Social Development en Campaign Art: Why it’s imperative to scale-up maternal and child nutrition <div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><strong>People, Spaces, Deliberation bloggers present exceptional campaign art from all over the world. These examples are meant to inspire.</strong><br /><br /> Maternal and child nutrition is a key driver for sustainable development, yet about 155 million children worldwide are still stunted (children below average height for their age). According to the 2008 <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Lancet Maternal and Child Undernutrition Series</a> “more than a third of child deaths and 11% of the total diseases burden worldwide are due to maternal and child undernutrition.”<br /><br /> More recent <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">estimates</a> released in May 2017 by UNICEF, WHO, and World Bank suggest that number of children under 5 stunted has decreased from 254.2 million in 1990 to 154.8 million in 2016. While this a great progress in the last 26 years, 154.8 million stunted children is still a staggering number.<br />   <div> <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><img alt="" height="460" src="" title="" width="700" /></a></div> <p> Source: WHO, UNICEF, World Bank<br />  </p> </div></div></div> Wed, 07 Jun 2017 18:27:00 +0000 Darejani Markozashvili 7736 at Building State Capability: Review of an important (and practical) new book <div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><p> <img alt="" height="205" src="" style="float:left" title="" width="300" />Jetlag is a book reviewer’s best friend. In the bleary small hours in NZ and now Australia, I have been catching up on my reading. The latest was ‘Building State Capability’, by <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Matt Andrews</a>, Lant Pritchett and <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Michael Woolcock</a>, which builds brilliantly on Matt’s <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">2013 book</a> and the subsequent work of all 3 authors in trying to find practical ways to help reform state systems in dozens of developing countries (see the <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">BSC website</a> for more). Building State Capability is <a href=";lang=en&amp;" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">published by OUP</a>, who agreed to make it available as an <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Open Access pdf</a>, in part because of the good results with How Change Happens (so you all owe me….).</p> <p> But jetlag was also poor preparation for the first half of this book, which after a promising start, rapidly gets bogged down in some extraordinarily dense academese. I nearly gave up during the particularly impenetrable chapter 4: sample ‘We are defining capability relative to normative objectives. This is not a reprisal of the “functionalist” approach, in which an organization’s capability would be defined relative to the function it actually served in the overall system.’ Try reading that on two hours’ sleep.</p> <p> Luckily I stuck with it, because the second half of the book is an excellent (and much more accessible) manual on how to do <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Problem Driven Iterative Adaptation</a> – the approach to institutional reform that lies at the heart of the BSC programme.</p> </div></div></div> Mon, 17 Apr 2017 16:12:00 +0000 Duncan Green 7693 at Social development and the global community: Why the legitimacy of the change process matters <div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><h4> This is the first post in a series of six in which <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Michael Woolcock</a>, Lead Social Development Specialist at the World Bank and lecturer in public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, discusses critical ideas within the field of <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Social Development</a>.</h4> Both globalization and international development bring a wide range of people into contact with one another, linking distant communities to transnational networks and opening up spaces to new ideas. Alongside the state, multilateral development banks (MDBs), intergovernmental organizations (IGOs), civil society organizations (CSOs), private contractors, and development professionals converge on project sites, often interacting directly with local communities.<br /><br /> This influx of people brings global values concerning trade, democratic governance, human rights, and environmental sustainability— among many others— in contact with local conceptions of these values. This can create friction when international actors push for global liberal values that local communities are unfamiliar with or when they disregard traditional patterns of discourse. The tussle over values also occurs within states as district and national communities debate how development should progress. Urbanization, immigration, and the arts, for example, can all be experienced differently by various groups within a society.<br /><br /> Michael Woolcock asserts that, “putting a very strong premium on the legitimacy of the change process” is critical to a credible and accountable development intervention. Further, he states that if multi-level stakeholder engagement can be sustained over time, “then a lot of the process of dealing with contention can be acquired and incorporated into the way in which systems get managed.”<br />  <div class="asset-wrapper asset aid-340 asset-video"> <strong > Michael Woolcock </strong> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-asset-video-file field-type-emvideo field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><object type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="640" height="360" data="//"> <param name="movie" value="//" /> <param name="wmode" value="transparent" /> <param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /> </object> </div></div></div></div> </div></div></div></div> Mon, 20 Mar 2017 20:15:00 +0000 Roxanne Bauer 7664 at KIAT Guru: Engaging communities to improve education in Indonesia <div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Indonesia successfully <a href="" target="_blank">reduced its poverty rate</a> over the last two decades. Yet, this growth was accompanied by one of the fastest increases in inequality in East Asia and the Pacific.&nbsp; While the poverty rate in urban areas has fallen to 8.2%, in remote and rural areas it remains around 14%.<br /> <br /> This inequality is exacerbated by the persistent poor quality of public services, such as education, in rural and remote areas. While various government initiatives have improved access to education, <a href="" target="_blank">quality and equity remain major challenges</a> for those in rural and remote areas.<br /> &nbsp; <div style="width: 210px; height: 165px; padding-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 8px; float: right;"> <img alt="" height="118" src="" style="border: 1px solid rgb(255, 255, 255) !important; border-image: none !important !important;" title="" width="200" /><br /> <img alt="" height="5" src="" style="border: 1px solid rgb(255, 255, 255) !important; border-image: none !important !important;" title="" width="12" /><strong><a href="" style="color: rgb(59, 179, 188); font-size: 12px; text-decoration: none;" target="_blank">About this series</a></strong><br /> <img alt="" height="5" src="" style="border: 1px solid rgb(255, 255, 255) !important; border-image: none !important !important;" title="" width="12" /><strong><a href="" style="color: rgb(59, 179, 188); font-size: 12px; text-decoration: none;" target="_blank">More blog posts</a></strong></div> <br /> To address these issues, the World Bank has partnered with the government of Indonesia to launch a pilot project called “<a href=";tab=overview" target="_blank">KIAT Guru</a>,” which aims to improve teacher presence, teacher service quality, and student learning outcomes, while enhancing community engagement and participation in remote areas.<br /> <br /> “We [have] two different mechanisms. One of them is community empowerment… The community develops a service agreement with schools so they can agree upon the five to seven indicators that they think are a priority,” says Dewi Susanti, Senior Social Development Specialist, who leads the project.<br /> <br /> In this video, Dewi Susanti and World Bank Senior Director Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez (<a href="" target="_blank">@Ede_WBG</a>) discuss the <a href=";tab=overview" target="_blank">KIAT Guru project</a> and the lessons learned from its early stages. &nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;<div class="asset-wrapper asset aid-339 asset-video"> <strong > KIAT Guru project </strong> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-asset-video-file field-type-emvideo field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><iframe src="//[streamerType]=auto" width="640" height="360" frameborder="0" webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe></div></div></div></div> </div></div></div></div> Thu, 16 Mar 2017 15:58:00 +0000 Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez 7661 at Engaging citizens for better development outcomes <div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><p> Also available in: <a href="" rel="nofollow">Español</a>, <a href="" rel="nofollow">Français</a>, <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Chinese</a>  </p> <p> <img alt="" height="268" src="" style="float:left" title="" width="400" />The World Bank Group’s <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Open Learning Campus</a> (OLC) is launching a free Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) from March 15-April 26—<a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Citizen Engagement: A Game Changer for Development?</a>—through the edX platform. Experts from across the globe critically analyze how citizen engagement can be leveraged most effectively to achieve development results.<br />  <br /> Partnering with leading institutions—the London School of Economics, Overseas Development Institute, Participedia and CIVICUS—to develop each week’s content, the MOOC aims to provide the best knowledge and cutting edge research on the subject. With over 25,000 global learners having joined previous offerings, this third offering of the popular course will continue to build a genuine community of practice.<br />  <br /><strong>Why citizen engagement? </strong>In an increasingly interconnected world,<span class="shareable-quote"><a class="popup" href="" > citizen engagement is critical for improving development outcomes<img class="tw-icon-over" src="/sites/all/modules/wb_helper/images/iconm-twitter-gray.png"></a></span>. Around the world we have seen that when citizens are engaged, when they participate, they can improve policymaking and service delivery.<br />  <br /> Simply put, if we want to solve the social, economic, and environmental challenges, we need to take into account the knowledge, experiences, views, and values of the people most directly affected by them.</p> </div></div></div> Thu, 02 Mar 2017 16:06:00 +0000 Sheila Jagannathan 7651 at Campaign Art: How Do You See Me? <div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><strong>People, Spaces, Deliberation bloggers present exceptional campaign art from all over the world. These examples are meant to inspire.</strong><br /><br /> The first ever <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">World report on disability</a>, produced jointly by <a href="" rel="nofollow">World Health O</a><a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">rganization</a> and the <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">World Bank</a> in 2011, estimates that more than a billion people in the world today experience disability. In his foreword to the report, Professor <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Stephen Hawking</a> wrote: “Disability need not be an obstacle to success.”<br /><br /> Despite Professor Hawking’s powerful words and individual example of success with a very debilitating disability, the report acknowledges that people with disabilities have generally poorer health, lower education achievements, fewer economic opportunities and higher rates of poverty than people without disabilities. This is largely due to the lack of services available to them and the many obstacles they face in their everyday lives, including prejudice and stigma from society.<br /><br /> When it comes to intellectual disabilities, persons afflicted with these conditions are more disadvantaged in many settings than those who experience physical or sensory impairments, according to the report. Particularly, people with Down syndrome suffer great discrimination and misunderstanding from the general public. And it is not a small group. According to the World Health Organization, the <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">estimated incidence</a> of Down syndrome is between 1 in 1,000 to 1 in 1,100 live births worldwide. <br /><br /> In order to break stigma and barriers regarding this mental disability, an annual awareness day was established. March 21, 2016, was <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">World Down Syndrome Day</a>. In honor of this day, the advertisement agency <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Saatchi &amp; Saatchi</a> produced this powerful campaign on social perception of Down syndrome.<br />  <div class="asset-wrapper asset aid-260 asset-video"> <strong > How Do You See Me? </strong> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-asset-video-file field-type-emvideo field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><object type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="640" height="360" data="//"> <param name="movie" value="//" /> <param name="wmode" value="transparent" /> <param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /> </object> </div></div></div></div> </div> <p> Source: <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Saatchi &amp; Saatchi</a><br />  </p> </div></div></div> Wed, 13 Apr 2016 13:00:00 +0000 Davinia Levy 7372 at The neglected universal force for peace and stability: LOVE? <div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><figure class="image" style="float:right"><img alt="" height="255" src="" title="" width="340" /><figcaption> 2016 Summer Session students, Montgomery College</figcaption></figure><p> <em>“Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love.”</em><strong> – Albert Einstein</strong><br />  <br /> When I present lectures on sociological theories, I often see in my students’ bored facial expressions indicating a total lack of interest in the subject. But, when I move the lecture to issues related to education, social class, or global stratification, I can see a few faces turning into a full attention mode, but still not all the students are with me. However, there is one topic that will cause the entire class to lay down their e-devices and start to listen to every word: that is the topic of LOVE. Love strikes me as a neglected force that, once released, could bring about international stability and boost economic development.<br />  <br /> Love emerges in my lectures for its role in interpersonal relations in socialization and development. I begin my lecture with a discussion about the <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">role of family in social development</a> and then move towards marriage and, more broadly, love. The topic family frequently triggers strong emotional reactions among students. As classroom discussions reveal many have experienced some family difficulty or problems. And then comes the topic of love: each time when I talk about love, I can see melting facial expressions in each of my students. The purpose of the lecture is not only focused on romantic teenage love based on hormones and erotic attraction. In the Bible, in the Gospel of John, Chapter 15:13 “The Greatest Social Worker Ever” says, <em>“Greater love has no one than this – that someone lay down his life for his friends.” </em>I always substantiate this quote with a compelling story about the Polish Franciscan <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Maximilian Kolbe</a> who volunteered to die by starvation in place of a stranger in the <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Nazis’ death camp</a> of <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Auschwitz</a>. Pope John Paul II declared him "The Patron Saint of Our Difficult Century." All of sudden, gender, complexion or ethnicity no longer matter. Neither does religion, age or sexual orientation. When I see students’ reaction to my lecture on love in everyday life, I get chills down my spine and goose bumps all over my body.<br />  <br /> Watching the reactions of my students, I have become deeply convinced that love is not only a universal force for good, but one that also brings to the human heart hope and peace for a better tomorrow. When humans are in love, they can selflessly endure more- since love, like ray of hope, stimulates them to persevere. Hopefulness too, encourages us to explore, build, innovate and thrive, but it all starts with love. <br />  </div></div></div> Fri, 08 Jan 2016 17:30:00 +0000 Leszek J. Sibilski 7271 at The alchemy of relationships and the production of evidence <div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><h4> This post is by <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Holly Porter</a>, a visiting fellow at the Department of International Development of the London School for Economics and Political Science and lead researcher for northern Uganda for the Justice and Security Research Programme.  It is a contribution to an online symposium on the changing nature of knowledge production in fragile states. Be sure to read other entries by <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Deval Desai and Rebecca Tapscott</a>, <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Lisa Denney and Pilar Domingo</a>, <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Michael Woolcock</a>, <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Morten Jerven</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Alex de Waal</a>.</h4> <p> <img alt="People eat at a restaurant in Kampala" height="210" src="" style="float:left" title="" width="280" />The piece is a welcome provocation to discussion, even if ultimately I am left with the thought: there is a rather fundamental difference between tomatoes on a supply chain and the pursuit of understanding human experience. I show that here, intentionally choosing to write from a personal perspective, rather than in more academic prose.</p> <p> Two main responses spring to mind in light of my own (anthropological) work:</p> <blockquote> <div> <em>1) Knowledge is not an “alienable” commodity.</em></div> <div> <em>2) The complexity of human relationships in the research process are not best captured with reference to market forces.</em></div> </blockquote> <p> <br /> The piece raises an underlying question about the production of “knowledge:” is knowledge a kind of raw material –- is it an “alienable commodity”? The idea that data is a commodity implies that it is something; that it is a thing which exists independently and apart from the intentionality of human relationships. Perhaps some information is similar to a raw material that can be extracted in crude form but the kind of “knowledge” which interests me is born of shared experiences and long-term relationships. Knowledge appears to me less of a raw material to be processed and packed, and more the stuff of human interaction.</p> </div></div></div> Tue, 05 Jan 2016 18:41:00 +0000 Humanity Journal 7267 at The political economy of welfare schemes <div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><div> <img alt="Medical checkups for children in India." height="191" src="" style="float:left" title="" width="280" />Social welfare schemes the world over are going through interesting times. Egged on by fiscal management targets, welfare cuts are routinely passed off as “reforms”. Subsequently, there is usually pressure on governments to target welfare to the most deserving. Determining who the deserving beneficiaries are and the appropriate value of these transfers is critical.<br />  </div> <div> In a recent edition of the <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Pathways’ Perspectives</a>, social policy specialist Stephen Kidd bats for universal social security schemes. His central argument is built around the political economy of targeting, suggesting that “inclusive social security schemes build political alliances between those living in poverty, those on middle incomes and the affluent”. Governments that are interested in scaling up social security schemes prefer universal coverage. The argument goes that this way, they build a wide coalition of interests that support their scheme and hope that this support translates into electoral endorsement. On the other hand, governments that are interested in scaling back social security schemes do so by first withdrawing from universal schemes and then introduce an element of targeting. Soon, those that do not benefit from the scheme are more likely to see it as wasteful public spending and therefore, support a move to cut back.<br />  </div> </div></div></div> Tue, 17 Nov 2015 20:59:00 +0000 Suvojit Chattopadhyay 7222 at Why those promoting growth need to take politics seriously, and vice versa <div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><h4> <img alt="" height="108" src="" style="float:left" title="Nicholas Waddell" width="88" />Nicholas Waddell, a DFID Governance Adviser working on ‘Governance for Economic Development’ (G4ED) explores the links between governance and economic growth. </h4> <p> Should I play it safe and join a governance team or risk being a lone voice in a sea of economists and private sector staff? This was my dilemma as a DFID Governance Adviser returning to the UK after a stint in East Africa. I gambled and joined the growth specialists in DFID’s newly created Economic Development arm.  A year in, I now think differently about the relationship between growth and governance.</p> <p> <img alt="Man working inside a large reinforced steel tube, Philippines" height="186" src="" style="float:right" title="" width="280" />Eradicating poverty will not be possible without high and sustained growth that generates productive jobs and brings benefits across society. Historically, this has included boosting productivity within existing sectors as well as rebalancing economies towards more productive sectors (e.g. from agriculture to manufacturing). Such structural change or economic transformation has lifted millions from poverty.</p> <p> Economic transformation can have a strong disruptive effect on political governance – giving rise, for example, to interest groups that push for accountable leaders and effective institutions. As countries get richer, more effective institutions also become more affordable. Over time, economic transformation can therefore advance core governance objectives.</p> <p> But this is easier said than done. Economic development is an inherently political process that challenges vested interests. Often the surest ways for elites to hold onto power and profit aren’t in step with measures to spur investment, create jobs and foster growth. Shrewd power politics can be bad economics.</p> </div></div></div> Wed, 11 Nov 2015 19:12:00 +0000 Duncan Green 7217 at Things I Learned from WikiStage WBG Lima <div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><p> The first WikiStage WBG was held in Lima on October 6 on the topic of social inclusion. You can view the entire show at <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">World Bank Live</a>.  <br /><br /><img alt="WikiStage Lima crew" height="210" src="" style="float:left" title="" width="280" /><strong>What’s a WikiStage? </strong><br /> This was a special event organized by the World Bank and produced under license from WikiStage. It featured an inspirational sequence of talks, performance, and films in a 3-minute, 6-minute or 9 minute format. The WikiStage Association in Paris is a non-profit organization that supports a global network of volunteers and event organizers. WikiStage is independent from Wikipedia or other “Wiki” projects and is a young knowledge sharing collaborative that began in 2013 and today represents a network of more than 50 event organizers in 10 countries.<br /><br /> Our goal was to create an interesting and tightly choreographed program that explored social inclusion through the perspectives of people from a variety of different backgrounds and disciplines. It was presented in English and Spanish to a live audience of 500 and livestreamed to a global online audience.<br /><br /> Here are three things I learned from organizing the WikiStage WBG Lima.</p> </div></div></div> Wed, 21 Oct 2015 19:19:00 +0000 Maya Brahmam 7195 at Cutting through the Gordian Knot: Analysis of conflict and violence <div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><p> <img alt="Alexander cutting the Gordian Knot" height="189" src="" style="float:left" title="" width="280" />A young Palestinian participating in a violence prevention session during a recent World Bank Social, Urban, Rural and Resilience (GSURR) staff retreat, reminisced that not that long ago the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was the only “hot-spot” in the Middle East. Now, the region is a complex mix of insurrection, armed conflict, political upheaval and displacement. Even for him, unbundling and explaining the drivers and implications of these dynamics can be overwhelming – and a full-time job.<br /> <br /> Increasingly, development actors are asked to take on this task, yet many of the World Bank’s standard analytical approaches are not suitable for this kind of complexity. Meanwhile, academics including Ben Ramalingam (Aid on the Edge of Chaos), Thomas Carothers (Development Aid Confronts Politics) and Lant Pritchet (Escaping Capability Traps Through Problem-driven Adaptive Iteration) all highlight the dangers of external intervention in these “difficult operating environments” without sufficient understanding of the underlying context.<br /> <br /> Ongoing work over the last few years in the Bank’s GSURR Global Practice, completed together with the Fragility Conflict and Violence (FCV) Group, has focused on in-depth analysis of <em>why</em> and <em>how</em> particular countries descend into conflict, the impact of violence, and the factors that can build resilience against these shocks. Some 25 of these “fragility assessments” have been completed and they are all part of an effort to strengthen the overall understanding of the “context complexity” in these countries.</p> </div></div></div> Tue, 16 Jun 2015 16:28:00 +0000 Bernard Harborne 7078 at Why and How Cities Need to Learn Better <div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><p> <img alt="" src="" style="float:left; height:187px; margin:5px; width:280px" />During the recent 7<sup>th</sup> World Urban Forum (WUF) in Medellin, the talk was not just about the hundreds of millions of people coming to cities—but also the tens of thousands of city managers and local governments who will need to manage cities more effectively to unleash the promise of urbanization.  The WBI urban team, together with the Institute of Housing and Urban Studies and UN-Habitat’s Capacity Development unit, convened over 40 partners for a day of reflection on this challenge. <br /><br /> Such a gathering had happened twice before— in preparation of Habitat II in Istanbul (1996), again in the run-up to the third WUF in Vancouver (2006)—and now on the cusp of the next milestone (Habitat III  in 2016).   It is helpful to consider where we have been and where are we now on this critical (and somewhat slippery) subject, given the 20 years’ worth of perspective in this area.</p> </div></div></div> Thu, 24 Apr 2014 17:58:00 +0000 Christine Fallert Kessides 6681 at Weekly Wire:the Global Forum <div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img alt="" src="" style="border:1px solid rgb(204, 204, 204); float:right; height:139px; max-width:none; padding:2px; vertical-align:bottom; width:140px" />These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.<br />   <p> <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>World Press Freedom Index 2014</strong></a><br /><em>Reporters Without Borders</em><br /> The 2014 World Press Freedom Index spotlights the negative impact of conflicts on freedom of information and its protagonists. The ranking of some countries has also been affected by a tendency to interpret national security needs in an overly broad and abusive manner to the detriment of the right to inform and be informed. This trend constitutes a growing threat worldwide and is even endangering freedom of information in countries regarded as democracies. Finland tops the index for the fourth year running, closely followed by Netherlands and Norway, like last year. At the other end of the index, the last three positions are again held by Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea, three countries where freedom of information is non-existent. <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">READ MORE</a></p> <p> <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>Throwing the transparency baby out with the development bathwater</strong></a><br /><em>Global Integrity</em><br /> In recent weeks, a number of leading voices within the international development movement – including the billionaire philanthropist <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Bill Gates</a> as well as development economist <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Chris Blattman</a> and tech-for-development expert <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Charles Kenny</a> - have come out arguing that corruption and governance efforts in developing countries should be de-prioritized relative to other challenges in health, education, or infrastructure. Their <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">basic argument</a> is that while yes, corruption is ugly, it’s simply another tax in an economic sense and while annoying and inefficient, can be tolerated while we work to improve service delivery to the poor. The reality is more complicated and the policy implications precisely the opposite: corruption’s “long tail” in fact undermines the very same development objectives that Gates, Blattman, and Kenny are advocating for. <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">READ MORE</a></p> </div></div></div> Thu, 13 Feb 2014 00:32:00 +0000 Roxanne Bauer 6603 at ‘Working for the Few’: Top New Report on the Links between Politics and Inequality <div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><p> <img alt="" src="" style="float:left; height:210px; width:280px" />As the world’s self-appointed steering committee gathers in Davos, 2014 is already shaping up as a big year for inequality. The World Economic Forum’s ‘<a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Outlook on the Global Agenda 2014</a>’ ranks widening income disparities as the second greatest worldwide risk in the coming 12 to 18 months (Middle East and North Africa came top, since you ask).</p> <p> So it’s great to see ‘<a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Working for the Few</a>’, a really excellent new Oxfam paper by <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Ricardo Fuentes</a> and <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Nick Galasso</a>, tackling an issue best summed up by US Supreme Court Justice <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Louis Brandeis</a> in the aftermath of the Great Depression, ‘We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of the few, but we cannot have both.’ i.e. the <em>politics</em> of inequality and redistribution.</p> <p> The Brandeis quote is particularly relevant because this time really is different. After the 2008 global meltdown, we have not seen anything like the <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">New Deal</a>, in terms of redistribution or reform. The paper argues that this is because political capture by a small economic elite is much more complete this time around.</p> </div></div></div> Fri, 24 Jan 2014 17:52:00 +0000 Duncan Green 6586 at