May 2009

Climate change gets real in the US; flights v steaks; good governance isn't all it's cracked up to be; the future of capitalism and why clean stoves can save 1.6m lives a year: links I liked

admin - May 29, 2009

Climate change becomes real politics in the US, according to Paul Krugman (is he the only Nobel laureate economist with his own tribute song on youtube?)    Cut out meat or air travel asks Owen Barder? You decide (unfortunately I’m addicted to both – any other options?) Dani Rodrik argues that the crisis proves that good governance isn’t that relevant to growth (but it’s still a good thing …

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Big UN conference on the global crisis is postponed – why?

admin - May 28, 2009

At the last minute, the UN has postponed its ‘Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and its Impact on Development’ from 1-3 June to 24-26th June, still in New York. This will allow it time to sort out the draft conclusions and try and convince a respectable number of world leaders to attend. The process for arriving at an ‘outcome document’ for the …

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What's different about the current spate of land grabs in poor countries?

admin - May 27, 2009

This week’s Economist has an excellent overview of the issues surrounding what it calls ‘outsourcing’s third wave’ (the first two were manufacturing and services) – deals in which foreign investors are buying up huge tracts of land in poor countries to produce food to ship back home (see map). Some highlights: Saudi investors are spending $100m to lease land from the Ethiopian government to produce wheat, …

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What are African leaders saying about the impact of the crisis? Latest overview

admin - May 26, 2009

The African Development Bank is doing some excellent analysis and has just updated the paper submitted to the April G20 Summit by African Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (new paper here, original paper for G20 here). Main points: ‘For the first time since 1994, per capita income will contract in 2009 for the continent as a whole. Indeed a growth crisis has set in. …

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Fire brigades or arsonists? A UN debate on the economic crisis

admin - May 22, 2009

I spoke at an UNCTAD symposium on the global crisis in Geneva this week (Oxfam’s pre-conference submission is here). A laudable attempt to get a conversation going with civil society organizations, but a classically frustrating UN event – dozens of developing country delegates mingling with NGOs and others, but any real exchange was deadened by a format of interminable lists of speakers, poor chairing of …

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US aid reform takes off

admin - May 21, 2009

Shortly after the US election, I blogged about the promising discussions on US aid reform in Washington. Those are now starting to bear fruit. In late April, Howard Berman, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, introduced a bill (The Initiating Foreign Assistance Reform Act of 2009–HR 2139). Here are some of his covering remarks: ‘This legislation is an important first step to reforming and …

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How do we get the institutions right on climate change?

admin - May 20, 2009

Normally, I find the use of scenarios to think through policy issues pretty shallow and unhelpful. But a new paper on the institutional architecture for climate change, by Alex Evans and David Steven, has a horribly plausible and thought-provoking scenario among its three possible futures. A slightly truncated version follows in a couple of paras time. Evans and Steven argue that while all the attention …

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Should aid workers fly business class?; latest on land grabs; dodgy regressions; Chinese carbon emissions; how to set up your own tax dodge and a great climate change youtube: links I liked

admin - May 19, 2009

Chris Blattman has kicked off a heated debate on whether aid officials should fly business class, see here for example Over on global dashboard, Mark Weston provides an overview on land grabs William Easterly applies his tests for dodgy regressions to Paul Collier’s latest book and Chris Blattman (again, when does he work or sleep?) joins in the fun by adding Karl Popper’s guidelines for scientific inquiry.  …

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How is the recession hitting remittances from migrant workers?

admin - May 18, 2009

Remittances sent to developing countries in 2008 from migrant workers overseas came to a massive $305bn – two and a half times greater than the (record) volume of global aid. But how are they weathering the global crisis? I’ve just been reading the World Bank’s latest (OK, end of March – I’m playing catchup as usual) Migration and Development Brief. Main findings: A sharp decline …

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Building women's leadership – what works?

admin - May 15, 2009

What can an NGO like Oxfam do to help build women’s grassroots leadership and participation? Just been reading a series of case studies from around the world, which throw up a strikingly similar set of conclusions. Drawing on experiences in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the UK, the study finds that progress relies on tackling structural barriers to women’s participation – for example over 40 …

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