Took part in a really interesting discussion about the role of the IMF in fragile states last week. Chatham House rule, so no names, no institutions. The Fund works in fragile states in 3 main ways – it lends money to governments, it trains officials and it tracks and reports on government economic performance (‘surveillance’). Although its lending is often not big compared to other …Continue reading
$15bn is spent every year on training, with disappointing results. Why the aid industry needs to rethink ‘capacity building’.
Guest post from Lisa Denney of ODI Every year a quarter of international aid – approximately US$15 billion globally – is spent on capacity development. That is, on sending technical assistants to work in ministries or civil society, running training programmes, conducting study tours or exchanges, or supplying resources and equipment to help organisations function better. This is often referred to as ‘teaching men to …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
Please comment on this draft paper: theories of change on empowerment and accountability in fragile states
Ouch. My brain hurts. I’ve spent the last month walled up at home writing a paper on ‘Theories of change on empowerment and accountability in fragile and conflict-affected states’ (acronym heaven – ToCs on E&A in FCAS). Pulse racing yet? It’s one of a series of inception papers for a big research consortium on E&A in FCAS, which Oxfam is a member of (IDS is …Continue reading
I love the summer lull. Everyone heads off for holidays, there are no meetings, so I can get my head down and write. Last year, it was wrestling How Change Happens to the finishing line. This year is less cosmic, but still interesting, and I need your help. Subject: Theories of change for Empowerment and Accountability (E&A) programming in Fragile and Conflict Affected States (FCAS). This …Continue reading
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’ …Continue reading
Tolstoy opened Anna Karenina with the much-quoted line ‘Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.’ Does the same apply to states? The OECD’s new report on Fragile States goes some way down that route. Instead of its past (much criticised) single dimension of ‘fragile/non fragile’, it assesses fragility across five dimensions: Violence, Justice, Institutions, Economic Foundations and Resilience. …Continue reading
‘Over-generous tax exemptions awarded to multinational enterprises often deprive fragile states of potential revenues that could be used to fund their most pressing needs.’ Another broadside from rent-a-mob? Nope, it’s the ultra respectable OECD in its Fragile States 2014 report. After years of growth, aid to fragile states started to fall in 2011, so the report centres around an urgent call for OECD member states …Continue reading
How to build accountability in fragile states? Some lessons (and 2 new jobs) from an innovative governance programme.
One of my favourite Oxfam programmes is called (rather arcanely) ‘Within and Without the State’. It is trying to build civil society and good governance in some pretty unpromising environments – Yemen, South Sudan, Afghanistan and OPTI (Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel). It’s currently advertising two new jobs (one on learning and communications, the other a programme coordinator), if you’re interested. WWS recently published some …Continue reading
Oxfam’s engagement with physics-trained complexity enthusiast Jean Boulton is starting to generate some really interesting ideas. Jean has been helping us think through our work in fragile states – the big challenge for a lot of aid organizations over the next few years. Just before Christmas, she came in to tell us where her thinking has got to on the different kinds of fragility. Drawing …Continue reading