Barbara Ward, Baroness Jackson of Lodsworth

Last updated

The Baroness Jackson of Lodsworth

Barbara Ward.gif
Barbara Mary Ward

Heworth, York, England, UK
Died31 May 1981(1981-05-31) (aged 67)
Lodsworth, Sussex, England, UK
Education Sorbonne, Paris
Somerville College, Oxford
OccupationEconomist, writer
Known forEarly proponent of sustainable development
Spouse(s)Commander Robert Jackson
Awards Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (1974)
Life peer (1976)
Jawaharlal Nehru Award (1980)

Barbara Mary Ward, Baroness Jackson of Lodsworth, DBE (23 May 1914 – 31 May 1981) was a British economist and writer interested in the problems of developing countries. She urged Western governments to share their prosperity with the rest of the world and in the 1960s turned her attention to environmental questions as well. She was an early advocate of sustainable development before this term became familiar and was well known as a journalist, lecturer and broadcaster. Ward was adviser to policy-makers in the UK, United States and elsewhere.


Education and early career

Barbara Ward was born in Heworth, York, on 23 May 1914, but her family soon moved to Felixstowe. Her father was a solicitor with Quaker tendencies, while her mother was a devout Catholic. She attended a convent school before studying in Paris, first at a lycée, then for some months at the Sorbonne before going on to Germany. Though she had once planned to study modern languages, her interest in public affairs led to a degree course in politics, philosophy, and economics at Somerville College, Oxford University, from which she graduated in 1935. [1]

She did post-graduate work on Austrian politics and economics. After witnessing antisemitism there and in Nazi Germany she began to help Jewish refugees, and mobilise Roman Catholic support for any forthcoming UK war effort, although she had initially been "sympathetic to Hitler". [2] With Christopher Dawson, the historian, as leader and Ward as secretary, the Sword of the Spirit was established as an organisation to bring together Catholics and Anglicans opposing Nazism. It became a Roman Catholic group whose policies were promoted by the Dublin Review , which Dawson edited, and for which Ward wrote regularly. [3]

During the Second World War, she worked for the Ministry of Information and travelled in Europe and the US. Partly on the strength of her 1938 book, The International Share-out, Geoffrey Crowther, editor of The Economist , offered her a job. She left the magazine in 1950 having risen to foreign editor, but continued to contribute articles throughout her life. As well as writings on economic and foreign policy, her broadcasts on Christian values in wartime were published as The Defence of the West by Sword of the Spirit. During this time she was also president of the Catholic Women's League and a popular panel member of the BBC programme The Brains Trust which answered listeners' questions. In 1946 she became a governor of the BBC and of the Old Vic theatre. After the war, Ward was a supporter of the Marshall Plan, of a strong Europe, and of a European free trade area. [4]

International influence, and marriage

In 1950, Barbara Ward married Australian Commander Robert Jackson, an administrator for the United Nations. Their son Robert was born in 1956, the same year that his father was knighted. Ward continued to use her own name professionally and was not widely known as Lady Jackson. Over the next few years they lived in West Africa and made various visits to India, and these experiences helped form Ward's views on the need for Western nations to contribute to the economic development of poorer countries. For the next two decades both husband and wife travelled a great deal, and eventually their marriage suffered from this. [2] A legal separation was arranged in the early 1970s though Ward, as a Catholic, did not want divorce. In 1976 when she was given a life peerage she used her estranged husband's surname for her title as Baroness Jackson of Lodsworth. [1]

Ward had been a frequent public speaker since leaving university, and by the 1960s her lectures attracted international respect; several lecture series, including some presented in Canada, Ghana and India, were published in book form. Ward spent increasing amounts of time in the US, much of her work there funded by the Carnegie Foundation. In 1957 Harvard University gave her an honorary LittD and until 1968 she was a Carnegie fellow there, living for part of each year in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1966. [5] She got to know Adlai Stevenson and John F Kennedy and acted as adviser to various influential policy makers, including Robert McNamara at the World Bank and Lyndon B Johnson, who welcomed her thoughts on his Great Society projects despite her opposition to the Vietnam war. [6]

She influenced James Wolfensohn's thinking on development questions. She had influence in the Vatican, helped set up a pontifical commission for justice and peace, and in 1971 was the first woman ever to address a synod of Roman Catholic bishops. One of her proposals was that richer countries should commit a certain proportion of their GNP in aid to the developing world, and she also spoke of the need for institutions to enable and manage both 'aid and trade'. This was a practical as well as an ethical concern: Ward believed such policies would encourage stability and peace. She is sometimes called a "distributist". [6]

Environmental concerns

Ward started to see a close connection between wealth distribution and conservation of planetary resources. "… the careful husbandry of the Earth is sine qua non for the survival of the human species, and for the creation of decent ways of life for all the people of the world." [7] She used the phrases "inner limits and "outer limits" to refer to the inner limits of the human right to an adequate standard of living and the outer limits of what the Earth can sustain. [8] In 1966, she published Spaceship Earth and is sometimes said to have coined the phrase. Ward is seen by some as a pioneer of sustainable development. She and René Dubos, co-authors of Only One Earth ( ISBN   039330129X), have been described as "parents" of a concept which "did not know its own name at first". [9] Only One Earth: The Care and Maintenance of a Small Planet was written for the 1972 UN Stockholm conference on the Human Environment. The report was commissioned by Maurice Strong, secretary general of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment.

Ward's work was rooted in her sense of morality and Christian values. She saw care of the environment and concern for the well-being of all humankind as a "dual responsibility", especially for anyone sharing her religious outlook. [10] At the same time, she believed wealth distribution combined with conservation was essentially a rational policy: "We are a ship's company on a small ship. Rational behaviour is the condition of survival." [11] In 1971 she founded the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), acting as president from 1973 and chairman from 1980. [12]

Later life

Ward had recovered from cancer in the late 1940s thanks, she believed, to the spiritual support of Padre Pio. The illness recurred twenty years later but surgery did not cure her. In 1973 she retired from Columbia University where she had been Schweitzer Professor of Economic Development for the previous five years and went to live in Lodsworth, Sussex. The next year she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire, [13] and on 18 October 1976 a life peer as Baroness Jackson of Lodsworth, of Lodsworth in the County of West Sussex; [14] she and her husband both held noble titles in their own right. She wrote her last book, Progress for a Small Planet, despite her deteriorating health, discussing the "planetary community", dwindling resources used up too fast by wealthy countries, and the needs of poorer parts of the world. It was published in 1979, two years before her death on 31 May 1981, aged 67.


In 1980, she received the Jawaharlal Nehru Award. [15]

Pope John Paul II sent a Cardinal to represent him at Ward's requiem service. At her own request, she was buried in the graveyard of the local Anglican parish church.

Her brother, John Ward, was a noted civil engineer who, after his work on the M4 motorway in the 1960s, was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire. Her great-niece, Marsha Shandur, is now a music presenter on radio.


Barbara Ward Lectures

The International Institute for Environment and Development organises the 'Barbara Ward Lectures' in memory of Ward, who was the Institute's first director.

Selected works

Related Research Articles

United Nations Environment Programme Programme of the United Nations

The United Nations Environment Programme is a programme of the United Nations that coordinates the organization's environmental activities and assists developing countries in implementing environmentally sound policies and practices. It was founded by Maurice Strong, its first director, as a result of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in June 1972 and has overall responsibility for environmental problems among United Nations agencies; however, international talks on specialized issues, such as addressing climate change or combating desertification, are overseen by other UN organizations, like the Bonn-based Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. UNEP's activities cover a wide range of issues regarding the atmosphere, marine and terrestrial ecosystems, environmental governance and green economy. It has played a significant role in developing international environmental conventions, promoting environmental science and information and illustrating the way those can be implemented in conjunction with policy, working on the development and implementation of policy with national governments, regional institutions in conjunction with environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs). UNEP has also been active in funding and implementing environment related development projects.

Earth Summit international conferens in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in June 1992

The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), also known as the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit, the Rio Summit, the Rio Conference, and the Earth Summit, was a major United Nations conference held in Rio de Janeiro from 3 to 14 June in 1992.

Connie Hedegaard Danish politician

Connie Hedegaard Koksbang is a Danish politician and public intellectual. She was European Commissioner for Climate Action in the European Commission from 10 February 2010 through 31 October 2014.

Sheila Watt-Cloutier Canadian environmentalist

Sheila Watt-Cloutier, OC is a Canadian Inuit activist. She has been a political representative for Inuit at the regional, national and international levels, most recently as International Chair for Inuit Circumpolar Council. Watt-Cloutier has worked on a range of social and environmental issues affecting Inuit, most recently, persistent organic pollutants and global warming. She has received numerous awards and honors for her work, and has been featured in a number of documentaries and profiled by journalists from all media. Watt-Cloutier sits as an advisor to Canada's Ecofiscal Commission. She is also a senior fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation.

<i>Our Common Future</i> 1987 report

Our Common Future, also known as the Brundtland Report in recognition of former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland's role as Chair of the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED), was published in 1987 by the United Nations through the Oxford University Press.

Calestous Juma FRS HonFREng was an internationally recognised authority in the application of science and technology to sustainable development worldwide. He was named one of the most influential 100 Africans in 2012, 2013 and 2014 by the New African magazine. He was Professor of the Practice of International Development and Faculty Chair of the Innovation for Economic Development Executive Program at Harvard Kennedy School. Juma was Director of the School's Science, Technology and Globalization Project at Harvard Kennedy School as well as the Agricultural Innovation in Africa Project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. His latest book, Innovation and Its Enemies: Why People Resist New Technologies. was published by Oxford University Press in 2016.

The United Nations Conference on the Human Environment was held in Stockholm, Sweden from June 5–16 in 1972.

Climate ethics is an area of research that focuses on the ethical dimensions of climate change, and concepts such as climate justice.

The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) is an independent policy research institute whose stated mission is to "build a fairer, more sustainable world, using evidence, action and influence in partnership with others." Its director is Dr Andrew Norton.

David Leonard Downie is an American scholar focusing on international environmental politics and policy. He currently writes and teaches at Fairfield University.

Sustainability science emerged in the 21st century as a new academic discipline. This new field of science was officially introduced with a "Birth Statement" at the World Congress "Challenges of a Changing Earth 2001" in Amsterdam organized by the International Council for Science (ICSU), the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change and the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP). The field reflects a desire to give the generalities and broad-based approach of "sustainability" a stronger analytic and scientific underpinning as it "brings together scholarship and practice, global and local perspectives from north and south, and disciplines across the natural and social sciences, engineering, and medicine". Ecologist William C. Clark proposes that it can be usefully thought of as "neither 'basic' nor 'applied' research but as a field defined by the problems it addresses rather than by the disciplines it employs" and that it "serves the need for advancing both knowledge and action by creating a dynamic bridge between the two".

Laurence Tubiana French economist

Laurence Tubiana is a French economist, academic and diplomat.

Diana Liverman geographer and science writer

Diana Liverman is Regents Professor of Geography and Development, and formerly co-Director of the Institute of the Environment at the University of Arizona, USA. She is an expert on the human dimensions of global environmental change and the impacts of climate on society. She was a co-author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) October 8, 2018 Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC.

International Institute for Sustainable Development non-profit organisation

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is an independent think tank founded in 1990. The institute has offices in Winnipeg, Ottawa, New York City, and Geneva. It has over 100 staff and associates working in over 30 countries.

The term Habitat I refers to the first United Nations Conference on Human Settlements, in Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada, 31 May – 11 June 1976, which was convened by the United Nations as governments began to recognize the magnitude and consequences of rapid urbanization.

Pamela S. Chasek is a professor in the Department of Political Science at Manhattan College, and editor of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin. She was an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs from 1996-2000. She is widely published on the topic of international environmental policy.

The contributions of women in climate change have received increasing attention in the early 21st century. Feedback from women and the issues faced by women have been described as "imperative" by the United Nations and "critical" by the Population Reference Bureau. A report by the World Health Organization concluded that incorporating gender-based analysis would "provide more effective climate change mitigation and adaptation."

Caroline King-Okumu is international development opportunities manager for the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. She was formerly a senior researcher for the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED). Her major areas of research are dryland ecosystems, economic and environmental assessment, and climate change. She is considered an international expert on land and water management, particularly drylands agriculture. King-Okumu is based in Kenya but is involved in research and projects throughout the world.

Fatima Denton

Fatima Denton is the Officer-in-Charge of the Special Initiatives Division and the Co-ordinator for the African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She focuses on innovation, science, technology and natural resource management. She partners with countries such as Benin and Liberia to develop and implement country needs assessment missions.

Debra C. Roberts is a South African government worker and one of the six co-chairs of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. She was elected co-chair of Working Group II for the sixth assessment in 2015.


  1. 1 2 The Papers of Barbara Ward Archived 22 March 2014 at the Wayback Machine ,; accessed 21 March 2014.
  2. 1 2 Matthew, H. C. G. (2004). Oxford dictionary of national biography : in association with the British Academy : from the earliest times to the year 2000 . Oxford New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN   978-0-19-861413-5.
  3. The Sword of the Spirit, University of Manitoba; accessed 21 March 2014.
  4. "Ward, Barbara (1914–1981) - Dictionary definition of Ward, Barbara (1914–1981) | FREE online dictionary". Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  5. "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter W" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 25 July 2014.
  6. 1 2 Joseph Pearce, "The Education of E F Schumacher", Literary Converts Archived 13 June 2006 at the Wayback Machine (Ignatius Press 1999)
  7. Only One Earth
  8. Pugh in Sustainability
  9. By environmental writer Richard D. North Archived 20 May 2006 at the Wayback Machine in a paper for the Liberales Institut: Sustainable Development: A concept with a future?
  10. "On the one hand, we are faced with the stewardship of this beautiful, subtle, incredibly delicate, fragile planet. On the other, we confront the destiny of our fellow man, our brothers. How can we say that we are followers of Christ if this dual responsibility does not seem to us the essence and heart of our religion?" Barbara Ward, Justice in a Human Environment, in IDOC International (May 1973)
  11. Spaceship Earth
  12. Reuters (1 June 1981). "BARBARA WARD, BRITISH ECONOMIST, DIES". The New York Times. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  13. "No. 46310". The London Gazette (Supplement). 15 June 1974. p. 6809.
  14. "No. 47047". The London Gazette . 21 October 1976. p. 14193.
  15. Jawaharlal Nehru Award winners Archived 23 March 2013 at WebCite ; accessed 21 March 2014.
  16. Video of Barbara Ward's speech given at the Habitat Conference on Human Settlements plenary session
  17. Video of Mary Robinson delivering Barbara Ward Lecture
  18. Address by LN Sisulu, Minister of Housing of the Republic of South Africa, at the third Barbara Ward lecture, Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), London
  19. Barbara Ward Lecture: Implications of the Durban outcome for enhancing action on climate change on the ground towards a more sustainable future, London, 9 March 2012; accessed 21 March 2014.
  20. Video of Debra Roberts delivering the 2016 Barbara Ward Lecture


Further reading

Diamand, Robert W.; Diamand, Mary Ann; Forget, Evelyn L. (2012). A biographical dictionary of women economists. Edward Elgar. ISBN   9781849723640.