Call edition 2012
A new edition of the Prize of the Belgian Development Cooperation has been launched. This call is open until March 31st, 2011. You can read in the regulations whether you comply with the criteria for participation.
The subject of Mrs Devisscher's dissertation is highly topical today. Recent developments in global agriculture and food prices make it even more pertinent, as do the global questions posed by our modern-day society regarding the delicate relationship between energy production and availability, or indeed between energy production and making this energy available. It goes without saying that Mrs Devisscher's important study was completed well before recent developments and the biofuel bribery issue.
The dissertation debates the aspects of energy supply and demand, emphasizing the important balance between demand (developed countries) and production (developing countries, in this case Malaysia). Mrs Devisscher offers a "two-sided" view: the North with ever-increasing (excessive?) needs and the South finally having a real opportunity to reduce poverty and to become players in the global markets.
In order to cut short any fruitless debate, Mrs Devisscher redefines biofuels, in particular biodiesel and its manufacturing process. She examines and presents a critical analysis of Malaysia's energy policies. Mrs Devisscher uses a user-friendly "zoom-in" approach, measured and without prejudice, looking at the international perspective and other national, regional and even local perspectives.
At a time when the World Bank is announcing a major new agricultural stimulus and the resources due to be allocated for this purpose, and Europe is looking at sustainability in relation to a possibly more systematic use of biofuels, Mrs Devisscher's dissertation certainly helps gain a clearer picture of what is really at stake. Furthermore at a local level: the creation of new palm-oil plantations or the expansion of existing plantations are perceived very differently by the Malaysian rural communities.
With her dissertation Mrs Devisscher of course does not seek to provide the final answer that would enable researchers to choose one or other alternative, but she has a good understanding of sustainability criteria (which are vital to the shaping of European policy on this issue) and her dissertation - and especially the recommendations she makes - provides very useful reading.
report: Mr O. Machiels, Sectorial and Thematic Expertise, Belgian Technical Cooperation, Brussels, Belgium