Do fragile states evolve like forests? Insights from complexity thinking

admin - January 7, 2014

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 …

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HNY everyone, and here are the blog stats and most read posts for 2013

admin - January 6, 2014

Welcome back, HNY etc. Hope you had a good break (if you took one). Personally I’m glad it’s over – tried to ski, knackered my knee, and meanwhile back home, our cats got trapped in a room and pissed all over my son’s final year university notes. For some reason they took particular exception to the post structuralists – Derrida now even more unreadable than …

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The state of the world’s older people: A smart new index on a rising development priority

admin - December 19, 2013

I’ve been catching up on the backlog of books and papers that spread like an oil slick across my floor, and have come across a couple of gems (as well as some seasonal turkeys). Top of the heap is the Global AgeWatch Index 2013, (c/o the indefatigable Sylvia Beales). It’s a smart attempt by HelpAge International to get some proper attention for one of the …

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DfID gets a red light on aid for trade: how will it respond?

admin - December 17, 2013

Oxfam aid wonk Nicola McIvor explores a highly critical report on one of DfID’s flagship programmes The problem with being committed to independent evaluation and transparency is that you risk being beaten up in public when things go wrong. Oxfam is accustomed to having our own evaluations quoted against us, which is exactly what happened to DFID last week, when the UK’s aid watchdog, the …

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Poor countries are losing $1 trillion a year to illicit capital flows – 7 times the volume of aid

admin - December 16, 2013

I was surprised not to see more coverage of last week’s hard-hitting report from the Global Financial Integrity watchdog. Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries: 2002-2011 has a whole bunch of killer facts about the escalating haemorrhage of wealth from poor countries. Here are some highlights. My additions in square brackets/italics: “We estimate that illicit financial outflows from the developing world totalled a staggering US$946.7 …

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How can campaigners tap corporate largesse without undermining their credibility? Unlocking millions for advocacy

admin - December 12, 2013

It’s great to be accidentally topical. In the week that Save the Children had to fend off allegations of letting corporate funding influence its campaigns, here’s Oxfam America’s Chris Jochnick (@cjochnick) suggesting a way to accept money (in this case from extractive industries) while staying demonstrably independent Oxfam was recently approached by a major mining company to help it implement “free prior and informed consent” …

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The living wage campaign: are we reaching a tipping point in global supply chains?

admin - December 10, 2013

It’s private sector week here on FP2P. First up, NGOs have been pushing the living wage in their engagement with international companies for at least 15 years, but Rachel Wilshaw, Oxfam’s Ethical Trade Manager reckons we might be on the verge of some kind of victory. The issue of a living wage is going up the corporate responsibility agenda. Last month, I blogged during Living …

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Ending poverty is about the politics of power: guest piece for the OECD

admin - December 9, 2013

This guest rant of mine appeared in the OECD’s Development Cooperation Report 2013, published last week. The report, subtitled ‘Ending Poverty‘, is worth a skim – it’s a good survey of current debates on poverty and aid, with contributions from piles of wonks, followed by a donor-by-donor aid overview. A necessary starting point in any discussion of ending poverty is “What do we mean by …

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