Tag: UN

The realtime challenge: some cutting edge data-gathering from the UN (yep, you heard that right)

I’m still reeling from the overwhelming response to yesterday’s post (voting still open, by the way) and will respond in due course, but in the meantime, let’s get back to all that development stuff, shall we? One of the most striking aspects of exploring the human impact of the global financial crisis and food price […]

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How can the UN get its act together on food and agriculture?

On Tuesday incoming FAO boss José Graziano da Silva (right) gave his first press conference, so I did one of those rabbit in the headlights interviews down the line for Al Jazeera on the role of the FAO (results below). Al Jazeera is rapidly becoming my favourite news channel – not just for its unrivalled coverage […]

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So how many of the world's people are hungry? Dunno. Work in progress…….

Richard King, my highly numerate colleague, grapples with the confusion surrounding the FAO’s hunger numbers. Global hunger numbers must be among the most widely quoted and over-interpreted of all the indicators at development wonks’ and campaigners’ disposal. ‘One billion people (one in seven of the world’s population) go to bed hungry’ is a compelling headline […]

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Responding to emergencies: is the centre of gravity shifting away from the UN towards national goverments?

Ed Cairns, Oxfam’s Senior Policy Adviser on this kind of thing, explores the shifting sands of humanitarian aid policy After a flurry of reviews and new policies on all aspects of aid, the UK put out its new humanitarian policy, Saving Lives, Preventing Suffering and Building Resilience, a couple of weeks ago. Not every word is […]

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Will the 2012 Earth Summit be a flop? Guest post from Sarah Best

    You’re Invited!   20th Anniversary of the Rio Earth Summit 4-6 June, 2012, Rio de Janeiro Gift list: to be determined   You’d be forgiven for not clocking that that there’s a major UN sustainable development conference on the horizon.  In less than a year, governments will convene in Rio de Janeiro in […]

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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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Will the new UN Panel on Global Sustainability have an impact?

The diplomatic circus is full of high level commissions and panels on this and that, most of which deliberate, publish and sink without trace. But the UN’s new High-Level Panel on Global Sustainability, launched this week by Ban Ki-moon, may just be an exception. It certainly has a hell of a job description: ‘finding ways […]

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The co-creator of the UN's new Multidimensional Poverty Index defends her new baby

Sabina Alkire responds to the previous posts by Martin Ravallion and me on her new ‘Multidimensional Poverty Index’. She is director of the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI). “As Martin Ravallion points out, we agree that poverty is multidimensional. The question is whether our efforts to incorporate multiple dimensions into the very definition […]

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Guest Blog: World Bank research director critiques the new UN poverty index

Martin Ravallion is Director of the World Bank’s research department, the Development Research Group. These are the views of the author, and need not reflect those of the World Bank. “Everyone agrees that poverty is not just about low consumption of market commodities by a household.  There are also important non-market goods, such as access […]

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How can we improve the way we measure poverty? The UN's new poverty index (and groovy graphics)

Ask poor people what poverty is like, and they typically talk about fear, humiliation and ill health, at least as much as money. But can the non-income dimensions of poverty be measured in a way that allows policy makers to weigh priorities and allocate resources? If not, the danger (as often happens) is that decision […]

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UN Women: the United Nations gets its act together on gender

One of the things undermining the effectiveness of the UN’s work on gender issues has been the lack of a single agency with responsibility for the subject. Now, after years of difficult negotiations, the U.N. General Assembly has voted to set up a body that will seek to improve the situation of women and girls around […]

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What happens when negotiations fail to prevent 2 million deaths? Not much, apparently

Suppose weapons of mass destruction had taken 2.1 million lives over the last three years. International diplomacy would surely be at fever pitch, the UN would be in constant session, leaders would be shuttling to and fro trying to bring a halt to the slaughter. Wrong. Conventional arms have, directly or indirectly, killed that number […]

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