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Who Speaks for the Global South Recipients of Aid?

Who Speaks for the Global South Recipients of Aid?

The murder of George Floyd and the resurfacing of the Black Lives Matter movement has led to heightened discussions on race in the international development sector. Aid practitioners in the North have not only condemned the systemic racism that they (suddenly) now see to be endemic in the sector, but have also vowed to ‘change’ or even ‘end’ aid altogether. COVID-19 has further spurred analysis of how the sector may now change – or not – post pandemic. But decisions about how aid should be ‘done’ in developing countries should be taken by those at the receiving end.

A Blueprint for Black Lives Matter in the Development Sector

A Blueprint for Black Lives Matter in the Development Sector

Racism is rooted in a combination of prejudice and power, and action to combat racism must address both. The development sector is plagued by problems on both dimensions, but the Black Lives Matter moment offers an opportunity to change course. So far, however, development organisations have focused more on prejudice rather than confronting inequalities of power. To do more, we should adapt models from elsewhere to our own challenge. So here’s my four-point blueprint for Black Lives Matter in the development sector.

COVID-19 – Five lessons for improving future economic and social resilience

COVID-19 – Five lessons for improving future economic and social resilience

The COVID-19 crisis is another timely reminder of the need for building resilience into our social, economic, and financial systems – locally, nationally, and globally. It has exposed the vulnerability of our societies, of our health systems, but also the susceptibility of supply chains and the gig economy. Financial systems have held up relatively well, thanks to stricter capital requirements introduced after the 2008 crisis and decisive intervention by central banks, but are now also starting to show cracks. Increasing resilience needs to be one of the main guiding principles to ensure we are better prepared to withstand future pandemics.

Love, Inequity, and Development Policy in a COVID-era?

Love, Inequity, and Development Policy in a COVID-era?

This piece is a call for intimacy and to centre all of our work in a “politics of trust, empathy, love and care.” We know those emotions to be real, human, and to matter. Accepting that charges us with this: reconceiving how we address inequity and inequality (which remain the core mission of the problematic global institutions that we both still….love) through trust, and care, and love. How can we weave these ideas into everything that international institutions do? How do we get all the staff, workers, and seemingly inanimate ‘programmes’ to let our messy, warm humanity be the focus of our work, rather than the technocratically convenient, and theoretically bloodless numerical success of ‘ending poverty’?

Freedom and Justice Week Round Up

Freedom and Justice Week Round Up

Over the course of Freedom and Justice Week, our authors have provided glimpses into how racism has penetrated their communities, their workplaces, their schools, and their countries. What these articles demonstrate is that, while country contexts may vary, humanity has a problem with racism and bigotry that knows no borders and that is pervasive, toxic, and dehumanising. For people asking “what can I do?” our authors did not disappoint. Across the board, they call for action – from institutions and individuals, and all points in between. This series offers a place to start and a challenge to be honest, ambitious, and practical.

The Privilege in Protesting Police Brutality

The Privilege in Protesting Police Brutality

The United States is confronted by the culmination of its long history of police brutality and exploitation of Black people. And the stark reality of privilege in this country was also made clear as Black people faced higher infection and mortality rates of COVID-19. It is clear that no matter what crisis Americans face, Black people will suffer trauma at a disproportionate rate. It is now time for privileged individuals to acknowledge the liberties and capital they have is tainted by the trauma of individuals they have never met.

The Western Spring

The Western Spring

Over the last few weeks, The Western Spring unmasked how little Black lives matter. In the US, while Black people make up only 13% of the US population, they are three times more likely to be killed by police and make up over a quarter of deaths by COVID-19. As young leaders, we recognise that in order to succeed in our work while living in a country that continues to reinforce systematic racism and white supremacy, we must continue to challenge the institutions upholding racial and ethnic inequalities.

I’m black. I’m a peacebuilder. I want your help.

I’m black. I’m a peacebuilder. I want your help.

We’re living in a painful time in America’s story. It sucks. That being said, we also have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to finish the chapter. To write history. To shape the future in a momentous way. To build a world where my now three-year-old son can walk the streets safely and confidently with your son. We can get there.

Crafting a Lasting, Global Legacy for George Floyd

Crafting a Lasting, Global Legacy for George Floyd

This moment is a fitting one to consolidate a body of work by activists, academics, and other civil society organisations into an international instrument capturing our shared commitment to finally eradicating police brutality everywhere. But are resolutions and debates are an adequate and constructive response to the global outcry? The time and resources of the African Union would be better spent consolidating work into a binding standard against which all states should be monitored and evaluated.

Sea of Change: A New Wave of Activism in Bermuda

Sea of Change: A New Wave of Activism in Bermuda

While Bermuda does not have the same racialised violence that has sparked widespread protest in the United States, even our idyllic island is not immune to the poison prejudice of racism. We have our own brand of racism – it just looks and feels different. It always has. But now is the moment to right the wrongs and the tides are changing.

Realising the True Potential of International Schools

Realising the True Potential of International Schools

As women of colour, we have seen racism manifest itself in our personal and professional lives. As products of international schools, we have also benefited from the tremendous privilege of being educated in world-class institutions and being exposed to many cultures, religions, and ethnicities from an early age. While there are many examples of the good work and progress that have been made by international schools to address racism, there are many others that continue to shelter an environment of racial inequity. The protests around the world provide a moment of reckoning and a teachable moment and we ask that the systems that govern international schools do better.

We Still Have a Dream

We Still Have a Dream

Where I work, the stories of past traumas from racist experiences have come pouring out from both staff and young people. And as I heard their experiences, my initial anger turned into an overwhelming feeling of helplessness. But this sense of heaviness also began to change, as I understood the opportunity for people to speak their truth. And that Dr King’s dream of equality can still be realised in the generations to come.

Justice in a Global Emergency

Justice in a Global Emergency

A cry for justice is echoing around the world. In the US millions of people are marching to demand changes to the failures of the American justice system. In Mali, crowds gathered to demand change to a justice system that is considered corrupt. The cry for an independent judiciary was loud on the streets of Beirut last weekend. And the demand for justice will continue to grow. But there is a better way. Here are our recommended next steps.

Shades of Black

Shades of Black

In Turkey, those who had these opportunities because they were born in the ‘right’ part of the country feel superior to the others and discriminate against those who didn’t have the same luck. We need visionary leadership that tackles intra-race racism as well as the hatred that festers between races, so that we are no longer defined by the colour of our skin.

A World in Which Many Worlds Fit

A World in Which Many Worlds Fit

In our dreams for a post-COVID world, what should we demand of our international relations and international public good institutions? What does it mean to de-colonise and transform development and humanitarian enterprise so that it is anti-racist within and without? We want to offer some thoughts.

Making Allies and Burning Bridges

Making Allies and Burning Bridges

The killing of George Floyd became a problem for all of us. What would it take for this no longer to be seen as a US problem, a black problem, a ghetto problem, a problem for the poor? There is something different happening this time. The protests around the world and the interconnectedness of the young gives this moment an urgency.

Scenarios Week Round-Up

Scenarios Week Round-Up

Last month, we launch the #LongCrisisScenarios in partnership with the Local Trust. The four scenarios describe COVID-19 futures where the response is polarised or where collective action predominates, and where decision-making is centralised or distributed. For the past week, we’ve been inviting contributors to share their perspectives on a what COVID-19 future might look like. From education to cities, from citizenship to future foreign secretaries, you’ll find all the articles here.

An Independent Panel on COVID-19, Science, Uncertainty and Policy

An Independent Panel on COVID-19, Science, Uncertainty and Policy

There is a communications challenge around COVID-19. Messages about what we know, and what we should do, are not clearly shared and reproduced. We propose that WHO should immediately set up an Independent Panel on COVID-19, Uncertainty, Science and Policy (CUSP – everything needs a good acronym), and its main job would be to talk to publics.

How COVID-19 may be as significant as 9/11 for global migration policy

How COVID-19 may be as significant as 9/11 for global migration policy

This time last year, we were living in a different world. Now over 400,000 people have died of COVID-19 and we are staring down the barrel at the deepest recession since the Second World War, with the many challenges that lockdowns have surfaced: unemployment, domestic violence, racial and economic divides, inequalities in access to health and education, and poor international co-operation.

Towards More Equal and Resilient Cities Post-COVID-19

Towards More Equal and Resilient Cities Post-COVID-19

What path we take post-COVID-19 will depend in large part on how the world’s cities change. The Long Crisis scenarios are a timely and helpful reminder that nothing is settled: our future is up for grabs. A better future can only be won by equipping and empowering cities to drive a green, inclusive recovery post-COVID-19.

The Fall of the Big Men

The Fall of the Big Men

We have known for generations that our old models of leadership are not fit for purpose. A once in a multi-generation pandemic offers a global leadership control experiment and we’ve seen what we like, and what we don’t. The winners are rising to the top – the losers are showing the limitations of their Big Men style.

After COVID, Where Will We Be?

After COVID, Where Will We Be?

Yesterday afternoon, representatives from the Long Crisis Network, Local Trust, and The Alternative UK came together to explore the implications of the Long Crisis Scenarios for the future of communities.

The Long Crisis Scenarios are a Call to Citizen Thinking

The Long Crisis Scenarios are a Call to Citizen Thinking

The Long Crisis Scenarios are a tremendous gift to us all. Considered and calm, they offer a way to make sense of events that can otherwise seem so great in magnitude that, for myself at least, there is a real risk of feeling completely overwhelmed. But more than that, in the form of the Winning Ugly scenario, in particular, they offer both a call to action and a reassurance that action can and will be meaningful.

2030: Which Path Will We Take?

2030: Which Path Will We Take?

Scenarios for our post-COVID future kept coming up in discussions over at the Red Button Club. So we teleported ourselves into the year 2030 and took a seat at the desk of a recently retired foreign secretary, getting ready to pour his/her heart into an honest end of the year op-ed.

Winning Ugly: Five Lessons From Managing a School Shutdown

Winning Ugly: Five Lessons From Managing a School Shutdown

On 28 February, Lebanon confirmed its fourth case of COVID-19, closing all schools with immediate effect on the same day. Fadi Yarak, the Director General of Education in the Lebanese Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MEHE), shares some lessons from over a decade of leading a school system through difficult times.

Four Scenarios and a Future for Communities

Four Scenarios and a Future for Communities

To think through the changes we need to make, it makes sense first to try to understand the new landscape, even as it is still unfolding. To help answer that question, we asked Alex Evans and David Steven, founders of the Long Crisis Network, to develop some scenarios, each describing a different future that could emerge from the events happening around us now.

Scenarios Week on Global Dashboard

Scenarios Week on Global Dashboard

Today, we’re kicking off Scenarios Week, a week of articles from leading thinkers who have formed their own responses to the Long Crisis Scenarios, perspectives on what our world might soon look like, or insights on how we can prepare for an uncertain future.

Our COVID Future: The Long Crisis Scenarios

Our COVID Future: The Long Crisis Scenarios

COVID-19 marks a turning point in the 21st century.​ Levels of uncertainty are off the chart, making predictions impossible. ​But if we can create plausible stories about different futures, we create a foundation for decision makers, campaigners, and communities to influence the process of change.​

The Debts We Now Owe Each Other – and How to Pay Them Back

The Debts We Now Owe Each Other – and How to Pay Them Back

In Our Other National Debt, we have tried to make practical proposals for how to start turning gratitude or warm sentiment into real-world action that will make a meaningful difference. Nothing about this is easy, but it’s nonetheless profoundly important. How can we encourage good things to flourish even in rough and damaged soil?

The True Cost of COVID-19 School Closures

The True Cost of COVID-19 School Closures

According to our model, just four months of school and university closures across the United States could result in a $2.5 trillion total loss in future earnings. At a global level, these new data suggest that the current generation of students could lose up to $10 trillion as a result of COVID-19 closures over the course of their careers.

Foxes vs Hedgehogs: The Importance of ‘Followership’ in the Age of COVID-19

Foxes vs Hedgehogs: The Importance of ‘Followership’ in the Age of COVID-19

In recent weeks, the wider internet has felt awash with people who are certain of their expertise in epidemiology, despite weeks earlier being experts in something only tangentially related. When basic errors are pointed out to them, they double down. Admitting you were wrong or simply don’t know is not something humans are very good at doing or rewarding.

#BuildaBridgetoBetter: Recommendations to Drive Pandemic Responses

#BuildaBridgetoBetter: Recommendations to Drive Pandemic Responses

Disasters have a way of focusing the mind, focusing our energies, and harnessing attention. The unfolding disaster that is the coronavirus pandemic is no different: the world is united in our focus on this singular enemy. What is different is that this pandemic is not a one-off event; this is not a storm that we will easily ‘ride out’. There is no clear blue sky on the horizon.

High Five: Building Back Better Children’s Services

High Five: Building Back Better Children’s Services

We have previously highlighted the enormous sacrifice the world’s children are being asked to make to help protect the most vulnerable from COVID-19. Now, we’re outlining five actions we should start working on today to ensure children’s services are back up and running as soon as possible, and that they return strengthened and improved.

Resources for Tackling the Mental Health Impacts of COVID-19

Resources for Tackling the Mental Health Impacts of COVID-19

Before the spread of the coronavirus, almost 600 million people worldwide were estimated to be suffering from anxiety or depression. Suicide took the lives of 800,000 people a year, and was the second leading cause of death among those aged 15–29. These figures are now likely to rise.

Wrapping Up Local Week

Wrapping Up Local Week

The initial call for collective action has taken on new life during our Local Week series. Throughout the week, we’ve shared insights from leading thinkers on public health, policy, community empowerment, local politics, urban planning, and more, each exploring the effects of the unfolding coronavirus pandemic at a local level – you’ll find them all here.

Typologies of Change

Typologies of Change

As we begin to look forward to the world that emerges out of this crisis, there are three types of changes to consider. Each will need to be approached in a different way, using different tools and techniques.

Local Week on Global Dashboard

Local Week on Global Dashboard

Over the next seven days, we’re enlisting the help of prominent thinkers on health, food, local government, community empowerment, and urban planning to examine the global crisis through the lens of the local.

Feed the World

Feed the World

There is not enough attention being paid to the basic questions: what can the world do to ensure that we don’t miss planting season and spread a global food crisis on top of COVID-19?

More on the Coronavirus and Slums

More on the Coronavirus and Slums

“The answers are going to come from within communities themselves. The community is the first line of defence, but governments can’t just wash their hands of this.”

How to Tackle Coronavirus in Slums

How to Tackle Coronavirus in Slums

Western governments, following the example of China, have adopted broadly similar approaches to tackling the COVID-19 pandemic. After initial hesitation, and...

You’re Not Being Bold Enough

You’re Not Being Bold Enough

You're not being bold enough. I don't mean that you should be going out. Stay at home, covidiots! I'm writing this from home in Italy - and just as it is said...

Public interest in the SDGs

I got curious about what’s happened to global interest in the SDGs since they were agreed in 2015, so I ran a Google Trends analysis on it. Top line: turns...

Roadmap for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies – published version

The Roadmap for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies covers some of the major challenges of the twenty-first century, including ending violence against women and children, tackling abuses such as forced marriage and modern slavery, fighting corruption and illicit financial flows and renewing institutions so they can meet growing demand for inclusive growth and environmental sustainability

Roadmap for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies – HLPF version

The roadmap identifies three transformative strategies that will make a cross-cutting contribution to the delivery of the sustainable development agenda. It sets out catalytic actions where there is strong potential to accelerate delivery, and underlines the need for a strategic approach to data and evidence, exchange and learning, finance, and advocacy and movement-building.

Meeting Martin McGuinness

"Ben, Martin, I have to introduce you to each other," said an Irish writer who knew us both. It was Dublin March 2016, and we were there to commemorate...

After Brexit. Time to organise.

Britain has brexited. What next? The pound and the PM are freefalling, but that's not the big thing even now. The big thing is the rejection of almost the...

Jo Cox, brilliance, and kindness.

Many are, undertandably, asking what are the lessons of Jo's death. But those who had the privilege of working with Jo feel too raw to answer that. Instead,...

9 take aways from COP21

Having attended COP21 as a member of the Ethiopian delegation, I've been meaning to write up a post with some take-aways and reflections on the outcome, and...

Winning for Women

Guest post from Yvonne Jeffery, @bakingforpeace, campaigner at Save the Children, reflecting on the latest in Save the Children's #changehistory series. You...

Life in a Town called Coal

The Town called Coal In the town centre the austere concrete municipal building is still inscribed with the old Apartheid-era name name Witbank, but the town...

How the tax fight is being won

Guest post from Alice Macdonald, Save the Children's head of action/2015 campaign, @alicemac83. As part of Save the Children’s History of Change series (see...

New Soundcloud mix

What a joy to be able to think about something other than the Sustainable Development Goals for a change...

Quoted without comment

If anything, I have had to keep empathy at bay. It is such a saturation of suffering that somehow as a journalist you have to harden yourself, otherwise it...

What transformation looks like

Over the years I've frequently been a source of amusement to my wife Emma, but rarely more so than when I came home from work at DFID one day a decade or so...

Labour and the vision thing

Some of my best friends are spads. But it may be that they are just not suited to leadership. Spads are great at schmoozing and PR. Some may even be good at...

Every Child Deserves a Childhood

Continuing with our work on the Time to Deliver theme, focusing on the core promises that should be made to children, this report explores the potential for...

Bill, Melinda, and the SDGs

About a week ago, the Humanosphere blog caused something of a stir in development circles with a piece on the UN's draft Sustainable Development Goals...

The Restorative Economy

Over the past six months, I’ve been working with my friend and colleague Rich Gower on a report for Tearfund, the Christian development NGO, entitled The...

A Long Peace

Written in 2003, this report on the Future of Unionism in Northern Ireland argues that a functioning democracy in Northern Ireland is the only way to...

What’s mined is yours

They call it an "indaba" - a word in several African languages for a gathering where a community gets together to resolve the problems that affect them all....

Who’s going to pay for the SDGs?

In July, Addis Ababa will host a crucial summit on financing for development. If September’s summit on sustainable development goals (SDGs) in New York is...

Joburg’s Unfinished Journey

In Joburg’s old Prison Number 4 stands a flogging frame. Here political prisoners would be instructed to step on to it and be beaten with leather, wood, or...

Who will defend tax dodging?

2015 has started off as a tough year for tax dodgers. In Zambia, the new President appears to have confirmed the fears that multinational mining corporations...

Saying the unsayable in 2015

It’s 2015, a year where global debate on development will be loud and active, with the new global sustainable development goals, the conference on how to...

The Great Acceleration

Great Acceleration 2015 from International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme A set of slides from the Stockholm Resilience Centre, who've just published their...

Our Unfinished Millennium Jubilee

Talk presented at Tearfund on why our Millennium Jubilee remains a work in progress - and what it would take to complete it (November 2014) Download Speech

If Not Now, When? Ending Violence Against the World’s Children

As part of UNICEF UK’s Every Child in Danger campaign, CIC’s David Steven contributed research with an eye toward the political solutions necessary for ending violence against children. In this report, he describes the scale of the epidemic, reviews the likely post-2015 targets that will make a difference in combating violence, and proposes ways forward on the issue, urging political leadership and global partnership above all.

The best climate change movie yet

Here's the trailer for the new climate film Disruption, which came out earlier this month. As Upworthy summarise, "he sat down in a cold, grey room and...

Bruce Jackson: the man who took NATO east

This is a piece I wrote in 2003 about Bruce Jackson, an American neo-con-banker-arms-dealer-spy, who did alot to help the eastern expansion of NATO in the 90s and noughties. I thought it might be of interest considering this week’s conference on the further eastern expansion of NATO.

The six fathers of ISIS

(As defined by Ziad Majed and abridged by Amir Ahmed Nasr in this excellent post): ISIS is the offspring of more than one father, and the product of more than...

Ebola: where is everyone?

The messages emerging from people dealing with the Ebola outbreak on the ground in west Africa are becoming more hair-raising by the day. Here's the World...

But tell us what you really think

Disproving my belief that official think tank feeds rarely say much of interest, here's a special moment on Twitter earlier today from the Center for...

What’s wrong with Geneva?

The BBC website has a rather breathless piece about the joys of Geneva today, declaring that "a cosmopolitan city known for diplomacy (and watches), is now...

Brazil fluffing its lines?

The World Cup in Brazil is less than a month away and the bad publicity is mounting with the news that the coach of the national team is being charged with...

Playing with fire in the Ukraine

Back in 1989, William Lind was one of the team that first coined the term 'fourth generation warfare' - referring to low-intensity conflicts involving highly...

Goodbye to all that

Yesterday's findings from two scientific teams that a large section of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet has now started to collapse (almost certainly unstoppably,...

No diplomats, thanks

Anyone who's spent much time around UN headquarters in New York will know that the one ATM within walking distance of the UN is in the UN Plaza branch of JP...

Ensuring Stable and Peaceful Societies

On April 24th and 25th, the President of the UN General Assembly will lead a thematic debate on ensuring stable and peaceful societies. At the request of the President of the General Assembly, I prepared a memo which highlights why peace and stability is important for sustainable development and how it might be addressed in the post-2015 development agenda. The outcome of this discussion will be included in the President’s summary and will be available as an input in the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (April 2014)

Responding to Russia

Latest of our #progressivedilemmas is on what we might expect from a future Labour Russia policy. Britain’s political class did not distinguish itself in its...

Development Dilemmas

In our development dilemmas piece we consider what progressives should do now the split between foreign and development policy no longer exists: Should aid be...

I ♥ Vaclav Smil

Vaclav Smil is Bill Gates' favourite author, and he's interviewed in this month's Wired. The whole thing's a treat, but I especially liked this passage:...

After Afghanistan

In the latest of our #progressivedilemmas we consider what Labour’s approach to failing states should be. 2014 is the last year of British military...

The new politics of time

Real terms median wages have been stagnating in developed countries since the mid-1970s, when - as David Schweickart notes in this terrific paper (h/t Casper...

Peacemaking’s silly season

I have an especially dour article over at World Politics Review about the state of crisis diplomacy today, which kicks off like this: Since the conflict in...

Saudi Arabia’s national shame

A couple of weeks back I posted about Saudia Arabia’s mass deportation of Ethiopian migrant labourers. Now, with 7,000 migrants returning on flights back to...

A high ambition coalition of the willing on climate change

Could a high ambition coalition of the willing on climate change get going with defining a global carbon budget and taking on their shares to it, while leaving the door open for other governments to join at a later date? Owen Bader, Alice Lepissier, and Alex Evans think so – and have developed a detailed quant model to show how it could work and what the decarbonisation costs and emissions trading revenue flows might be.

Development quiz

Pop quiz, readers. Which NGO is campaigning on the following platform? "The need to resolve the structural causes of poverty cannot be delayed... "Welfare...

DFID in Russian Navy takeover shock

Hats off to DFID's communications team for a classy graphical overview of the humanitarian assistance that the UK has sent to the Philippines in the wake of...

A UN translator’s tale

The London Review of Books has a nice piece by Lynn Visson, a former UN translator, on the secrets of her trade: The most important language in most...

A Post-2015 Calendar

A non-comprehensive compilation of key political moments for the post-2015 development agenda between now and 2016. Extracted from a forthcoming CIC report on...

The UK’s Anti-Malala Backlash

Sadly, Malala Yousafzai became a controversial figure in Pakistan soon after she was shot and the theory that she is a pawn of the West is now entrenched....

Why Witchcraft Works

Ukerewe, the island in the Tanzanian half of Lake Victoria where I am currently spending a few months, is famous for witchcraft. Witches are found in every...

Evidence, policy and badgers

Fascinating discussion on how evidence from a randomised trial should be used in policy making, on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 this morning.  Summed up...

Going postal

Dear reader, there is nothing make fun of here.  Nothing. 9 October World Post Day is celebrated each year on 9 October, the anniversary of the establishment...

A Fox News EXCLUSIVE on post-2015

This just in from Fox News: EXCLUSIVE: The United Nations is planning to create a sweeping new set of “sustainable development goals” Um... and we'll have...

McKinsey’s latest on scarcity

McKinsey have just published an annual update on their resource scarcity work, which is well worth a read if you watch those issues. Key headlines as follows...

Iran’s biggest headache

A coda to my post a couple of weeks back on the role of climate change and resource scarcity as conflict threat multipliers in Syria, via Tom Friedman in the...

No Man is a (Small) Island…

Snarky comments are not, I think, necessary here: Expressing #EU support for Small Island Developing States' SustDev at working breakfast w/ @UN's...

Labour and Uncle Sam

Should Britain expect more from the Special Relationship with the United States than managed decline? What price should progressives be willing to pay for...

What progress looks like

We started out with four feet of skin care; today it's twenty feet. Today we don't have deodorants, but someday down the road we will have deodorants in...

Last of the White Russians

Occasionally an item of news reminds us of how transient most great political dramas are, and how quickly major crises come and go.  This is rather healthy:...

The first law of politics

From Janan Ganesh in the FT: More than any profession, politics suffers from the myth of strategy. Its practitioners and pundits tend to attribute electoral...

How the Snowden saga will end

This thoughtful post on Hacking Distributed is a must-read, arguing that the endgame on the Snowden saga will be determined by the relative strength of three...

This is a panacea

A powerful new paper, "This is a panacea" by Swift, J.,  has broken new ground in the field of development and social science research. A paper like no other....

No hero

From today’s FT: Having violated his secrecy contracts, Mr Snowden has broken serious laws and should face the music. What he disclosed to The Guardian and...

The right recipe for democracy

“There’s more to democracy than free and fair elections”. This is a refrain we’ve heard more than once since the anti-government protests broke out in major...

Revealed! Inside the IF Campaign

Now everyone's talking about the IF campaign. Saturday's rally in Hyde Park was on TV, radio, and in pretty much every Sunday paper. More importantly, the IF...

New Global Peace Index

Headlines (from their news release): Dramatic rise in the number of homicides drives reduction in world peace over the last year Measures of state-sponsored...

Reflections from the #BigIF

The Enough Food for Everyone IF campaign held a rally in Hyde Park this weekend. Three things stood out as major highlights for me: 1)      Wow. Getting...

Let the Poor Starve (updated)

Congressman Stephen Fincher, a Republican from Tennessee, is part of an effort to cut $20 billion from food stamps, a program that helps feed nearly 50...

Greenpeace on shale. Really?

I have long been bemused by the politics of shale gas in the UK. It's hard to understand why a Conservative-led government is not trying to get the stuff out...

Exactly

Steve Richards: For all the specific reasons that explain the destabilising crises that unnerve Prime Ministers, there is one constant factor. No 10 is...

Obama – inevitable lame duck

Tweet on election night: Pundits: get ahead of the game. Make a start on your "Obama's a lame duck now" column. — David Steven (@davidsteven) November 6, 2012...

Post-2015: is there any point?

This month, the UN High-level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda moves in to the home straight, with its report due to be submitted to the...

Wow (updated x2)

UK Secretary of State for International Development Justine Greening in a speech today: "South Africa has made enormous progress over the past two decades, to...

Hurray for Twitter!

Via PublicShaming, a helpful snapshot of people who think that (a) Chechnya and Czechoslovakia are the same place, and (b) the latter still exists. Isn't it...

Syria: why not a no-fly zone?

Enthusiasm for foreign intereventions from the sky seems to ebb and flow as the years go by. Back during the Kosovo intervention, Clinton and Blair were...

Boston and the new rules of media

Full marks to Buzzfeed for identifying the key point amid today's information blizzard from Boston (and for keeping their heads while all around them are...

A pogrom against bankers?

What an appalling quote from Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in the Telegraph: Let us all agree that top bankers behaved very badly. Let us agree too with Vince Cable...

Can Obama bend it like Bono?

What do Obama and Bono have in common? Both have proposed that the world should seek to end extreme poverty over the next twenty years or so. Obama said so in...

Tony Blair Saves Africa!

When I was young, naive and ignorant both of humanity's complexity and my own limitations, I believed I would one day save the world. Once I reached...

We need an MDG on quinoa!

Breaking news on the post-2015 development agenda just in from Richard in New York, who reports that the UN Secretary-General has set a major new agenda on...

NGOs at their absolute worst

Now this campaign really annoys me. A gaggle of NGOs have joined forces to launch a declaration demanding that the European Union scrap its emissions trading...

Austerity or plenty?

There's a very thoughtful article on where social democracy needs to go next over at Renewal (h/t to Casper for the link), which is thoroughly worth a read....

The United States after the Great Recession

A paper by David Steven, Joshua Meltzer and Claire Langley, published by the Brookings Institution, supported by the FutureWorld Foundation, on how the United States should respond to the aftermath of the recession in order to promote growth and sustainability in the coming years.

Let’s measure everything!

Here's that nice Bill Gates extolling the gospel of measuring what we do in development: [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=380sy5_ZQzo[/youtube] And...

The continuing Wall Street crisis

The ever-reliable Michael Lewis, reviewing a new book by a repentant Goldman Sachs employee, nails the (continuing) financial/political crisis: Stop and think...

Goals after 2015

As the High Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda meets in Liberia, New York University’s Center on International Cooperation has published a new...

Open borders: the great taboo

Matthew Yglesias in Slate has worked out some of what would happen if the United States opened up its borders: According to Gallup there are 150 million...

Lots of lovely numbers

A New Year present for data geeks.  In case any of you are bored with twitter and facebook as ways of wasting your time, have a look at this.  'Worldometers'...

How to do facipulation

In plenary and group feedback time, use the “there’s just so much participation going on I can’t capture it all!” trick to ignore or skip over what you don’t...

A US carbon tax?

Lots of Brits will, like me, have been pleasantly surprised - astonished, in fact - by Henry Porter's Observer piece over the weekend arguing that things seem...

Question Time

I feel for 'the sweaty man in the third row'. We'll all been there. [youtube]http://youtu.be/p3tUqRBiMVo[/youtube]

Bleak

Pithy summary of the problems faced by UK 16-30 year olds in an email sent round by the excellent Intergenerational Foundation: Frustrated / voiceless / no...

Obama’s failure on climate

In the Guardian, George Monbiot is incandescent about the failure of Obama and Romney to speak out about climate change. The two candidates remain struck...

Let’s Drive a Lot More

In The Economist, Schumpeter extols the benefits of driverless cars: When people are no longer in control of their cars they will not need driver insurance—so...

All change at Change.org?

I like Change.org. Everyone likes Change.org. It's about harnessing the power of the internet to empower citizens and help them push for stuff they mind about...

Freudian tweet of the day

An intriguing tweet from EU development commissioner Andris Piebalgs: I realised I made a mistake in my tweet. I meant 'living' not 'leaving' obviously. As I...

And they’re off….

The focus of the post-2015 world today is New York where the High-Level Panel appointed by the UN Secretary-General to provide him with advice on the...

Pigs in crisis!

Global food scarcity is approaching a catastrophic tipping-point: Might want to get your fill of ham this year, because "a world shortage of pork and bacon...

The Enemy at the Gates

On a beach in Málaga the other day I asked a Senegalese handbag seller if the collapse of Spain's economy, whose effect on business has made life increasingly...

What about the deserving rich?

In 1988, the majority of Britons couldn’t name their MP – but a staggering 92% of the population knew the name of an ANC leader imprisoned 6000 miles away in...

Beware September

This from an investor briefing sent out today by Nomura, the Japanese bank: Even if the eurozone manages to get through August without the crisis taking a...

Resources, Risk and Resilience: Scarcity and Climate Change in Ethiopia

The first in a series of CIC case studies on the challenges that resource scarcity and climate change pose to poor countries – and how they, and their international partners, can build resilience to them. The report assesses both Ethiopia’s current policies on scarcity and climate, and a range of key gaps, vulnerabilities and exogenous risks that need to be taken account of in future planning.

Resource scarcity in Ethiopia

Global concern is currently mounting all over again about the impacts of a more resource-scarce world, with particular attention focused at present on the...

Osborne just doesn’t make the cut

As Chancellor George Osborne thanks the London Olympics for taking him off the front pages, he might want to take advantage of the breathing space to have an...

Let’s be Norway (part 3)

Continuing an occasional series about why the UK could take a leaf out of Norway's foreign policy book on, well, pretty much every front (previous instalments...

LIBOR: more outrage, please

Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone: To me what’s missing from all of this is the “Holy Fucking Shit!” factor. This story is so outrageous that it shocks even the...

Procrastination…

I have something very urgent to do, but instead I have found this, which kind of proves the point in a satisfyingly circular way.  From Aaron Ausland's blog,...

Antifragility

Wind extinguishes a candle and energizes fire. Likewise with randomness, uncertainty, chaos: you want to use them, not hide from them. You want to be the fire...

DIY UAVs

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8sTSPqUfItE[/youtube]

Post-2015: What role for business?

There’s a consensus that any post-2015 global development framework should have more to say about the role of the private sector than the MDGs have done. But what does that actually mean in practice?  This new report from the Overseas Development Institute explores some options for how the private sector might be represented in and contribute to a new set of global goals for development.

Don’t blame the economists

What is it about economists that make people so cross? Some of my best friends are economists and they are perfectly nice, reasonable people - some of them...

Are Europeans Scared of China?

China's economy remains less than half the size of the United States'. Yet Europeans believe that China is the world's leading economic power. Few other...

Let’s be Norway (part 2)

So I'm in South Korea this week, and yesterday heard a presentation on 'Green Growth' from a senior government official.  Korea wants to stay at at the head...

Chill Out: Why Cooperation is Balancing Conflict Among Major Powers in the New Arctic

This report addresses the Arctic’s growing strategic relevance and conflict dynamic; offers background on, and assessment of, the existing institutions, and examines ongoing risks. Ultimately, the report concludes that the prospects for cooperation outstrip the potential for conflict, and that the Arctic offers lessons for tackling evolving challenges in other regions.

The perils of Googles Images…

Pity whichever hapless BBC researcher was in a hurry to find a background image for a report on the UN Security Council today and instead managed to post...

Latest data on emissions

2 sets of new emissions data out yesterday. First, the overview, courtesy of the Worldwatch Institute's new Vital Signs Online project: Although global...

Best of Times, Worst of Times

An edited and expanded version of talk given to the ‘Lessons from the Economic Troubles’ panel at an international workshop on systemic lessons from the global economic crisis, hosted by the Global Futures Forum.

Syria: Annan’s dilemma

  Kofi Annan's efforts to pacify Syria face growing criticism. Violence continues and few hope that real peace talks can happen soon.  Diplomats are...

In praise of Brooklyn

This is a bit of a diversion from the normal Global Dashboard diet, but as a Brooklyn resident I cannot help reproducing parts of a sterling defense of NYC's...

Occupational hazards

Quote 1: We do not make demands from governments ... or parliament members, which some of us see as illegitimate, unaccountable or corrupt. Quote 2: We demand...

Ouch

Armed with their billions, these NGOs have waded into the world, turning potential revolutionaries into salaried activists, funding artists, intellectuals and...

When NATO was cool

Robert Silvers is best-known for editing the New York Review of Books since its foundation, but he started out at The Paris Review, the classic "little...

Cash still counts

Even though we're all excited about mobile money these days, it's useful to be reminded that cash still matters.  A recent evaluation study in Kenya run by...

The biology of poverty traps

By way of catching up on my popular social science, I have been reading Daniel Kahneman's Thinking Fast and Slow and Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee's Poor...

Morgan Annan = Kofi Freeman

Kofi Annan often opens his speeches with a joke about once being mistaken for Morgan Freeman in Italy.  Today Morgan Freeman was at the UN to launch...

Happy birthday to GD

Dear oh dear! Amid all the excitement about what happens after 2015 and so on, all of us somehow managed to overlook the small fact that it was Global...

Make way for the Local President!

All the current furore about the doings of US Secret Service agents is likely to cause a few chuckles among their sister services in other countries, who tend...

Beyond the Millennium Development Goals

Debate on what should follow the Millennium Development Goals after 2015 is now underway in earnest. This briefing paper by Alex Evans and David Steven, prepared for a closed session Brookings Institution meeting organised at the request of the US government, sets out an overview of the MDGs and their expected status in 2015; describes the background to, and options for, a post-2015 framework; and discusses the political challenges of agreeing a new framework and sets out considerations for governments and other stakeholders.

The Luxembourgers are coming!

The New York Times has just published a genuinely wonderful (if just a little humorous) piece about Luxembourg's revanchist dreams of dominating its...

What sort of High Level Panel?

To be effective, the new High Level Panel on the post-2015 agenda needs to be clear about what it wants to be remembered for. Here are the six basic options that international commissions have open to them when they sit down to consider that question…

A complex coup in Guinea-Bissau

Last Friday, just as West Africa watchers were recovering from the excitement of the coup d'état in Mali a couple of weeks back, little Guinea-Bissau piped up...

Hitler and the naughty chair

The Globalist has published an intriguing extract from Adam Nagorski's new book Hitlerland.  It recounts the recollections of Helen Niemeyer, an American...

Geography fail

000 WEIO21 PHEB 110945 TSUIOX TSUNAMI BULLETIN NUMBER 002 PACIFIC TSUNAMI WARNING CENTER/NOAA/NWS ISSUED AT 0945Z 11 APR 2012 THIS BULLETIN IS FOR ALL AREAS...

Texts from Hillary

You've probably already seen this but...this site is quite funny: http://textsfromhillaryclinton.tumblr.com/ As the name suggests, its photos of Secretary...

Great NGO moments, part 394

A particularly special moment in NGO campaigns strategy yesterday, for connoisseurs of the genre: Jubilee Debt Campaign arguing that Britain should forgive...

Syria: this is how war works

Last Friday, my attention was caught by the title of a piece on the Mideastwire blog: Richard Gowan misses the key aspect of conflict mitigation: positive...

The West’s warlord fetish

The debate about Invisible Children's "Kony 2012" campaign has been impassioned, but there haven't been many efforts to put it in a proper historical...

Friday reality check

Great quote from the Economist's Democracy in America blog, back in December: A hundred years from now, looking back, the only question that will appear...

Is Corruption Always Bad?

Corruption is generally vilified as an unmitigated evil. It disenfranchises the poor, weakens public services, reduces investment, and holds back whole...

Is Oil a Bubble?

With Brent bumping up against the $125 mark and petrol/gasoline prices at record highs, many commentators are once again assuming that high prices are the new...

Somalia Conference Wrap Up

In the aftermath of the conference in London on Somalia, I offer a wrap-up of the best articles and books to read on the country. In the past week, there has...

Heartland: Hacked Off (updated)

I am hacked off by almost everything about the breathless exposé of Heartland's (purported) internal strategic documents.  Here's Think Progress's measured...

Is Pakistan an emerging market?

Most people in the West believe that Pakistan is an unstable country on the verge of imminent collapse or an explosion of violence. It is consistently...

Syria: is love the answer?

War is not the answer, Marvin Gaye once observed, and only love can conquer hate. Now Citizens for Global Solutions is trying to translate this into policy by...

Agenda 21 is Evil

The Agenda 21 conspiracy theory is back in the media, thanks to a New York Times report on Tea Party opposition to bike lanes, smart meters, public parks and...

Wanted: big ideas

So the other day I was asked what I thought the ‘big debates’ were in development.  A dream question.  But the more I thought about it, the more I found...

Globalisation: a new wave?

In recent years, the word ‘globalisation’ has become synonymous with a whole range of international ills.  Financial globalisation has been particularly...

Is Lagos next?

Although it is extremely hard to predict the actions of a terrorist group such as Boko Haram, Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, may be a looming target....

Chris Hedges goes viral

It's become an unlikely YouTube hit. No, not sneezing pandas or puppies on skateboards...but Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges talking on C-Span...

The “fifth BRIC” motors along

Indonesia, sometimes known as the "fifth BRIC" (after Brazil Russia India China) because of its population size and growth potential, now has debt rated at...

Moving to Titan?

Have you lost all hope given the onslaught of bad news these past few years? Well, now you have a backup plan. A new index published in the journal...

Inequality Within The G20

As the Occupy movement gets ready to hit the slopes of Davos, a new Oxfam report reveals that inequality is growing in almost all G20 countries. Russia,...

Piracy: the new aid

OK, OK, that's not quite what Chatham House are saying in their new report Treasure Mapped: Using Satellite Imagery to Track the Developmental Effects of...

The UN: ready for action, 24/7/365

Equal parts diplomat and advocate, civil servant and CEO, the Secretary-General is a symbol of United Nations ideals and a spokesman for the interests of the...

Trickle Down Piracy

Readers could make a real contribution to the people of Somalia by taking their yachts over to the Horn of Africa: Piracy off the coast of Somalia may be a...

Canada’s new WMD: muskets

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, which kicked off when America made a  grab for what is now Canada.  There then followed a range of...

Is Egypt going broke?

Is Egypt running out of money? Financial woes add an extra layer of drama to one of the most important stories to watch in 2012. Egypt's reserves have dropped...

Seriously?

William Hague's (alleged) advice to David Cameron ahead of the euro summit: If it’s a choice between keeping the euro together or keeping the Conservative...

They can’t both be right

The Economist's World in 2012 publication captures one of the big uncertainties for next year - and this one's a straight either / or, they say: Somebody is...

The Overview Effect

“As the Declaration of Independence laid the groundwork for the [US] Constitution, so the commission’s report lays the foundation for the constitution of a...

Dmitry Medvedev’s potty mouth

From Reuters, this little gem: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev caused shock and jeers on Wednesday after an obscene insult directed at political opponents...

Russian politics re-boots

Here's a piece I wrote for the Wall Street Journal Europe about six months ago, about the effect of the internet on Russia's stagnant politics: In November...

Britain and Europe after the veto

What a day. Five observations: My initial reaction this morning: On a sinking Titanic, the UK is lobbying to avoid further damage to the iceberg.  If David...

How big is the Congo? Very big!

Few journalistic cliches are as irritating as the trope of describing some war-ridden country as "the size of Texas" or "three times the size of France".  I...

The DRC: is there a better way?

What can you do with US$1.2 billion? Treat over one million HIV/AIDS patients in Africa for one year. Build 200 new university campuses in places such as...

Balls the new Brown

Remember how Gordon Brown used the Treasury to keep the rest of the Cabinet on a short leash? Seems like Ed Balls is up to the same trick: It’s almost cliched...

Creating Consensus on a post-2015 framework for development

Any global framework for development which is agreed after 2015 will be a political deal between states. This paper looks at recent trends in policy and politics in emerging economies and traditional donors to assess where a consenus might lie. It suggests some principles for a post-2015 agreement which emerge from recent policy developments

Russia: the sick BRIC?

A new report from ECFR on Russia makes startlingly depressing reading: The economic crisis has exposed a governance crisis inside Russia: even Putin now...

Has Will Hutton gone mad?

Over the weekend, Will Hutton offered a 'modest proposal' so bizarre that it must have left his colleagues at the Observer fearing for his sanity. David...

Okaay

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjOwSIsgE8c[/youtube]

How many people are hungry?

The good news: poverty is in retreat. The bad news: hunger isn’t.  That’s the headline finding for the first Millennium Development Goal , which aims to halve...

Are the Euro sceptics winning?

‘Euroscepticism’ is firmly back on the political agenda following last week’s battle in the House of Commons over whether to hold a referendum on Britain’s...

A post-2015 Global Development Agreement: why, who what?

Paper from ODI and UNDP, authored by Claire Melamed and Andy Sumner, summarising the evidence on the impact of the MDGs, and looking at current trends in poverty and in global governance that will affect the shape and the scope of any future agreement on global development.

Fabio isn’t dreaming of Barack

Politico reports that Eighties muscle god Fabio thinks that President Obama is too European.  Sure, that's not a new accusation.  But Fabio has an insider's...

UNFCCC: try not to laugh

Brand identity is important for a high-profile global agency. Your logo tells your stakeholders who you are, what you stand for, and where you're going. It's...

Why inequality matters

  Whatever else the Occupy protests (over 900 at the last count), have done, they have propelled the issue of inequality on to the front pages and into...

Sloppy journalism time

Oh dear. From today's Observer (for non-Brits, that's the Sunday edition of the Guardian): The United Nations will warn this week that the...

21 years ahead of its time

A 1989 article on ‘the global teenager’ in Whole Earth Review was way ahead of its time in identifying the crux of what today’s youth bulge means for global change

What is catalytic foreign aid?

  Is ‘aid exit’ or 'catalytic aid' a new development strategy for poor countries? You might think so judging by comments buzzing around about 'catalytic...

Ban Ki-moon nails the alphabet

At a meeting on Global Green Growth in Denmark yesterday, Ban Ki-moon went on an alphabetical rampage: The three Gs of Global Green Growth must respond to...

Hobbes in New Delhi

He's back! How does the world look to New Delhi's top policy-makers?  Hobbesian, according to a speech this week by Indian National Security Adviser Shiv...

Politics, hunger and the muppets

Sesame Street is addressing head on the issues of 50m Americans living with hunger (see Alex post here on the staggering data in the Economist recently) by...

How to unseat foreign aid mantras?

I just finished a fantastic and provocative book – a wake up call to the aid and development ‘industry’ (of which I am a part so good to be woken up once in a...

Can you measure eudaimonia?

Martha Nussbaum has another book out. Does she never sleep? This one is called Creating Capabilities: The Human Development Approach, and looks at the...

What is resilience?

Just back from a lot of discussion on scarcity, resilience and crises at a conference convened by the Development Studies Association and European Association...

What is the population problem?

Just before I went off on my long summer break (very nice thank you), I did a podcast on the Guardian website about population.  It's well worth listening to...

Not waving but clowning

What on earth was with this painfully cringeworthy waving at the Seoul G20? Heavens above - this is supposed to be a summit, not a school outing. If you look...

Ducks, Gyms and Chinese foreign aid

Foreign aid from ‘new donors’ (aka emerging economies) now makes up around $10bn/year. And this has doubled in the last five years as the Economist noted last...

Securing Libya: the next steps

So, it's all over in Libya.  Or is it?  I tend to concur with Stephen Walt's nervous take: The danger is that we will have another "Mission Accomplished"...

Quote of the month

Philip Zelikow nails it in the FT: In the past foreign policy mainly consisted of adjusting relations between states – what they will do with or to each...

Five must-reads on the London riots

James Meek recalls a recent stroll down Hackney's Broadway Market, and what it said about London, on the LRB blog yesterday: As Ghaith and I walked down the...

Flash mob vs flash mob

Lots of commentary on the media about how London rioters are using social media to coordinate their movements. But the converse holds, too: here's a snap of...

Jobless growth: is China next?

An interesting weak signal from Beijing: Foxconn, the world’s largest contract electronics manufacturer by revenue, plans to increase the use of robots in its...

Quote of the week

"I always hire people who absolutely want my job. Not just in a 'that would be nice to have her job' way but in an absolute 'I can do better than her'...

Andy Coulson’s security clearance

Media attention is focusing this morning on the question of why Andy Coulson didn't go through "Developed Vetting" security clearance - an in-depth background...

Global hub fail

OK, that's it. We are officially no longer a serious country: The prime minister, who found out that Stephenson was resigning just over an hour into his...

Hunger in the US

Lest you thought that surging food prices were only an issue for low income countries and people living on less than a dollar a day, this week's Economist...

What the ‘powershift’ narrative overlooks on US-China relations

The ‘powershift’ narrative about US-China relations obscures how much they have in common: unsustainable growth paths, shaky financial sectors, political sclerosis, massive inequality, reliance on imported resources and above all their status as the two principal obstacles to collective action on shared global risks.

No honeymoon for Ban Ki-moon

As Colum Lynch notes,  Ban Ki-moon has been showered with "glowing plaudits" since he won a second term as UN Secretary-General last week. In a short memo to...

Kazakhs cross about crossword

And this week's prize for healthy democratic debate goes to... Kazakhstan! A Kazakh weekly newspaper is facing calls for its closure over a crossword clue...

Tea Party Summer Camp

A Tea Party group is running a summer camp that will use 'fun, hands-on activities' to teach kids what the United States is really about. Here's one of the...

The Multilateral Milk Man

While everyone is asking who will be the next boss of the IMF, another top international job is becoming vacant.  The current  Economist contains an ad for a...

Tweeting Yemen

Yemen and Arab Spring watchers will be fascinated by the Al Jazeera New Media team's Interactive Twitter Dashboard, illustrating what is being tweeted about...

New CIC paper on the Rio 2012 summit

The Rio 2012 sustainable development summit is at risk of being the latest in a long line of damp squibs on environmental multilateralism – but could still make real progress, if it focuses on greening growth and building resilience to shocks and stresses, and above all faces up to the issues of fair shares that arise in a world of limits.

Governance for a Resilient Food System

How national and international governance systems need to be reconfigured to meet the challenges of food security in a world of tighter supply and demand balances and increasing volatility. Report for Oxfam’s new Grow campaign by Alex Evans. (May 2011)

What’s the point of the G8?

It's G8-time again!  Sadly, not all the leaders who've turned up to recent G8 summits - like the guy on the right, seen at the Italian-hosted meeting in 2009...

Mandy for the IMF? Seriously?

From Martin Kettle in the Guardian, the eye-catching - and bizarre - idea that the Chinese are rooting for Peter Mandelson to take over at the IMF: A more...

Liam Fox’s leaked letter

Here in the UK, there's a big media hoo-ha underway about a leaked letter from Defence Secretary Liam Fox to the Prime Minister about the UK's foreign aid...

The EU: “strategic suburbia”?

I'm flattered that David Miliband has quoted me in speech on Europe he gave in Poland.  The former Foreign Secretary believes that "America’s attention today...

Libya strains NATO

I've done a piece for YaleGlobal about the implications for NATO of its operation in Libya With Operation Unified Protector in Libya, NATO enters war for the...

What do we want? Jobs!

  This post appeared on the Guardian's Poverty Matters blog yesterday.  See the original for some insightful comments.  A recent survey asking people in...

Are 1 in 3 Africans middle class?

Yes says a new report from the African Development Bank which says one in three (34%) or 313m of Africa's nearly 1bn people are now middle class (living on...

To MDG or not to MDG?

Which is the title of a presentation I've just given at a conference on global health and the MDGs in Copenhagen.   The powerpoint's not up yet, but the main...

World Bank picks up idea of a World Resources Outlook

The World Bank’s 2011 World Development Report sets out its support for Alex Evans’s proposal of a new integrated World Resources Outlook to give policymakers an overview of resource scarcity trends and their implications for economics, development and conflict risk.

Where are the Arab Mandelas?

Tom Friedman in the NYT today: Syria, Libya, Yemen and Bahrain, countries fractured by tribal, ethnic and religious divisions, would have been ideal for...

Economist humour

An economist joke: Bono and Jeff Sachs are meeting in Harvard to talk about world poverty. After a while, they decide to head out to a Harvard Square eaterie...

Economics for a world with limits

Text of speech by Alex Evans to Institute for New Economic Thinking annual conference at Bretton Woods; the YouTube video is here. (April 2011) Download...

Ban and Cathy: soulmates?

How did the EU and UN go from being run by these guys... ...to their current leaders? Having written a fair bit about the UN's Ban Ki-moon and EU's Catherine...

Abidjan: the UN’s quagmire?

Peacekeeping-watchers are aflutter over the news that UN peacekeepers in Côte d'Ivoire have decided to take offensive actions against Laurent Gbagbo and his...

The state of Spain

A joke told to me by an unemployed Spanish friend today: Three government ministers go on a tour of Europe. One is from Britain, one from France, and the...

Survivalists of the world, unite

And while you're doing that, why not also subscribe to Off the Grid News,  a free weekly newsletter that will tool you up with information on such cheerful...

HM Treasury: time for a purge

Bravo to Philip Stephens for telling it like it is on HM Treasury in yesterday's FT: The inflationary bust of the early 1990s shredded the Treasury’s...

Future activism

Prepare for some downbeat news: People in the  UK understand and relate to global poverty no differently now than they did in  the 1980s. This is the case...

The Daily Mail: an all-time best?

The Daily Mail is so cheerfully and consistently hypocritical that most of the time it just feels like too much bother to pick them up on it. But every now...

Development’s next decade

Report by Alex Evans for ActionAid’s International Strategy 2012-2016, identifying eight critical uncertainties for development over the next decade, and ten recommendations for ActionAid as a global campaigning organisation.

Murdering language

"Language is one area of culture that Nicolas Sarkozy can't dominate," complains Hélène Cixous in the Guardian, "so he mangles it with a calculated...

Position vacant

As Mother Jones says, "You should, like, strongly consider applying to work for this guy:" We want to add some talent to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune...

Mandelson the aid expert…

In an article in the Daily Mail today, Peter Mandelson takpes a pop at the Labour Government's aid policy.  He says: ‘I’m not anti-aid, but if you ask me...

The two sides of immigration

The Dark Side: I have recently moved to Spain. In order to buy anything official like insurance, a flat, a car or a bank account - you have to pay for your...

Is there a Plan?

Foreign Policy scooped the US broadsheet press by a day over the weekend with its breakdown of what persuaded President Obama to undertake his volte face on...

Physician, heal thyself

  Not much austerity in evidence at the IMF: The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have pushed ahead with pay raises above the rate of inflation...

Battle-proof wind farms

So with simultaneous crises underway on both nuclear (meltdown risk at six reactors) and oil (spiking at $115), you may be wondering what other options are...

Ban Ki-moon 2.0?

A few weeks ago, David Bosco and I had a rapid-fire exchange (look here, here and here) over how Ban Ki-moon measures up to Kofi Annan as UN...

Chew on that, locavores

This Report rejects food self-sufficiency as a viable option for nations to contribute to global food security, but stresses the importance of crafting food...

Foreign Policy ironies

Prime Minister, David Cameron’s tour of the Gulf on a trade promotion mission as the Arab world is rocked by mass protests against long-lasting authoritarian...

Into a new oil spike

Ever heard of spare capacity theory? It's defined by Gregor Macdonald as: the assumption among western bankers, policy makers, economists, and stock markets...

An amoral perspective on the UN

David Bosco has an interesting post over at FP riffing on a Reuters piece about Ban Ki-moon's record at the UN. The Reuters article basically says that most...