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Analysis and Comment (41)

Navy workers deliver aid in the Philippines. DFID

Fixing aid: bypass corruption with military precision

The UK government’s Department for International Development has been severely criticised by the Independent Commission for Aid Impact for its apparent failure to tackle corruption in the countries that…
The densely populated cities like Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown, have been the worst hit. EPA/str

How to plan for a post-Ebola West Africa

The Ebola outbreak continues to rage, and the immediate need is to control the spread of the disease and to help those infected. But it is time also to plan how to rebuild a post-Ebola West Africa, whose…
The country’s capacity to treat infected patients and prevent further spread is very limited. UN Women Asia & the Pacific/Flickr

How would Papua New Guinea deal with Ebola?

Contemplating how Papua New Guinea (PNG) would deal with Ebola may not be that different from asking the same of Liberia 12 months ago. While PNG’s per capita gross national income (US$2,540 in 2013) is…
Mining giant Rio Tinto, which has operated in Guinea for 50 years, has donated just US$100,000 to the UN Ebola fund. EPA/Ahmed Jallanzo

Mining companies must dig deep in the fight against Ebola

The current outbreak of Ebola virus in West Africa shows no signs of halting. More than 4,500 people have died and many thousands more are infected. Despite the creation of a new United Nations mission…
There’s little consensus on how to proceed after 2015. EPA/Yonhap

How UN managerialism is stifling the voices of the poor

Once hailed as “the world’s biggest promise”, the Millennium Development Goals, a 14-year-old series of commitments made by governments to tackle global poverty, will expire at the end of 2014. There is…
It’s trickling-down up north. BenSutherland

HS2 and the myth that wealth will trickle up from London

Over the years I’ve written a lot about global north-south issues. Yet until now, I’ve never said a word about the same divide within England, my own country of birth and residence. But the two overlap…
Microfinance can buy you a bucket, but it won’t feed you forever. DFAT

How microfinance disappointed the developing world

In 1976, a small experiment was conducted in the poverty-stricken and flood ravaged Bangladeshi village of Jobra. Professor Muhammad Yunus, a lecturer of Economics at Chittagong University visited the…
Illegal dumping in the Mzymta River from Sochi’s building frenzy. sochiwatch

Sochi Olympics have left a trail of environmental destruction

The reports from Sochi’s newly built hotels and Olympic Village have not painted their construction in the best light, with tales of doors that wouldn’t open, yellow drinking water, and collapsing fixtures…
Private sector-led growth might help. DFID - UK Department for International Development

UK is not thinking smart about growth in developing countries

Justine Greening, the international development secretary, recently made a speech on how business can contribute to development. Three quarters of it was about the importance of economic growth in developing…
Small but powerful, the BRCK brings the web to those hard to reach places. BRCK

The little black box bringing the internet to Kenya

The BRCK is, in a sense, just like the archetypal little black box. It does what you need and you don’t have to worry about its inner workings. The team developing it has a simple aim – to extend and stabilise…
Some cardboard trees made by Hugo Boss and painted by children, because: sustainability! Geoff Caddick/PA

It’s time to ban the empty word ‘sustainability’

While the idea of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) that became all the rage some time ago initially had worthwhile aims, it is now more commonly used by corporations to out-worthy their competitors…
Google says it can change the world with its Loon balloons. iLighter

Spreading the net takes more than balloons and bombast

A flurry of initiatives aimed at connecting the billions – mainly in Africa – who still do not have access to the internet are underway. A few weeks ago, Google’s possibly aptly named Project Loon was…
Moving with the times. Mobile phones are a vital tool in African banking. whiteafrican

Bitcoin fuels Africa’s banking revolution

Bitcoin has landed in Kenya. The online currency that was, until recently, the preserve of tech entrepreneurs and only the most pioneering financiers, is to go mainstream in Nairobi while the rest of us…
Universities do have a role to play in helping developing countries. University image from www.shutterstock.com

Universities and the poorest billion

The following is based on the Monash Richard Larkins Oration given by Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University last night in Melbourne. You can read and listen to our In…
Non-communicable diseases are the silent assassins in global health. Risk exposure begins in early childhood, and accumulates across the lifespan. michaelwhays

One year on, what has the UN meeting on non-communicable diseases achieved?

What causes two out of every three deaths in the world, has been described by the Director-General of the World Health Organisation as “a slow motion disaster” and by the Secretary-General of the UN a…
It’s easy to find examples of good development in national parks - Cradle Mountain Lodge, for example - and examples of where it hasn’t worked. Michael Dawes

Is nature-based tourism development really what our national parks need?

You’d be hard pushed to find someone who doesn’t love national parks, either as visitors or as reasonably-minded bystanders. But can those parks be loved to death? And, if so, who should step in to help…
Why is philanthropist Melinda Gates dedicating the rest of her life to improving women’s access to contraception? DFID UK Department for International Development

Contraception: best for women, babies and the planet

Melinda Gates’ vow to put the availability of contraception back on the global health agenda – even if it means going against the Pope – has provided a welcome voice for logic and compassion. Speaking…
As many as one in four girls in the Pacific aged between 15 and 19 years are already mothers. Graham Crumb

Life saver: why Pacific women deserve contraceptive choice

World leaders, international donors, government officials from developing countries and civil society organisations gathered at the London Summit on Family Planning overnight to support the right of women…
We need to take a better look at the role women can play in the Millenium Devlopment Goals. AAP/EPA/Harish Tyagi

Challenge 11: How improving women’s status helps us all

In part 11 of the multi-disciplinary Millennium Project series, Danielle Logue and Mel Dunn note the striking absence of male voices in discussions of women’s empowerment, despite it being fundamental…
Land of the snow gums: Australian forests are dynamic. Flickr/SplaTT

Australia’s vast and dynamic forest cover: a bird’s-eye view

Forests spark emotional debates in Australia. Much of the rhetoric is about saving “the last of Tasmania’s wild forests” or how we must “stop logging in Australian native forests”. Australian forests…
Facing tough questions: NSW’s planning review must grapple with competing visions of development. Flickr/Askew One

Under review: rival visions for people and communities

Later this year Brad Hazzard, NSW Minister for Planning and Infrastructure, faces a difficult decision. Will he prepare new state planning legislation that prioritises a desired outcome: healthy, functional…
Questions of planetary power: a mere 0.3% of transnational corporations control 40% of global revenue. Flickr/paul (dex)

Planet under Pressure 2012: here’s the wrap

The Planet Under Pressure 2012 Conference was held in London a fortnight back and released the first State of the Planet Declaration. The conference aim was to set out the science (in a broad sense) in…
Will the UN recommendations pull people out of poverty and reduce pressure on the environment? The Advocacy Project

UN sustainability panel says put a price on the environment

A recent cartoon (below) extrapolates the use of the word “sustainable”. It predicts that in 50 years each sentence will on average contain the word at least once. The cartoon is clever, and “sustainable…
Aung San Suu Kyi’s release from house arrest in November last year was a very significant step towards reform in Burma. EPA/Mizzima News

The world can do much more to help Burma change

Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd is cautious, but says we are seeing the first signs of change in Burma, but the government there still needs to do more for its people. He is correct in saying “It is in our…
The world’s population is racing ahead compared to growth in the rest of the world. AAP/Dean Lewins

Sustaining 7 billion: Australia’s part in planning for population growth

SEVEN BILLION PEOPLE: As the global population passed the seven billion mark yesterday (give or take a few months – the data aren’t exact), Australia’s resident population will reach about 22.75 million…
Women will be the key to dealing with the growth in population. Flickr/PhotograTree

Seven billion reasons to be a feminist

SEVEN BILLION PEOPLE: I had better write fast. Sometime between my deadline to submit this story and the time it goes live, the estimated world population will exceed 7 billion for the first time ever…
Developing smaller urban areas may mean better employment and living conditions for migrant workers. AFP

Why China’s mega-cities leave their citizens struggling

SEVEN BILLION PEOPLE: The world’s seven billionth person is likely to be born today. Beatriz Carrillo Garcia, lecturer in China Studies at the University of Sydney looks at effect a growing population…
Taxing international aviation emissions could help pay our climate change bill. Flickr/FatMandy

Cutting subsidies to fossil fuels could help Australia meet its financial climate commitments

Wealthy countries have committed to mobilise up to $US100 billion a year by 2020 for climate change action in developing countries. This is almost as much as the total amount of aid provided globally each…
Environmental activists have targeted palm oil – an industry crucial to Indonesia’s development. AAP

Big NGOs should stop monkeying around and get tougher on the West

In 1990 there were about 400 international environmental groups. Today, this number is more like 1.4 million. So why is the world apparently in a worse state now? Have environmental groups paid too much…
Development agencies can’t ignore the impact of illicit drugs. AAP

Dependent on development: why we’re losing the war on drugs

Around 6% of the world’s population aged 15 to 64 use illicit drugs – that’s 250 million people. It’s a rapidly changing population, with many different pathways to illicit drug use and new users constantly…
Anti-US feelings run high after drone attacks in north-western Pakistan EPA.

US aid cuts won’t hit Pakistan where it hurts

Washington’s decision last week to suspend $800 million in military aid to Pakistan should not have come as a surprise to anyone who has been following recent developments in the US-Pakistan relationship…
It’s time to begin preparing for the “tertiary effects”. AAP

What will a four-degree climate rise mean for world health?

Public health experts have warned for more than two decades that climate change will harm human health. Initially their attention focused on “primary” health effects (e.g heat waves, bush fires and flooding…
Australia’s foreign aid commitment falls far short of the level promised in 1970. AAP

Australia’s aid funding: does our performance match our promises?

In the foreword to the international development assistance component of this year’s Federal Budget, Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd gives cogent reasons for Australia’s position on foreign aid funding. He…

Research Briefs (3)