Topic: Natural disasters

Desertification is a dangerous Myth – A new book explains why

Oxfam researcher John Magrath reviews an explosive new book I started off life as a newspaper journalist so I appreciate the power of a good story. And that’s what the concept of desertification provides. Since the great Sahelian droughts of the 1970s and 1980s, we’ve become familiar with the idea that humans cause environmental desiccation […]

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Great new 110 page guide to humanitarian campaigning

Just been browsing through a brilliant new Oxfam guide to humanitarian campaigning. A treasure trove of 110 pages crammed full of wisdom, experience and 32 case studies on everything from addressing tribal conflicts in Pakistan to gender responsive work with Syrian refugees to influencing Australia’s humanitarian policy. And no sign of an executive summary. Sigh. […]

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After the Summit: What next for humanitarianism?

Here’s this week’s vlog – still trying to sort out a better camera and sound, sorry! Spent a fascinating morning recently, discussing the state of humanitarian response with a bunch of fairly senior people from inside ‘the system’ – UN, donors, INGOs etc. It was Chatham House Rule, so that’s as much as I can […]

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Book Review, Augusta Dwyer: The Anatomy of Giving (on the aid industry and Haiti)

If you want a readable and short (167 pages) introduction to the many contradictions and debates that beset the aid business, I recommend The Anatomy of Giving (apologies for Amazon link – couldn’t find another). Dwyer’s subject is Haiti – ‘At just a two-hour flight from Miami, Haiti is the Western Hemisphere’s own little piece of […]

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If governments don’t tackle the causes of conflict and the refugee crisis, will the World Humanitarian Summit be a damp squib?

Ed Cairns Oxfam’s humanitarian policy adviser, sets the scene for next month’s World Humanitarian Summit as we publish our curtain raiser for the event. After years of preparation, and a roller coaster of expectations plunging and soaring, it is almost upon us. One month from tomorrow, dozens of world leaders will gather in Istanbul for […]

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China’s rise, Cyclone politics and extreme patronage: Impressions of Vanuatu

As part of their support for the How Change Happens book, the Aussie government is also giving me a crash course in development in the Pacific. Last year, they took me to Papua New Guinea (blogs here), then last week, I headed for Vanuatu (small island archipelago, 270,000 population, best known – at least in […]

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Is the International Humanitarian System hitting a tipping point on ‘going local’?

Marc Cohen, Senior Researcher at Oxfam America, is excited about the new World Disasters Report Over the past two years, a boatload of reports and studies has pointed to the need to shift to greater local leadership of disaster prevention, preparedness, and response. In part this is driven by mounting humanitarian needs and the growing […]

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How are disasters linked to inequality? Review of ‘The Disaster Profiteers’

[The IT guys tell me they’ve finally found a fix on the email notification problem. If you get an email about this post for the first time in months, please either leave a comment, or vote in the poll to the right, to tell us it’s working] Debbie Hillier, Oxfam’s Humanitarian Policy Adviser  reviews The […]

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Another good idea from ODI – regular ‘scans’ of hot topics like resilience

The aid and development business is full of tribes – separate ‘epistemic communities’ with their own jargon, shorthands and assumptions, which helps to hermetically isolate them from all the other communities. I try and surf across a few of them, but it’s hard – half the time I have only the vaguest idea what resilience, […]

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Crunch time for global humanitarianism – funding can’t keep up with need, so what else is needed?

Ed Cairns, Oxfam’s senior policy adviser on humanitarian advocacy, reviews the latest overview of global humanitarian aid. [Update: in response to readers’ comments, I’ve stuck up a very retrogressive humanitarian v long term aid poll to the right – please hold your nose and vote] This year’s Global Humanitarian Assistance report highlights some startling figures. For years […]

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What can we learn from a great example of high speed policy response to the Nepal Earthquake?

For a while, I’ve been arguing that policy wonks need to grab the windows of opportunity created by shocks, scandals and crises, producing reactions, research and proposals in the immediate aftermath of such a ‘critical juncture’. For example, we know there are going to be floods in Somerset or Pakistan at some point in the […]

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Political (and some other) priorities in Nepal as of 28 April 2015

Reflections from Kathmandu by John Bevan, a friend and former UN official who has worked in Haiti – before and after the 2010 quake, as well as Nepal (2003/4 and 2006/7). This piece does not represent Oxfam’s official views, but offers a fascinating insight into what is likely to happen next. Today is day four […]

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