The argument about whether overseas aid money can be spent on the military seems to be kicking off again. Indeed, it seems not only to have started up but to be institutionalised in negotiations between the UK Ministry of Defence and the Department for International Development. Continue reading
The people who brought us the banking crashes of 2007-2008 that became the credit crunch 2008-2009 and the economic wreckage we’ve lived in since are having another go. The very credit arrangements that brought us so much grief are fashionable again. Continue reading
In both low and middle income countries, well established arguments and solid evidence confirm that there is no real development without peace and only the peace of the graveyard without development. These conclusions have shifted the fulcrum of discussion about development over the past several years. But they have not yet added up to telling anybody how to do it. Continue reading
Anybody can be forgiven for feeling these are gloomy times. National economies are largely sluggish, abysmal at worst. Political leaders can’t fix a range of problems from the Euro to carbon emissions. From Mali via Syria to the Korean peninsula, peace in the world seems at risk. So it’s important to find the positive news. Continue reading
Posted in The State of the World
Tagged cancer, Climate change, democracy, gay rights, HIV/AIDS, inequality, Martin Bell, Martyn Lewis, mental health, peacebuilding, Positive News, UN, wars, women in politics
The situation in Mali is quietly dropping out of the headlines. But last week Ban Ki-moon called for 11,000 peacekeeping troops, possibly backed by combat forces so it’s a good time to be thinking about what the peacebuilding needs are in Mali. The French intervention seems to have been driven by a very short-term view (or perhaps just by the hope for a quick result), based on seeing the problem in terms of terrorism and therefore concentrating on hard security measures. This seems to be backed by a superficial analysis of Mali’s political economy focusing on the north rather than on the whole country and how power is organised, and on the Tuaregs rather than all the different ethnic groups. International Alert has published a briefing paper that goes into the background and explores what is needed for peacebuilding. I have drawn on it for a shorter piece in the Huffington Post.
This week it was confirmed that in 2013 the UK will hit the target of spending 0.7 per cent of GDP on official development assistance (ODA). A long-standing campaigning goal for development NGOs and a moral goal for the country have been achieved. And the week before, UK Secretary for International Development Justine Greening said in the House of Commons on Wednesday that she thought it right to look at how DFID can work more closely with the Ministry of Defence.’ Let’s take a closer look. Continue reading
Today, Sunday 24 February, the heads of state of eleven countries have signed a peace and security agreement addressing the conflicts in and around eastern Congo. It’s a potentially important step – but it’s the start of a long process, not the end of it.