June 2012

What kind of sustainable development goals should emerge from Rio?

admin - June 15, 2012

This post was also published today on the Guardian’s Poverty Matters blog I attended an ‘expert panel’ discussion recently on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Originating in a proposal by the Colombian government for what comes after 2015, when most of the Millennium Development Goals expire, some initial progress on the SDGs is being increasingly seen as one of the few wins from a rather …

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The doughnut is on a roll: where next for doughnut economics?

admin - June 14, 2012

Kate Raworth, Oxfam research colleague and host of the new ‘doughnut economics’ blog, updates us on her big idea, prior to Rio+20 My Oxfam discussion paper on social and planetary boundaries – aka the Doughnut – has gained a striking degree of traction in the debates running up to Rio+20. It’s been picked up by commentators such as George Monbiot, Grist and by the UN …

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Confronting scarcity by managing water, energy and land: the new European Report on Development

admin - June 13, 2012

I have skimmed a few of the curtain raisers for next week’s Earth Summit in Rio, and sure enough, they fall into the familiar pattern of ‘If I ruled (or at least ‘managed’) the world’ documents: a summary of the research evidence, a call to arms (in this case save planet and species, preferably both), and a shopping list of policy recommendations. In such reports, …

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Can environment and development really come together next week in Rio?

admin - June 12, 2012

This week is Earth Summit week on the blog, making my small contribution to the wonk feeding frenzy already in full flow in advance of next week’s Rio+20 event. Every organization is spewing out bulletins, position statements and curtain-raisers as if their lives depended on it (which I guess they do, in a way). I’m doubtful how many people actually read these – the press …

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How not to write about Africa; parents like conditions; see inequality from space; growth stars; financial arms races; Rio+20 draft text; Family Planning Summit: links I liked

admin - June 11, 2012

How not to write about Africa in 2012, a beginner’s guide, blisteringly written by Binyavanga Wainaina. Nice. An experiment in Brazil suggests 82% of parents like the ‘conditional’ in ‘conditional cash transfers’ because it helps them make their kids go to school. They even turned down the offer of a (slightly) larger unconditional cash transfer instead. Rings true. How to detect income inequality from space …

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What can political economists tell us about Africa, aid and development?

admin - June 8, 2012

This post also appeared on the World Bank’s ‘People, Spaces, Deliberation’ governance blog There’s a clutch of different research initiatives trying to understand Africa’s political economy and its impact on development and aid. Often, the tone of the political economists can be quite discouraging – Alex Duncan gives a tongue-in-cheek definition of a political economist as ‘someone coming to explain why your aid programme doesn’t …

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Yemeni women rise up – the untold story

admin - June 7, 2012

This guest post is from Olga Ghazaryan (right), Oxfam GB’s Regional Director for the Middle East The stories from Yemen that break through to the media are those about the Al Qaida insurgency, political turmoil and occasionally about the shocking levels of hunger and poverty. However there is another story unfolding in Yemen that has gone largely untold – the rising up of the Yemeni …

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Corporate responsibility: how can you tell substance from spin?

admin - June 6, 2012

This guest post is by Erinch Sahan, an Oxfam private sector adviser I must admit, I am drawn by the idea that companies have seen the light. I want to believe that pursuing profits will result in a sustainable world and the end of poverty. The literature around Shared Value (coined by Harvard business academic Michael Porter) supports the idea that there are many undiscovered common …

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Microcredit as aid; Justin Lin, Paul McCartney and the development hit parade; RCT Nerdwar; bias in development research; slutwalks in the South; untouchable video diaries: links I liked

admin - June 4, 2012

“While microcredit has, on average, no effect on poverty, it can produce significant benefits for the poorest people, by enabling them to manage volatile and uncertain incomes.  We should think of microcredit not as a catalyst for economic growth, but as a utility, providing a key service to poor people. Subsidizing the provision of this service is a relatively low-cost way to help people to …

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