Natural disasters

Another good idea from ODI – regular ‘scans’ of hot topics like resilience

Duncan Green - July 31, 2015

The aid and development business is full of tribes – separate ‘epistemic communities’ with their own jargon, shorthands and assumptions, which helps to hermetically isolate them from all the other communities. I try and surf across a few of them, but it’s hard – half the time I have only the vaguest idea what resilience, humanitarian, conflict or livelihoods people are talking about. So I …

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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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What can we learn from a great example of high speed policy response to the Nepal Earthquake?

Duncan Green - May 19, 2015

For a while, I’ve been arguing that policy wonks need to grab the windows of opportunity created by shocks, scandals and crises, producing reactions, research and proposals in the immediate aftermath of such a ‘critical juncture’. For example, we know there are going to be floods in Somerset or Pakistan at some point in the next few years, so in advance, why not get a …

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Political (and some other) priorities in Nepal as of 28 April 2015

Duncan Green - April 29, 2015

Reflections from Kathmandu by John Bevan, a friend and former UN official who has worked in Haiti – before and after the 2010 quake, as well as Nepal (2003/4 and 2006/7). This piece does not represent Oxfam’s official views, but offers a fascinating insight into what is likely to happen next. Today is day four of the emergency and the search and rescue period, at …

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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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Every key stat you could possibly want about humanitarianism, emergencies etc – please steal

Duncan Green - January 16, 2015

Clearly you can’t use the term ‘killer facts’ when they concern actual deaths, so Oxfam has tweaked the name to Humanitarian Key Facts in a new compilation (to be updated on a regular basis). It’s a powerful collection that should provide lots of link-tastic, well referenced ammunition (sorry  – language problem again) for advocacy. The most striking one for me was that of the total …

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What can Islam teach secular NGOs about conflict resolution? (and human development, climate change, gender rights…..)

Duncan Green - July 22, 2014

Lucy Moore, a policy adviser at Islamic Relief Worldwide came to talk to Oxfam staff last week. We used the ‘in conversation’ format, along the lines of my recent chat with Jamie Love, which seems to work better than the standard powerpoint + Q&A. Islamic Relief has some really interesting publications on Islamic approaches to human development, gender and development, and in Lucy’s case, ‘conflict …

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Working with unlikely bedfellows to turn BP Deepwater Horizon fines into local jobs: How Oxfam America adapted to doing advocacy in the Deep South

Duncan Green - June 19, 2014

Next up in the series of case studies on ‘active citizenship’ is an impressive bit of campaigning by Oxfam America’s domestic programme, in response to the horrendous BP oil spill of 2010. Here’s the draft case study (Draft AC case study Gulf RESTORE campaign June 2014: comments welcome), which I summarize below. ‘We started with two Senators and ended up with 74 Senators supporting the bill.  …

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How can complexity/systems thinking help small island states?

Duncan Green - May 1, 2014

‘It’s a big year for small islands’ announced the speaker before me, who revelled in the title ‘The Honourable Lord Tu’ivakano, Prime Minister, Kingdom of Tonga’ (right). When my turn came, how should I refer to him? (I’m hopeless at this kind of thing, must come from going to a state school.) His Lordship? Your Honourableness? ‘Yo Tu’ivakano’ (a la George Bush)? In the end, …

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Ending poverty is about the politics of power: guest piece for the OECD

admin - December 9, 2013

This guest rant of mine appeared in the OECD’s Development Cooperation Report 2013, published last week. The report, subtitled ‘Ending Poverty‘, is worth a skim – it’s a good survey of current debates on poverty and aid, with contributions from piles of wonks, followed by a donor-by-donor aid overview. A necessary starting point in any discussion of ending poverty is “What do we mean by …

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