What can violence/conflict people learn from the governance debate (and vice versa)? Report back on a day discussing new IDS research

Duncan Green - November 18, 2015

I recently spent a day among conflict wonks (a thoroughly charming and unscary group) to discuss IDS’ research programme on Addressing and Mitigating Violence. There are piles of case studies and thematic papers on the website (here’s a collection of abstracts); this seminar was part of bringing them all together into some kind of overarching narrative. The starting point for the programme was the World …

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What can we learn from Mexico’s tax on fizzy drinks?

Duncan Green - November 17, 2015

Alice Evans of Cambridge University looks for lessons from a small victory in the global struggle against obesity We in the development industry are often frustrated by lack of government transparency, disregard of the evidence, and lack of political will to address major social problems. Such obstacles are universal. Perhaps we might learn ‘how change happens’ (to use Duncan’s title) by comparing common processes in the Global North …

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Links I Liked

Duncan Green - November 16, 2015

Heavy on the video content this week – if you’re in the office, better get your earphones on Consent, sex and tea: quintessentially British and rather effective [h/t Richard Cunliffe] Last chance to vote in the Rusty Radiator awards for 2015’s worst aid charity video. Amazingly, they found one that’s even worse than Band Aid. As for the Golden Radiator awards (for best video), very …

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Why being scooped by Piketty is no bad thing for Oxfam (but what will the government of India think?)

Duncan Green - November 13, 2015

Guest post from Tim Gore, Oxfam’s climate change policy czar  No-one likes to be scooped, least of all researchers who have battled through Oxfam’s internal sign-off process. But when the authors who beat you to the publication punch include one of the most famous economists in the world – as we experienced last week – we can at least be reassured that our analysis is …

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How do developing country decision makers rate aid donors? Great new data (shame about the comms)

Duncan Green - November 12, 2015

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 bad and the seriously ugly. Now AidData has released ‘Listening To Leaders: Which Development Partners Do They Prefer And Why?’ based on an online survey of …

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A big win for climate change campaigners in the Philippines – how did they do it?

Duncan Green - November 11, 2015

Some great news from the Philippines. The Philippines Survival Fund, which I blogged about a couple of years ago, is finally open for business – local governments and community organizations will now be apply to apply for funds up to 1 billion pesos (US$21m) a year, for projects that help communities adapt to climate change. The first lesson is the need for stamina – even …

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Great new IMF paper puts women’s rights at the heart of tackling income inequality

Duncan Green - November 10, 2015

The IMF continues to surprise an old lag like me who cut his policy teeth condemning it as the incarnation of extreme market idolatry and anti-poor structural adjustment programmes in the 80s and 90s. Read its new ‘staff discussion note’, Catalyst for Change: Empowering Women and Tackling Income Inequality to see why. The authors point out that ‘Income inequality and gender-related inequality can interact through …

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Links I Liked

Duncan Green - November 9, 2015

Powerful, harrowing photo essay of Syrian refugee children asleep. Suffragettes v suffragists. Nice movie, shame about the (lack of) theory of change – it was really the suffragists wot won it Oxfam America takes on Big Chicken in the US, using leader/laggard tactics to push for a better deal for 250,000 workers and getting some very quick wins Remember all that guff about the state …

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5 times bigger than aid: important new research on drugs as a (missing) development issue

Duncan Green - November 6, 2015

A couple of years ago I reported on an excellent meeting at Christian Aid on drugs as a development issue. They have continued that work and today published an important new paper by Eric Gutierrez, ‘Drugs and Illicit Practices: assessing their impact on development and governance’. The paper argues that the illicit drug trade is a ‘major blind spot in development thinking’, and uses in-depth …

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Is China’s rise relevant to today’s poorest states?

Duncan Green - November 5, 2015

Am I allowed to say that a meeting held under Chatham House Rules took place at Chatham House? Let’s risk it. I recently attended a fascinating conference on UK-China relations, which discussed the two governments’ burgeoning cooperation on development issues. This seems to be turning into a triangular relationship, in which the UK and China combine brains, money and experience to jointly support other countries’ …

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