How can the UN become a Thought Leader again?

December 12, 2018
When was the last time you read anything from UNCTAD? Back in the day (say, early 2000s), its annual Trade and Development Report (TDR) was one of the big annual milestones (along with the World Development Report, Human Development Report etc). They were essential reading for any policy wonk. They’re all still being published, but they make much less of

What’s the problem with Globalization?

July 6, 2017
Globalization, remember that? When I first entered the development NGO scene in the late 90s it was all the rage. Lots of rage. The anti-globalization movement roared from summit to summit. Academics traded books and papers that boosted or critiqued. The World Bank used voodoo modelling to show that really we’d all be better off if we just got rid

What did trade campaigns achieve? Plus reinventing Robert Chambers & changing aid narratives: some Berlin conversations

March 24, 2016
Had a really interesting couple of days in Berlin last week, at the invitation of the German government aid agency, GIZ. Also spent time with the impressive policy and campaigns wonks at Oxfam Germany. Here’s a few of the topics that came up. What did all that trade campaigning achieve? From the late 90s to 2005, when I was working

Jamie Love’s Next Big Idea: Making the WTO into a force for good in Public Health

June 6, 2014
I’ve heard the name Jamie Love mentioned in reverential tones over the years, and a few weeks ago, I was asked by STOPAIDS to interview him in an ‘in conversation’ format in front of a small group of activists. It was fantastic fun (for me at least). Jamie is director of Knowledge Ecology International and is known as perhaps the

Why aren’t we using government purchasing to promote the right to food (among other things)? Great farewell paper from Olivier de Schutter

May 29, 2014
Oliver de Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food reaches the end of his term at the end of May, leaving some pretty big shoes to fill. He summarized his arguments in March with a final report to the Human Rights Council, but kept on going til the end, with a really thought-provoking briefing note on government procurement.

The poorest countries are under renewed threat from WTO rules on access to medicines (and yes, this is 2013)

April 5, 2013
This week is acquiring an oddly retro flavour. Wednesday had me reminiscing about the Access to Medicines campaign of the last decade. Now it turns out that the issues it raised have recently erupted again. In short, the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) are trying to get another extension to be free from implementing the WTO’s Intellectual Property (TRIPs) agreement. The

Food fight at the WTO: de Schutter v Lamy on whether trade leads to food security

December 20, 2011

A nostalgic debate on globalization and development

September 7, 2011

How can advocacy NGOs respond to the global meltdown? FP2P Flashback

August 19, 2011

The death of Doha? But the WTO lives on.

May 5, 2011

Seattle + 10 = Copenhagen?

December 3, 2009
I went out for a celebratory (if that’s the word) drink this week with a heroic band of Seattle Survivors. Ten years ago we were besuited NGO delegates at the notorious WTO ministerial, which collapsed in a welter of tear gas and turtles (or at least people dressed in turtle suits protesting at WTO rulings on the environment). It’s been

Remember the development round? Belated reflections on the WTO Doha collapse

December 22, 2008