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Tag Archives: United Nations

UN Revealed to be Gigantic 66-year-old Hoax

“I can’t believe it lasted this long,” said “US Ambassador to the UN” Susan Rice, laughing, “Who would really believe that there is this magical agency that would, like, be responsible for solving all the problems in the whole world?  That nobody else can solve? Or even wants to?”

“I really thought it would come out when that prankster Ban Ki Moon put Libya on the “reformed” Human Rights Council in 2010,” said Rice, “after…

Posted in Satire and parodies | Also tagged 16 Comments

On Sustainable Sustainability: A UN Prose Poem

UPDATE 2: Another proposal received from Unconfirmed Sources: Politicians supporting UN funding will be required to incorporate all of the text below into one of their own speeches to their own voters.

UPDATE: Just got a new proposal from the Center for Unacceptable Common Sense: Anyone funding UN should internalize the effect of their funding on creation of UN prose. First proposed tax on you: you are required to read all 1000+ words below and recite…

Posted in Aid policies and approaches, Language | Also tagged , 13 Comments

Human Development Index debate…you still want more?

I suspect that we long ago exhausted the patience of our readers with our multiple rounds of debate on the Human Development Report’s new methodology for its Human Development Index. At the same time, I feel an obligation to let the other side of the debate have their say as much as they want. So here is UNDP’s new response to Martin Ravallion’s response to UNDP’s previous response to our original blog criticizing the…

Posted in Aid debates, Metrics and evaluation | Also tagged 2 Comments

Development is Uneven, Get Over It

UPDATE: out of 188 recorded songs on all Beatles albums, how many are now hits on iTunes? See end of post.

This a 20 minute extemporaneous talk at UNICEF headquarters in New York on the topic of “Inclusive Growth”. After the talk, there is a question, comment, and response session with the audience.  The full video is an hour, if you are really a masochist. (Try this link if the video player above doesn’t work.)…

Posted in Aid debates, Democracy and freedom, Economics principles, Human rights | Also tagged , 6 Comments

The accidental NGO and USAID transparency test

The following post was written by Till Bruckner, PhD candidate at the University of Bristol and former Transparency International Georgia aid monitoring coordinator.  An op-ed from Bill in Monday’s Wall Street Journal mentioned Till’s struggles with USAID; here Till provides the details.

The aid industry routinely pushes institutions in developing countries to become more transparent and accountable. But a slow and almost comically incomplete donor response to a request to see some specific project budgets sheds…

Posted in Accountability and transparency | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , 39 Comments

Are many dimensions better than one?

Over at From Poverty to Power, Duncan Greene hosted a fiery debate about how best to measure poverty, sparked by the release of the UN’s new Multidimensional Poverty Index.

The new index will complement a simpler method used in the UN Human Development Reports which relies on uniformly-weighted variables measuring life expectancy, education and income. The new method, created by researchers at the University of Oxford, combines ten different variables (including…

Posted in Data and statistics | Also tagged , , , 14 Comments

NYT on HIV/AIDS crisis: “You cannot mop the floor when the tap is still running on it”

UPDATE 4:10pm 5/11: Bill responds to Gregg Gonsalves’ comment on this post, at the END of the post.

The New York Times ran not one but two articles (edit: make that four) on the global fight against HIV/AIDS last Sunday. As these pieces tragically recount, the international community’s hard won successes against HIV/AIDS are in danger. There is not enough funding to meet the demand for treatment among sick patients in…

Posted in Global health, In the news | Also tagged , , 17 Comments

Is “Delivering as One” failing to deliver? The case for a market-based approach to UN reform

The following post is co-written by Sandra Sequeira, Professor of Development Economics at the London School of Economics and visiting scholar at DRI, and Christian Schornich, who works for the United Nations.

The proportion of aid channeled through the UN system shrank from ten percent to five percent over the last eight years. And yet the UN’s massive bureaucratic machinery is not being downsized accordingly. In fact, a complicated web of programs and agencies with a…

Posted in Economics principles, Organizational behavior | Also tagged , , 8 Comments

UN Human Rights and Wrongs

Last Friday’s post “Poverty is not a human rights violation” spurred a very healthy dialogue on rights, including a response from Amnesty International , which mentioned the UN Declaration of Human Rights.

I will not be a last word freak and answer Amnesty directly. But let’s talk about rights at the UN. The UN publicizes such positive rights as “right to water,” “right to housing,” “right to health”, etc. These rights sound wonderful,…

Posted in Human rights | Also tagged 19 Comments

Why So Scared of “Free Markets”?

The debate of the last few days on this blog reminded me again of how strong is the visceral negative reaction to an argument for “free markets” (those dreaded words are practically an epithet by now) in development. Part of this may be justified; let’s explore this in a Q and A.

Q. Isn’t the case for markets a purely ideological one, which just serves to protect the interests of the rich?

A. True, it…

Posted in Economics principles | Also tagged , , 21 Comments