Europe's technodreamers; seeing like a statistician; Bill Easterly luvs aid; tax havens explained; slapping the CAP; water grabs; the last lonely dictator: links I liked

Paul Krugman explains why Europe’s ‘technocrats’  (like technocrats everywhere) are actually dangerous dreamers, not seekers after truth. This worries me – I am increasingly thinking like a statistician (see right)……. [h/t Grandiloquent Bloviator] Bill Easterly defends aid; man bites dog etc. Excellent new website on tax havens – definitions, killer facts, policy solutions and a […]

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Can Durban be the bridge to a better future on climate change?

Tim Gore, Oxfam’s Climate Change policy adviser sets the scene for this week’s climate summit in South Africa It’s now two years since the frantic campaigning and manic diplomacy that led to the Copenhagen climate change conference, and the blame games that followed its inadequate result. As the next UN climate talks get under way this […]

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Power and change – how do they fit in development work?

This is a summary of a briefing paper I bashed out for last week’s discussion on ‘how change happens’ with Oxfam’s big cheeses (with thanks to Jo Rowlands and Thalia Kidder for their help). It’s work in progress, so all comments and suggestions very welcome. In the last few years, ‘how change happens’ (HCH)  has gone […]

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Soccer, mobile workshops and struggle: how change happens in Bolivia

I’ ve been locked away all week with Oxfam’s big cheeses, who meet twice a year for a week’s deep thought, collective therapy and an avalanche of management-speak. The theme this time was ‘how change happens’ (HCH): everyone arrived with a programme story + analysis of the change process. They were fascinating, and I’ll probably […]

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The future of aid – what's at stake in Busan

The next couple of weeks see big international conferences on aid effectiveness (Busan) and climate change (Durban), providing a chance to take the temperature of the multilateral system. Here Gideon Rabinowitz of the UK Aid Network assesses the prospects for Busan. From 29 Nov-1 Dec over 2,000 aid policy-makers and practitioners – including over 100 Ministers, […]

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Water fights; creative Diasporas; untranslatable relationships; magic mobiles; Bangladesh land grabbers; online data on doing evil/good; cash transfers and pregnancy; sympathy for the vulture: links I liked

Two useful briefings in this week’s Economist. On the gloomy side, a survey of rising water conflicts in South Asia. More positive, a look at how international diaspora networks of migrants are some of the most creative, dynamic players in the global economy, which these days are more likely to link host and home country […]

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Poles Apart: why climate change journalism varies so much between countries

My friend James Painter has a new report out, so my colleague John Magrath has kindly reviewed it to avoid any accusations of favouritism….. Why is media coverage of climate change – and other scientific issues – so radically different in countries across the globe? And what are the social and political implications of such […]

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The Spider Trees of Sindh

An unexpected side-effect of the flooding in parts of Pakistan has been that millions of spiders have climbed up into the trees to escape the rising flood waters. Because of the scale of the flooding and the fact that the water has taken so long to recede, many trees have become cocooned in spiders webs. […]

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Why don't more NGOs work on water? Guest post from Dan Yeo, WaterAid

Daniel Yeo, Senior Policy Analyst at WaterAid (twitter handle @yukinosaru), indulges in some outrageously blatant lobbying about why Oxfam should do more on water. A few weeks ago, Duncan posted his reflections on Oxfam’s discussions on water. As pleased as I am about Oxfam’s interest, it begs the question, why haven’t more development NGOs dived into water […]

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So how many of the world's people are hungry? Dunno. Work in progress…….

Richard King, my highly numerate colleague, grapples with the confusion surrounding the FAO’s hunger numbers. Global hunger numbers must be among the most widely quoted and over-interpreted of all the indicators at development wonks’ and campaigners’ disposal. ‘One billion people (one in seven of the world’s population) go to bed hungry’ is a compelling headline […]

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Who's publishing what they give? Complexity, development and the euro crisis; companies v governments; China and Zambia; the Queen v earth summit; climate finance; denial tango: Links I liked

Which donors and NGOs are planning to publish their aid data and how far have they got? Handy graphic (and yes I’m only putting it up cos Oxfam does well – always a pleasant surprise…..) What does the new atlas of economic complexity tell us about development? Potentially a huge amount – I think this […]

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New directions in philanthropy – report from the Bellagio Summit

Summits are clearly losing altitude these days if people like me are getting invited. But when it’s the Rockefeller Foundation’s legendary lakeside conference centre at Bellagio, on Italy’s Lake Como, you’d be crazy to say no – it’s every bit as exquisite as everyone says (see pic). The Summit in question is on ‘The Future […]

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