September 2013

Climate Change looks a lot worse when you look below the averages and the global: the view from Pakistan

admin - September 30, 2013

John Magrath from Oxfam’s research team compares the impact of climate change in Pakistan with the messages coming out of the IPCC’s latestreports. I blogged last week how one effect of climate change is likely to be to make it harder for people to afford to buy the food they need, which may be a bigger cause of hunger than absolute reductions in food supplies per se. …

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Making All Voices Count – promising new initiative (and source of funding)

admin - September 27, 2013

A big new initiative on citizen voice, accountability etc was launched this week. OK it’s a bit obsessed with whizzy new technology, and light on power analysis and politics, but it still looks very promising, not least because it is being run by three top outfits – Hivos, IDS and Ushahidi. It is also a potential source of funding for work on accountability, whether programmes, …

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The gender equality and poverty arguments for social pensions in Asia

admin - September 26, 2013

For those among you who find a blog length piece about as much as you can absorb in a busy working day, I recommend signing up to the ‘one pagers’ produced by the International Policy Center on Inclusive Growth in Brazil (a UNDP/Government of Brazil joint venture). They provide nice summaries of new research. Here’s last month’s one pager on ‘gender and old-age pension protection …

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Where are the examples of good donorship in complex systems?

admin - September 25, 2013

Everyone loves a good scapegoat. When faced with trying something exciting, risky or new, the temptation is to say ‘they’ won’t let us. In the World Trade Organization I’ve heard developing country delegates argue that there is nothing they can do to stop the tide of imports, even when the WTO rules have lots of wiggle room to allow poor countries to protect their vulnerable …

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Is Inequality All About the Tails? The Palma, the Gini and Post-2015

admin - September 24, 2013

Alex Cobham and Andy Sumner bring us up to date on the techie-but-important debate over how to measure inequality It’s about six months since we triggered a good wonk-tastic discussion here on Duncan’s blog on how to measure inequality. We proposed a new indicator and called it ‘the Palma’ after Chilean economist Gabriel Palma, on whose work it was based. We suggested the Palma would …

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Investments to End Poverty launched today: a goldmine of killer facts and infographics

admin - September 23, 2013

Today sees the launch of the killer fact-tastic inaugural Investments to End Poverty report by Development Initiatives. The report makes the case for aid as an essential part of ‘getting to zero’ on absolute poverty by 2030, but as is increasingly the norm, the report locates aid among the much wider issue of development-related resource flows, both domestic and international. In speed reading mode, I …

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What can the aid business learn from Google v Death?

admin - September 20, 2013

Benjamin Franklin famously said ‘nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes’. Google begs to differ. On both. First it becomes a byword for tax avoidance, and now it’s taking on death too, according to an article on Time Magazine’s techland blog. Time interviewed Google CEO Larry Page on the latest in a growing line of bonkers innovative activities (Google glasses, driverless …

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Working in Fragile States, as seen from Australia and New Zealand

admin - September 19, 2013

I’m currently nearing the end of my three weeks in Australia and New Zealand. These trips typically involve several meetings a day with government officials, politicians, NGOs and journalists. The to and fro produces a churn of topics and ideas, out of which emerge some themes, but you never know in advance which ones are going to dominate. This time around it has been fragile …

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World order on developmental see-saw

admin - September 18, 2013

This piece (not my title btw) appeared on Tuesday in Wellington’s newspaper the Dominion Post, as I wrapped up three weeks’ intensive ranting in Australia and New Zealand. Bloodbaths in Syria and Egypt; banking crises and austerity; the rise of the “emerging powers” and the apparently unstoppable decline – perhaps even disintegration – of Europe: the past five years has been a period of extraordinary global …

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This will make your day. Especially if you are a humanitarian with fantasies of being the subject of a rock anthem.

admin - September 17, 2013

I really should be writing something more intelligent, but this video has destroyed any hope of that. Jan Egeland, a Norwegian Labour party politician, was the United Nations Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator from 2003-2006. He is currently Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council. But most importantly, he is the subject of this wonderful video – half homage, half piss-take, and wholly hilarious. …

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