food and agriculture

Is Climate Change to blame for the East African Drought?

Duncan Green - May 16, 2017

An honest attempt to engage with the evidence may seem almost quaint in these angry, post-truth times, but I was impressed by a recent Oxfam media briefing by Tracy Carty on the thorny topic of whether climate change is to blame for the current East African drought. It’s an excellent example of the balancing act advocacy organizations have to perform on attribution: start making sweeping …

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Ten Signs of an impending Global Land Rights Revolution

Duncan Green - March 16, 2017

Exfamer Chris Jochnick, who now runs Landesa, the land rights NGO, sets out his stall ahead of a big World Bank event next week. The development community has experienced various “revolutions” over the years – from microfinance to women’s rights, from the green revolution to sustainable development.  Each of these awakenings has improved our understanding of the challenges we face; each has transformed the development …

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How do we encourage innovation in markets? What can systems thinking add?

Duncan Green - February 22, 2017

Update: check out the comments on this post – v interesting Earlier this month I spent a fun 3 days at a seminar discussing Market Systems Innovation. No really. I discovered a community of very smart people working on markets, who seem to be on a similar journey to the people working on governance and institutions, who I have spent most of my time with …

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On World Food Day, 5 reasons why cash transfers aren’t always the best option

Duncan Green - October 14, 2016

Since the Asian Tsunami of 2004, providing cash to people in an emergency has become increasingly mainstream. But (babies, bath water) there is more to food response than ‘just give them the money.’ On World Food Day, Oxfam Social Protection Adviser Larissa Pelham sets out the case: The King asked The Queen, and The Queen asked The Dairymaid: “Could we have some butter for The …

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Talk is cheap, but will the World Bank really step up on inequality?

Duncan Green - October 4, 2016

Max Lawson, Oxfam’s Head of Development Finance and Public Services raises the curtain this week’s World Bank and IMF Annual Meetings before hopping on the plane to Washington I have been going to the Annual Meetings of the World Bank and IMF longer than I care to remember, certainly since most Oxfam policy wonks were still at school. Every time I go to the office …

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Precarious Lives: Food, Work and Care after the Global Food Crisis. Launch of new report, 9th September

Duncan Green - August 31, 2016

Oxfam researcher John Magrath profiles a new joint Oxfam/IDS report and tries to convince you to come along to the launch in London on 9th September Duncan has written previously about one of the projects he was most proud of initiating while in (nominal!) charge of Oxfam’s Research Team. This started out as Life in a Time of Food Price Volatility’ and was a four year study …

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What sort of trade campaigns do we need around Brexit?

Duncan Green - August 18, 2016

Not all conference calls are as terrible as the one depicted in ‘a conference call in real life’. Had a really good one yesterday with Oxfam/Exfam trade wonks on the impact of Brexit on Britain’s trade relations. Here’s my take. Around the early 2000s, I spent about 7 years as a trade wonk, first at CAFOD and then at DFID. Highlights includewandering through the tear gassed …

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Is this the right moment to reboot the Aid, Trade and Private Sector agenda?

Duncan Green - August 12, 2016

Oxfam’s private sector adviser Erinch Sahan thinks the times are ripe for a paradigm shift  In a former life (i.e. six years ago), I worked as a development adviser to Australia’s trade negotiators. Back then, we development types were suspicious and hostile – we feared that rich countries would divert aid to pursue a narrow interpretation of their national interests. Now, from TPP to the UK’s …

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Desertification is a dangerous Myth – A new book explains why

Duncan Green - July 14, 2016

Oxfam researcher John Magrath reviews an explosive new book I started off life as a newspaper journalist so I appreciate the power of a good story. And that’s what the concept of desertification provides. Since the great Sahelian droughts of the 1970s and 1980s, we’ve become familiar with the idea that humans cause environmental desiccation and destruction on a huge scale; local people, usually, herders …

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