Topic: Conflict and Security

The Obama Doctrine – where is the US going on development and diplomacy?

Government reports don’t come with much less enticing titles than the US ‘Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review’ but as is often the way, a boring title signals important content, setting out big and in some cases excellent plans for US foreign and development policy. The director of the review, Anne Marie Slaughter, presented the review at […]

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Rape is not the only story in the Congo

Emma Fanning is Oxfam’s protection manager in the DRC If you’ve been following the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) recently – and given its unchanging, grim headlines, it’s not surprising if you haven’t – the story has probably been about rape. Large scale, brutal, dehumanising rape. The Congo has been dubbed the « rape capital […]

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How can the global system manage scarcity?

Alex Evans is on a bit of a roll at the moment, with an excellent new paper on ‘Globalization and Scarcity: Multilateralism for a World with Limits’. It’s a great summary of the problems created by the threat of scarcity of food, land, water, energy, and ‘airspace’ (for greenhouse gas emissions). He confines his solutions […]

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We love road blocks; flushing toilets and murder rates: random facts about Latin America

The Economist has a big report on Latin America this week, to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the start of its struggle for independence (unfinished business, some would say). Here are some of the more striking statistical nuggets and other bits and pieces. The region has 15% of the world’s oil reserves, a large […]

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So do food price spikes cause riots or not?

I’m a big fan of Chris Blattman’s blog (as the number of ‘hat tips’ – [h/t] – on this one demonstrates), but he lost it a bit in his recent post on food riots. Here’s what he says: ‘Globalization and growth should reduce price spikes in future. More countries are producing crops. Climate shocks in […]

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Channel 16: a new crowdsourcing initiative on disasters and conflict

This is exciting – a new crowdsourcing initiative on humanitarian emergencies that combines wikipedia, youtube and Ushahidi to dig deeper, be more user-generated and more linked to taking action than standard media coverage. It’s called Channel 16, and here’s the blurb: “Named after the broadcast frequency of an international distress signal, Channel 16 creates a […]

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New books on development: bad microfinance; climate change and war; what works; inside the World Bank; mobile activism

One of the perks of writing a blog is that I can scrounge review copies of development-related books. I’m sure they’re all fascinating and I really want to read them but alas, they don’t come with extra hours in the day attached. So I now have a growing pile by my desk that is in […]

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Where have we got to on fragile states and what comes next?

Another week, another conference. This time it’s hosted by the UK development ministry, DFID, which among other things, has an impressive track record of funding research on development issues (declaration of interest – I worked for DFID for a year in 2004, and sometimes advise them on research issues). This week’s gabfest is called ‘The […]

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Who runs the world? The rise of the G5

The G5 countries will police each other and everyone else A thought-provoking and perversely optimistic take on 21st Century geopolitics from Paul Collier in this month’s issue of Prospect. It’s too well-written to edit, but in short, what he is saying is that the world will be run by the US, China, Japan, India and the […]

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What will this year’s World Development Report say about Conflict?

The WDR is published in the fall, but this year’s WDR director, Sarah Cliffe, gave a preview of its contents at Harvard recently. The Report will focus on ‘conflict affected countries’ (CACs). What most caught my attention was her typology of three types of ‘neglected violence’ that offer particular challenges for policy-makers (comments from Ed […]

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Morality or self-interest? Chatham House's new paper on UK Foreign Policy

Moral suasion or enlightened self-interest? Surely we need both! Are development advocates more convincing when they adopt the language of hard-bitten realism, or should they stick to starry-eyed idealism? This old conundrum returned as I read Alex Evans and David Steven’s new paper, ‘Organizing for Influence: UK Foreign Policy in an Age of Uncertainty’, published […]

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What is the future of UK development policy?

Consensus on size But tensions on coherence And definition This run of posts on aid is starting to seem endless (you probably agree….). But this one, on the outlook for UK aid, is the last of the series, at least for now. From tomorrow, I’ll be getting back to the usual random scattergun stuff, but […]

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