Topic: Conflict and Security

Why are Illegal Drugs still a Cinderella Issue in Development? (Looking at you CGD!)

Why don’t more mainstream aid organizations work on the issue of illegal drugs like cannabis, coca or opium poppy? We’ve known for decades that the prevalent approach to these – prohibition – harms small-scale farmers that grow them, fuels violence, undermines the rule of law and contaminates politics (the UN estimates the illegal drugs trade […]

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What have we learned from four years’ research into empowerment and accountability in fragile/violent settings?

I’m still reeling from my first serious zoomarathon – 12 hours on zoom over 3 days (plus prep), with 50 researchers around the world from the Action for Empowerment and Accountability (A4EA) consortium. I can report back that unfortunately, my mood swings are much the same as in conferences (but with added anxiety/grumpiness from struggling […]

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Where is the Aid Biz making progress on Localization?

There has been a spate of recent reports on localization, especially in humanitarian response. (Has anyone done a synthesis?) I’ve been browsing through a few – some highlights. First, an obvious, but important point. ‘Localization’ has always been a feature of emergency response, since long before today’s aid system was dreamt of. Globalization and migration […]

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How is COVID playing out in Fragile and Conflict Affected Settings?

I was on a fascinating Zoom check-in on this late last week, involving researchers of the Action for Empowerment and Accountability research programme (I’m on its advisory board). A4EA is focussing on Pakistan, Mozambique, Myanmar and Nigeria, but the conversation took in a few other places as well. Things that jumped out as new, or […]

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What values should guide Britain’s role in the world, post-Brexit?

Oxfam today publishes (with UK think tank, the Foreign Policy Centre) a collection of essays from parliamentarians and policy experts called ‘Finding Britain’s role in a changing world: building a values based foreign policy’. Here are a few highlights from the conclusion, snappily written by Adam Hug, Abigael Baldoumas, Katy Chakrabortty and Danny Sriskandarajah: ‘The […]

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Research Methodology Klaxon: Lessons from two years of doing ‘Governance Diaries’ in scary places

The first outputs are now appearing from ‘Governance Diaries’, a really fascinating new research method that emerged from an initial conversation in a bar in Yangon 4 years ago. If you’re even slightly interested in research, please take a look at this first paper on the emerging methodology, by Miguel Loureiro, Anuradha Joshi, Katrina Barnes […]

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Eleven Recommendations for Working on Empowerment and Accountability in messy/dangerous places

The Action for Empowerment and Accountability (A4EA) programme, which I’ve been sporadically involved with, is now digesting the findings of its first 3 years of research, and has identified some important ‘recurring themes’ across its 5 focus countries (Egypt, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nigeria and Pakistan). The result? Eleven Recommendations for Working on Empowerment and Accountability in […]

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Six Ways Conflict is Changing, by David Milliband

IRC boss David Milliband gave a speech to the ‘West Point Class of 1983’ recently (i.e. US military leaders). The full speech has lots of the protocol stuff required of such set pieces, but also includes his take on ‘six dimensions of change in conflict where we work today’, which I thought were pretty interesting. […]

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Colombian activists use music and art to call for climate action

Vanessa Daza Castillo is a young Colombian lawyer working as an environmental justice researcher at Dejusticia, a human rights think tank, and a fellow at the Climate and Environmental Justice Media program with FRIDA – The Young Feminist Fund in partnership with OpenGlobalRights. This piece was published as part of this partnership, by OpenGlobalRights. Social media and […]

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Why the World Bank is missing out on an Accountability Revolution: Reflections on the Global Partnership for Social Accountability Forum 2019

Naomi Hossain of the Accountability Research Center has an out of body experience at the World Bank With raw people power on world-wide display, the Global Partnership for Social Accountability Partners’ Forum 2019 gathered last month at the World Bank in Washington DC for a potentially well-timed discussion of ‘The Challenge of Inclusion’. The GPSA […]

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Why so many Uprisings? Why now?

Somethin is happening here: Every day my timeline highlights a different uprising – today it is a national strike in Colombia, with hundreds of thousands protesting in support of the faltering peace process, despite the pouring rain (thanks to Hong Kong, at least umbrellas are cool now). But it could equally well have been Iran, […]

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8 key Messages on Promoting Empowerment and Accountability in Messy Places

Please read the synthesis report for the Action for Empowerment and Accountability (A4EA) research programme – it’s written by John Gaventa and Katy Oswald, and is a model for how to communicate a large body of research in an accessible and practitioner-friendly way. (Full disclosure, I’ve contributed four papers to A4EA as part of my […]

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