The impact of the global crisis on women workers – new report

March 30, 2009
A powerful new Oxfam report is released today, ahead of this week’s crisis summit in London. Written by my colleague Bethan Emmett, it pulls together preliminary research in 10 countries across Asia and Latin America to show that women working in export manufacturing industries, e.g. garments and electronics, are often first to be laid off, frequently without pay or compensation. In
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Viet Nam: how the crisis is hitting migrant workers in globalization’s poster child economy

March 26, 2009
As we approach the London Summit on 2 April, I’ll be putting up some findings from research Oxfam has been doing on the impact of the crisis in a range of developing countries. First up, some early results from our hyperactive Viet Nam team on the impact of the global crisis on what has been one of the world’s most successful
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Is British aid bad? Owen Barder locks antlers with Bill Easterly

March 25, 2009
Time for a little attention to the rising aid sceptic tide. A number of books (Dambisa Moyo, Jonathan Glennie, Michela Wrong), blogs etc have been trashing aid with both good and bad consequences. Good in that, as From Poverty to Power argues, there is lots wrong with the aid system that urgently needs fixing (and some deeper questions on the
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Food prices for poor people are not coming down – new data from the FAO

March 24, 2009
It’s been bugging me for months that we are still talking about a ‘food price crisis’ even though world commodity prices, including food, have come down a long way since their peak in mid 2008. Should we still be talking about 150m people being pushed below the poverty line by high food prices? Won’t they have reemerged from poverty as
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IMF finally calls it – the world economy will shrink in 2009, and developing countries are hit harder than we thought

March 20, 2009
Every revision of global growth predictions has been heading towards zero, and now the IMF, in its report to the G20 finance ministers’ meeting last weekend,  has taken the next step. It predicts the world economy will shrink in 2009, (by minus 0.5-1%) for the first time in 60 years. It’s pretty safe to assume that this won’t be the
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Want to reduce inequality? Look at Latin America!

March 19, 2009
I was at DFID again this week (I should be on a retainer) , presenting a paper on the impact of the global crisis on Latin America (it should be on the Oxfam website by the middle of next week). One interesting glass-half-full v glass-half-empty discussion was over income inequality: I said the region was doing well in reducing the gulf between
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‘Moving Out of Poverty’: Outstanding new mega-study from the World Bank

March 18, 2009
One of the best books I have ever read on development was ‘Crying out for Change’, a summary of a massive late 1990s study by the World Bank called ‘Voices of the Poor’. So it was a delight to pick up the summary of its new and epic successor ‘The Moving Out of Poverty Study’ (I’ve got the book on
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Is the UN missing in action on the global crisis?

March 17, 2009
Last week I attended two events that focussed on the crisis and its impact on development: a big DFID conference in preparation for its forthcoming white paper, and an NGO presentation to the UN ‘Commission of Experts’ on reforming the international financial system, which is chaired by Joe Stiglitz. Discussions at both events brought home just limited a role the
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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
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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:
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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
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Building a Low Carbon Economy: How much will it cost? Where do we start?

March 10, 2009
Leaders like Obama and (increasingly) Gordon Brown seem to be gravitating towards the ‘green new deal’ argument that massive international spending in response to the financial crisis must also shift economies onto a ‘low carbon recovery’ path. Looking at the science, there’s little argument – we have to massively reduce the carbon intensity of production if we are to keep
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