Politics

Tikamgarh revisited, what’s happened to the amazing fishing communities I visited in 2006?

Duncan Green - April 27, 2016

Just got back from a great week in India, including my first attempt at a phone vlog (above). One of the drawbacks of being a generalist is that you go somewhere, hear riveting stories of organization, resistance (and sometimes of course, of failure), but then never find out what happened next. But last week I managed to return to one of the places and stories that …

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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 …

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Michael Jacobs on how civil society and others achieved the Paris Climate Agreement

Duncan Green - April 20, 2016

A brilliant analysis by Michael Jacobs of the success factors behind last year’s Paris Climate Agreement appeared in Juncture, IPPR’s quarterly journal  recently. Jacobs unpacks the role of civil society (broadly defined) and political leadership. Alas, it’s over 4,000 words long, so as a service to my attention deficit colleagues in aid and development, here’s an abbreviated version (about a third the length, but if …

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Book Review: Branko Milanovic’s brilliant take on Global Inequality

Duncan Green - April 15, 2016

Some of my favourite development economists are nomads, people with feet in different regions, which seems to make them better able to identify interesting patterns and similarities/differences between countries. Ha-Joon Chang (Korea/UK), Dani Rodrik (Turkey/US) and now Branko Milanovic (Serbia/US), whose latest book Global Inequality: A New Approach for the Age of Globalization is a brilliant and thought-provoking essay stuffed with enough graphs to satisfy …

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Women and Power: final report of excellent research project + top recommendations for aid agencies

Duncan Green - April 13, 2016

ODI have just wrapped up an excellent two year project on ‘Women and power: overcoming barriers to leadership and influence’ with a final synthesis report that is well worth reading. It’s an intelligent discussion, informed by the thinking in the ‘Doing Development Differently’ network (which is in need of a stronger gender focus). It combines some ‘well duh’ obvious stuff (‘elite women are most able …

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How do we make sure the Panama Papers lead to lasting reforms on tax evasion?

Duncan Green - April 7, 2016

Scandals like the Panama Papers are a massive potential driver of policy change. In normal times, the sources of inertia are great and politicians wishing to make change happen face an array of vested interests and fixed ideas telling them what they want is either insane or impossible. It takes a scandal to shake things up, delegitimize the status quo, and persuade decision makers that …

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Some fascinating new research on how food prices affect people’s lives and politics

Duncan Green - April 5, 2016

One of the projects I was proudest of getting off the ground while in (nominal) charge of Oxfam’s research team was ‘Life in a Time of Food Price Volatility’, a four year study of the impact of the chaotic food prices of recent years on the lives of poor people and communities in rural and urban communities in ten countries. DFID funded it (thanks!), and …

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What can historical success teach us about tackling sanitation and hygiene?

Duncan Green - April 1, 2016

Ooh good, another ‘lessons of history’ research piece. Check out the excellent new WaterAid report: Achieving total sanitation and hygiene coverage within a generation – lessons from East Asia. The paper summarizes the findings of four country case studies: Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia and Thailand, all of which produced ‘rapid and remarkable results in delivering total sanitation coverage in their formative stages as nation states’. …

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Is Decentralization Good for Development?

Duncan Green - March 30, 2016

My LSE colleague Jean-Paul Faguet has got a book out on decentralization. Here’s where he’s got to on the narrative, following multiple launch events I’ve just published a book by this name, and have spent a fair part of the last few months lecturing on it in various countries. Many people have asked me “So is decentralization good for development?” I thought I should answer: …

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What did trade campaigns achieve? Plus reinventing Robert Chambers & changing aid narratives: some Berlin conversations

Duncan Green - March 24, 2016

Had a really interesting couple of days in Berlin last week, at the invitation of the German government aid agency, GIZ. Also spent time with the impressive policy and campaigns wonks at Oxfam Germany. Here’s a few of the topics that came up. What did all that trade campaigning achieve? From the late 90s to 2005, when I was working on economic policy for CAFOD, …

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