Struggling towards the finishing line on my paper on empowerment and accountability (E&A) in fragile and conflict- affected settings (FCAS) – thanks to everyone who commented on the first draft, by the way). It’s nearly there but I need your help with one particular section. I want to argue that lumping ‘fragile’ and ‘conflict’ together in one category is very unhelpful. In reality, many violent …Continue reading
Oxfam’s Shaheen Chughtai reports back from a recent conversation at the UN Once in a while, the shroud of coded, diplomatic language that envelops discussions at the United Nations Security Council is ripped away by reality. On 25th October, it was the words of a women’s rights activist from conflict-ridden South Sudan, Rita Lopidia, which gripped the chamber. “I meet many South Sudanese women, and …Continue reading
Big new research programme on empowerment and accountability in fragile settings gets under way – can you help choose its name?
Whatever happened to resting on your laurels? The book’s just published, and I’m onto the next thing – a five year research consortium on empowerment and accountability in fragile and conflict settings (FCS). Spent 3 days recently with some sharp minds from an alphabet soup of project partners – IDS, ITAD, IDEAS, CSSR, PASGR and ARC, wading through a stack of initial analyses, including my …Continue reading
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 …Continue reading
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 …Continue reading
Just spent 3 days in Kachin state in the North, trying to get a slightly better understanding of the nature of Myanmar’s conflicts, and implications for trying to improve governance and accountability. Fascinating, but I won’t write anything just yet, as we have a 3 day conference on that topic this week, so will wait a bit longer before blogging. In the meantime, here are …Continue reading
If governments don’t tackle the causes of conflict and the refugee crisis, will the World Humanitarian Summit be a damp squib?
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 …Continue reading
There’s a balance to be struck in writing any non-fiction book. Narrative v information. How often do you return to the overarching storyline, the message of the book, the thing you want the reader to take away? How much information – facts, names, dates, events – do you include? Too much storyline, and the book feels flimsy. Too much information and the reader gets lost …Continue reading
What can violence/conflict people learn from the governance debate (and vice versa)? Report back on a day discussing new IDS research
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 …Continue reading
Politics, economists and the dangers of pragmatism: reflections on DFID’s governance and conflict conference
DFID really is an extraordinary institution. I spent Monday and Tuesday at the annual get together one of its tribes professional cadres – about 200 advisers on governance and conflict. They were bombarded with powerpoints from outside speakers (including me), but still found time for plenty of ‘social loafing’, aka networking with their mates. Some impressions: They are hugely bright and committed, wrestling to get stuff …Continue reading