A picture of the National Audit Office

No smoking gun – DFID and the surge in spending

Press reports about the NAO report on DFID budget management in 2013 are wholly misleading. DFID actually comes out of the report pretty well. There is a cautionary tale here for DFID, but it isn’t about the way it manages its budget. It is that the sharks are circling, and they do not seem to be very interested in the facts. Read the full post »
A guard tower by a fence

Migration and Development: Small Tweaks for Big Benefits

With immigration policy potentially in flux, this might be a good time to think about how migration policies can make a more positive contribution to development. Read the full post »
The London School of Economics D building

The governance deficit

I gave evidence this morning to the LSE Diplomacy Commission, which “seeks to understand Britain’s place in the world and make recommendations for the future strategy of British foreign policy.”   I was part of a group of panelists (all … Go to www.owen.org to read the rest

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Picture of sign saying "Attention Ebola! Ne Touchons Jamais Ne Manipulons Jamais"

Finding a cure for Ebola

The lessons of Ebola: first, set sensible cost-effectiveness thresholds for investments in global health, and so increase our willingness to invest; second, make an Advance Market Commitment to accelerate the development of new vaccines, for Ebola and for other neglected diseases. Read the full post »
A crystal ball, with a line graph in it.

The development agency of the future

The International Development Committee of the British House of Commons has asked: Does a stand-alone Department for International Development have a long-term future? In a memorandum submitted to the Committee in evidence, Alex Evans and I argue that it should. Read the full post »
The Port of Gabreville, Gabon

Why “beyond aid” matters

In evidence for the House of Commons International Development Committee, we argue that "beyond aid" policies are likely to have a bigger impact than aid alone, address the underlying causes of poverty rather than the symptoms, and benefit rather than cost the UK. 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 »
Erik Solheim in a grey suit and green tie.

We are the first generation in history …

In which Erik Solheim adds himself to the list of people to proclaim that, for the first time in history, we can eradicate poverty.

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Screencapture of Simon Anholt giving Ted Talk at TedSalon Berlin, June 2014

What Is Good about the Good Country Index?

The Good Country Index (GCI), aiming “to measure what each country on earth contributes to the common good of humanity,” has just been launched by Simon Anholt at TEDsalon in Berlin. This post looks at what it contains.

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Michael Gove speaking at Policy Exchange

Accidents of birth

Michael Gove's determination to liberate children from accidents of birth is hard to reconcile with tougher immigration controls. Read the full post »
Andris Piebalgs, the then EU Commissioner for Development

For the first time in history (EU edition)

Keeping track of occasional hyperbole in which we claim to be "the first generation" which can defeat poverty. Read the full post »
A graphic showing a rising arrow, with a person-shaped figure hanging off it

Evidence and scaling up

I spoke at a dinner of the Board of the Childrens' Investment Fund Foundation on Friday. I touched on the role of evidence in scaling up, and the role of foundations such as CIFF. Here are my remarks. Read the full post »
Owen Barder and Bill Easterly addressing the audience at the Center for Global Development

My debate with Bill Easterly

The video of my debate this morning with Bill Easterly. Read the full post »
Nina Munk with a cup of coffee

“The Idealist” – Nina Munk on Jeff Sachs [podcast]

In the latest episode of Development Drums, I talk to the journalist and author Nina Munk about Jeff Sachs and the Millennium Villages Project, and the lessons for development cooperation more broadly. Read the full post »
The roots of the Banyan Forest

Is ‘the struggle’ the baby or the bathwater?

If there is value in the process of iteration and adaptation that people and organisations go through, then might development cooperation which tries to bypass that struggle do more harm than good? Read the full post »
Justine Greening, Secretary of State for International Development, at a podium labelled "Nutrition for Growth"

Have hammer, looking for nails

Is DFID suffering from a resource curse? The emphasis on growth is welcome, but the focus is too much on aid and not enough on other policies that can help poor countries grow, such as trade and technology transfer. Read the full post »
Details of an oil painting showing brushstrokes

Ten broad brushstrokes about development cooperation

I am discussing the the future of development cooperation, and the role of Northern NGOs,, with the policy, advocacy and campaigns team at ActionAid UK this morning.  Powerpoint is forbidden.  I'm going to paint ten broad brushstrokes about the future of development cooperation: Read the full post »
Boy with smallpox on his face

Is aid a waste of money?

If you add up all the aid that all OECD countries have given since they started counting it in 1960, and then assume that the only thing that this aid has achieved was the eradication of smallpox, then the whole thing would still be a bargain, costing less than half what the UK National Health Service spends on average to save a life. Read the full post »