Topic: Natural disasters

How can we prevent the next famine? The case for Disaster Risk Reduction

When it comes to natural disasters, and their very un-natural impact on poor people, prevention is better than cure. Yet this lesson seems incredibly hard to turn into practice, because however good the early warning system in the run-up to disasters like the current crisis in East Africa, the money to head off future suffering […]

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What should Oxfam be doing on water?

Just spent an intense couple of days at Oxfam Reflects, a biannual event where a mix of staff, partners and a sprinkling of professors and other wonks shut themselves away to talk through a thematic issue that is confusing the organization and needs a bit of kicking around. This one was on water – trying […]

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10 Challenges to 'business as usual' for development agencies: FP2P flashback

OMG, nearly three years on and almost everything on this list would still be on today’s version. But at least I could point to progress, in the shape of specific bits of thinking, reseach and/or programming. on nearly all of them. What new additions would go on today’s list, I wonder? Domestic taxation; resource scarcity […]

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Ending Hunger Now – what's missing from Josette Sheeran's talk?

Inspiring TED talk by World Food Program boss Josette Sheeran. Besides the general moral outrage and can-do optimism she conveys, I like the focus on local sourcing, investing in small farmers, school meals, breast feeding and supporting food banks as a form of local food reserve. But some culprits get off very lightly. Nationally, what about […]

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Why do we know so little about how poor people 'do' development?

I’ve just been reading the draft of a review by Charlotte Sterrett of climate change adaption experiences in South Asia. It’s great, and I’ll link to it when it’s published, but one conclusion set me thinking more widely: ‘While autonomous adaptation is likely to become more common and widespread than planned adaptation, most research and […]

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Playing games with the climate – a great way to explore difficult choices in complex systems

By pure coincidence, the day after linking to Jane McGonigall’s impassioned plea that gamers can save the world, I ended up playing a rather more low-tech climate change game with a load of DFID staff. We were farmers, taking decisions on risks and returns for different crops in accordance with the unpredictable weather patterns (represented […]

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The future of emergency response – the international system v national governments

Yesterday the big cheeses moved on to fragile states and humanitarian (emergency) response. I may write something on fragile states next week, but it was the humanitarian bit that got my attention. Here are some highlights from the internal discussion paper: “There is growing awareness that global humanitarian response needs to be turned on its […]

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Climate change: which countries are most at risk? Click on this interactive map to find out

David Wheeler at CGD has updated his interactive map of climate risk (this is the link for the interactive map, not the screen grab picture to the right – no point in clicking on that). This covers 169 countries,  across four dimensions: Extreme Weather, Sea Level Rise, Agricultural Productivity Loss and Overall. In the overall category, […]

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Those who emit the least greenhouse gases will be hit the hardest

Life (and climate change) really isn’t fair. The Huffington Post covers some new research that identifies the regions most vulnerable to future climate change. The researchers then compared the global map of climate vulnerability to a global map of carbon dioxide emissions. The countries that have contributed the least to carbon dioxide emissions are will be […]

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Natural and man-made disasters in 2010 – the insurance bill

A long time ago, when I was flirting with journalism, I got a really disturbing job on an FT publication called ‘World Insurance Report’ (presumably now defunct). I had to compile their ‘world loss log’ – a summary of all the major disasters of the previous fortnight, and the likely implications for insurance pay-outs. I scoured […]

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The reality of climate change: floods, migration and nostalgia – guest blog from Bangladesh

What’s the point of running a blog if you can’t indulge in a little nepotism? Last year, I went with my son Finlay (18) to visit Bangladesh and look at the impact of climate change: rising sea levels are leading to ever-greater damage from the region’s cyclones, as we saw in the community of Koyra […]

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Social Protection for Cows?

Cows, camels and goats are a crucial store of value in many countries. They provide meat, milk and clothing, they can be a quasi currency and can be passed on to children. In some countries, they are used as a kind of high interest revolving loan – you borrow a pair of breeding animals, look […]

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