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The NWO (Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research) will be sponsoring two new projects at the UvA related to sustainable development in Africa and Latin America.

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One of the projects, titled ‘Leave fossil fuels underground for sustainable and inclusive development: Cocreating alternative pathways in Africa and Latin America,’ emerged from a jointly developed proposal between CEDLA (Barbara Hoogenboom) and CSDS/GID (Joyeeta Gupta and Hebe Verrest) under the NWO call “Tackling Global Challenges through Use-Inspired Research.” It centers around the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly relating to SDG 13: urgent action to combat climate change; SDG 15: sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems and forests, halt land degradation and biodiversity loss; and SDG 16: inclusive societies for sustainable development, access to justice for all and effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels. CEDLA, GID, Universidad Andina Simon Bolivar (Ecuador), University of Witwatersrand (South Africa), and Oilwatch (Argentina) will work together in addressing the question: What are the trade-offs between the main benefits and challenges of leaving fossil fuels underground in relation to social, ecological and economic impacts in LMICs, at what levels of governance do they play out, and how can innovative arguments and strategies be scaled up to achieve inclusive and sustainable development and particularly serve the interests of vulnerable groups?

Dr. Michelle Westermann-Behaylo, Assistant Professor of International Management at the Amsterdam Business School (International Strategy and Marketing section), was awarded an NWO-WOTRO Science for Global Development research grant. The grant will be used for an interdisciplinary (business and computer science) project to design accountability innovations aiming to improve responsible production in low- and middle-income countries with weak institutions. It will develop crowdsourcing-based technology to obtain reports of labour rights violations, environmental damage, or other irresponsible production in business supply chains in Africa, and develop methods to track those incidents over time to understand whether, when, and how the pursuit of justice and remedy occurs. In order to aid the project’s goal of increasing transparency, a website will be developed that will allow stakeholders such as practitioners, civil society activists, and community organizers to assess the impacts of irresponsible production and labour violations. The project will also aim to promote stakeholder dialogue to hold businesses accountable to provide remedy and justice for vulnerable individuals and communities impacted by business supply chains in Africa. Dr. Westermann-Behaylo will work in collaboration with Dr. Marcel Worring, Professor of Data science for Business Analytics at the Amsterdam Business School, and Dr. Nene Morisho of the Pole Institute in Democratic Republic of Congo.