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Category Archives: Grand plans and aid targets

US gets a strategy to meet the Millennium Development Goals – please explain

UPDATE: UN Dispatch disagrees, we respond (see end of post).

Although the eight goals that seek to reduce the global burden of hunger, poverty and disease were agreed upon by aid donors almost 10 years ago, and most of the goals come due in 2015, the world’s largest donor has never had a strategy to achieve them. Obama campaigned on the promise of making the MDGs “America’s goals,” but the first year and a half…

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FT: Celebrities urge G8 to make new unkept promises to keep previous unkept promises

Oh how we wish it would be otherwise! What will it take?

Alan Beattie writes on the G8 in the FT:

It stretches the most elastic mind to envisage the collective wrath of Scarlett Johansson, Annie Lennox, Bill Nighy, Kristin Davis and Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan, but it descended on the heads of the Group of Eight this weekend.

The obsolescence of the G8 has long been discussed during interminable and inconclusive international

Also posted in Aid policies and approaches, Badvocacy and celebs, Organizational behavior, Political economy | Tagged , , , , , | 14 Comments

The lure of starting from scratch

It is an acknowledged national characteristic that Americans believe in self-reinvention. One of our founding myths—inspired by the once unexplored and sparsely populated expanse of the North American continent—is the idea that you can head out of town, leave the encumbrances of the past behind, and start over in a new, unspoiled place.

What would happen if we brought this sensibility to development plans for poorer, more crowded nations? What if we already do?


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If an evaluation is released on the internet and no one comments, does it make a sound?

The release of the Millennium Villages Project mid-point evaluation has so far been met with no discernable public response.

Strange, since the release is billed as the “first major scientific report on progress after three years of MVP activity.” Doubly strange, since the MVP is an ambitious project that reaches into nearly all areas of its 500,000 recipients’ lives, and proposes, in scaled-up version, to completely change the architecture and delivery of aid to…

Also posted in Aid policies and approaches, Metrics and evaluation | Tagged , | 12 Comments

Was Africa set up to fail on the Millennium Development Goals?

“Africa far from reaching Millennium Development Goals”

News report on African Development Bank conference, May 28, 2010

“No country in sub-Saharan Africa is on course to achieve all the Goals by 2015.”

United Nations, Key Messages for September 2010 Summit

“It is easy to see that Sub-Saharan Africa lags on all the MDGs.”

World Bank and IMF, Global Monitoring Report 2010, full text download…

Also posted in Academic research | Tagged | 17 Comments

Lant Pritchett and the hot Indian shower

A great story from Lant Pritchett, writing in the comments section of David Roodman’s blog, about how the development industry sets goals and targets. The way we articulate our goals affects how we set about achieving them.

I was living in India and discussing arrangements for household water supply with some development colleagues of mine. After about half an hour of pretty fruitless discussion I said, “Let’s step back. Tell me your long-run vision

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Jeff Sachs’ intellectual empire gets new funding

There’s a new way to study development: a masters degree in the practice of development.

The MacArthur Foundation announced ten universities to receive funding for the new degree program yesterday, bringing the funding from MacArthur for this project to $16 million. The first students matriculated at Columbia University in 2009, and by 2013 the foundation expects the programs to be producing 400 graduates a year from around the world.

The two-year degree is multidisciplinary—the…

Also posted in In the news | Tagged , , , , | 12 Comments

Never-before-seen video of a peacekeeping intervention to end war

Short clip:

From Twitter:
undispatch @undispatch:

@bill_easterly instead of trying to be funny, can you actually explain your beef with peacekeeping?

Well, @undispatch, if you click on the category, “aid goes military” at the bottom of this post, you will get more than you probably want to hear from this blog on this topic. You are also welcome to check out my New York Review of Books article Aid goes military!…

Also posted in Aid policies and approaches, Military aid | Tagged , | 3 Comments

The magical 0.7 percent

The blog of Laurence Haddad, director of the UK-based Institute of Development Studies, pointed us towards the just-released manifestos of Britain’s Conservative and Labour parties. Both manifestos declare their intention to codify into law the development target of 0.7 percent of national income allocated to aid.

From the Tories:

A new Conservative government will be fully committed to achieving, by 2013, the UN target of spending 0.7 per cent of national income as aid…We

Also posted in Aid policies and approaches, In the news | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

I’m really not sure what to make of this

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