General

Once every 20 years the UN focuses on cities, but the wrong people will be there

Duncan Green - September 28, 2016

Urbanization guru David Satterthwaite raises the curtain on next month’s big Habitat III conference.   Surprising though it may seem, I once got mistaken for the mayor of London. I was at a conference for mayors in Latin America and not realising the mistake, for half a day I had all the most prominent mayors greeting me like a brother and asking my advice. It …

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Do we need to rethink Social Accountability? Thoughts from Myanmar

Duncan Green - September 27, 2016

The main reason for my recent visit to Myanmar (apart from general nosiness) was to take part in a discussion on the role of social accountability (SA) in the rapidly opening, shifting politics of a country in transition from military rule. It got pretty interesting. The World Bank defines SA as ‘the extent and capability of citizens to hold the state accountable and make it …

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Links I Liked

Duncan Green - September 26, 2016

Beta version of How Change Happens website now live – need your feedback please (and delighted to hear from the accompanying poll that you aren’t sick of me going on about the book – at least not yet. Give me time…..). How corporates & NGOs might collaborate to promote tax transparency. Ethical Tax Initiative anyone? 17 rage-inducing bits of aid jargon (robust, circle back, buckets, …

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Links I Liked

Duncan Green - September 19, 2016

Politicians’ medical reports aren’t what they were [h/t Amol Rajan] Unleash your inner geek – introducing Real Geek, Oxfam’s new blog on monitoring & evaluation High Level UN report criticises pharma industry, abuse of intellectual property laws and calls for rethink. Props to Oxfam’s Winnie Byanyima and Mohga Kamal Yanni for their influence. Gig economy heads South. Uber-type apps for domestic workers (maids, cooks, gardeners) …

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Is ‘fragile and conflict-affected state’ a useful way to describe Myanmar?

Duncan Green - September 16, 2016

After spending ten days there earlier this month, I barely even understand the question any more. Nothing like reality for messing up your nice neat typologies, or in this case, complicating my efforts to finalise a paper with the catchy title of ‘theories of change for promoting empowerment and accountability in fragile and conflict-affected states (FCS)’. That paper defines FCS as ‘incapable of assuring basic …

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How do you do ‘Adaptive Programming’? Two examples of Practical Experience help with some of the answers

Duncan Green - September 13, 2016

Helen Derbyshire (left) of SAVI and Elbereth Donovan (right) of LASER share some thoughts on what all the fuss is about. At a glance the two DFID programmes we work on are very different. SAVI (and its successor programme ECP) is a large scale, long-term initiative which focuses on citizens’ engagement in governance in Nigeria. LASER is a modest, shorter-term investment climate reform programme operating in eight …

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See you in September

Duncan Green - August 25, 2016

I’m off to the Edinburgh fringe to direct a cultural firehose onto my parched hinterland, followed by 10 days in Myanmar, where, among other things, I will finally find out the correct adjective – Burmese? Not sure when I will be blogging next, so until then, here’s a pic of each.

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Links I Liked

Duncan Green - August 22, 2016

Invaluable tips for managers who need to wing the next meeting. Smart idea. Using house prices in Egypt to identify the richest, who are routinely missed by household surveys and tax receipts. Result? Egyptian inequality higher than we thought Those who read more than 3.5 hours weekly survive almost two years longer than those who didn’t crack open a book (blogs don’t count, sorry). [h/t …

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How do developing country decision makers rate aid donors?

Duncan Green - August 19, 2016

Had a last minute cancellation of today’s post – ah Oxfam sign off, doncha love it? So here’s the most read new post from the last year. Brilliant. Someone’s finally done it. For years I’ve been moaning on about how no-one ever asks developing country governments to assess aid donors (rather than the other way around), and then publishes a league table of the good, the …

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Links I Liked

Duncan Green - August 15, 2016

Olympics slot: Simones rock (Biles and Manuel) If you like a nice Cork accent, listen up to Ireland’s O’Donovan brothers in the rowing (they ended up winning silver) Brilliant Dani Rodrik piece questioning the demands for global governance: he thinks we should be sceptical, except where truly global public goods are at stake (eg climate change), but elsewhere it can do more harm than good Six steps for academics …

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