January 2010

Haiti Reconstruction: Two cheers (and one big boo) for Paul Collier’s plan

admin - January 29, 2010

Oxford economics professor Paul Collier is the policy entrepreneur’s policy entrepreneur. The man who coined the phrase ‘bottom billion’ has an unparalleled ability to reach decision makers with cogent, timely and well written arguments. Paul has a long-standing connection with Haiti – he was previously Ban Ki-Moon’s special adviser on the country, (read his January 2009 paper for the UN Secretary General here), so unlike …

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How to turn knowledge into policy (without losing your job)

admin - January 28, 2010

Together with Martin Walsh, our team’s research methods adviser, I’ve been browsing through some of the literature on how to ensure our work has impact…… After a year in which Britain’s top drugs adviser, Professor David Nutt, was sacked by the Home Secretary (interior minister) for overstepping the line between providing advice and advocating specific changes to policy, you’d be excused for thinking that in …

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Can you comment on Oxfam’s analysis of the global economic crisis?

admin - January 27, 2010

Since early 2009, Oxfam has been researching the impact of the global economic crisis on poverty and poor communities, and the way governments and others have responded. With co-authors Richard King and May Miller Dawkins, I’ve now pulled together focus group discussions and in depth interviews with 2,500 people, 11 country case studies and regional overviews into a draft research paper, The Global Economic Crisis …

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Reconstruction in Haiti, what do we know from previous disasters?

admin - January 26, 2010

The Haiti operation is moving rapidly from rescue to reconstruction . What major challenges can we expect to emerge? What sort of policies have delivered results after previous earthquakes? One of the best sources on this is Responding to Earthquakes 2008: Learning from earthquake relief and recovery operations, by the ALNAP network.  Here are some highlights of that report, plus a few thoughts from me. …

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Zero rupee notes; MLK and powerpoint; Millennium professors; new sites on globalization and politics of climate change and what Obama could learn from Bartlett: links I liked

admin - January 25, 2010

Battling corruption with a zero rupee note [h/t Jo Rowlands] If Martin Luther King had had powerpoint….. Owen Barder:   What is it like being a Millennium Village? Shopkeeper:     Very good. We have lots of things. O:                           Does everything work well? Shopkeeper:     No, not all of it.  But we are much better off now. O:                          Who decides what to change? Do you have a village council, or is there …

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This is why I work for Oxfam

admin - January 22, 2010

Yolette Etienne, the Oxfam GB country director in Haiti, in an extraordinary interview with Jon Snow of Channel 4 News, matter of factly discusses burying her mother in her garden before rejoining the relief effort. For regular updates (audio, video, text), links etc from the relief effort, go to this website set up by some tech savvy Oxfam relief workers and others. Feels very real-time.

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Why is humanitarian work so hard in cities?

admin - January 21, 2010

By chance, the day before the Haiti earthquake, we were having a discussion at Oxfam about why, when it comes to feeding programmes, disaster relief etc urban work tends to be both harder and less attractive to NGOs than doing equivalent things in rural settings. This reflected an increasing conviction that we need to do more on urban issues. Although I’m no expert on Haiti, …

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Can we stay the course on education?

admin - January 20, 2010

Education is an aid good news story, but one that needs renewed commitment if it is not to turn sour. This from ‘Rescuing Education for All’, published by Oxfam yesterday: ‘Remarkable progress was being forged across the developing world, spurred by a new global commitment to the Education For All (EFA) goals. These goals were answered by substantial increases in aid during the first half …

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Degrowth – is it useful or feasible?

admin - January 19, 2010

Thought I’d check out what this ‘degrowth’ idea is about so went to a public meeting organized by a couple of new economics thinktanks (CEECEC and nef). It was a combination of seriously old school (standing room only; two and a half hours of speeches) and new (the bar was open throughout the event; death by powerpoint). ‘Degrowth’ is the clunky translation of ‘decroissance’, a …

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Powerpoint and war; failed states; democracy in retreat; London Citizens; China is good for Africa; Migration is good for everyone and manflu: Links I liked

admin - January 18, 2010

Chris Blattman worries that powerpoint could lose the US the war in Afghanistan Bill Easterly and Laura Freschi argue that ‘failed states’ are a failed concept ‘Liberal democracy is not merely suffering political reverses, it is also in intellectual retreat.’ This week’s Economist gets alarmed at what it sees as recent setbacks in electoral democracy worldwide, based on the latest report from thinktank ‘Freedom House’ (admittedly …

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