Conflict and Security

Is power a zero sum game? Does women’s empowerment lead to increased domestic violence?

Duncan Green - August 27, 2015

I’ve been having an interesting exchange with colleagues at Oxfam America on the nature of power. They argue that empowerment is zero sum, i.e. one person acquiring power means that someone else has to lose it. In a new post, OA’s Gawain Kripke sets out their case. ‘The development community should recognize that women’s economic empowerment is a threat to established power holders. Women’s economic …

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Authoritarianism Goes Global: the rise of the despots and their apologists

Duncan Green - August 13, 2015

The World Bank’s Sina Odugbemi is a stylish and impassioned writer. He also set up a deal to repost the occasional FP2P piece on the Bank’s governance blog, so I thought I’d return the compliment on his latest piece. Wish he’d write more often. Norms, especially global norms, are exceedingly fragile things…like morning dew confronting the sun. As more players conform to a norm, it …

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FEAR/LESS: Standing with women and girls to end violence

Duncan Green - July 9, 2015

Lucia Fry, ActionAid UK‘s Head of Policy, introduces a new report Listening to the news yesterday, I grimaced as I heard about the latest episode to unfold in the story of the schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in Northern Nigeria last year: according to news reports, captive girls are being recruited as torturers and combatants by the militant group. 24 hour rolling news and social …

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What should we expect from next year’s World Humanitarian Summit?

Duncan Green - July 8, 2015

Thought all the big development-related summits were scheduled for 2015? Think again. Ed Cairns, Oxfam’s senior policy adviser on humanitarian advocacy, introduces its new report/shot across the bows of the World Humanitarian Summit, 2016. Humanitarians tend to be practical people, and so when they learn lessons it’s usually from what has failed or succeeded in real crises. Take MSF’s challenge to the world’s ‘inefficient and slow …

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Crunch time for global humanitarianism – funding can’t keep up with need, so what else is needed?

Duncan Green - June 18, 2015

Ed Cairns, Oxfam’s senior policy adviser on humanitarian advocacy, reviews the latest overview of global humanitarian aid. [Update: in response to readers’ comments, I’ve stuck up a very retrogressive humanitarian v long term aid poll to the right – please hold your nose and vote] This year’s Global Humanitarian Assistance report highlights some startling figures. For years these reports from the Development Initiatives stable have been the …

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A new/better way of measuring the fragility of states?

Duncan Green - June 12, 2015

Tolstoy opened Anna Karenina with the much-quoted line ‘Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.’ Does the same apply to states? The OECD’s new report on Fragile States goes some way down that route. Instead of its past (much criticised) single dimension of ‘fragile/non fragile’, it assesses fragility across five dimensions: Violence, Justice, Institutions, Economic Foundations and Resilience. …

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How is the Syria situation changing on the ground, after 4 years of fighting?

Duncan Green - May 29, 2015

Went to a fascinating briefing on Oxfam’s work in the Syria crisis last week, which set out the underlying trends and the evolving challenges for aid agencies, beyond the periodic TV news bang bang coverage.. The numbers are stark: Total of 18 million people in need of humanitarian assistance inside and outside Syria – including almost 4m registered refugees and about 1.8m unregistered 12.2 million …

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Book Review of ‘Advocacy in Conflict’ – a big attack on politics and impact of global campaigns

Duncan Green - May 8, 2015

[Oops. This was supposed to go up next Thursday when the book is published, but I hit the wrong button and posted it by mistake – blame the UK elections for keeping me up all night…..] If you work in advocacy, especially the international sort, this is a necessary but painful read – it’s hard finding yourself the brunt of a 300 page sustained critique, …

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1/4 of the world’s people already subject to large annual wealth tax to tackle poverty. Has anyone told Piketty?

Duncan Green - March 27, 2015

A few years ago, I sat next to a young muslim guy from Birmingham on a plane, and he told me how frustrated he was with the way his community’s annual act of alms-giving, known as Zakat, was managed – no accountability, no real checks on where it goes or what it achieves. I’ve wondered about that ever since, so yesterday I went online to …

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Four years into the Syrian conflict, we must never lose sight of the civilians behind the ‘story’

Duncan Green - March 12, 2015

As the conflict in Syria enters its fifth year, Oxfam’s Head of Humanitarian Policy and Campaigns, Maya Mailer, reflects on a recent trip to Lebanon and Jordan, where she spoke with Syrian refugees, and asks whether we have become immune to the suffering of Syrians. If you type ‘Syria’ into Google News, the headlines that normally appear are about airstrikes, beheadings, and Jihadi John.  The …

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