Tag: fragile states

Do fragile states evolve like forests? Insights from complexity thinking

Oxfam’s engagement with physics-trained complexity enthusiast Jean Boulton is starting to generate some really interesting ideas. Jean has been helping us think through our work in fragile states – the big challenge for a lot of aid organizations over the next few years. Just before Christmas, she came in to tell us where her thinking […]

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Aid’s segmented future

This piece was written for a blog discussion on the future of aid, which will double up as a Global Policy ebook, organized by Andy Sumner’s new outfit, the Kings College International Development Institute, King’s College London. It’s all part of the build up to their launch conference on Emerging Economies and the Changing Global […]

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Working in Fragile States, as seen from Australia and New Zealand

I’m currently nearing the end of my three weeks in Australia and New Zealand. These trips typically involve several meetings a day with government officials, politicians, NGOs and journalists. The to and fro produces a churn of topics and ideas, out of which emerge some themes, but you never know in advance which ones are […]

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How realtime evaluation can sharpen our work in fragile states

Pity the poor development worker. All the signs are that their future lies in working in ‘fragile and conflict-affected states’ (FRACAS) – the DRCs, Somalias, Afghanistans and Haitis. As more stable countries grow and lift their people out of poverty, that’s where an increasing percentage of the world’s poor people will live. And (not unconnected) […]

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What have we learned about crisis/fragile states? Findings of a 5 year research programme.

Cards on the table, confronted with a closely argued 11 page exec sum, I am unlikely to then read the full report. But the short version of Meeting the Challenges of Crisis States, by James Putzel (LSE) and Jonathan Di John (SOAS), is a meal in itself. It summarizes 5 years of DFID-funded research by […]

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How can INGOs improve their work in fragile and conflict states?

There’s nothing like the impending threat of giving a talk to make you mug up on an issue, usually the morning before. Today’s exercise in skating on thin ice (the secret? Keep moving. Fast as possible) was a recent talk to some Indiana University students studying the developmental role of the state while enjoying our […]

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Horizon 2025: the future of aid (and a potentially epic nerdwar on poverty numbers)

I’ve been starting to feel like an unpaid publicist for the Overseas Development Institute recently. It’s not my fault – ODI keeps publishing really interesting stuff (and anyway, I’m not always nice about it). You’re likely to hear a lot about their latest paper, Horizon 2025: Creative Destruction in the Aid Industry, by Homi Kharas […]

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An optimistic take on fragile states

Nice to see some upbeat–but-expert thinking on fragile states, which are all well on their way to becoming the biggestheadache/impossible problem in development. By the way, has anyone realized that the acronym for Fragile and Conflict Affected States is …… FRACAS? If not, remember you read it here first…… Anyway, back to the optimism. This […]

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How to work in fragile states – some thoughts from Oxfam's big cheeses

When Oxfam’s big cheeses come together, they have a tendency to issues ‘communiqués’ about their conclusions to be sent out to what they fondly imagine are battalions of eager staff desperately awaiting their words of wisdom (bosses can be funny that way). Reality is usually rather different but one recent communiqué – on working in […]

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Yemen: Arab Spring meets Fragile State + Resource Constraints

Our regional director for the Middle East, Olga Ghazaryan, recently pointed out just how many development buzzwords are being bloodily explored in her region right now – transition to democracy in Egypt; Responsibility to Protect in Libya, and Yemen is looking like a combination of revolution in a fragile state and a dystopian vision of […]

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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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Should aid support patronage politics?

In this month’s Prospect, Alex de Waal wrestles with the problems posed by state-building in countries where patronage trumps politics. This kind of ‘what do we do about fragile states’ discussion is one of the most intractable issues in development, so don’t expect simple solutions, but Alex (who is one of the most original thinkers […]

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