Natural disasters

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 …

Continue reading

Parts of the aid system just don’t work – the dismal cycle of humanitarian response

Duncan Green - July 21, 2016

Every now and then an email stops me in my tracks, reminding me that Oxfam is stuffed full of bright, motivated, altruistic people. Here’s one I got a few weeks ago from Debbie Hillier, one of our Humanitarian Policy Advisers, in response to my request for thoughts on the state of the aid business. Her views are fleshed out in ‘A Preventable Crisis’, a new …

Continue reading

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 …

Continue reading

Great new 110 page guide to humanitarian campaigning

Duncan Green - July 6, 2016

Just been browsing through a brilliant new Oxfam guide to humanitarian campaigning. A treasure trove of 110 pages crammed full of wisdom, experience and 32 case studies on everything from addressing tribal conflicts in Pakistan to gender responsive work with Syrian refugees to influencing Australia’s humanitarian policy. And no sign of an executive summary. Sigh. To be fair, it would be very hard to summarize, …

Continue reading

After the Summit: What next for humanitarianism?

Duncan Green - June 16, 2016

Here’s this week’s vlog – still trying to sort out a better camera and sound, sorry! Spent a fascinating morning recently, discussing the state of humanitarian response with a bunch of fairly senior people from inside ‘the system’ – UN, donors, INGOs etc. It was Chatham House Rule, so that’s as much as I can tell you about the event, but the good news is …

Continue reading

Book Review, Augusta Dwyer: The Anatomy of Giving (on the aid industry and Haiti)

Duncan Green - May 26, 2016

If you want a readable and short (167 pages) introduction to the many contradictions and debates that beset the aid business, I recommend The Anatomy of Giving (apologies for Amazon link – couldn’t find another). Dwyer’s subject is Haiti – ‘At just a two-hour flight from Miami, Haiti is the Western Hemisphere’s own little piece of Sub-Saharan Africa.’ She’s been visiting on and off since 1985 …

Continue reading

If governments don’t tackle the causes of conflict and the refugee crisis, will the World Humanitarian Summit be a damp squib?

Duncan Green - April 22, 2016

Ed Cairns Oxfam’s humanitarian policy adviser, sets the scene for next month’s World Humanitarian Summit as we publish our curtain raiser for the event. After years of preparation, and a roller coaster of expectations plunging and soaring, it is almost upon us. One month from tomorrow, dozens of world leaders will gather in Istanbul for the World Humanitarian Summit. The UN has finalised the commitments …

Continue reading

China’s rise, Cyclone politics and extreme patronage: Impressions of Vanuatu

Duncan Green - December 10, 2015

As part of their support for the How Change Happens book, the Aussie government is also giving me a crash course in development in the Pacific. Last year, they took me to Papua New Guinea (blogs here), then last week, I headed for Vanuatu (small island archipelago, 270,000 population, best known – at least in the UK – for one island’s baffling reverence for Prince …

Continue reading

Is the International Humanitarian System hitting a tipping point on ‘going local’?

Duncan Green - October 1, 2015

Marc Cohen, Senior Researcher at Oxfam America, is excited about the new World Disasters Report Over the past two years, a boatload of reports and studies has pointed to the need to shift to greater local leadership of disaster prevention, preparedness, and response. In part this is driven by mounting humanitarian needs and the growing gap between those needs and the aid actually provided. There …

Continue reading

How are disasters linked to inequality? Review of ‘The Disaster Profiteers’

Duncan Green - September 18, 2015

[The IT guys tell me they’ve finally found a fix on the email notification problem. If you get an email about this post for the first time in months, please either leave a comment, or vote in the poll to the right, to tell us it’s working] Debbie Hillier, Oxfam’s Humanitarian Policy Adviser  reviews The Disaster Profiteers: How natural disasters make the rich richer and …

Continue reading
Translate »