The argument about whether overseas aid money can be spent on the military seems to be kicking off again. Indeed, it seems not only to have started up but to be institutionalised in negotiations between the UK Ministry of Defence and the Department for International Development.
In an earlier post I wrote about how mining companies have evolved to take into account the needs of their host communities. I suggested ways they can broaden the application of their “social programmes” to understand, embrace and contribute to development at a higher, societal level than simply serving some of the expressed needs of the local or host community.
In both low and middle income countries, well established arguments and solid evidence confirm that there is no real development without peace and only the peace of the graveyard without development. These conclusions have shifted the fulcrum of discussion about development over the past several years. But they have not yet added up to telling anybody how to do it.
Recent high-profile cases of gang rapes and murders of young women in India and South Africa have caused anger, anguish and soul-searching across the world. However these brutal cases are only the tip of the iceberg.
Back in mid-2010, in time for the MDGs-plus-10-years summit, International Alert published a review of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which criticised the MDGs for being too narrow and too technical; for confusing ends with means; for being top-down and for being used in statistically illiterate ways; and for creating perverse and unhelpful policy incentives.
This week it was confirmed that in 2013 the UK will hit the target of spending 0.7 per cent of GDP on official development assistance (ODA). A long-standing campaigning goal for development NGOs and a moral goal for the country have been achieved.
Resilience is a wonderful metaphor. It somehow conveys in a single word the qualities of bending without breaking, of healing after an injury, of tensile rather than brittle strength. Oak and palm trees are resilient to the power of strong winds, before which they bend and then straighten again. Resilient people pick themselves up after being knocked down, draw on their reserves of ideas and strength to deal with difficult challenges, or hunker down until the gale has blown itself away.
To many disinterested observers last week's Kenya elections seem like a victory not only for President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta, for his Jubilee Alliance, and for the Kikuyu and Kalenjin tribes represented by Kenyatta and his running mate William Ruto.
There has been a great deal of noise, confusion, and at times sound and fury, over Value for Money (VfM) among overseas development NGOs based in the UK, of late. This is because so many of us depend on UK government funding from DFID, which has been taking VfM more seriously since the last election – and not surprising it has, given the degree of scepticism about overseas aid among UK taxpayers, some MPs, and journalists.
The state is the organising principle of national and international politics and states are the subject of abundant historical research, academic theory and contemporary analysis. That perhaps makes it a little strange to say that both the state as a category and states in general tend to be taken for granted. But that’s how it is – and it’s a problem.
I recently read volume one of Francis Fukuyama’s The Origins of Political Order (Profile Books, 2011) in which he explores how different models of governance have emerged and decayed “from prehuman history to the French Revolution”. Volume two is forthcoming, and will bring the story up to the present day. As someone who works in peacebuilding, which is largely about fostering good governance today, I have a keen interest in how different governance regimes have emerged and decayed in history, if they provide us with clues for the present.
The panel established by the Secretary General of the United Nations to determine a new global approach to international development has concluded that peacebuilding is a central part of that new vision for human progress.
Most of the trends that The State of the World Atlas looks at are ones that are visible across the last two decades since the Cold War ended. During that period, peace is one of the big, under-reported (though not unqualified) good news stories.