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Special Issue "Development at the Crossroads of Capital Flows and Migration: Leaving no One Behind?"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 December 2017

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Annelies Zoomers

International Development Studies (IDS), Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University, P.O. box 80115, 3508 TC Utrecht, The Netherlands
Website | E-Mail
Interests: sustainable livelihoods; land grabbing (and large scale investments in land); international migration and translocal development

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue starts from the idea that inclusive development—and opportunities to achieve the sustainable development goals—will very much depend on flows of capital and flows of people moving in the ‘right’ direction. Over the final decade, the total volume and diversity of capital flows has rapidly increased. In addition to large scale foreign and domestic investments, the world is full of flows of ODA-money by traditional donors, but also money originating from the BRIC countries and new charities (such as the Bill & Melissa Gates Foundation, etc.), and a new community of social businesses and impact investors. At the same time, international migration has rapidly increased, producing worldwide flows of remittances; remittance flows to developing countries are estimated to amount $429 billion in 2016 (1).

Given current dynamics of capital investment and migration, what kind of mobilities are taking place and in what direction. What are the new geographies of development, and what are the consequences of the moving-in and moving out of capital/people (including goods and ideas) for ‘local’ development and achieving the various sustainable development goals.

More theoretically, we argue that flows and circulations of capital and people merit a more central place in theorization about development. “The so-called mobilities turn in social science has undoubtedly been of major significance in challenging the sedentarist assumptions embedded in much social thought” (2), but this is often not reflected in discussions about ‘local’ development (3). Globalization has given rise to new and intensified flows and circulations which will shape places, development trajectories and livelihood possibilities in distinct ways. Local development plays out not just in fixed settings, but is increasingly shaped by the way people are attached to and participate in networks. Rather than looking at ‘local development’ in terms of local people having access and control of local resources’ we acknowledge the importance ‘networked space’ and positionality (4). Given the rapid transformations, accepted notions such as ‘development as a freedom’ (5) are increasingly under pressure. Defining development as ‘expanding the choices people have to lead lives that they value’, we would better understand the link between well-being and the emergence of new types of flow-driven developments coming from the outside. Given the current goal of ‘leaving no one behind’, and benefit from new types of ‘flow-driven’ development, people need to be able to ‘plug in’, ‘deal with the foreign’ and jump on the right train. There is a need for a conceptual update.


1. Word Bank Group. Migration and Remittances. 2016. Available online: http://pubdocs.worldbank.org/en/661301460400427908/MigrationandDevelopmentBrief26.pdf (accessed on 13 July 2017).

2. Walters, W. Migration, vehicles and politics: three theses on viapolitics. Eur. J. Soc. Theory 2014, doi:10.1177/1368431014554859.

3. Zoomers, A.; van Westen, A.C.M. Translocal development, development corridors and development chains. Int. Dev. Plan. Rev. 2011, 33, 377–388.

4. Zoomers, A.; Leung, M.; Westen, G. Local development in the context of global migration and the global land rush: the need for a conceptual update. Geogr. Compass 2016, 10, 56–66.

5. Sen, A. Development as Freedom; Oxford University Press: New York, NY, USA, 1999.

Prof. Dr. Annelies Zoomers
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Flows of capital, flows of people
  • Large scale investment in land (food, biofuels, dams, mining, urban infrastructure etc.)
  • Migration and remittances
  • Moving in, moving out
  • Right to the city – right to countryside
  • Inclusive business – inclusive cities?
  • Gated communities and enclosure
  • Eviction and displacement
  • Resettlement and compensation
  • Sustainable livelihoods
  • Development as freedom
  • Sustainable Development Goals
  • Inclusive development

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessArticle Livelihood Implications and Perceptions of Large Scale Investment in Natural Resources for Conservation and Carbon Sequestration: Empirical Evidence from REDD+ in Vietnam
Sustainability 2017, 9(10), 1802; doi:10.3390/su9101802
Received: 28 August 2017 / Revised: 27 September 2017 / Accepted: 28 September 2017 / Published: 5 October 2017
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The complex relationship between local development and current large scale investments in natural resources in the Global South for the purpose of conservation and carbon sequestration is not fully understood yet. The Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation programme (REDD+) is an
[...] Read more.
The complex relationship between local development and current large scale investments in natural resources in the Global South for the purpose of conservation and carbon sequestration is not fully understood yet. The Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation programme (REDD+) is an example of such investment. This study examines the livelihood implications and perceptions of REDD+ among indigenous and forest-dependent communities in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. A systems-based livelihood survey has been conducted with two communities affected by REDD+ (n = 102)—Kala Tonggu village (participating in UN-REDD, a multilateral programme) and Hieu commune (participating in a REDD+ project of Fauna and Flora International). The positive effects of REDD+ included: introduction of community-based forest management; shifting power relations in favour of local communities; communities receiving financial benefits for forest monitoring; and positive community perceptions on REDD+. The negative impacts concerned: more restricted access to the natural forest; raising false expectations on the financial benefits of REDD+; increasing risks of food insecurity; exclusion of customary institutions and forest classifications; and lack of livelihood alternatives in dealing with changing socio-ecological conditions. Based on the findings of this study, we argue that REDD+ implementation needs to incorporate the temporality and dynamics of community livelihoods, power relations, and customary and formal socio-ecological systems more comprehensively. This to ultimately achieve inclusive local development and effective conservation of global forest commons. Full article

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