This is a conversational blog written and maintained by Duncan Green, strategic adviser for Oxfam GB, author of ‘How Change Happens’ and Professor in Practice at the London School of Economics. This personal reflection is not intended as a comprehensive statement of the agreed policies of either Oxfam or the LSE.
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Latest Posts

Two great new books on Africa

Just got back from launching the book in Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia (more of that later). Between powerpoints, I read two great but contrasting new books on the region, both by ‘muzungus’, as whites are known in East Africa.

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What needs to happen in the climate change talks in Poznan?

Two new Oxfam papers set the scene for the climate change talks getting under way in Poznan this week. ‘Climate, Poverty and Justice’gives an overview, while ‘Turning Carbon into Gold’ crunches some numbers on how to raise the kinds of amounts needed to finance adaptation to climate change in developing countries.

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What's the development debate like in Australia?

I’ve just finished a week of debates, seminars and book launches in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra. My overall impressions include firstly the huge importance of policy debates over Australia’s Indigenous peoples on wider development thinking, not least because meetings in government, academia and NGOs now begin with the chair intoning variations on the formula ‘I […]

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Why Poznan Climate Change talks matter for development: evidence from Viet Nam

The Poznan ‘Conference of the Parties’ (COP 14) climate change talks kick off today and Oxfam will be there in force, along with other development NGOs. Why? Because not only does climate change threaten to reverse decades of social and economic progress, but in some countries is already doing so. Take Viet Nam, perhaps the […]

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A youtube's worth a thousand words

My kids introduced me to youtube, mainly through happy family moments watching unfortunate things happen to cats. But now Oxfam’s amazing audiovisual team have boiled down 500 pages of ‘From Poverty to Power’ into a 2 minute video. The team is led by film maker Sandhya Suri, who made an award-winning documentary about her family, […]

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Is the Buzzword mightier than the Sword?

‘When ideas fail, words come in very handy’. (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe) By coincidence, I’ve been doing a lot of seminar-ing this last week, mostly under Chatham House rules (see previous post). When you’re sat in a room full of policy wonks, one of the more enjoyable pastimes is jotting down all the new candidates […]

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Fixing Failed States

Just finished the book of this title by Ashraf Ghani and Clare Lockhart. It left me with a mixture of excitement and frustration – excitement because it sets out some good ideas on state-building, frustration because it doesn’t quite live up to the title and is sloppily edited, with whole chunks repeated verbatim, wandering narrative […]

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