institutional Innovations for Marginalized Smallholders in Agricultural Development. Springer, Cham (eds.). Technological and Institutional Innovations for Marginalized Smallholders in Agricultural Development. Springer, Cham: 181-198 pp.

Development processes, economic growth and agricultural modernization affect women and men in different ways and have not been gender neutral. Women are highly involved in agriculture, but their contribution tends to be undervalued and overseen. Sustainable agricultural innovations may include trade-offs and negative side-effects for women and men, or different social groups, depending on the intervention type and local context. Promising solutions are often technology-focused and not necessarily developed with consideration of gender and social disparity aspects. This paper presents cases of gender and social equity trade-offs related to the promotion and diffusion of improved technologies for agricultural development.The analysis is followed by a discussion of opportunities and pathways for mitigating potential trade-offs

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Beuchelt Tina. 2017. Buying green and social from abroad: Are biomass-focused voluntary sustainability standards useful for European public procurement?. 156 Working paper, ZEF.

European public procurement is becoming more sustainable. However, for goods with global supply chains, sustainable procurement faces several challenges. This paper highlights the sustainability challenges for biomass-based products, discusses the suitability of biomass-focused voluntary
sustainability standards (VSS) to address them, and identifies experiences and knowledge gaps in the use of VSS in European public procurement. The paper is based on a comprehensive literature review and a case study.
Biomass-based products can have major negative environmental and social impacts in their global supply chains. Biomass-focused VSS using third-party certification, contribute to avoiding such hazards. VSS are used by public procurers to (i) establish sustainability criteria for tender offers, (ii) minimize risks, and (iii) verify compliance with their criteria. Large knowledge gaps exist with respect to increasing sustainability of procurement. The impact of sustainably procured goods as well as of more recently created biomass-based VSS is uncertain. The strictness level of VSS necessary to deliver the desired sustainability effects is not clear. Large data gaps exist, e.g., how frequently which type of VSS is used for which products and for what reasons, and where procurers compromise between desired traits and limited market offers. This information would support a dialogue between procurers, business, and policy makers to stimulate markets towards more sustainable products.

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Malabo Montpellier Panel.2018.Mechanized: Transforming Africas Agriculture Value Chains.Dakar.

The current report—Mechanized: Transforming Africa’s Agriculture Value Chains—summarizes the findings of a systematic analysis of what countries at the forefront of progress in mechanization have done right. It analyzes which policy decisions were taken and which interventions were implemented to substantially increase the uptake of mechanization. The report takes a broad perspective on mechanization, including technologies along the entire value chain and how they relate to agricultural development and job creation.
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