SDGnexus Network Working Paper Series

The SDGnexus Network Working Paper Series disseminates multidisciplinary research promoting the Agenda 2030 for sustainable development. The Working Papers are published to stimulate an active discussion about innovative approaches towards transformative change and building bridges between science, education, and development. The Working Papers have not been peer-reviewed and constitute “work in progress” but underwent an internal quality control.

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    Conversion of pastures to oil palm plantations in Colombia generates lower greenhouse gas emissions than cattle ranching: a literature research
    (2021-10-04) Gómez Mateus, Adriana Marcela; Grimm, Lucas; Waldhardt, Rainer
    We conduct a literature research to compare GHG emissions between oil palm plantations and cattle ranching, two of the most common land uses in eastern Colombia. Our results show that conversion of pastures to oil palm plantations or cattle ranching generates greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). Oil palm cultivation generates lower GHG emissions than cattle ranching. Oil palms can stock high amounts of carbon and alternate uses of organic waste (e.g., composting, energy generation) lead to carbon sequestration and even to carbon savings. The establishment of oil palm plantations in eastern Colombia might mitigate the effects of global warming due to the creation of a carbon stock. The availability of pastures in Colombia offers an opportunity to minimize the impacts of future oil palm expansion. However, further studies are needed to understand the GHG emissions, carbon savings, and carbon stock values in the region, from the palm oil plantations and cattle ranching. In addition to its climatic performance, attention should be paid to how the land use change could improve sustainable production, and whether oil palm plantations or cattle ranching, in eastern Colombia, can contribute to both social and environmental factors.
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    Digital Sustainability Education - Potential, Development Trends and Good Practices
    (2021-08) Beer, Katrin; Biedenkopf, Katja; Breitmeier, Helmut; Gerner, Martin; Große, Nora; Gumbert, Tobias; Hein, Jonas; Hickmann, Thomas; Kiesler, Natalie; Lederer, Markus; Marquardt, Jens; Pettibone, Lisa; Schwindenhammer, Sandra; Strobehn, Katrin; Teuber, Ramona; Weiland, Sabine
    Digital sustainability education (DSE) is becoming increasingly relevant in higher Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and spreads globally. DSE is fueled by the Covid-19-pandemic and urges lecturers, students and universities alike to break new ground in academic teaching. DSE impacts established approaches to ESD and raises questions of appropriate online teaching concepts, tools and enabling institutional, legal and political conditions. While lecturers are facing the challenge to conceptualize and implement innovative DSE concepts, students have to deal with new learning dynamics, requirements and obstacles. More and more universities are committed to or called upon to build enabling infrastructures for the spread and institutionalization of DSE. This working paper discusses core objectives and contextual conditions of DSE and sheds light on political, conceptual and didactical issues. It presents the outcomes of the online workshop “Digital Sustainability Education: Innovative Teaching Practices and Didactics in Times of Crisis” co-hosted by the Center for international Development and Environmental Research (ZEU) at Justus Liebig University Giessen and the Working Group Environmental Politics and Global Change of the German Political Science Association (25 – 26 March 2021). The paper maps eight good practice DSE teaching examples developed by lecturers from universities from different countries, introduces a toolbox and provides insights into individual and collective lessons learned. In doing so, the working paper contributes to current conceptual and political discussions on DSE and seeks to provide practical orientation for everyone engaged in the dynamic DSE field and university teaching in general.
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    Sustainable Development Goals and the livestock sector in Central Asia: A course outline
    (2021-02-01) Robinson, Sarah; Petrick, Martin
    The livestock sector contributes greatly to human nutrition and economic wellbeing, but it is also associated with negative impacts on the environment and human health. This document outlines a course which examines the sector through the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals, examining trade-offs and synergies between different goals associated with pasture use, intensification, commercialisation and livestock product consumption. The course introduces the international literature on each of these topics and examines the issues raised in detail for the Central Asian region, considering the importance of SDG synergies and trade-offs for different types of producer, and asking how government policies can maximise the contribution of livestock towards the achievement of SDGs.
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    Trade-offs among sustainability goals in the Central Asian livestock sector: A research review
    (2021-02-01) Robinson, Sarah; Petrick, Martin
    The SDGnexus Network (SDGNN) establishes a common research framework for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), supporting research, networking and capacity building of scientists in Latin America and Central Asia. This report examines the livestock sector in Central Asia as one of the main research areas of the SDGNN. Based on a comprehensive review of the literature to date, we distinguish five major SDG trade-offs that we expect in three key areas: 1. Agricultural commercialisation may exclude smallholder farmers, and rising incomes may lead to dietary change with negative health outcomes, implying a trade-off between poverty reduction and zero hunger (SDGs 1 & 2) on the one hand and decent work and economic growth (SDGs 8 & 9) on the other. 2. More productive small livestock farmers may degrade environmental resources, and more diverse and nutritious diets through meat and milk products may overexploit feeding resources, implying a trade-off between poverty reduction and zero hunger (SDGs 1 & 2) on the one hand and water availability (SDG 6), life on land (SDG 15) and climate action (SDG 13) on the other. 3. At a sectoral scale, economic growth may put pressure on key resources for livestock husbandry, implying a trade-off between economic growth (SDGs 8 & 9) on the one hand and water availability (SDG 6), life on land (SDG 15) and climate action (SDG 13) on the other. We investigate the potential synergies and trade-offs within eight topical sections: farm restructuring and land reform; sustainable grazing systems; fodder production and irrigation; livestock species, genetic improvement and animal health; value chain development; human diet and health; livestock production and climate change; and services and policies for agriculture. We identify key research gaps in each area and thus present a research agenda for the SDG Nexus project in the area of livestock husbandry in Central Asia.