Topic: Natural disasters

How can complexity/systems thinking help small island states?

‘It’s a big year for small islands’ announced the speaker before me, who revelled in the title ‘The Honourable Lord Tu’ivakano, Prime Minister, Kingdom of Tonga’ (right). When my turn came, how should I refer to him? (I’m hopeless at this kind of thing, must come from going to a state school.) His Lordship? Your […]

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

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 […]

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Transform or be Haunted by Ghosts: How can the Philippines ‘build back better’ after Typhoon Haiyan?

From the middle of the response to Typhoon Haiyan, Lan Mercado, our Deputy Regional Director in Asia (and passionate campaigner and Filipina) reflects on what lies ahead. She was the one who asked me to pick your brains on disasters as opportunities – thanks for the responses. The massive impact of Typhoon Haiyan claimed thousands […]

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Disasters as Opportunities – your thoughts please

Sticking with yesterday’s theme of how our humanitarian work is evolving, one of our more extraordinary Oxfamistas in the Philippines (Lan Mercado, profiled here) has asked a few of us to help her team think through the longer term implications of Supertyphoon Haiyan for our work. I have no idea how she manages to find […]

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What are the global trends in humanitarian response? How well is Oxfam responding?

Twice a year Oxfam’s Regional Directors gather with its UK-based big cheeses to swap notes (they let me join them, for some reason). It’s an opportunity to allow the collective mind to catch up with all those accumulating individual impressions of how the world and our work is changing. Last week’s ‘deep dive’ was about […]

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Climate Change looks a lot worse when you look below the averages and the global: the view from Pakistan

John Magrath from Oxfam’s research team compares the impact of climate change in Pakistan with the messages coming out of the IPCC’s latestreports. I blogged last week how one effect of climate change is likely to be to make it harder for people to afford to buy the food they need, which may be a bigger […]

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Main trends in humanitarian aid 2012: less successful appeals; rise of Turkey; poor countries doing a lot of the heavy lifting

This year’s Global Humanitarian Assistance Report reports on a ‘quiet year’ (i.e. no mega disasters) in 2012 for global humanitarian aid. Total aid fell to $17.9bn from $19.4bn in 2011. That’s only a small fraction of total aid, but emergencies carry disproportionate weight in public perceptions. A few other points to note, plus some chunks […]

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Take a pause: what do the Uttrakhand floods tell us about India’s development model?

Vanita Suneja, Oxfam India’s Economic Justice Lead, looks at the underlying causes of the devastating floods in Uttrakhand The recent flash floods in Uttrakhand have already claimed around 1000 lives and more than 3000 people are still missing.   One of the worst calamities caused by an extreme weather event in the form of cloud burst […]

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Why building ‘resilience’ matters, and needs to confront injustice and inequality

Debbie Hillier, Oxfam’s Humanitarian Policy Adviser (right), introduces ‘No Accident’, Oxfam’s new paper on resilience and inequality Asking 50 Oxfam staff what they think of resilience will get 50 different responses. These will range all the way from the Sceptics (“just the latest buzzword, keep your head down and it’ll go away”), to the Deniers (“really […]

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What do we know about the impact of savings groups on poor African women?

Savings for Change (SfC) is one of Oxfam America’s flagship programmes, reaching 680,000 members, mostly women, in 13 countries. Here Sophie Romana, Oxfam America’s Deputy Director of Community Finance, reports on some findings from an innovative qualitative and quantitative survey of the groups in Mali, published today (click through to summary or full report). How do […]

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Learning the Lessons: Why is change NOT happening in the response to hunger crises?

I know I go on all the time about ‘how change happens’, but often in development the important question is ‘why doesn’t change happen?’, and we need to get better at answering it. On Tuesday Oxfam published Learning the Lessons, an analysis of the response to the 2012 Sahel food crisis, which affected some 18m […]

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‘Resource Futures’: good new report on how to confront resource scarcity and conflict

Looks like this is going to be crystal ball week on the blog – must be the time of year. Just read Resource Futures from Chatham House (inventors of the ubiquitous Chatham House Rule). The analysis is pretty good, but it really raises the bar on communication, with great interactive infographics and killer facts. Advocacy […]

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