'If transmission rates are not dramatically slowed, 1 million people are at risk of death within the next four months. Right now, the message from frontline doctors, Sierra Leoneans and the charity leading the global response is that we don’t yet have the right approach – at the right scale – to contain this crisis.'
The accepted wisdom is that donors aren’t very good at allocating aid to the countries that need it most because they channel aid in line with their political and economic interests. However a new method of analysis, which dynamically tracks changing membership of income groups in relationship to allocation of aid, provides evidence of moderate improvements over the past decade.
'Bold action on climate change: that’s what we all wanted to see at Tuesday’s Climate Summit convened by Ban Ki-moon. And a big part of this is about money – without new finance commitments, we are not going to secure an ambitious global agreement on climate change in Paris next year. So how bold were the commitments on climate finance?'
'The mainstream narrative – about the runaway incomes of the richest people in the richest countries, the absurdities of boardroom pay and tax avoidance and so on – might prick our sense of fairness, but it has only a limited amount to offer the analysis and treatment of extreme poverty. The second, lesser known, inequality story is about the things that keep people poor.'
'There has never been a more opportune moment to rethink the way we ‘do governance’ in development. Yet to seize this opportunity, we need to ‘do things differently’ in the governance field itself and to (radically) rethink our own ways of working – something we often ask of others.'
"Aside from the question of whether the Sustainable Development Goal set has enough focus, there is also a real challenge about converting the agenda into something that actually works in practice. If we don’t address this now, the entire project risks being unworkable."
'Wicked' problems are hard to identify, difficult to define, and change constantly. Yet the development sector continues to try to tackle them with tools designed for much simpler problems. As aid agencies begin to acknowledge complexity, they need to trial tools to help bridge this gap.
China’s incredible economic growth since the late 1970s took the world by surprise. The speed and scale of its growth were unprecedented, comparable only to Europe’s post-war Marshall Plan. The singular focus on growth lifted millions out of poverty but created serious environmental problems for the country. Since the early 2000s, however, China has progressed toward a new, greener growth path. Will China surprise the world once again?
"Given the continued degradation of the environment, we might well ask, will progress on sustainability be any different under the SDGs? What have we learnt over the past two decades that could advance environmental sustainability?"
'Despite momentous shifts in formal political structures, only a small number of the democracies that have emerged over the past three decades have become deeply rooted. Instead, many of them have become mired in transition, occupying a precarious gray zone between outright authoritarianism and fully-fledged democracy.'