December 2011

Durban deciphered; China's bubble will burst; African democracy v growth; weird eurocrats; Martin Luther v Facebook; human rights v religion; celebrating failure: links I liked (and see you in 2012)

admin - December 23, 2011

Harvard’s Robert Stavins provides a nice post mortem of the Durban climate summit. George Monbiot fumes  – if you’ve come across any really good ones, please send me the links. [h/t John Magrath] Something inevitable about this – Paul Krugman thinks the Chinese bubble is about to burst Evan Liebermann’s excellent new blog on African governance finds no links between recent booms and the level …

Continue reading

Christmas special: what happens when an NGO edits the Ten Commandments?

admin - December 22, 2011

Tis the season to be jolly; the shortest/grimmest day of the year etc etc, so here’s a Christmas scoop. As part of our ongoing discussion of religion and development, someone inadvertently submitted the Ten Commandments to Oxfam’s sign-off procedure. The result provides a fascinating insight into how NGOs think and communicate, although it perhaps lacks some of the punch of the original……. Click on the numbers …

Continue reading

Honduras is building a charter city? This is never going to work

admin - December 21, 2011

A couple of years ago, I wrote a pretty critical post on Paul Romer’s proposal for ‘charter cities’. According to last week’s Economist, Honduras is now about to try and turn that blueprint into reality. I’m prepared to make a small bet it won’t work – any takers?  Romer proposes building cities from scratch in the world’s poorest nations, outsourcing their design and government to …

Continue reading

Food fight at the WTO: de Schutter v Lamy on whether trade leads to food security

admin - December 20, 2011

The WTO ministerial (there was a ministerial?) was predictably forgettable, apart from the accession of Russia (the last major economy still to sign up) and a pretty outspoken attack on WTO boss Pascal Lamy (right) by UN Food Security czar Olivier de Schutter (below), who accused Lamy of ‘defending an outdated vision of food security’. ‘We must ensure that the debate starts from the correct …

Continue reading

Northern winter, Southern spring + Gramsci rules: looking back on 2011

admin - December 19, 2011

Here’s my contribution to the flood of ‘2011 retrospective’ articles, published on the Guardian site today What you make of 2011 depends on your vantage point. The year’s events look completely different depending on whether you are sitting at the bottom or the top, in the old north or the old south. From the bottom, this was a year of protest and revolution, toppling tyrants …

Continue reading

Learning, leadership and the case for strategic interns

admin - December 16, 2011

Another good paper from the consistently excellent Developmental Leadership Program, this time on ‘Learning and Leadership: Exploring the linkages between higher education and developmental leadership.’ Its basic argument is that there is ‘a symbiotic relationship between higher education and the broader political, social and economic environment, in which they both influence the development of each other over time.’ i.e. the MDG and aid focus on …

Continue reading

Mobile phones and farmers – what are the benefits?

admin - December 15, 2011

There’s a ridiculous amount of hype talked about mobile phones, but they clearly are having a significant impact on poor people everywhere in lots of unexpected ways. Last year I met a group of Ethiopian coffee farmers who had no running water or electricity in their homes, but each family had a phone. When I asked what difference they make, the answer was always the …

Continue reading

Ethiopia's lost wealth; climate change adaptation in action; Busan and Durban unpacked; Britain v Europe; who needs leaders? NGOs send emails: links I liked

admin - December 14, 2011

A giant sucking sound – Ethiopia’s losses due to illicit financial outflows amounted to $3.26bn in 2009, which was more than the combined value of the development assistance it received and the products it exported. [h/t Beyond Aid] Climate change adaptation in Uganda and Ethiopia: What is the impact of climate hazards, variability and change on different livelihood groups? How do development interventions contribute to …

Continue reading

The next World Development Report is on Jobs, and I'm worried about it

admin - December 13, 2011

Here we go again. Last week, a bunch of us NGO types had an initial discussion with the World Bank on its next flagship World Development Report, the 2013 edition of which will be on jobs (defined as ‘productive activity that is remunerated’), to be published in late 2012. Great subject, and one that is horribly neglected. Income from work is one of the best …

Continue reading

Investing in people or building more stuff: which is better for reducing disaster risks?

admin - December 12, 2011

This is a guest post from Chris Anderson, Oxfam’s global adviser on disaster risk reduction  While the global humanitarian response system is more effective and sophisticated than ever before, in its current form it’s being outstripped by the pace of increasing risks. The answer is Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), which makes great financial sense if done well. But what does ‘well’ mean and why does …

Continue reading
Translate »