Why/how should corporates defend civil society space? Good new paper + case studies

Duncan Green - October 19, 2016

I saw some effective academic-NGO cooperation last week, and even better, it involved some of my LSE students. The occasion was the launch of Beyond Integrity: Exploring the role of business in preserving civil society space, commissioned and published by the Charities Aid Foundation and written by Silky Agrawal, Brooks Reed and Riya Saxena, three of last year’s LSE Masters students. They researched and wrote …

Continue reading

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 …

Continue reading

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 …

Continue reading

How can global companies (positively) influence development? Engaging with Unilever

Duncan Green - August 9, 2016

Oxfam works with lots of big private companies, but in the (frequent) discussions about the role of private sector in development, our relationship with one (very big) name keeps cropping up. Unilever. We’ve done a ‘poverty footprint’ study of Unilever’s impact in Indonesia, and more recently have engaged with it on its labour practices in Vietnam. Unilever is also one of the targets in our …

Continue reading

What’s the likely impact of Brexit on development, aid and Oxfam? Any opportunities amid the gloom?

Duncan Green - June 30, 2016

Following on Tuesday’s retrospective ‘how did this happen?’ piece, some thoughts on the future, starting wide (development in general) then narrowing down to the aid business, and all the way to Oxfam/INGOs. All highly tentative, subject to correction etc in the coming days. One big assumption: I’m assuming that Brexit actually goes ahead. And one pleasant surprise – there are a few opportunities as well …

Continue reading

When/Why do countries improve the management of their natural resources? New 4 country study

Duncan Green - May 24, 2016

Now I love Oxfam dearly but (you were expecting a ‘but’, right?) both as producers and consumers, we suffer from TL; DR syndrome (too long; didn’t read). Not only that but we don’t always make the most of executive summaries. Which is a shame, because some real gems often go unnoticed as a result. So allow me to pan through a recent 71 page Oxfam …

Continue reading

Do people identify as global or national citizens? New report suggests a tipping point, but North and South heading in opposite directions

Duncan Green - May 19, 2016

This is interesting, and feels like it could be part of a big normative shift. According to a new report from Globescan (a polling company), across 20,000 people in 18 countries ‘more than half (51%) see themselves more as global citizens than citizens of their country, against 43 per cent who identify nationally. This is the first time since tracking began in 2001 that there …

Continue reading

Tackling Inequality is a game changer for business and private sector development (which is why most of them are ignoring it)

Duncan Green - March 31, 2016

Oxfam’s private sector adviser Erinch Sahan is thinking through the implications of inequality for the businesses he interacts with Mention inequality to a business audience and one of two things happens. They recoil in discomfort, or reinterpret the term – as social sustainability or doing more business with people living in poverty. Same goes for the private sector development professionals in the aid community (e.g. …

Continue reading

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, …

Continue reading

Industrial Policy meets Doing Development Differently: an evening at SOAS

Duncan Green - March 17, 2016

It’s always interesting when a neglected issue suddenly resurfaces in multiple locations. That’s been happening with industrial policy – in particular the role of governments in developing their manufacturing industries. ActionAid has a new report out, arguing that promoting manufacturing through industrial policy is essential if countries want to generate decent work and tackling inequality. Then I went to a packed SOAS event on ‘Smart …

Continue reading
Translate »