The Development Dose – 30 November

Welcome back to another dose of very interesting development news, research and analysis harvested from the web this week. This week we look at the hurdles facing the post-2015 debate (Human Rights!), Britain’s push for greater aid transparency; and the World Bank’s Kaushik Basu discusses multi-player sudoku!

First off, the UK international development secretary, Justine Greening discusses the hurdles facing the post-2015 development agenda


Human rights could be faultline in post-2015 development agenda
Pushing too hard on human rights in the next set of development goals could jeopardise agreement on the post-2015 agenda, the UK international development secretary, Justine Greening, has told MPs.

A good opinion piece from Owen Barder, senior fellow and director for Europe at the Centre for Global Development. Owen discusses the changing global environment and the need for development agencies to change how they do business to better meet, not just the needs, but the demands of people in the developing world. For Owen, this includes pressuring western governments to reform the current global financial and trade systems that discriminate against developing countries. 

Development policy: time to look beyond simply managing aid
The structure, incentives and priorities of today’s aid agencies reflect their history in a disappearing era when development policy meant rich countries giving aid to poor countries for the alleviation of extreme poverty. Today’s development challenges look quite different.

The British Government’s Department for International Development (DfID) is leading the way in improving the transparency of aid, which is excellent. But tracking, monitoring, and reporting which accurately shows where money comes from, how – and on what – it is spent, and what the results are, is not easy. For many agencies, NGOs and governments, this will require an overhaul of existing financial tracking and reporting procedures, so the impact of increased transparency may take a few years to actually be felt. But this is an essential step forward. 

Follow the money
BRITAIN’S Department for International Development (DfID) is widely regarded as a trend-setter in the aid business. Its new head, Justine Greening, wants to make the country’s aid-giving more transparent. This should make it more effective. But Ms Greening’s efforts may also end up embarrassing both the department and the recipients of its aid.

Excellent new research examining the link between in utero shocks and health and human capital in adulthood. 

Long Run Impacts of Childhood Access to the Safety Net
Most studies rely on extreme negative shocks such as famine and pandemics. This study from the National Bureau of Economic Research is the first to examine the impact of positive and policy-driven change in economic resources available during pregnancy and childhood.

Oxfam’s always interesting Duncan Greene interviews the The World Bank’s new chief economist,  Kaushik Basu, on redistribution, taxation, economists, climate change and, errm, multi-player sudoku

From Poverty to Power
Kaushik suggested a change of tone was needed among the World Bank’s economists and researchers – paying as much attention to policy-makers’ need for narratives and big ideas as to demonstrating your mastery of whizzy maths.

Where do aid, foreign investment and remittances fit in the foreign income of least developed countries? This chart from the economist shows us. 

Capital to the world’s poorest countries
DESPITE the effects of the global financial crisis, remittances to the world’s 48 least developed countries (LDCs) have continued rising, reaching $27 billion in 2011

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