March 2011

Food prices and politics: the IMF agrees with Bob Marley

admin - March 31, 2011

I usually prefer ‘man bites dog’ research that comes up with unexpected answers, but sometimes it’s helpful to have the opposite – number crunchers who back up what you always suspected, thereby increasing your certainty and confidence. Food Prices and Political Instability, a new paper from the IMF, is in the latter category. Some highlights, with an executive summary c/o Bob Marley’s classic, ‘Them Belly …

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Hans Rosling and co on Water – justice, development and liberation through washing machines

admin - March 30, 2011

Last Tuesday was world water day, and I get the sense that water is one of those issues that is only going to rise further up the development agenda, both in terms of watsan (drinking water and sanitation), and because water is one of the key and ever-tighter pinchpoints of resource scarcity in farming and food systems. So in catch-up mode (and because a new …

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What’s New in Development?

admin - March 29, 2011

An edited version of this piece went up on the Guardian Development website yesterday, summarizing the latest round of horizon-scanning powerpoints: How people understand and think about development is in a state of constant churn and upheaval. Some ideas are genuinely new, prompted by new technologies and ground-breaking political movements. Other ideas are old, previously discarded for reasons both bad and good, that resurface, often …

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Limits to environmentalism; a fire in New York; best job in Florida; how to influence China; Rwanda and James Bond on women's rights: links I liked

admin - March 28, 2011

The Limits to Environmentalism: Matthew Lockwood delivers a brilliant series of critiques of Tim Jackson’s ‘Prosperity without growth’ on the Political Climate blog. Firstly, he argues that decoupling growth from carbon emissions may be difficult, but remains the best (or least worst) solution, and a lot better than giving up on growth. Secondly, he explores the dodgy (or lack of) politics of PWG as I did …

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Yemen: Arab Spring meets Fragile State + Resource Constraints

admin - March 24, 2011

Our regional director for the Middle East, Olga Ghazaryan, recently pointed out just how many development buzzwords are being bloodily explored in her region right now – transition to democracy in Egypt; Responsibility to Protect in Libya, and Yemen is looking like a combination of revolution in a fragile state and a dystopian vision of a resource-constrained future. So what to read on Yemen? In …

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Inequality: what difference does it make to NGOs' work?

admin - March 23, 2011

What difference does an inequality ‘lens’ make to the way we think about development and advocacy at national level? I’ve just been reading ‘Time for Equality: Closing Gaps, Opening Trails’, an excellent paper by the UN’s Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean – one of the most innovative and interesting bits of the UN system, in my experience. ECLAC (more commonly known by …

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Land grabs: what's in the contracts? And an Indian land grab in Ethiopia

admin - March 22, 2011

One of the problems with so-called ‘land grabs’ is secrecy. Most of the contracts that seal such deals are hidden from public scrutiny, which makes it very hard to establish what is really going on. The International Institute for Environment and Development, which is rapidly becoming the ‘go to’ thinktank on a whole range of resource and development issues, has managed to dig up 12 …

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Getting Better: Why Global Development Is Succeeding. Review of Charles Kenny's new book

admin - March 21, 2011

Getting Better: Why Global Development Is Succeeding—And How We Can Improve the World Even More, published this month, is an exercise in ‘framing’ – trying to shift the way we feel, as well as think, about development and aid. It does it rather well. Two big frames: 1. Lives are getting better everywhere, including in Africa. People are healthier, live longer, lose fewer children, learn …

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Arab uprising update; Wellbeing v GDP in China; IMF analyses cricket; aid reality checks in Bangladesh; India's cyber-city; DFID and India; another aid satire: links I liked

admin - March 18, 2011

Arab Uprising Update: Alina Rocha Menocal assesses Egypt’s transition to democracy. Is the Arab Revolution a women’s rights revolution? Yes argues Soumaya Ghannoushi – Exhibit A:  International Women’s Day in Cairo’s Tahrir Square [h/t Caroline Sweetman]. And protests in Burkina Faso – is the ferment spilling over into sub-Saharan Africa? Rich in misery? Wellbeing v GDP in China Not only has the IMF acquired a redistributive urge …

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