Events archive

An archive of major events organised or attended by Practical Action since 2000. For more recent events, please see our main events listing.


UN Framework Convention on Climate Change COP16 29 November - 10 December 2010, Cancun, Mexico
World leaders did not agree on a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, whose first commitment period expires in 2012. There were successes when the historically large-emitting nations put a figure of the amount of funds needed for developing countries, but their failure to agree legally binding emission reduction target delays the essential peak and decline of the greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere. All eyes are now on COP16 in Cancun, Mexico.

Africa-EU Energy Partnership (AEEP) high-level meeting 14-15 September 2010, Vienna, Austria
This will be the first meeting of the AEEP at this level since its launch in 2008, with energy ministers from several African countries, ministers from EU Member States, and Commissioners from the EU and AU. Briefing paper

A Garden Party to Make a Difference 8-19 September 2010, London
We’re delighted to be supporting A Garden Party to Make a Difference, part of HRH The Prince of Wales's Start initiative. This exciting event is a rare opportunity to visit the historic gardens of Clarence House, Lancaster House and Marlborough House in London to help celebrate and promote sustainable living.

The Summit at Start 8-13 September 2010, London
Running alongside the garden party, the IBM Summit at Start was a series of one day events running consecutively over nine days, bringing together around 120 business and public sector leaders, including Practical Action, with subject matter experts to discuss the issues and opportunities for working together to build a sustainable and smarter planet.

The Small is... Festival 4-5 September 2010, Warwickshire, UK
The Small is… Festival was a celebration and evolution of the ideas of EF Schumacher's Small is Beautiful, held at the start of September in the grounds of Practical Action's UK head office in the Warwickshire countryside.

Sustainable energy in action August 2010, Sri Lanka
Practical Action is participating at the Vidulka exhibition organized by the Sri Lankan Sustainable Energy Authority and the Ministry of Power and Energy.

Community-Based Adaptation Workshop 12 July 2010, London
An opportunity for practitioners new to community-based adaptation to build their capacity, and for those with experience to share findings and discuss emerging issues in this vital area of work.

UN Climate Change Conference June 2010, Bonn, Germany
Practical Action was at the thirty-second session of the UNFCCC Convention subsidiary bodies in Bonn. Read updates from the conference in our blog.

UK Aware 16-17 April 2010, London
Practical Action was at UK Aware, the UK's largest green lifestyle show.

Fourth International Conference on Community Based Adaptation (CBA) to Climate Change 21-27 February 2010, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
The conference aimed to share the latest developments in adaptation planning and practices, priority sectors and measures at different levels and disseminate knowledge among stakeholders and actors. Practical Action had five delegates at the conference, taking a leading role in proceedings. Daily updates on the blog »


UN Framework Convention on Climate Change COP15 7-18 December 2009, Copenhagen, Denmark
This meeting offered a final opportunity for world leaders to forge an agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol. Practical Action’s team was there to ensure they knew exactly what needs to be included. We also reported back on the all the events from the negotiations, via video, blogs and Twitter.

Science, Technology and Innovation for Poverty Reduction 9 December 2009, London, UK
Dr David Grimshaw, head of Practical Action's New Technologies programme, spoke on Designing New Technologies to meet Global Challenges. This seminar, organised by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, the Institute of Physics and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, showcased promising new areas of UK research in developmental sciences, covering a range of areas including mobile communications, disease control, and provision of clean water and electricity.

The Wave - Stop Climate Chaos march 5 December 2009, London
Throughout 2009, the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition has been pressing for UK Government action to end dirty coal and deliver renewable energy and give support to poor countries to adapt to changing weather patterns. This built towards a major event in central London on 5th December to demand a deal at the UN talks in Copenhagen that will radically cut global emissions.

Climate Change and the Implications for People and Poverty 4 December 2009, London
An interactive training course presenting an opportunity to examine and debate why climate change is a key issue for international development. It is aimed at anyone interested in climate change, its impacts and the ways in which people are already adapting their lifestyles in the less developed world.

Integrating Approaches: Sustainable Livelihoods, Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation 3 December 2009, London
As part of an international series, Practical Action hosted a seminar bringing together academics, practitioners and policy-makers to explore the links between Sustainable Livelihoods Approaches (SLA) and approaches to Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation. Presentations are now available to download ...

Educational Resource Launch 19-21 November 2009, Design and Technology Show, Birmingham, UK
Practical Action's Education team will be launching a new classroom CD resource, Getting Started with Sustainability, to support the new GCSE specifications for Design & Technology. Come and visit us at Stand B46 at the Design and Technology Show, NEC, Birmingham.

Global Day of Climate Change Action 24 October 2009, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Practical Action South Asia joined 350 youths for a beach clean up in Colombo, followed by a march to raise awareness on the necessity to reduce CO2 emission in the atmosphere to below 350 parts per million to prevent the worst impacts of climate change.

Schumacher Conference 2009 17 October 2009, Bristol, UK
The annual Bristol Schumacher Lectures are Britain's premier environmental gathering. This year's theme is "From the Ashes of the Crash: rebuilding the new economics", and features lectures and workshops on subjects including a new deal for local economies, local money flows and low-carbon economies.

Climate Change and the Implications for People and Poverty 5 October 2009, London
An interactive training course presenting an opportunity to examine and debate why climate change is a key issue for international development. It is aimed at anyone interested in climate change, its impacts and the ways in which people are already adapting their lifestyles in the less developed world. A second course follows on 4 December.

Delivering Business Development Services to Rural Areas 21-25 September 2009, Nairobi, Kenya
Practical Action Eastern Africa organised a five-day regional workshop on Stimulating and Delivering Effective and Sustainable Business Development Services to Rural Areas, with particular emphasis on services for smallholder farmers.

Small is ... festival 5-6 September 2009, Warwickshire, UK
A celebration and exploration of Small is Beautiful, and what it means today, in a weekend summer festival in the grounds of The Schumacher Centre for Technology and Development, Practical Action's Warwickshire headquarters.

Sustainability in Design & Technology - KS 3&4 7 and 14 July 2009, Rugby, UK
A one day course for teachers giving practical ideas to help deal with sustainability issues in the new GCSE specifications and KS3 schemes of work.

Small is Beautiful Revisited 1-5 June 2009, Devon, UK
This course at Schumacher College in Totnes aims to encourage a deep appreciation of the ideas expressed in Schumacher’s work and how these concepts can be applied in the 21st century.

Governance in practice 28 May 2009, Oxford, UK
Practical Action, in partnership with Architecture Sans Frontieres-UK, ran a workshop to introduce some of the broader concepts about governance that academics and practitioners across the world are grappling with, both institutionally and on the ground.

Climate change and the implications for people and poverty 21 May 2009, London
This interactive training course from Practical Action Consulting offers participants the opportunity to examine and debate why climate change is a key issue for international development. It is suitable for campaigners, fundraisers, policy-makers, donors, programme officers and local authorities.

Farmer First Revisited book launch 22 April 2009, Houses of Parliament, London
Practical Action Publishing's book Farmer First Revisited was launched at the Houses of Parliament in London with a Dangerous Ideas in Development event organised by the Institute of Development Studies and the APPG on Debt, Aid and Trade. Book | photos

Hunger and Climate Change: some practical answers 7 April 2009, London
In this event, hosted by Practical Action, panellists including Professor Bob Watson, Chief Scientist at DEFRA, Patrick Holden and Dr Saleemul Huq discussed the new policies and technologies for agriculture that will be needed to cope with climate change. Presentations and audio are available online.

Towards Copenhagen: Sri Lanka and International Climate Change Negotiations 25 March 2009, Columbo, Sri Lanka
With a broad range of delegates, this meeting explored the issues and implications of climate change and international negotiations for Sri Lanka.

Development from Disaster: Owner-driven approaches to reconstruction for the 21st century 19-20 March 2009, London
This conference, organised by Practical Action's Access to Infrastructure Services programme, looked at research findings and practical experience of ODR and analysed them in terms of their political, economic, social and cultural contexts. Participants discussed a number of tools that various agencies are already using in ODR such as planning, participation, design, technologies, supplies/logistics, quality control and housing finance.

Strengthening the involvement of provincial councils in energy: a case as the agent of eradicating energy poverty 6 March 2009, Colombo, Sri Lanka
A workshop to disseminate the findings of the energy poverty study and to create awareness on the avenues available and improvements required at the National and Provincial level policies to address the issue of energy poverty.

The fact and hidden truth on Sri Lanka’s impending energy crisis 3-5 March 2009, Colombo, Sri Lanka
A three-day workshop to focus on: the energy crisis; policies for efficiency, conservation and management; renewable energy options; household level energy management; social and environmental aspects of community renewable energy systems.

Climate change campaign events March 2009, London, Coventry, Bristol, UK
A number of events for climate change campaigners, including a Climate Change Day of Action march in Coventry (19 March), the Change in Progress training day in Bristol (21 March) and the Put People First march in London, ahead of the G20 meeting (28 March).

Mainstreaming Disaster Risk Reduction Process into Development 17 February 2009, Mount Lavinia, Sri Lanka
The Disaster Management Centre and Practical Action organized a workshop to discuss on “Mainstreaming Disaster Risk Reduction into Development Process”. Key objectives of the workshop were to assess the importance of disaster risk sensitivity in development planning process; draw the gaps in policies and practices to incorporate disaster risks; and derive a mechanism to develop guidelines / tools to develop Disaster Impact Assessment systems.

National seminar on plug flow type biogas systems 26 January 2009, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Plug flow type biogas systems is an answer to the challenge of disposing organic waste including garbage & animal dung in an environmental friendly manner. Practical Action South Asia is organising a National Seminar on Plug Flow Type bio gas at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute in Colombo.


UN Framework Convention on Climate Change COP14 1-12 December 2008, Poznań, Poland
Practical Action attended the fourteenth conference of parties (COP 14) in Poznań. The Poznan Climate Change Conference needed to move from discussion to negotiation mode in order to complete a new international agreement in Copenhagen 2009.

Training course: Climate Change and the Implications for People and Poverty 2 December 2008, London, UK
This interactive training course, run by Practical Action Consulting, offers participants the opportunity to examine and debate why climate change is a key issue for international development. It is for anyone who wants to feel enthused, confident and competent in the area of climate change, including campaigners, fundraisers, policy-makers, donors, programme officers and local authorities.

Biodiesel seminar 27 November, National University of Ucayali, Pucallpa, Peru
A dialogue between regional actors to discuss scientific advances, options and constraints in production and use of biofuels in Ucayali, both in technical, economic, environmental and social issues.

Taking the research agenda forward 24 November 2008, Rugby, UK
ESRCThe third of a series of seminars, supported by funding from the Economic and Social Research Council, UK, on increasing the recognition of the role of technology in human development, with an emphasis on building on the interdisciplinary frameworks and taking these forward into empirically based research.

World Urban Forum 6-9 November 2008, Nanjing, China
Practical Action has been selected by UN-Habitat to host two events at the fourth session of the World Urban Forum in China: a networking event on the participation of poor urban people in decision-making about planning and infrastructure services in their neighbourhoods and the barriers to this; and a training session on applying participatory governance in the preparation, monitoring and evaluation of the programmes concerned with infrastructure services.

Agriculture at a crossroads: implementing the findings of the International Agricultural Assessment (IAASTD) 30 October 2008, Houses of Parliament, London
Prof Bob Watson, IAASTD Director and DEFRA Chief Scientist, addressed this meeting in the Houses of Parliament, organised by the UK Food Group, with responses from Patrick Mulvany of Practical Action and Jane Cotter of Greenpeace. Read more ...
Agriculture at a crossroads: a summary of the IAASTD findings by Patrick Mulvany, Practical Action

Schumacher Conference 2008 11 October 2008, Bristol, UK
This year, marking the 30th Anniversary of Fritz Schumacher’s death, the theme is Less is More, going right to the heart of today’s debates about climate change, worsening injustice, peak oil, the credit crunch, food security, health inequalities, resource wars etc.

UK Party Political Conferences September 2008
Practical Action was co-organiser of several events at this year’s Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat party conferences.

International Seminar on Wind Energy 24 July 2008, Lima
A seminar to disseminate advances in the use of wind power in Peru and its potential for power generation alone and connected to the network. Spanish site | English translation

Rural Communities roundtable discussions 24-27 June 2008, Orissa, India
Practical Action South Asia co-hosted two expert roundtable discussions in Bhubaneswar, Orissa, on the themes of "Rural Communities’ Access to Drinking Water" and "Impact of Seeds Policy on Farmers’ Rights, Poverty Alleviation and Overall Food Security".

Bangladesh: communities coping with climate change 17 June 2008, London
Key figures from the Bangladeshi community came together to discuss how climate change, floods and food shortages are already having devastating impacts on the country’s poorest communities.

Participation and Local Governance 13 June 2008, IDS, University of Sussex, UK
Lucy Stevens, International Coordinator of Practical Action’s Access to Infrastructure Services programme spoke about Practical Action's experiences of facilitating Community-Local Government relationships for service delivery in towns in Africa and Asia, to explore some of the processes and motivations for change.

Community radio - let's make it happen 13 June 2008, Sri Lanka
Community radio practitioners, broadcasters, academics and NGO representatives participated in a discussion organised by Practical Action South Asia.

Climate Change Bill public meeting 22 April 2008, London
Tuesday 22nd April saw Practical Action supporters heading towards London to attend the public meeting, organised by Friends of the Earth, on the Climate Change Bill. Speaking at this public meeting were: Hilary Benn (Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), Peter Ainsworth (Conservative Shadow Environment Secretary), Steve Webb (Liberal Democrat Shadow Environment Secretary) and Tony Juniper (Director, Friends of the Earth). Practical Action supporter David Flint reports ...

Science for Humanity 4 March 2008, NESTA, London
Science for Humanity is a new not-for-profit organisation seeking to match more of society’s scientific capability to real human needs in the developing world.

Fair Trade Evening: Sustainability and Food Production 27 February 2008, London
Cathryn Gathercole, Practical Action Education Manager, spoke on Fair Trade in the curriculum – where, how, why? at this free event at the University of London's Institute of Education, and facilitating a discussion group to follow.

Achieving Sustainability and Equity in Energy Policy Choices for the Future 30th January, 2008, Sri Lanka
This conference provided a forum for top-level decision-makers, energy sector officials, academics, civil society representatives, private sector, media and representatives of energy consumers to meet present opinions and exchange views on policy choices for the future in achieving sustainability and equity in energy.


Felicitation for the Sri Lankan Abylimpics team 3 December 2007, Colombo Abilympics is an event that is held to give an opportunity for people with disabilities to demonstrate their vocational skills at a global level. A felicitation was organised for the Sri Lankan team who participated at the Abiliympics by Practical Action in collaboration with the Development with Disabled Network at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute, Colombo.

Nano Development Workshop 7 November 2007, London
Developing a research agenda that blends NGO's experiences of development challenges with cutting edge science - speakers include Prof Mark Welland, Prof Richard Jones and Dr David Grimshaw.

One World Week: All Together Now 21-28 October 2007
Practical Action's Life on the Edge exhibition is visiting Ayr for One World Week: All Together Now, which encourages local groups to work together with people of different faiths and cultures to address issues of mutual interest such as climate change, economic and social injustice and local and international conflict.

World Food Day 16 October 2007
Join Practical Action for a debate on farmers' rights to seeds, at the UK Food Group's event Defending Farmers and the Right to Food in London on 16 October.

Is offsetting bona fide development? Tyndall Centre, 5 September 2007
Andrew Scott, Practical Action's programmes and policy director, spoke about whether carbon offsetting helps or hinders the fight against poverty. What concerns of principle or practice do we have, as a value-based international NGO, about engaging with carbon offsetting?

Taking forward the regional consensus and operationalising disaster risk reduction in South Asia 23-25 August 2007, Sri Lanka In South Asia most disasters have a regional dimension and local or national actions alone can not deliver sustainable solutions. This three day regional consultation, organised by Practical Action South Asia, looks to build a regional consensus and plan a disaster management action plan for South Asia.

Sudan Development Marketplace 21-22 August 2007
Two of Practical Action's community partners won prizes at this year's Sudan Development Marketplace, organised by the World Bank, and our Sudan director had a fruitful presentation on social accountability.

International course of specialization in renewable energy for rural electrification August 2007, Peru
This bilingual, hands-on course is geared to develop participants' skills in evaluation, design, installation, and management of isolated systems of electric generation from renewable energy. Technologies covered include photovoltaic systems, micro-hydropower and small wind power.

Small Hydro Power Development in Sri Lanka: Lessons for Developing Countries 18-20 July 2007, Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka
A combined seminar and site visit to disseminate wider the Sri Lankan small hydropower experience.

NGOs, business and the challenges of 'scaling up' 18 July 2007, London
The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), Practical Action and Oxfam held a workshop to explore the roles of NGOs and business in providing support to small and medium sized enterprises in low-income countries. The workshop focussed on two main sectors: agriculture and alternative energy.

Live Earth 7 July 2007
Live Earth was a 24-hour, 7-continent concert series that brought together more than 100 music artists and 2 billion people to trigger a global movement to solve the climate crisis. Sharon Looremeta, who works for Practical Action amongst Maasai communities, took the stage at the UK concert to tell the world about the reality of climate change.

Rice-based food products exhibition Cathy Rich Centre, Sri Lanka
A new exhibition will highlight the results of the research carried out by Cathy Rich Memorial Food Processing Centre in Sri Lanka, and will demonstrate the technology and processes that we have employed to develop our line of rice-based products. Launch: 15 June 2007.

World Environment Day celebrated at Pokhara 2 June 2007
The glaciers and snowline in the Himalayan system are rapidly melting and retreating. People have already experienced a wide range of difficulties resulted from impacts of global warming. Practical Action Nepal, in conjunction with the Government of Nepal and Local Initiatives for Biodiversity, Research and Development (LI-BIRD) organized a one-day Seminar in Pokhara on 2 June to mark the World Environment Day 2007.

The World Can't Wait 2 June 2007, London
What is climate justice and what can we do about it? Come and learn more from Tinashe Nhete from Practical Action Southern Africa about how climate change is hitting the poorest and how renewable energy, such as wind, solar and small-scale hydropower can help people out of poverty and tackle climate change.

Making innovation work for the poor in a globalised world 21 May 2007, University of Sussex, UK
ESRCThe second of a series of four seminars, supported by funding from the Economic and Social Research Council, UK, on increasing the recognition of the role of technology in human development, with an emphasis on improving the choice people have about which technologies are developed and how they are diffused.

Commission on Sustainable Development 15 30 April - 11 May 2007, New York
The UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) offers an important opportunity to mobilise international action to tackle indoor air pollution and energy access. Practical Action organised side events on Healthy and Affordable Household Energy and Financing energy Access for the Poor.

Diriya 2007: Mainstreaming Disability into Development 6-7 March 2007, Colombo, Sri Lanka
A two-day conference on how disability can be ‘mainstreamed’ into the development process - trying to challenge the myth that disabled people need a separate process of development. The Diriya 2007 forum shared disability mainstreaming experiences, especially those from the South Asia region.

Reframing understandings about the role of science and technology in human development 22 February 2007, Rugby, UK
ESRCThe first of a series of four seminars, supported by funding from the Economic and Social Research Council, UK, under the general theme of Delivering Public Value from New Technologies. A set of disciplinary position papers, with a focus around the key issues, presented with time for discussion and inputs from practice and developing countries.

Community Based Adaptation to Climate Change workshop 24-28 February 2007, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Two years after the first workshop, the second international workshop on Community Based Adaptation (CBA) to climate change consisted of two days of field visits to community based adaptation initiatives, followed by three days of interactive discussions on various adaptation issues in Dhaka.


International Development Network (IDN) London, 6 December 2006
This IDN meeting focussed on our work on urban poverty reduction through improving access to infrastructure and services. The International Development Network (IDN) has been set by the Royal Town Planning Institute to provide a focus and an information resource for planners with an interest in planning and international development.

Technology as if People and the Planet Mattered 16 November 2006
Practical Action policy adviser Patrick Mulvany presented this speech at the UN Poverty Forum in New York on 16 November 2006.

UN Framework Convention on Climate Change COP-12 Nairobi, 6-17 November 2006
The United Nations held talks on climate change in Nairobi, covering the recent Stern Report and post-Kyoto agreements. Practical Action climate change experts were there, and hosted a side event on adaptation to climate change.

African farmers come together to rally against climate change 11 November 2006
African pastoralists, farmers, children and concerned members of the public take to the streets of Nairobi to rally against climate change, the first ever rally of its kind in Africa.

Stop Climate Chaos rally 4 November 2006, London
As the United Nations negotiations on climate change begin in Kenya, Practical Action staff and supporters, gathered in Trafalgar Square as part of the biggest ever UK event to Stop Climate Chaos.

South Asia Policy Dialogue 21-22 August 2006, New Delhi
A regional conference on disaster risk reduction in South Asia, bringing together government officials, policy makers, academics and civil society organisations.

Reducing smoke: the killer in the kitchen 23 June 2006, World Urban Forum, Vancouver
A lively, interactive debate to explore whether international funding should be used to subsidise the price of technologies to tackle indoor smoke.

Integrated Approaches to Improving the Urban Environment in Asia project: inception workshop 15 May 2006, Kurunegala, Sri Lanka
The project aims to reduce environmental threats to the health and livelihoods of urban slum dwellers, thus helping to reduce poverty in four towns in Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. A workshop on 15 May 2006 was followed by a field visit on 16 May to generate awareness about this project among all relevant stakeholders.

Household energy, indoor air pollution and health at the UN Commission for Sustainable Development 11 May 2006, New York
A joint side event to make the case for the urgent need to improve access to household energy among the poor by drawing attention to the severe risks of using biomass and coal for cooking and heating in developing countries.

Creating prosperity through innovation - ICT at work in development 8-9 May 2006, Colombo
Practical Action co-hosted this Global Knowledge Partnership (GKP) international forum. Topics included: ICT in Sri Lanka; looking at new methods of disseminating local content; innovations in technology; and the role of ICT post-Tsunami.

Small is beautiful: Making decentralised energy a reality 8 May 2006, New York
Side event at the Commission for Sustainable Development on decentralised energy services in developing countries.

National Standards for Biogas 25 April 2006, Colombo, Sri Lanka
A workshop to propagate biogas national standards for wider uptake in Sri Lanka.

Energy options for the poor in Africa and Latin America 27-28 March 2006, Brussels
Practical Action organised a two-day workshop, making a call for decentralised energy options to be at the top of the European Commission's agenda to combat poverty in rural areas of Africa and Latin America. All presentations are now available to download.

CBD/COP 8 20-31 March 2006, Curitiba, Brazil
The eighth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD/COP8) was held in Curitiba, Brazil from 20-31 March 2006.

Stop Climate Chaos 1 March 2006, Westminster, UK
In this ‘carbon dating’ event, 700 members of the public informed British MPs, Lords and other parliamentarians of their concerns about climate change, with the MPs rotating around different groups – similar to participants at a speed dating event.

South Asia Regional Workshop on Indoor Air Pollution, Health and Household Energy 27-28 February 2006, Kathmandu
Practical Action Nepal organised this workshop to share and discuss existing policy provisions and best practices.

The changing face of technology in international development Newcastle University, UK, 16 February 2006
A lecture to mark the 40th anniversary of Practical Action/ITDG. Andrew Scott, Policy and Programmes Director, illustrated the ways in which approaches have changed over the decades, from a focus on scale, through technology choices, to "technology democracy".


Is Europe failing Africa's farmers? Voices from Africa's rural communities
Edinburgh, 22 November 2005
A breakfast fringe meeting at the 10th session of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, where representatives from Small-Scale Farmers' Forums in Kenya and Zambia spoke about the difficulties they face and present their views on how European aid can be made more effective. More ...

Food Sovereignty: towards democracy in localised food systems
Practical Action commissioned this paper by FIAN as a contribution to the discourse on Food Sovereignty, the rapidly developing food and agriculture policy framework. In a world plagued simultaneously and perversely by hunger and obesity, rational policies are overdue for governing the way food is grown, processed and traded, and how the benefits of the world's food systems are shared.
Read online at UKabc
Order hardcopy: Food Sovereignty: towards democracy in localized food systems - ISBN 1-85339-608-7


Aid for Africa

Will it reach farmers, will it power development?
National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, 4 July 2005

In the run up to the G8 summit, and as part of the Make Poverty History Campaign, Practical Action held a conference in Edinburgh titled Aid for Africa – will it reach farmers, will it power development? This conference explored how aid and development funding can be used more effectively to rapidly reduce poverty in Africa, focusing on agriculture and energy. More ...

Practical Action produced two papers in advance of the conference, addressing the effectiveness of EC aid to Africa:

download the full report (PDF, 513k)

download the full report (PDF, 329k)

Global Warming 8 – GW8 5 July 2005, Edinburgh
The G8 will be meeting in Scotland from 6-8 July 2005. To coincide with this event, the Working Group on Climate Change and Development is holding the GW8 on July 5th in Edinburgh. Eight speakers from poor countries will describe the impacts of climate change on the lives of people in their country. They will describe barriers to further progress and opportunities for tackling climate change and reducing its impact on poor people.

Global effort would create jobs for poor May 2005
Letter to the Financial Times, 23 May 2005:In our experience micro-finance is a necessary but not sufficient condition for a "solution to the problem of poverty" – what is needed is support throughout the whole market chain. (Practical Action letter in The Financial Times, 23 May 2005)

Africa's energy crisis May 2005
Africa’s energy crisis keeps people in utter poverty. Eighty per cent of sub-Saharan Africans have no access to electricity, and over 90 per cent cook all their meals on open fires. This is the real energy crisis. (Practical Action letter in The Times, 16 May 2005)

Post-tsunami reconstruction in Sri Lanka May 2005
Practical Action supports the Statement of Sri Lankan Civil Society Organisations On the Occasion of the Development Forum on 16th & 17th May 2005, Kandy, Sri Lanka (MS Word link) and endorses the People's Process for Post-Tsunami Rebuilding: the Colombo Statement of 26 April 2005 (PDF link).

Smoke in the Kitchen at the UK Houses of Parliament 23 February 2005
Smoke in the home from cooking on wood, dung and crop waste kills nearly one million children a year. At an Practical Action event at the House of Commons, UK International Development Secretary Hilary Benn supported Practical Action's call for global action to save the lives of 1.6 million people lost each year to household smoke.

CBD/SBSTTA-10 Bangkok, February 2005
UKabc reports on the Tenth Meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice, SBSTTA-10 – a scientific advisory body to the Convention on Biological Diversity – and the Access and Benefit Sharing Working Group in Bangkok, February 2005. Including daily ECO newsletters.

World Social Forum: Technology Democracy Porto Alegre, 26-31 January 2005
Practical Action and ETC Group ran a workshop at the World Social Forum on reclaiming science and technology for the public good.

World Conference on Disaster Reduction (WCDR) January 2005, Kobe, Japan
Practical Action South Asia led the session on Disaster Prevention Functions in rural areas and Disaster resistant sustainable livelihoods at the World Conference on Disaster Reduction in Kobe, a milestone event to increase the profile of disaster risk reduction in development planning and practice.


World Conference on Energy for Development December 12-14, 2004, Noordwijk, Netherlands
Practical Action joins the NGO declaration to the Energy for Development conference: put right the failures of previous agreements, and supply sustainable energy services to the over 2 billion people who currently have no access to clean and affordable energy.

Diriya 2004 30 November - 1 December 2004, Maharagama, Sri Lanka
An conference and exhibition to raise awareness of appropriate technologies for people with disabilities to overcome barriers that prevent them from participating in society, organised by Development with Disabled Network with the facilitation of Practical Action.

Practical Action response to the Commission for Africa's Consultation Document November 2004
On 11 November 2004 the Commission for Africa published its consultation document, Action for a strong and prosperous Africa. Practical Action commends the Commission, but feels that document needs to address ways to: build Africa's scientific, technological and skills base to exploit opportunities in the knowledge-rich global economy; ensure that local people are able to shape this agenda; and foster global action to help Africa adapt to climate change.


Democratising Technology November 2004
Democratising Technology - reclaiming science for sustainable developmentPractical Action's discussion paper on technology democracy, published at the Public Good or Private Gain conferencein November 2004, looks at nine examples of "democratising technology", examining lessons to be learnt and issues for the future and identifying the principles of democratic technology.

Public Good or Private Gain? November 2004, London, UK
A one-day conference, held by Practical Action on 11 November 2004, addressed the question of how to re-direct science and technology for the public good, poverty reduction and sustainable development. Speeches now online

Up in Smoke: the threat of global warming October 2004
Environment and development agencies including Practical Action have launched a joint statement of concern that climate change due to global warming is already happening, and hitting poor communities and vulnerable ecosystems.

European Social Forum: Food Sovereignty October 2004, London, UK
Practical Action, as part of the UK Food Group, was one of the sponsors of Food Sovereignty, Fair Trade and Diversity: challenging corporate control, a seminar at the European Social Forum on World Food Day, 16 October 2004.

World Urban Forum September 2004, Barcelona, Spain
Practical Action and partners organised a workshop and networking event on scaling up through knowledge sharing with communities at the World Urban Forum on 17 September 2004. Case studies from the events are available to download ...

Renewables 2004 May 2004, Bonn, Germany
ITDG's paper, Powering Poverty ReductionRenewables 2004 was an international conference to chart the way towards an expansion of renewable energies worldwide, responding to the call of the 2002 Earth Summit for the global development of renewable energy. In its paper Powering Poverty Reduction, launched in Bonn, Practical Action called for international policies that consider the needs of the poor and ensure that appropriate, workable and renewable services are promoted.

International Seed Treaty on major food crops now official 31 March 2004
While welcoming the International Seed Treaty’s legal recognition on 31 March 2004, Practical Action calls on the UK government to close a loophole in the Treaty so that major food crops are totally free from patents.

CBD/COP 7 February 2004, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The seventh Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD/COP7) met in Kuala Lumpur from 9-20 February 2004, and this was followed by the first Meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.

Intermediate Means of Transport 27 January 2004, Mozambique
Practical Action Southern Africa held a national workshop in Intermediate Means of Transport (IMTs) in Chimoio, Red Cross, Mozambique on 27 January 2004, bringing together development partners, government institutions, technology designers IMTs, private sector firms and farmer based organisations in Mozambique. More...


12 reasons to exclude large hydro from renewables initiatives December 2003
A new report co-published by 13 organizations working on climate change, development, and sustainable energy and water management, including Practical Action, gives a dozen reasons why large hydro should be excluded from global efforts to promote renewable energy.

World Summit for the Information Society 10-12 December 2003, Geneva
A live debate on the digital divide was broadcast on 11 December 2003.

Into Thin Air - a Walk across Nepal 20 November 2003, Kendal, UK
An evening of talks and discussion about our work in Nepal and around the developing world, including a presentation by broadcaster and writer John Pilkington, who first encountered Practical Action and Nepal 20 years ago.

International Meeting of Indigenous Livestock Breeding Communities
27-30 October 2003, Nairobi, Kenya
Practical Action East Africa and the League for Pastoral Peoples facilitated a four-day workshop for representatives of indigenous livestock keeping communities. Karen Commitment on on pastoralist/indigenous livestock keepers' rights, agreed at the workshop UKabc website

South Asia Conference on Technologies for Poverty Reduction
10-11 October 2003, New Delhi
Benefits of technological progress continue to exclude large numbers of people in the world. This conference brought together positive experiences of technology development from across South Asia - showing how communities who are normally excluded can benefit from technology.
Papers from this conference are available to download

Regulatory Guidelines for Urban Upgrading 22-24 September 2003, UK
This international workshop was organised jointly with the researchers from the Regulatory Guidelines for Affordable Shelter project, managed by Geoffrey Payne & Associates. Papers presented at the workshop are available to download, as well as reports on the national and regional workshops in Kenya and Sri Lanka.



Is Small Beautiful? 3 September 2003, London
A one-day conference on the 30th Anniversary of ‘Small is Beautiful’ by E.F. Schumacher. Thirty years after Schumacher published his seminal book, the questions remain with us: How can scientific and technological development be directed to reducing poverty without it costing the Earth? What kind of economic order is needed to eradicate poverty and sustain the planet? The 30th anniversary conference explored these challenges and posed the question: "Is Small Beautiful?"

Commercialization of Hides and Skins by Improving Collection and Quality in Smallholder Farming Systems exhibition 21 June 2003, Zimbabwe
A Mini Leather Exhibition to serve as a national promotional window of the leather sector in Zimbabwe and bring together stakeholders in the leather industry.

Integrated Urban Housing Development 17-18 March 2003, UK
An international workshop on Integrated Urban Housing Development was held at Bourton Hall, UK, on 17-18 March 2003, with participants from several countries. Papers and case studies are available to download.

Third World Water Forum March 2003, Kyoto, Japan
Practical Action East Africa attended the Third World Water Forum, and a new video about Secure Water, a research project in which Practical Action is a key partner, was screened.

Who Twists the Helix March 2003, Cambridge, UK
Practical Action was one of the sponsors of Who Twists the Helix, a trans-disciplinary exploration of the powers that could decide our genetic futures.

World Social Forum January 2003, Porto Alegre, Brazil
Practical Action attended the World Social Forum, a gathering of civil society groups opposed to neo-liberalism, and will be focusing on democratic sustainable development and human rights, diversity and equality.


ITDG at the Earth SummitWorld Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD)
The World Summit on Sustainable Development - the Earth Summit - was held in Johannesburg, South Africa from 26 August to 2 September 2002. Practical Action was involved in a number of events at WSSD, focusing on energy and agricultural biodiversity.

Technology Transfer and Development August 2002, Johannesburg
Practical Action presented a session at the Peoples' Global Forum Commission on Science and Technology, which formed part of the formal NGO report to the World Summit on Sustainable Development.

Power to the People: energy and poverty reduction July 2002
An Practical Action multi-stakeholder seminar in London on Wednesday 17th July looked at visions to deliver sustainable energy solutions to the world's poor. Read more about the seminar or Practical Action's briefing paper on the need for sustainable energy for poor people.
More on energy for the poor

World Food Summit: five years laterWorld Food Summit: five years later June 2002
In 1996 nations at the World Food Summit made commitments to eradicate hunger. Heads of government and international organisations met in Rome to review progress since 1996, outline the measures needed to reach goals and mobilise the political will to increase progress.

CBD/COP6 April 2002
The sixth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD/COP6) met in The Hague from 7-19 April 2002. Practical Action was there, calling on governments to reassert the importance of agricultural biodiversity and take a tough line on the spread of GM crops, patenting, pollution and terminator technologies.

  • Genetic contamination threatens a vital reservoir for plant breeding
    Practical Action joins the call for an immediate moratorium on the release of living modified organsisms for food, feed and processing in those regions that form part of the crop centres of origin and diversity for that species.
  • "Biodiversity is not for sale": NGO Statement to CBD/COP6
    At the opening plenary of CBD/COP6 on 8th April 2002, Patrick Mulvany of Practical Action presented a statement urging the Conference of the Parties to assert the vital importance of biodiversity to the Earth Summit, and to take a tough and clear stance on the spread of GM crops and genetic pollution.
  • Goverments called to defend the Global Commons
    Practical Action is calling on the Conference of the Parties (COP6) to put agricultural biodiversity, farmers' rights and biosafety at the heart of the Convention on Biological Diversity at their meeting in The Hague.
  • see also CBD/COP5

Genetic Futures in Food and Farming March 2002
A joint Practical Action and UK Food Group Seminar was held on March 27th, 2002 at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, in advance of CBD/COP6.

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