Verdict on G20 food summit? Dismal, please try harder

admin - June 24, 2011

Agriculture is a hot potato (sorry…) in most countries’ domestic politics. Think rioting French farmers, US agribiz lobbies or the long death-by-agriculture of the WTO Doha round. So perhaps the most notable thing about the G20 agriculture ministers’ meeting that ended yesterday was that it took place at all – it was the first ever meeting of its kind. It shows just how globally important …

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Living on a spike – how are high food prices actually experienced by people living in poverty?

admin - June 22, 2011

The G20’s Agriculture Ministers are meeting for the first time today and tomorrow, in Paris, a sign of the rising importance of food security and related issues, following the recent chaos in global food prices (see graph). Oxfam is focussing its lobby efforts on biofuels (in many cases, a bad thing, diverting food to fuel and not even helping reduce carbon emissions) and food reserves …

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What does a theory of change look like?

admin - June 21, 2011

I’ve been working on ‘how change happens’ for a few years now, as regulars to this blog will know, but in the last few months, ‘theories of change’ has gone viral as a new development fuzzword. In meetings and documents, people earnestly enquire ‘what’s your theory of change?’ and you’re in trouble if you don’t have an answer. (Quite a good answer is ‘could you …

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How can research funders work better with international NGOs like Oxfam?

admin - June 20, 2011

I spoke recently to a meeting of the UK Collaborative on Development Sciences. It’s a great initiative, bringing together 13 UK funders and stakeholders with an interest in international development research, but is ‘collaborative’ really a noun? Anyway, the topic was how research funders (mainly state funded) can link up more effectively with large INGOs like Oxfam. Let me talk you through the powerpoint…… First, …

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Are pro-poor renewables approaching a tipping point? Guest post by John Magrath

admin - June 17, 2011

I was at the annual conference of the Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy this week in London to hear presentations by this year’s award winners, watch films of their work and listen to a panel debate that included Matthew Lockwood and Mike Mason (of which more below). As always, the winners – both from the UK and internationally – were fascinating and inspiring. In the …

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The Simpsons and aid; biofuels update; shooting camels from helicopters; food geopolitics; poor countries out-promise rich ones on climate change; me and my suit; aid is how much? Links I liked

admin - June 16, 2011

Simpsons Quotes for aid agencies [h/t John Magrath] Alex Evans miscellany: Nice (and optimistic) update on biofuels. Why would Australians shoot camels from helicopters? To combat climate change. Of course, how silly of me….. More on positive framing and climate change. Lester Brown on the new geopolitics of food (h/t Kate Raworth and John Magrath) A new study for Oxfam reveals that developing countries are …

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Is the blogging bubble about to burst?

admin - June 15, 2011

I’ve been worrying about the viability of blogging recently. Partly it’s finding myself squeezing this kind of thing in before breakfast and wondering if I really ought to get a life (although I’ve always thought work-life balance was over-rated – depends on the work, depends on the life….). But it was also the raised eyebrows (and envious tones) from a few colleagues in other development …

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Responding to some of the criticisms of GROW

admin - June 14, 2011

When you launch a big campaign like GROW, you generally get both good reviews and a few attacks, and since the advent of the blogosphere, those attacks have got more virulent. This time around, we must be doing something wrong, because the handful of diatribes I’ve seen (do tell me if I’ve missed some) are actually disappointingly thin. But in case you’re interested, here are …

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Vaccines save lives but is GAVI getting value for money? Guest post from Max Lawson

admin - June 13, 2011

Today the replenishment conference for the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) kicks off in London.  The last few weeks have seen significant campaigning by a broad range of organisations to secure more money for GAVI, which is running out of cash, with the requisite NGO brinksmanship being cranked up – ‘four hours to save four million lives’ according to Save the Children this …

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