What development issues do we need more research on?

November 8, 2010

Eliminate poverty, don't reduce it: Victor Hugo disses the MDGs

November 8, 2010

Sanity is funny; bashing the bashers on fair trade; MDGs for the top billion; a moratorium on geo-engineering?; Africans' views of China; new diseases and vaccines v clean water: links I liked

November 8, 2010
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Jon Stewart rally 1The best 50 placards from Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity, to go along with the one I put up on Friday [h/t Alex Evans]

Bashing the bashers on fair trade. The Guardian’s John Vidal takes aim at the latest anti fair-trade report

Update: OK, no-one like’s Vidal’s piece – anyone seen anything more rational on the IEA paper?

More on what MDGs for the top billion might look like, c/o the UNDP’s Olav Kjørven. My previous post on this is here

A de facto moratorium on geoengineering is adopted by Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, according to Third World Network. Has anyone told the geo-engineers? Not if this week’s Economist is anything to go by.

Update: Fred Pearce in the New Scientist thinks its only a moratorium on projects that could affect biodiversity, and anyway, no-one has a clue how it would be implemented.

What do Africans think of China?

“Donors provided about $0.78/DALY (disability-adjusted life year) attributable to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in developing countries in 2007, compared to $23.9/DALY attributable to HIV, TB, and malaria.” A new CGD paper looks at the growing but largely ignored development issue of diseases linked to lifestyle – obesity, alcohol, tobacco, inactivity etc.

But vaccines aren’t always the best answer, especially when they’re the result of drug companies hustling the aid industry in search of easy profit – clean water can be a lot more effective (and cheaper) [h/t Catherine Matheson]

And here’s a couple more of those placards…….

John Stewart 4John Stewart 3


  1. Actually John Vidal makes almost no rebuttal to the “latest anti fair trade report.” He does not address the issues raised in the report just hashs back his personal experiences and beliefs. Rather weak and does nothing to advance the case for fair trade. Fair trade is expensive for small producers and its costs do exclude many, although these expenses can be overcome to some extend by cooperatives. That in itself maybe one of the major benefits of fair trade in that it encourages the development of local instituions that can transfer some market power to the local community. Still lets not over rate the benefits of fair trade. it seldom reahes the poorest members of the community.It is a great niche for those that can get in but it is driven by northern NGOs and is only one of many possible responses.

  2. Isn’t Fair Trade just – instead – of a fairer trade system? I mean, it gives the most active groups a way out, taking away the ” vanguard” for action to get a fairer system (the vanguard gets it). Instead of reforming the system, a happy few can get a better deal.

    The underlying imbalances, the transport monopolies, the subsidies in the North, the trade barriers in the South, the lack of government services to poor farmers, are not part of the deal anymore. It can be instead of political action and empowerment of the poor.

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