Disasters as moments of Change

By Ayesha Siddiqi

Floodwaters have finally begun to recede in the North East of India, with the Indian Meteorological Department saying no further rain is expected in the next few days. This devastating disaster however has affected millions of people many of whom are still living in temporary shelters. These people need to be told that in the run up to the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris (COP 21) countries were asked to submit their pledges for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. These Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC)s are now revealing themselves to be highly unambitious and essentially “too little and too late” to prevent the most serious threats of climate change. Continue reading

‘Finding the People’ in Bangladesh’s Democracy

By Palash Kamruzzaman

I was invited to join a panel discussion at the British House of Lords (28 October 2014) titled a ‘Discussion about democratic collapse as a result of unfair one sided national elections in Bangladesh’. The following summarises the main points I raised there.

Despite severe mistrust among the political parties, since 1990, Bangladesh has been governed by democratically elected governments under a ‘caretaker government’ system. Members of caretaker governments came from supposedly ‘non-political’ backgrounds. Those with some knowledge of Bangladesh would likely to agree that these elections have been more credible even though the ruling parties attempted to manipulate the system.

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Brokerage, Development and the ‘New Bihar’: Reflections from the field

By Shahid Perwez

‘Development’ in Bihar is a new phenomenon. Since 2005, it has had the fastest economic growth rate in India and is applauded for a dramatic turnaround of its poor governance. In November 2005, Nitish Kumar took over as Chief Minister promising to leave no stone unturned in making ‘good governance’ a reality. The state he took over was marred by a sluggish economy, severe malnutrition and an unusually high maternal and infant mortality rate, inaccessible hospitals due to lack of functional roads, massive unemployment leading to outmigration of youths, and unusually high crime rate Continue reading

Key learning points from the results measurement for sustainable private sector Development and the DCED global results seminar 2014

By Anne-Marie O’Riordan

How can we capture and understand the true extent of impact that aid channelled through challenge funds can have on poverty reduction? This question lies at the heart of my current job as a University of Bath ‘Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Associate‘ working with the firm Triple Line Consulting on the management and evaluation of challenge funds as a way of supporting business-led innovation, job creation and poverty reduction. Last month I attended two events in Bangkok Continue reading

Contested reconciliation in Sri Lanka

By Oliver Walton

(This is an updated version of a blog that originally appeared on the Insight on Conflict website)

Last month, the UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution calling on the Sri Lankan government to fulfil its international obligations towards justice and accountability and to address issues of reconciliation. The resolution sent political shockwaves across South Asia, with the DMK (Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam), a political party from Tamil Nadu, pulling out of India’s ruling coalition in protest at India’s failure to push for stronger language. The Sri Lankan government has robustly rejected international pressure for reconciliation and accountability, arguing that intervention of this kind threatens to undermine a nationally-led process. In the aftermath of the resolution, President Mahinda Rajapaksa reasserted his government’s resolute stance against international interference: ‘[t]hese attacks would not subdue us…, nor would they defeat or intimidate us in any way’. Continue reading