how change happens

How will the Paris attacks affect the outcome of the Climate Change talks?

Duncan Green - November 30, 2015

When British Prime Minister Harold MacMillan was asked what he most feared in politics, he replied ‘Events, dear boy. Events’. The official sherpas and their political masters preparing for the global climate change talks in Paris, which start today, must be feeling much the same way, their already complicated task further beset by concerns over security, following the appalling attacks on Friday 13th. Beyond questions …

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The Adaptation Gap (and how to deal with it)

Duncan Green - November 27, 2015

Ben Ramalingam, newly appointed leader of the Digital and Technology cluster at IDS, and author of Aid on the Edge of Chaos, shares some thoughts on ‘adaptive management’. Over the next few weeks, Duncan has agreed to run a series of posts by participants in the recent USAID-IDS workshop on adaptive management, to share their ideas, insights and suggestions. As co-designer and facilitator of the workshop, …

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What can today’s activists learn from the history of campaigning?

Duncan Green - November 26, 2015

Spent an afternoon recently discussing the lessons of UK history with an eclectic mix of historians and modern day campaigners. Organized by Friends of the Earth’s Big Ideas project and the History and Policy network, it was the second instalment in a really interesting process (see here for my post on an earlier session). This time around, H&P had commissioned a set of short case …

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What’s changed since Copenhagen? Curtain raiser for the Paris climate talks  

Duncan Green - November 25, 2015

Tracy Carty, Oxfam Climate Change Policy Adviser, with an excerpt from its Paris media briefing, published today The last time leaders got together to agree a global climate deal it ended in multilateral meltdown.  Copenhagen was widely condemned as a failure – a failure that still haunts the climate negotiations, and one that governments meeting in Paris next week will not want to repeat. Six …

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Here’s my attempt at a takeaway message on How Change Happens – what do you think?

Duncan Green - November 24, 2015

Reminder – if you are one of the truly alarming number of people who have downloaded the 160 page draft of How Change Happens, the deadline for comments is just two weeks away – 10th December. Background to the book here. One of the main messages already emerging from feedback is that I need to ‘throw readers a bone’ in the final chapter, in the …

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Reading the tea leaves: What the women’s movement can learn from a victory in India

Duncan Green - November 19, 2015

This piece by Devaki Jain, an Indian feminist economist, originally appeared on the website The good news for the women’s movement in India came from Munnar, a hill station in Kerala, last month where a group of women workers won a signal battle against their employers, a tea estate by the name of Kanan Devan Hills Plantations. One of the slogans at the protest read: “We pick …

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What can we learn from Mexico’s tax on fizzy drinks?

Duncan Green - November 17, 2015

Alice Evans of Cambridge University looks for lessons from a small victory in the global struggle against obesity We in the development industry are often frustrated by lack of government transparency, disregard of the evidence, and lack of political will to address major social problems. Such obstacles are universal. Perhaps we might learn ‘how change happens’ (to use Duncan’s title) by comparing common processes in the Global North …

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A big win for climate change campaigners in the Philippines – how did they do it?

Duncan Green - November 11, 2015

Some great news from the Philippines. The Philippines Survival Fund, which I blogged about a couple of years ago, is finally open for business – local governments and community organizations will now be apply to apply for funds up to 1 billion pesos (US$21m) a year, for projects that help communities adapt to climate change. The first lesson is the need for stamina – even …

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Doing Development Differently: a great discussion on Adaptive Management (no, really)

Duncan Green - November 4, 2015

Went to a fascinating workshop last week on ‘adaptive management’ hosted and designed by USAID as part of their work on Knowledge, Information and Data (see final para for more links) and facilitated by Ben Ramalingam, who has just started at IDS as their new digital, technology and innovation czar. A whole load of participants are going to write posts for this blog, which will go up …

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Marginalised youth say ‘Enough!’ Guest post by Alcinda Honwana

Duncan Green - November 3, 2015

Alcinda Honwana is Visiting Professor of International Development at the Open University. She will be giving a talk “‘Enough!’ Will Youth Protests Drive Political Change in Africa?” as part of the London School of Economics Africa public lecture series on Wednesday 18 November 2015 at 6.30 pm. Young people have caught the attention of politicians as their backing of Jeremy Corbyn in Britain, Bernie Sanders …

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