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 »
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 »
Martin Luther King raises his right hand in a wave, with thousands of people on the Washington Mall behind him

“I have a dream …” [global edition]

I have a dream that we will one day take seriously the idea that we are all created equal, not just within countries but everywhere; and that we will recognize that it is intolerable that a person's future should be mainly determined by the place of his or her birth. 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 »
Measles, mumps, rubella, virus vaccine vials and syringe on white background

Should we pay less for vaccines?

Progressive development thinkers have welcomed the announcement of new money for the Global Alliance for Vaccination and Immunization (GAVI), and support the partnership between governments and the private sector.  A minority of NGOs have criticized GAVI on the grounds that Go to to read the rest

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Apart from aid, how are we doing?

Judging by the 2010 Commitment to Development Index, the UK is  doing a better job at securing and spending a rising aid budget than it is at getting the rest of government to pursue development-friendly policies.

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They stole our coffee

There is a chain of coffee shops in Addis Ababa called “Kaldis”, named after the shepherd who, according to Ethiopian folklore, first identified coffee after watching the reaction of his goats who had been grazing on a coffee bush.  Ethiopia … Go to to read the rest

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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 »

Actionable ideas for shared prosperity

On the CGD blog, Nancy Birdsall proposes “Ten Actionable Ideas … for a 21st-Century Global Development Agenda”

What are examples – some realized and some on the table but untested – for practical action in the interests of global prosperity?

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On the first World Pneumonia Day, spare a thought for the mothers and fathers of the five thousand children who will be killed today by pneumonia.

Pause for a moment in silent thanks to the staff of the GAVI Go to 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 »

Why IP is not like other property

Peter Mandelson has not thought this through:

First, taking something for nothing, without permission, and with no compensation for the person who created and owns it, is wrong. Simple as that.

With respect, it is not as simple as … Go to to read the rest

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Medicines, research and the developing world

Edinburgh University forces firms to supply cheap medicines to developing world:

Edinburgh is to become the first British university to help make cheap medicines available to the developing world by licensing research to pharmaceutical companies only on condition that poorer

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Surowiecki understates the case against IP

The ever-excellent James Surowiecki, writes in The New Yorker

The point isn’t that private property is a bad thing, or that the state should be able to run roughshod over the rights of individual owners. Property rights (including patents) are

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What causes uncertainty in vaccine demand?

Scientific American discusses the need for better forecasting of need for drugs and vaccines:

Unpredictable demand creates a three-way catch-22 problem, as pointed out in a 2002 study commissioned by the GAVI Alliance, formerly the Global Alliance for Vaccines and

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Are record companies useful?

Interesting article in The Grauniad by Laura Barton who claims that 2005 has seen a decline in the monopoly control of the marketing departments of music companies:

This has been the year fans have increasingly taken music into their own

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