IDS Annual Review – 2021-2022 – World


The world is in a desperate state. This has been a year marked by conflict, climate change and Covid – intersecting crises that intensify and entrench longer-term vulnerabilities. Conflict and war in Afghanistan, Ethiopia,
Syria and Ukraine and elsewhere have resulted in vast displacement and accelerating humanitarian need. Climate and environmental changes are devastating lives and livelihoods, exacerbating economic instability. And the ongoing impacts of the pandemic have compounded the challenges facing vulnerable people and places, such as food and fuel cost inflation. Amid all this, inequalities – across class, gender, race and place – are rising and interacting in new ways, while political instabilities and geo-political shifts create further tensions.

These converging crises reveal a world of disrupted development and deep uncertainties. Panning out across the globe, they remind us how interconnected we are. They also underline the importance of research to understand their causes and effects, and to inform transformational change.

Yet uncertain times also require development research to be done differently – triangulating between multiple sources of knowledge, adapting to complexities and fast-changing issues, and responding to people’s dynamic needs and realities. They require approaches to learning and knowledge exchange that engage both policy actors and communities in all their diversity. As evidenced in this Review, much of our work at IDS in the past year has centred on navigating uncertainties and crises with research and learning that are equal to such demands.

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Jorge Oliveira

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