The Millennium Development Goals: what have they achieved? What next?

March 16, 2009
Last week I spent a day closeted with statisticians, UN officials and academics reviewing the MDG phenomenon. Agreed off the back of the Millennium Summit in (unsurprisingly) 2000, the MDGs, setting out 2015 global targets on everything from health to education to poverty, have become a familiar part of the aid landscape, a reference point for politicians and donors, but

How badly is the crisis hitting the poorest countries? Here’s what the IMF thinks

March 12, 2009
The IMF has a new paper out summarizing the impact of the global crisis on 78 ‘low income countries’ (LICs) – the world’s poorest, many of them in Sub-Saharan Africa. Its findings include:

What happens when you give people money (rather than food or blankets) after a natural disaster? Some evidence from Zambia

March 11, 2009
When disaster strikes in the shape of floods or droughts, aid agencies traditionally ship in food and blankets, often over great distances. But increasingly, people are trying out a novel alternative – give people envelopes full of cash and let them buy what they need. I’ve just been reading an evaluation of two such exercises in response to floods in

Another 100m in poverty; 700,000 dead children in Africa: the latest World Bank predictions on the crisis

February 18, 2009
Chilling new numbers from the World Bank on the human impact of the global economic crisis. New estimates for 2009 suggest that lower economic growth rates will trap 46 million more people on less than $1.25 a day than was expected prior to the crisis. An extra 53 million will stay trapped on less than $2 a day. This is

Can 17th Century Britain help us design better social protection?

February 17, 2009
I recently listened enthralled to Simon Szreter of Cambridge University at an ODI conference on growth and equity (more on that later). Simon set out some of the history of social protection in the UK and its possible implications for today’s developing countries. For the two centuries before the industrial revolution, the UK had a universal system of decentralized social protection

A Billion Hungry People – remember the food price crisis?

January 26, 2009
Read this paragraph: ‘Despite the recent creation of a United Nations High Level Task Force, there is still little coordination or collaboration among UN organisations, the World Bank/International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other donors. There is no functioning global mechanism to ensure coordination and policy coherence of the various actors, thus adding complexity to the response effort and reducing efficiency,

Pregnancy and childbirth still killing 500,000 women a year, nearly all in Africa and South Asia

January 22, 2009
Gender injustice is toxic to development, nowhere more clearly than in the stark fact that having a child remains one of the biggest health risks for women worldwide. Fifteen hundred women die every day from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth. That’s half a million women every year, and the number has hardly budged in two decades, according to UNICEF’s

Brazil is top of the world on an environmental issue – recycling

January 21, 2009
I’m mugging up on green jobs as part of the research for a forthcoming paper on the need for a ‘global green new deal’ and came across this great and (to me) unexpected example from Brazil. It’s drawn from UNEP’s ‘Green Jobs’ paper. Brazil is the global leader in aluminium can recycling — some 10.3 billion cans were collected in Brazil

Promises v Reality: The Widening Credibility Gap on Aid

January 20, 2009
The backsliding began almost as soon as the ink was dry on the promises of increased aid made at the 2005 G8 summit in Gleneagles. Have a look at the graphic, based on the latest figures.     It comes from a recent analysis of the latest aid numbers by ace crunchers, Development Initiatives, by way of Owen Barder’s blog.

3 crystal ball overviews on global security – not looking good

December 15, 2008

A definitive overview of education in the developing world

December 12, 2008

Cuba beats USA again, this time on child welfare

December 10, 2008