Monday, April 18, 2016
Today again, as she has done every day for the last 10 years, Rose will wake up early and walk several kilometres to sell the few tomatoes and bell peppers she’s grown in the small parcel of land she shares with a group of women in the semi-urban neighbourhood she landed in several years ago. She left her village after many years of drought, no harvest, no income and a large debt to cope with. She was forced to sell her land and go, adding herself to the millions of urban poor crowding the city’s outskirts.
Friday, March 18, 2016
The Sustainable Development Goals recognize the need to build peaceful, just and inclusive societies with effective rule of law and transparent, effective and accountable institutions. These goals are not only important in their own right but are also relevant for the achievement of economic and social development goals. Given how distant this vision may seem to people living in countries facing civil conflict, high inequality and stagnant growth, two questions are worth asking: 1) given a governance context, sometimes highly imperfect, what does it take to make development progress; and 2) what can drive successful governance reforms. These are the questions taken on by the World Development Report 2017 on Governance and the Law (the WDR).
Thursday, February 25, 2016
While SDG Goal 16 is an important step forward for the global development agenda, its meaning is inevitably imprecise. It opens a Pandora’s box of unresolved questions about what kind of political arrangements best guarantee ‘inclusive’ and ‘accountable’ societies.
Friday, February 12, 2016
At midnight on New Year’s Eve, I was standing on a rooftop in Central London. Like many others, I made some personal resolutions, hoping that setting some goals would help me be healthier and happier in the coming year. However, as the bells chimed and the fireworks exploded, this year I also raised a glass to the ‘peaceful, inclusive and strong institutions’ of Sustainable Development Goal 16, as the 2030 Agenda came into force. But if the pathway to achieving personal goals is sometimes tough, how much more daunting is the achievement of the vision laid out in SDG 16? The seemingly endless and increasing violence, hatred and exclusion we see in the world around us and the size and complexity of the task inevitably make us question those moments of hope and visionary optimism when we have committed ourselves to better things. Yet, just as there are ways to keep our personal resolutions on track, so I think that there are concrete ways to ensure that, in this first critical year of the 2030 Agenda, good foundations are laid for the progressive achievement of Goal 16.
Tuesday, February 9, 2016
SDG 16 recognizes that peace, justice and accountable institutions are critical to sustainable, transformative and inclusive development.It sets out ambitious targets on a range of issues from reducing violence and corruption, to combatting trafficking and organized crime, to ensuring legal identity for all. In doing so, SDG 16 provides a long-awaited and powerful mandate for donors and implementing organizations to develop a coherent focus on these critically important issues. By placing governance problems front and center in the international community’s efforts to end poverty, SDG 16 represents a high-water mark for a trend that has been building steam for years. This means that issues such as politics, power and institutions cannot be left by donors or their implementing partners for someone else to ‘sort out’. While this is a positive and welcomed development, we have to acknowledge that achieving significant, transformative results on SDG 16 by 2030 is a tall order. The mixed track-record of past donor-supported governance and rule of law projects is a sobering reminder of this. Despite their best intentions, historically many grand state-building and institutional strengthening projects have fallen short of their intended goals. If we are to make real progress on SDG 16, this naturally leads us to ask two questions: Why is it so difficult to bring about meaningful change on the issues SDG 16 covers? And, what can we do it about?
Thursday, February 4, 2016
So just as we embark on the most ambitious global development project yet in the form of the new Sustainable Development Goals, some hefty questions are being asked about development assistance. And the answer we keep hearing – in one form or another – is the need for development actors to begin to ‘think and work politically’ (TWP). How realistic is this, though?
Monday, February 1, 2016
There is an assumption in international aid just now that if only we can build a better donor, every sustainable development goal will be achievable and every program transformational.