January 2011

Sarkozy and Tobin; the first charter city; measuring GDP from space; food prices and speculation; become a UN Godmother; Dani Rodrik's new book; hand puppet climate change: links I liked

admin - January 31, 2011

“Nicolas Sarkozy wants one. George Soros thinks it is a good idea. Development campaigners have it at the top of their wish list. The question, therefore, is whether the time for a Tobin tax has come?” Larry Elliott explores one impact of the French G20 presidency. Is Honduras building the first charter city? Measuring country GDP from space Food price special: “The current spike in …

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Gender Equality and Development: What will (and won’t) be in the 2012 World Development Report?

admin - January 28, 2011

Just got round to reading the 65 page outline (dread to think how long the final version will be) of the 2012 World Development Report on ‘Gender Equality and Development’. Kudos to the Bank, as ever, for putting such documents online as part of the report writing process – how many NGOs ever consider doing that? (see here for a rather successful example of us …

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The new Future of Food and Farming Report: excellent diagnosis; patchy cure; no power and politics

admin - January 27, 2011

I attended the launch at the UK Treasury this week of The Future of Food and Farming: Challenges and Choices for Global Sustainability. It’s a high level UK government report from some top scientists, and should have significant influence over the next few years on much of the terrain Oxfam will be exploring in its new campaign on food and resource constraints. Here are some …

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How to get a PhD in a year (without giving up the day job)

admin - January 26, 2011

I recently got a ‘PhD by published work’ from Oxfam’s local university, Oxford Brookes. Here’s how it works: if you have amassed a ‘significant body of work’ in the shape of books, chapters, papers etc (sorry emails and tweets don’t count), you submit these as the body of your PhD and then (the interesting bit) write a supervised 15,000 word ‘critical review’ of your own …

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The Obama Doctrine – where is the US going on development and diplomacy?

admin - January 25, 2011

Government reports don’t come with much less enticing titles than the US ‘Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review’ but as is often the way, a boring title signals important content, setting out big and in some cases excellent plans for US foreign and development policy. The director of the review, Anne Marie Slaughter, presented the review at Chatham House in London last week – here are some …

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Cargill cashes in; wikileaks on China and Africa; 1/3 of Zimbabwe's voters are dead; Dambisa Moyo's new book; South African Aid; business and human rights: links I liked

admin - January 24, 2011

Food price crisis, what crisis? ‘Cargill, the world’s largest agricultural commodities trader, announced on Wednesday that its profits had tripled year-on-year in the second quarter of its fiscal year, as the company profited from supply disruptions in the global food chain and rising prices’. What does Wikileaks tell us about the US government’s real view of China in Africa? A third of Zimbabwe’s registered voters …

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Tunisian rap uprising; so you want to be an aid worker? Donate your fat: videos for the weekend

admin - January 21, 2011

One video which inspires, and two which don’t ‘Although western audiences are still waiting for a reflowering of political music to capture the spirit of the times, in Africa it never went away’. Africa’s protest music is booming –  Tunisian rapper The General is just the tip of an inspiring iceberg.     ‘So you want to be an aid worker?’ Latest in the rash …

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Want to avoid financial crises? Then reduce inequality, says the IMF

admin - January 20, 2011

What are they putting in the water at the IMF these days? Following its recent advocacy of not one, but two new global taxes, a new IMF working paper by Michael Kumhof and Romain Ranciere links inequality with financial crises. “The United States experienced two major economic crises over the past century—the Great Depression starting in 1929 and the Great Recession starting in 2007. Both …

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What does the future hold for civil society organization?

admin - January 19, 2011

I’ve been struggling to make sense of the changing landscape for civil society organizations, North and South, and could do with your help. Here are some initial thoughts, but please send in your own, plus useful references: One door opens, another shuts There are contradictory and ambiguous trends for civil society at national and global levels. On the plus side: · Growing size, strength and sophistication …

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The Upside of High Food Prices

admin - January 18, 2011

Nice pieces from agricultural economist Steve Wiggins on the ODI and Guardian blogs, which I quote at length, because I think it’s an important correction to the discussion on the current food price spike. ‘In 2008 developing countries, and poor people within them, were hit hard by the price spike in the international cereals market. Once again food prices are moving up, not that far short …

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