"In Our World" relates to IIED's world of environment and development. It connects us with what’s going on in both the real world and online worlds. As we develop this new feature its content and length will vary – so do let us know what you like and don’t like about it.
Climate change negotiators are still meeting this week in Bonn to try and find a way forward on, amongst many other subjects, climate change mitigation, adaptation and finance. Sources of ‘innovative’ finance, such as taxes on international transport, have been proposed. Might these provide a way to break the deadlock on finance and prove to be sources of significant and stable financing to address the impacts of climate change?
Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo's book, Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty, is making waves in development circles. Beyond the strong focus on randomised control trials, the book distinguishes itself by wading into issues on which the development community has often ignored or made uninformed guesses. These include the rationale behind the decisions made by the poor, whether they make the "best" decisions available, and how policymakers should respond.
Who had heard of G3 eighteen months ago? Nobody, because it didn’t exist.
Yet an alliance known as The Three Rights Holders Group has had a strong presence at COP 16 in Cancun, manning an information booth and participating in various panels.
The group’s message was a simple one, advocating for sustainable forest management and locally controlled forestry as a vital component in any realistic strategy going forward to address climate change mitigation and adaptation.
A new book argues that the best approach to reducing poverty is the simplest: giving money to the poor. In Just Give Money to the Poor, Hanlon, Barrientos and Hulme argue that cash transfers put money directly in the hands of those that need it, and that the poor are both willing and capable of using the money to benefit themselves and their families. Given the uncertainties and pitfalls of spending money on climate change adaptation, could we do worse than simply giving money to the poor themselves?
The recession may have quickened a move to a new aid architecture with the emergence of new players, new directions and new types of aid. Traditional donors from the G8 have failed to achieve their commitments to give 0.7% of their gross national incomes, due in part to “severe constraints of public debt”. But despite the recession, new donors have emerged, and with them a shift to new patterns and ways of giving aid. Indeed the recession has demonstrated the durability of aid during hard times but has also added to its complexity. We now need to work even harder to make sense of that complexity and ensure that aid is considered as one small part of a more joined-up and transparent development agenda.
Supporting development means providing energy. At current prices, the cheapest option for many countries is coal, even though burning it contributes heavily to climate change and local pollution. And that has left multilateral development banks with a dilemma: support the cheapest option to fund development, or push more expensive, yet more sustainable renewable alternatives? This dilemma reared its head recently, when the World Bank approved a US$3.75 billion for the Medupi coal power plant in South Africa.