Rows of people in suits, many looking at blackberries or laptops, in the UN Conference Centre

Addis: A Good First Step, but a Terrible Last Word, for 2015

The Financing for Development Conference in July 2015 in Addis Ababa was never going to solve all the world’s development problems. The policy framework is pretty good, but will only be important if government, companies and organisations now take specific actions. Read the full post »
An old wooden chest on a beach

Financing for development – where the treasure is buried

We won’t get development from global and domestic “tax and spend” alone. We should be focusing more on the huge untapped wealth locked up by policies and behaviour which distort the global economy, creating massive economic, environmental, and welfare losses for most of the world’s population. Read the full post »
A CGI generated road sign saying "Emissions Trading"

A Global Carbon Tax or Cap-and-Trade? The Economic Arguments

If you could choose how to curb greenhouse gas emissions, would you choose a carbon tax or cap-and-trade? In this post, which first appeared on Views from the Center, we say the economic arguments are pretty finely balanced. (In the next post, we'll say that the political and practical considerations lean heavily towards cap-and-trade.) Read the full post »
Owen Barder at the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties in Warsaw

Nineteenth time lucky?

A report from the 19th climate change meeting in Warsaw. Read the full post »
Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus) cub coming out den and playing around, Wapusk national park, Canada.

Give money or the polar bear gets it

If Coke thinks about this long and hard, I think they will find that making a concerted effort to tackle climate change is the best way to ensure the continued well-being of polar bears, rather than a bear sponsorship scheme. Read the full post »
European countries 3d illustration - european continent marked with flags

How committed is Europe to development really?

Europe’s approach to development could be characterized as energetically tackling the symptoms of poor economic opportunities for developing countries by providing substantial and effective aid, while doing relatively little to tackle the underlying structural causes of poverty. Read the full post »
a needle and golden thread

All that glisters: the golden thread and complexity

This second of three blog posts looking at development policy through the lens of complexity thinking considers whether David Cameron's 'golden thread' is good development policy. Read the full post »
Women preparing food in mud hut on March 20 , 2014 in Jaisalmer,India

End of year reflections

The Guardian development blog is running a series of end of year reflections on development, including one by me. Many of the articles are upbeat about progress in developing countries, but pessimistic about the short term economic prospects for … Go to www.owen.org to read the rest

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A woman holding her young malnourished baby queues for food at the Badbado camp for Internally Displaced Persons (IPDs). Famine has been declared in two regions of southern Somalia – southern Bakool and Lower Shabelle. The United Nations indicates that 3.7 million people across the country, that’s nearly half of the Somali population, are now in crisis and in urgent need of assistance. An estimated 2.8 million of those are in the south.

Famine and drought

Two things to keep in mind about famine and drought. First, famine is not caused by drought or overpopulation or insufficient food production. Second, development aid works. Read the full post »

How to spend $1m reducing climate change

We would get three or four times as much bang for our buck - in terms of climate change benefits - from population policies and girls' education as we would from the most cost-effective investments in forest management, and in addition we'd get the broader economic and social benefits for the people of developing countries.

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A caption in sunset

Aid policy vs development policy

The development policy debate focuses too much on aid. Aid policies may help to improve the living conditions of people in developing countries, but it is development policies that will result in lasting transformation. If we are serious about promoting long-term change, we should talk less about aid, and more about the other rich-world policies and behaviours that affect developing countries. Read the full post »

Pop singer makes two excellent points on development

I know it is fashionable to denounce celebrities who get in involved in international development, but I admire both Bono and Bob Geldof.   They are smart enough to take advice from smart people, and they put serious amounts of … Go to www.owen.org to read the rest

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Raining when it shouldn’t

Wheat and Barley, northern Amhara regionOver the weekend we were trekking in the north of Ethiopia. The fields were full of wheat and barley, looking (to my inexpert eye) about 3 weeks from harvest (see the picture, right, taken on 29th November).  The farmers all … Go to www.owen.org to read the rest

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“We are all in this together”

George Osborne said eight times in his speech to the Conservative Party Conference that "we are all in this together". Let's consider what this might mean. Read the full post »