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Abstract

Local Economic Development (LED) planning is a place-based approach to development planning and increasingly significant across much of the global South. One of the key challenges facing LED planning is the necessity to adjust planning in relation to the dynamic nature of both international and national framework conditions. The purpose of this article is to show this challenge by examining the dynamic nature of the national policy environment impacting upon LED planning in South Africa, a country which has a relatively long history of LED planning. Five dimensions of the changing landscape of national economic development planning in South Africa are identified. These relate to (a) LED within the context of new national economic and development plans; (b) initiatives for reindustrialising the South African economy, the associated importance of localisation and promotion of the green economy; (c) changing programmes around small business development; (d) shifts in rural development interventions; and (e) the fluid spatial context within which LED planning as a form of placebased economic development is embedded.

Abstract

The article focuses on the interconnectedness of foreign policy environments to explain Slovenia’s opportunities and constraints for foreign policy action. During the period of pre-independence para-diplomacy, the building of an internal and external domestic environment successfully turned constraints (no international recognition) into opportunities (applying for membership of European and global intergovernmental organizations). In the second period - post-recognition - considering the absence of a strategic foreign policy document, the Slovenian internal foreign policy environment became a major constraint to seize foreign environment opportunities. This affected Slovenia’s accomplishments, notably after NATO and EU memberships were achieved in 2004. Although the Slovenian internal environment matured during the following period to adopt, in 2015, a comprehensive foreign policy strategy the recent turn in world politics (especially the European financial and economic crisis and the migration crisis) created for the first time a foreign environment for Slovenia that offered many fewer opportunities and far more constraints.

Abstract

This paper considers the question, what can governments in sub-Saharan Africa do to accelerate the decline of fertility in the region? It begins with a review and discussion of United Nations projections of fertility for sub-Saharan Africa, and suggests that in light of the stalling of fertility decline that has been observed in some countries of the region, those projections may be optimistic regarding the pace of fertility decline. An overview of the policy environment emphasizes several aspects of government views and policies on fertility and population growth and how they have changed over time, and some differences among sub-regions are noted. The Easterlin framework for fertility analysis serves as the theoretical framework for examination of how existing policies function to influence fertility. The paper concludes by discussing what governments can do to accelerate the decline of fertility.

Changes in the Management of the Irish Uplands: A Case-Study from the Iveragh Peninsula

European upland landscapes are of high natural and cultural value. In this paper we present a case study, set in the Irish uplands. We highlight the complex links between ecology, farming systems, the policy environment and the local socioeconomic and cultural context. Given the current low economic returns from hill sheep farming, pluriactivity and multifunctionalism are increasingly necessary farm household coping strategies. We argue that the part-time farming model has land use management and ecological implications for the uplands. Overall we find that within the social-ecological system studied, farming households are adjusting to changing circumstances rather than exiting the sector en mass. We conclude that effective policies for the conservation and management of the uplands, requires a cross-sectoral approach that can take account not only of environmental criteria, but also land managers socio-economic objectives.

Abstract

Productivity alone is not the most important defining character of contemporary agriculture. On the grounds of the dominant models of market liberalization and multifunctionality, farmers have been urged to take new roles beyond food production. By deploying a ’normative’ view of multifunctionality, based on the acknowledgment of spatial heterogeneity, and on an actor-oriented explanation of agricultural change, this paper investigates Finnish farmers’ visions on the redefined and redifining role of contemporary agriculture. From a review and anaylsis of sixteen qualitative semi-structured interviews, it emerges that such visions — through their components of identity, opponent, and project — are constructed upon three factors which are linked to each other to a various extent: 1) farming contingent conditions (as location, climate, terrain); 2) externalities (including international policy environment, and market liberalization); 3) farmers’ personal views on profitability and risk. In a policy context dominated by uncertainty, decision-making has shifted mainly from the national to the international level, and the collected data supports the dominance of productivist actions and thoughts. On one hand, farmers still tend to prioritize the continuity of production, which contribute both to resistance identity, and to the identification of a variety of opponents. Yet on the other hand, farmers are, to an embryonic stage, upgrading themselves to meet the challenges faced by contemporary agriculture.

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