You are here

PLAAS Annual Report 2014

by Rebecca Pointer in 2015
Annual Report 2014

2014 was a challenging and exciting year. Rapid and unequal social and economic change fostered rising levels of conflict and fragmentation, and created a dizzying array of issues and processes, from the approaching end of the ‘Millenium Development Goal’ era, to increasing political manipulation of land reform in South Africa, where in-depth research and careful, reflective analysis was needed. One highlight of the year was our co-hosting the Multi-stakeholder Conference on Agricultural Investment, Gender and Land in Africa (AIGLIA). This was an event of major importance, in which we and our partners sought to highlight the gendered impacts of large-scale agricultural commercialisation for policymakers all over the region. Another was our successful participation in the winning bid to host, along with colleagues at UWC’s Institute for Social Development (ISD) and the School of Public Health (SOPH), for a National Centre of Excellence in Food Security. Through participation in this initiative (within which we head up research on value chains and livelihoods) we seek to challenge the narrow orthodoxies of present-day food security discourse, highlighting the importance of structural poverty and the role of ‘Big Food’ in shaping the food environments of poor people. We continued our support of progressive policies in the Marine Resources Management and fishing sector, and deepened our investigation of the social dimensions of water scarcity and water rights in urban and rural contexts. We graduated 21 students, published or co-published six books and nine accredited journal articles, presented papers at 40 conferences and seminars and 29 policy dialogue events, and granted 57 radio and television events.