November 2013

Hunger Grains: Are EU policies undermining progress on development?

admin - November 29, 2013

An earlier version of this piece appeared in the October issue of the Government Gazette Today we fear EU ambassadors will agree a really bad deal on EU biofuel reform. In 2009 EU governments agreed that by 2020 10% of the energy used in transport would have to come from renewable sources. This target will almost exclusively be met by using food-based biofuels and has …

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Transform or be Haunted by Ghosts: How can the Philippines ‘build back better’ after Typhoon Haiyan?

admin - November 28, 2013

From the middle of the response to Typhoon Haiyan, Lan Mercado, our Deputy Regional Director in Asia (and passionate campaigner and Filipina) reflects on what lies ahead. She was the one who asked me to pick your brains on disasters as opportunities – thanks for the responses. The massive impact of Typhoon Haiyan claimed thousands of lives and destroyed physical assets, but it also felled …

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Thinking and Working Politically: an exciting new aid initiative

admin - November 27, 2013

Gosh I love my job. Last week I attended a workshop in Delhi to discuss ‘thinking and working politically’. A bunch of donors, academics, NGOs and others (Chatham House rules, alas, so no names or institutions) taking stock on how they can move from talk to walk in applying more politically informed thinking to their work. That means both trying to do the normal stuff …

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This blog is getting a facelift – what would you like to change/keep the same?

admin - November 26, 2013

Dear FP2P readers   Our IT guys tell me it’s time for a makeover, (sadly, only for the blog, not for me). So I’m asking for suggestions. What aspects of this blog’s format (not content – that’s a separate discussion) do you find useful and want to keep unchanged, and what do you find really annoying/ want to add/change? So far, we are planning to: – …

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The evolving HIV & AIDS pandemic: overall progress; more varied between countries; southern governments stepping up to fill aid gaps

admin - November 26, 2013

Today the ONE campaign is issuing The Beginning of the End?, a report (+ exec sum) on the HIV/AIDS pandemic, with some important findings. They include hitting the global tipping point on AIDS, probably next year; the increasing divergence in performance between African countries, and the fact that over half of global HIV/AIDS spending now comes from developing countries. Excerpts from the Exec Sum, with a few …

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Is village immersion a new approach to development studies? Is suicide a development issue?

admin - November 25, 2013

I was in Delhi this week, talking to Oxfam India and taking part in a conference on how to work on issues of governance, politics and institutional reform (more on that later). But on Wednesday I took time out to give a lecture (on poverty v inequality – powerpoint here – keep clicking) at Ambedkar University, a new social sciences outfit on the edges of …

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Math suicide. Off topic but funny.

admin - November 22, 2013

OK it’s Friday, and this blog has been getting alarmingly worthy and on topic. So here are some subversive/dim/traumatised answers to maths exam questions that had me snorting in a card shop recently. There’s something particularly pleasing about number two, but you may need to look at it a few times.  (h/t my mother, who spends far too much time in that shop).

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What kinds of ‘expert advice’ work in a complex world? Some likes and dislikes

admin - November 21, 2013

I’ve been talking to a lot of ‘advisers’ in Oxfam, Save the Children and elsewhere recently about what all thiscomplexity stuff means in practice. Advisers are unsung NGO heroes, repositories of wisdom and experience, working closely with partners and staff on the ground. And those staff typically want to know what they should be doing differently. That’s what experts are for, right? But if you’re …

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What kinds of ‘expert advice’ work in a complex world? Some likes and dislikes

admin - November 21, 2013

I’ve been talking to a lot of ‘advisers’ in Oxfam, Save the Children and elsewhere recently about what all this complexity stuff means in practice. Advisers are unsung NGO heroes, repositories of wisdom and experience, working closely with partners and staff on the ground. And those staff typically want to know what they should be doing differently. That’s what experts are for, right? But if …

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Africa’s tax systems: progress, but what is the next generation of reforms?

admin - November 20, 2013
Alistair Darling

Taxation is zipping up the development agenda, but the discussion is often focussed on international aspects such as tax havens or the Robin Hood Tax. Both very important, but arguably, even more important is what happens domestically – are developing country tax systems regressive or progressive? Are they raising enough cash to fund state services? Are they efficient and free of corruption? This absolutely magisterial overview of the state …

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