The Adaptation Gap (and how to deal with it)

Duncan Green - November 27, 2015

Ben Ramalingam, newly appointed leader of the Digital and Technology cluster at IDS, and author of Aid on the Edge of Chaos, shares some thoughts on ‘adaptive management’. Over the next few weeks, Duncan has agreed to run a series of posts by participants in the recent USAID-IDS workshop on adaptive management, to share their ideas, insights and suggestions. As co-designer and facilitator of the workshop, …

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What can today’s activists learn from the history of campaigning?

Duncan Green - November 26, 2015

Spent an afternoon recently discussing the lessons of UK history with an eclectic mix of historians and modern day campaigners. Organized by Friends of the Earth’s Big Ideas project and the History and Policy network, it was the second instalment in a really interesting process (see here for my post on an earlier session). This time around, H&P had commissioned a set of short case …

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What’s changed since Copenhagen? Curtain raiser for the Paris climate talks  

Duncan Green - November 25, 2015

Tracy Carty, Oxfam Climate Change Policy Adviser, with an excerpt from its Paris media briefing, published today The last time leaders got together to agree a global climate deal it ended in multilateral meltdown.  Copenhagen was widely condemned as a failure – a failure that still haunts the climate negotiations, and one that governments meeting in Paris next week will not want to repeat. Six …

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Here’s my attempt at a takeaway message on How Change Happens – what do you think?

Duncan Green - November 24, 2015

Reminder – if you are one of the truly alarming number of people who have downloaded the 160 page draft of How Change Happens, the deadline for comments is just two weeks away – 10th December. Background to the book here. One of the main messages already emerging from feedback is that I need to ‘throw readers a bone’ in the final chapter, in the …

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Links I Liked

Duncan Green - November 23, 2015

Spending the next two weeks in Australia (Melbourne and Canberra) and Vanuatu consulting on the book draft and scavenging some last minute new material. Speaking in Melbourne at launch of Politics of Results book on Tuesday. Details here. Otherwise it’s all non-public events at ANU, DFAT etc. Also means I’m glad to see this Economist graph on how much safer air travel has become. Back …

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The best and worst aid videos of 2015

Duncan Green - November 21, 2015

The people have spoken, and we have winners for both the best and worst aid fundraising videos of 2015. Let’s start with the crap ones, cos that’s more interesting. The audience voted (predictably) for the Band Aid retread, but I thought this one from the One World Campaign was magnificently terrible (and almost unwatchable). As for the best video, the audience chose this moving story …

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Why is the World Bank Group dragging its feet over its disastrous PPP policy on funding healthcare?

Duncan Green - November 20, 2015

Oxfam health policy lead Anna Marriott gets back from maternity leave to find that the World Bank Group is dragging its feet over a disastrous health contract in Lesotho Back in April 2014, World Bank Group President Jim Kim said in a televised interview (19 ½ minutes in) that his organisation would be ‘the’ go-to group to understand how health sector public private partnerships (PPPs) …

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Reading the tea leaves: What the women’s movement can learn from a victory in India

Duncan Green - November 19, 2015

This piece by Devaki Jain, an Indian feminist economist, originally appeared on the website The good news for the women’s movement in India came from Munnar, a hill station in Kerala, last month where a group of women workers won a signal battle against their employers, a tea estate by the name of Kanan Devan Hills Plantations. One of the slogans at the protest read: “We pick …

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What can violence/conflict people learn from the governance debate (and vice versa)? Report back on a day discussing new IDS research

Duncan Green - November 18, 2015

I recently spent a day among conflict wonks (a thoroughly charming and unscary group) to discuss IDS’ research programme on Addressing and Mitigating Violence. There are piles of case studies and thematic papers on the website (here’s a collection of abstracts); this seminar was part of bringing them all together into some kind of overarching narrative. The starting point for the programme was the World …

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What can we learn from Mexico’s tax on fizzy drinks?

Duncan Green - November 17, 2015

Alice Evans of Cambridge University looks for lessons from a small victory in the global struggle against obesity We in the development industry are often frustrated by lack of government transparency, disregard of the evidence, and lack of political will to address major social problems. Such obstacles are universal. Perhaps we might learn ‘how change happens’ (to use Duncan’s title) by comparing common processes in the Global North …

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