Topic: Conflict and Security

The Egyptian Revolution is in intensive care – can it be saved?

This guest post from Oxfam’s regional director for the Middle East, Olga Ghazaryan (right), was also published today on the Guardian website. Having lived through a number of revolutions in the Former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe I should have known that revolutions are notoriously hard to predict.  There is a messy chaos between the […]

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Hunger in the Sahel and international arms control: what's the link?

In a second post on the impending UN Arms Trade Treaty, Oxfam arms trade policy adviser Martin Butcher discusses the links between Libya’s arms race and hunger in the Sahel The growing food crisis provoked by drought in the Sahel is affecting millions of people. This crisis has been deepened by the conflict in Mali sparked […]

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The UN is (probably) going to agree a global Arms Trade Treaty: what's at stake?

Ed Cairns, Oxfam’s senior policy adviser on conflict, summarizes a new paper, Stay on Target, which lays out the case for governments to hold out for a top quality Arms Trade Treaty as negotiations enter a crucial phase In the age of austerity it may seem that governments can do nothing but make cuts. But they […]

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People power, transformation and existential crisis: the state of global civil society:

Civicus, a global network of civil society organizations, recently published a pilot ‘State of Civil Society’ report, which it hopes to repeat at regular intervals. Some excerpts: “2011 marked a critical juncture for civil society. Authoritarian regimes buckled under the weight of citizen pressure, and prevailing political and economic orders faced unprecedented opposition from people […]

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If change requires both cooperation and conflict, can we really do both?

I’ve been thinking about my recent trip to Honduras, how change happens, and the discussions there (and with some other country teams since then) about what I am calling the ‘cooperation-conflict cycle’ (see pic). The default mode in Oxfam and most large NGOs is generally uncomfortable with conflict, but research by John Gaventa and others […]

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The only interesting question on Kony 2012 – why did it get 60 million hits?

Like everyone else, I watched it, albeit skimming, and was fascinated and appalled. Fascinated (and yes, envious) at the skill of the storytelling. Appalled by just about everything else – the use of his son, the cheesy self righteousness of the tone, the depiction of Africa, the profound ignorance and lack of interest in why […]

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What outsiders can (and can’t) do about Syria

Update: Please support Oxfam’s Syria action This guest post, by Phil Bloomer, Oxfam GB’s director of campaigns and policy, is a bit unusual for this blog. No new research or (supposedly) clever ideas. Instead, he reflects on what outsiders can (and can’t) do about the terrible situation in Syria “This morning, as on every recent […]

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How will political and economic shocks drive social change? Please help me write a paper…..

Something almost unprecedented has occurred – I’ve finished an article early. Oxfam Peru is a redoubt of intellectuals and every year publishes an annual collection of essays on the state of Peru and development in general. This year they’ve asked me to focus on shocks and change, so I’ve donned my false beard and cardigan […]

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Getting Somalia Wrong and other background reading for today's big conference

On 3 February, the UN declared that there were no longer famine conditions in southern Somalia, but six months since that famine was declared, Somalia is still in the throes of its worst humanitarian crisis in decades. Nearly a third of the population remain in crisis, unable to meet essential food and non-food needs. Key […]

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An optimistic take on fragile states

Nice to see some upbeat–but-expert thinking on fragile states, which are all well on their way to becoming the biggestheadache/impossible problem in development. By the way, has anyone realized that the acronym for Fragile and Conflict Affected States is …… FRACAS? If not, remember you read it here first…… Anyway, back to the optimism. This […]

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How can development NGOs go urban?

Just spent a fascinating week in Nairobi, taking part in a review of our three-year- old urban programme there. Like many large development NGOs, Oxfam’s traditional remit is deeply rural – goats, irrigation, drought, that kind of thing – but the world has gone urban, and so in a few countries, we are dipping our organizational […]

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Violence and development – what are the links?

Why don’t we talk about violence more? That was the question posed to a bunch of Oxfamistas this week by Jenny Pearce, Professor of Peace Studies at Bradford University. Jenny’s my guru as well as a friend – back in 1982, fresh back from Latin America, I attended her course on the region’s politics and […]

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