North-South research partnerships must break old patterns for real change

6 days 2 hours ago
Listening and learning during a Sustainable Futures in Action meeting in Kampala, Uganda. Molly Gilmour

Since the 1940s major world powers like the US, the UK and the United Nations have made moves to spread their scientific, economic, industrial, and human rights progress to countries and regions that are seen as less developed, vulnerable or deprived in one way or another.

This has taken the form of a substantial, varied – and largely well-intentioned – contribution of huge financial and human resources from the global north to the global south. Today the flow of aid money, resources, and increasing global morality and mobility is building ever broader pipelines between these different regions.

And yet from where we stand as individual researchers, with funding and passion to share, we see an unsettling and consistent characteristic of this development history. The global north has experienced a gradual increase of economic strength and environmental protection, through jobs, career development, cheap goods and services.

Meanwhile, the global south has undergone a sustained degradation of autonomy, fertile land, food security and cultural literacies. All this has occurred through an imposition of foreign ideas, materials, ideologies and knowledge systems.

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3 hours 5 minutes ago
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