Why securitization only works in Star Wars

We live in the complex world with security becoming a more pressing issue every day. In the face of security crisis, migration challenges and health-related issues, people are often caught in the crossfire in our attempts to frame our security. The response seems to be securitization of health, migration and other humanitarian disasters.

One response for sustainability and peace is through communities. By strengthening local leaders, women in particular, we give them tools to change their communities from within.

Alaa Murabit, one of world’s leading voices for gender equality, addresses these issues, challenging the way we look at them, and frame sustainable development in light of emerging trends.

Challenging inequalities and unsustainabilities

Across the world, the rise of multiple forms of inequality, and growing environmental problems such as climate change and resource degradation, present defining challenges of our era. These challenges are interlinked, and affect people locally, nationally and globally with devastating consequences for wellbeing and security, and for the achievement of global development goals. Yet pathways to more equal and sustainable futures are possible. These involve innovative combinations of top-down and bottom-up strategies, and novel alliances between states, markets, technologies – and crucially, the knowledge and action of citizens themselves. As examples from urban and rural settings in Asia and Africa show, power and politics are critical in enabling such pathways to unfold, and shaping whether they add up to the transformational change needed to secure more equal, sustainable futures.   

Globalization, migration and future of middle class

Development @ 70: New Life or Gracious Exit?

As the era of development nears its seventh decade, and in the context of a much changed world since its inception, it warrants posing the question of whether development studies can be infused with new life, or whether we should instead actively wish for its tactful but steady evanescence. After reviewing some of the landmarks of development theory according to its three main paradigms (liberal, Marxist, and poststructuralist theories), this presentation discusses current debates on post-development, with special attention to the emergence of trends centered on Buen Vivir, autonomy, and a re-conceptualization of the communal in Latin America, particularly in the context of territorial struggles against extractivism. The last section presents some work in progress by the author on the interrelation between design, (post)development, and civilizational transitions.

Human Development: achievements and challenges

This lecture traces the evolution of thinking from an exclusive emphasis on economic growth to Human Development starting with the 1990 Human Development Report of the UNDP. It traces the achievements in Human Development since then, differentiating between basic Human Development and broader dimensions. While there has been very major progress on many of the dimensions, particularly basic HD, there has been more mixed progress on other dimensions – for example in relation to community and social aspects, while there is ongoing gross failure with respect to sustainability. The lecture ends by pointing to some defects in the approach and the challenges they represent for future analysis and policy.

Education: fundamental to a country’s future

„The next century is already being built daily in today’s classrooms. However, it becomes more and more obvious that family, government, the media and civil society must be included in the transmission of cultural heritage and key values. To address current and future challenges to peace, prosperity, public health, environment, etc., especially in developing countries, educational systems can no longer be enclosed in traditional schooling patterns. The learning environment has to go beyond the classroom and must mobilize key actors from other sectors. We have to gradually take down the classroom walls. This will require the reengineering of curricula, of learning, financing, etc.” – said Nesmy Manigat, former education minister of Haiti ahead of his lecture.

2030 development agenda: from committment to action

While continuing to pull our weight as the world’s largest provider of official development assistance, the EU and its Member States need to re-define our ambition as part of a new global partnership to implement the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. A partnership that involves countries at all stages of development in a spirit of shared responsibility for our common future, and one that goes beyond governments, to meaningfully involve all partners – from local authorities to civil society, to the private sector and academia. In designing the future of EU development policy, our ambition should be to do away with traditional interpretations of what does or does not constitute development, and to use instead the real challenges that our partner countries face as the starting point for providing comprehensive solutions.

We need to formulate policies that address poverty and environmental degradation together – not as competing objectives; make sure the benefits of our actions are spread more evenly, helping to address inequalities within and between countries; put the focus on women – not just as beneficiaries, but as drivers of development; and we need to bring development into the policy mix to address the great multifaceted crises of our time: building peaceful and resilient societies, combating climate change, managing refugee and migration flows of unprecedented scale. To succeed, we will have to effectively mobilise all available resources and move beyond just measuring aid, towards a culture of results, transparency, inclusive follow-up and review. By putting its wide array of tools to good use, EU development policy can have a catalytic effect in the implementation of the SDGs worldwide. It can be a game changer.

New developing world’s middle class: does it matter?

History suggests that a large and secure middle class is a solid foundation on which to build and sustain an effective, democratic state. Can we hope, then, that the recent rise of new, large middle classes in some developing countries will be good for governance in those countries? How dependent are new middle classes on continuing growth? Who is “middle class” in the developing world? And under what conditions does a large-enough middle class have a benign effect on a country’s politics and policies? Finally: Should governments in the rich world, and institutions like the World Bank, aim to build and nurture the new middle classes, and if so how?

Life without water: what happens when glass is empty?

Environmental journalist from the Guardian, Karl Mathiesen, interviews the 2015 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate Shri Rajendra Singh who received the Prize for his innovative water restoration efforts, improving water security in rural India, and for showing extraordinary courage and determination in his quest to improve the living conditions for those most in need.

Impact of refugees crisis on Western Balkans and EU

Neither the limited local infrastructure nor tried and tested social capitals can withstand the size of the present migration challenge unaided. With specialized government agencies and international organizations providing direct support to refugees and migrants, UNDP has focused on supporting its traditional partners in local government, which in so many regards have shown themselves again and again to be the – somewhat less visible – backbone of resilience at times of crises. „The refugee and migration crisis threatens years of development gains in Western Balkans and EU – border communities and local governments on migration routes key to region’s resilience”.

From war to development – women leading the nation

Violence is the order of our world. The « Wars in our World website listed 584 militia groups globally a few months ago. Now there are 56 countries in the world in armed conflict and 676 militias, anarchy and resurgency groups. Africa has the most countries in crisis (25 countries and 197 armed groups); there are 8 countries and more than 200 armed groups in Middle East: Mexico accounts for more than 10,000 deaths per year due to drug trafficking and related violence. The US at war with itself due to mass shootings. Is there any hope ? In West Africa, the problems are systemic. HIV, security, refugees, exploitation of natural resources and mining… these are now characteristics of West Africa. The burden of the Liberian civil war was borne by women: rape, keeping the community together, gathering food amidst a rain of bullets. But this also occurred in other countries. Women knew that despite suffering and rape, if these countries were to leave those terrible states and go from war to development then we needed to step in. Most men didn’t know why they were fighting. War started, they had guns, it was fastest route to economic gain. Women needed to intervene to stop the killing.

Three examples :

First, the Wajir in Kenya : women negotiated with different actors to start a mediation committee to end the conflict. The Wajir Peace and Development Committee was formed. Now, these women have established a Trust and University of Peace. Second, in 2000 the Somali Peace Talks were organized around clans and this excluded women from the peace process. In response, Somali women developed a sixth clan- the clan of the women- and they were given a seat at the table. This led to representation in Parliament in Somalia. Third, in 2003 Liberia was in its 14th year of civil war- one observer called the Liberian situation from bad to worse to ridiculous for 3 reasons :

1) Liberia had one of worst dictators in Africa

2) It was a police state

3) Liberia hit rock bottom in the14th year of war

Liberian women started the peace movement with 10 dollars in resources. The movement started a letter-writing campaign, spoke with foreign delegations in Liberia, and confronted perpetrators. It was able to bring peace. Women bringing Africa from war to development is not a new phenomenon, we just never stopped to write our stories so they have not been heard. In 1929, the Aba Women’s riots in Nigeria occurred. 25,000 women participated; 50 were killed ; 50 more were arrested protesting colonialism. However, the women won and showed the ruling power that they must be accounted for. These women were powerless but determined.

Moving back to modern times, in 2003 Liberian women brought peace and were told to relax. However, these women refused because they decided that they were never going back. They knew that the fight did not end with peace. For example, domestic violence is prevalent in peace-time through the objectification of women. When Ms. Gbowee began as a social worker, she worked with child soldiers- a 16 year old said that he never raped a woman because he did not understand what rape is. Now, through the work of the peace movement and through the work of women lawyers, Liberia has one of strongest rape laws in the world. It also has laws protecting indigenous wives who are commodified through property law.

This journey also needs to take advantage of moments of opportunity. Following the end of civil war and the establishment of free elections in Liberia, we began a campaign to register women to vote. People ask: How did Liberia get a female president ? It is not rocket science – more women are registered to vote than men in Liberia. We cannot separate peace from politics and development. This is an error of the development community. Now women’s issues are treated like pieces in a puzzle in development. Instead, women need to be part of the solution in war time, transition and development agendas. We now have the Sustainable Development Goals: How do we begin to implement them? In Syria, peace is considered too complicated for women. In South Sudan it is the same. If war and peace are considered too complicated for women, how do you expect them to lead development? Peace is part of transition from war to development. Women active combatants in war when they are raped and suffer, they are not observers. Why should they be limited to observers in peace processes?

The United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 is pathetic because all of the funding for women, peace and security is tied to counter-terrorism. However, if a women has seven children and cannot pay for their education, who do you think will be the first recruits in terrorist organizations and militias? Women need to be considered as active participants in peace and development processes. Donors, like Luxembourg, should give any development funding unless women are active parts of the solution and not simply restricted to being observers.

From crisis to stability

„We live in turbulent times.” With these words Carl Bildt, a former prime minister and foreign minister of Sweden, began his speech entitled „From Crisis to Stability” at the Department of Joumalism and Political Science at the University of Warsaw. The lecture was organised in partnership with the Faculty of Joumalism and Political Science of the University of Warsaw, and the Ronald Reagan Foundation in Poland. The event was held within the European Year for Development 2015 agenda.

In his opening remarks, Carl Bildt expressed that the world today is defined less by globalisation, and more by resurgences in geopolitical aggression and terrorism, which stand as the most significant obstacles to securing peace in the contemporary world. He discussed how conflict in the world is particularly far-reaching, and therefore requires extensive intervention on the part of the United Nations or European Union, efforts which may be diplomatic, military, or political.

Referencing his involvement in mediating a resolution at the close of the Bosnian War in 1995, he detailed the challenges of both preventing war and fostering long-term stability in war-tom regions, citing several examples which illustrate how disagreement within the international community can vastly undermine any peace-making efforts. Recounting these past experiences, MrBildt outlined several important lessons for state-building efforts in the future:

  1. „It is imperative to establish a secure environment very fast.” This goal requires not on1y disarming rival groups, but also compelling them to participate in a peaceful settlement. Intervening governments must be willing to escalate their military presence in the event of further hostilities because, without security, humanitarian workers will not be able to provide aid for the civilian population. These consequences became most obvious following recent wars in the Balkans, the Middle East, and Africa.
  2. „The central challenge is not economic reconstruction, but state building.The framework of a state must already be in place before focusing on projects such as physical reconstruction. Without a political solution, any efforts to rebuild will be for naught. By achieving a negotiated political settlement on the form of the state, there will at least be an opportunity for interested parties to establish cooperative relations.
  3. „To build a state, you need to know what to build.” The decision must be made early in the process, and it must be definitiv In a deeply divided society, state building should involve constitutional protections for all threatened groups, whether ethnic, religious, or otherwise. Competing sides also must be able to compromise in order to achieve a permanent arrangement.
  4. „There must be an early focus on the preconditions for long-term growth.” The future of a fledgling state is predicated onhaving early conditions that would enable economic Sanctions have historically been counterproductive because they drive away the middle class and enable black markets to form. Moreover, sanctions against governments only maketheir societies more economically fragile, more dependent on humanitarian, and more resentful.
  5. „There has to be a benevolent regional env” For a state to become stable, it requires stable regional neighbours that are capable of putting aside their own hostility. Regional governments must recognise the negative consequences if a neighbouring state fails.
  6. „The greater the international support, the easier the process.” Disagreement among foreign governments can serve to galvanise rival groups within a post-war territ Therefore, the UN as a whole, and the Security Council in particular, can avoid prolonged civil conflict by agreeing to a common approach, although this remains an enormous challenge due to the disparate interests within the international community.
  7. „Nation building takes a longer time, and requires more resources, than most initially believe”. Overseeing a state’s initial post-war period requires a vast amount of patience and commitment. Unfortunatelypeace-keepers around the world are limited because of the manrecent conflicts that require their involvement. A much greater volume of personnel are needed not only for security, but also for political and economic development, which further confirms the need for achieving an international consensus in solving these types of crises.

To illustrate the aforementioned points, Carl Bildt named a number of recent examples in which the international community failed to recognise or address the needs of states that had been devastated by war, ranging from Bosnia to Afghanistan, as well as the more recent conflicts in Syria and Libya. He emphasised that the international community must act decisively in order toprevent states from failing because the consequences may be felt anywhere in the world, as we have witnessed from the ongoing terror campaign by ISIL and the accompanying Syrian refugee crisis. He closed the lecture by asserting how urgent issues such as climate change and overpopulation make it even more crucial for governments to take a proactive approach in solving global issues together.

E-society and E-citizens: from Technology Transfer to Human Empowerment and Development

Beyond crowdfunding: power of crowd in development

Financing for rural development

Why refugees need jobs, bank accounts, and insurance

Our world is in the midst of one of the most intense refugee crises it has ever seen. In fact, 1 in every 122 persons in the world has been displaced due to conflict. At 60 million, this is enough to form the world’s 24th largest country. As the international community, largely unprepared, is struggling to meet the demands, Dr. Paul Spiegel of UNHCR joins #KAPtalks to argue for a new paradigm. He suggests we must go beyond the donor-assistance system to one in which refugees must be given cash, bank accounts and health insurance. 

Ethics of emerging technologies

Structural reforms: lessons from other lands

Structural reform has become a major issue in Greece, as a critical component of what the country needs to do to get out of the crisis and stimulate economic growth. The discussion of structural reform in the euro zone revolves largely around textbook ideas and simple economic principles. Latin American, Asian, and advanced countries themselves have a rich history of experience with structural reform. This empirical background rarely figures prominently in the discussions, even though it holds important lessons. Key points relate to contextual specificity (desirable reforms vary), prioritization (tackling more binding constraints before others), economics of the second-best (some reforms may well backfire), and function versus form (it’s what institutions do and not how they look that matters).

Sustainable Development Goals: Getting Started

Later this year, we’ll see the world adopting a new set of global goals to guide us over the next 15 years – the Sustainable Development Goals. From ending poverty to ensuring education for all, from reducing inequalities to fighting climate change, the goals are looking to improve the lives of all citizens – every single person in every country. But more people must know about the goals, and everyone must work towards them – together.

Integrated solutions for sustainable development

Role of civil society in global governance

The experience we’ve had fighting corruption with the help of the CSO Transparency International has shown me the impact organised civil society can have on better global governance, a complex challenge which none of the traditional actors of governance can solve alone.

To put it very briefly, Transparency International has built its success on:

  1. mobilising civil society in more the 100 countries for the diagnosis of their corruption problems design of reforms and their implementation  in their own societies,
  2. using a holistic approach, and
  3. in cooperation with other actors of governance – often an antagonistic coalition of very different actors in the public, private and civil society sector.

A close cooperation with the media for building a global consensus about the catastrophic impact of corruption – including our regular Corruption Perception Index – and with research and academia, led to a situation where today practically every significant voice castigates corruption. 

Growing support of coalition of the three actors of governance, the State as prime actor, the Commercial Sector and Civil Society Organizations have to complement each other in order to establish together better governance.

A free and vigilant civil society is essential if we are to tackle poverty and the injustice of globalization, and to dispel the climate of despair and alienation that serves as a breeding ground for conflict, war and terrorism.

Only an effective coalition of state, business and civil society can bring transparency and accountability to global governance, not only to fight corruption, but other ills of globalization (injustice and inequity, poverty, violence, conflict, environmental destruction and climate change). There is hope for a better, more just world for everybody.

Development goals – brilliant propaganda?

Ideology of celebrity humanitarianism

 

Celebrity charity work is deeply tainted and ideological. Its altruistic pretensions are belied by several accompaniments: its tendency to promote both the celebrity’s brand and the image of the ‘caring’ (Western) nation; its entrenchment in a marketing and promotion machine that helps advance corporate capitalism and rationalizes the very global inequality it seeks to redress; its support to a ‘post-democratic’ liberal political system that is outwardly democratic and populist, yet, for all intents and purposes, conducted by unaccountable elites; and its use and abuse of the 'Third World’, making Africa, in particular, a background for First World hero-worship and a dumping ground for humanitarian ideals and fantasies. But what about our own complicity in this ideological work? As audience members and fans, or indeed even as detractors or critics, we too easily carry on our lives, consoled that someone is doing the charity work for us, just as long as we don’t have to.

Development assistance in a new world

Extreme poverty has been halved and people have never been richer, healthier or better educated. More than 600 million people have been brought out of poverty in China alone. But average global improvement is of little help for the over one billion people still living in extreme poverty. The world will come together this year at the UN to agree on the complete eradication of extreme poverty by 2030 and a new set of sustainable development goals. For the first time in human history, we have the knowledge and resources to eradicate poverty while preserving the planet.

Most important is policies. We must learn from success and do more of what works. Child mortality has been reduced by two thirds in Ethiopia and that alone has saved more lives per year than the number of people dying in all global wars combined. Schoolchildren in Vietnam are now doing better at school than children in much richer OCD countries. Korea has gone from one of the poorest countries in the world to one of the richest in a few generations. Young Koreans are 390 times richer than their grandparents were!  Lithuania has successfully transitioned into a democratic market economy and is now one of the fastest growing economies in Europe. There are so many stories of successful development. We must replicate these successes on a global scale.

Money is also important. Global aid remains stable at record high levels and reached $135 billion last year. Development aid has increased by 66% since 2000. And new donors are adding to this. China is now a major provider of aid. India, Indonesia and Brazil are giving as well as receiving aid. The United Arab Emirates is the most generous country in the world, giving 1.17% of national income to development assistance. Turkey is above the OECD average, hugely generous to Syrian refugees and increased spending by 8% last year. Hungary and Estonia increased development aid more than anyone at 25% and 19% last year. We need more and better aid! But we also need to use aid to mobilize the two biggest sources of development finance in the world: Private investments and tax!

Learn more as Erik Solheim, Chair of the OECD Development Assistance Committee, an alliance of the world’s main donors, talks about development aid in a new world.

Development blind spots: rethinking gender inequality

„Why it is considered reasonable to intervene when the Taliban in Afghanistan organizes to stop girls from attending school? And why do we hesitate when millions of girls are prevented from attending school by the private decision of millions of individual fathers who are spread over large areas?” – asks Deepa Narayan ahead of her lecture in Budapest.

How can we address gender inequalities that still persist in rich countries and in poor countries? In the USA, with an overall ranking of 20 on the Gender Gap index (World Economic Forum), the pay gap between men and women will take a century to close.  The United Nations may have already given up.  In the current UN efforts on developing Sustainable Development Goals, gender equality is about the only goal that is not time bound, a direction without commitment. It makes gender equality more difficult to achieve than climate change, which has time bound targets. Given these difficulties, how long then will it take India with more than 500 million girls and women, and an overall ranking of 114 on the gender gap index, to achieve gender equality?

Given this context, we need to fundamentally challenge existing development policy and practice to achieve greater gender equality more quickly.

Drawing on data from the USA and new research on India, a case is made to re-consider the primacy given to economics rather than culture, the public rather than private, and the external rather than internal in our policy thinking.

Bringing production back to development

[<a href=”//storify.com/mehmeterdoganIV/ha-joon-chang-speaks-at-kaptalks” target=”_blank”>View the story „Ha-Joon Chang speaks at #KAPTalks” on Storify</a>]

Human relations at heart of development

There remains a unshakeable assumption in the international policy community that development in one country can be switched on and off from central controls elsewhere in the global system. You see this logic with everything from Education for All to the MDGs. Whether it is cross-national tests of achievement or even the global rankings of universities, the kind of forces that drive change in schools and universities are largely enabled or inhibited by humans who inhabit these institutions.

The kinds of issues, moreover, that wreak havoc on societies and their systems of education are largely ignored in international policy scripts that privilege academic achievement in science, mathematics and literacy. This technicist and instrumentalist view of education has exposed developmental agendas to even greater threats, the unravelling of human relations that are so crucial to both people and performance across the world.

Prof. Jansen made these arguments real by presenting his research on race, intimacy and leadership at the University of the Free State in South Africa — and how many students made the transition from tolerance to embrace in segregated communities. According to prof. Jansen „Any analysis that begins and ends with condemnation, rather than pressing for an understanding of the underlying dilemmas of inequality, poverty, segregation and violence cannot begin to resolve the human challenges in specific territories without which development remains an elusive project.”

Transition to „a developing world”

Citizen mobilisation and empowerment

Can behavioural science improve public policy?

Urban at heart of Sustainable Development Goals

Truly universal post 2015 development agenda

Traditional development concepts and their related strategies do not provide adequate answers to the emerging global problems, be they accelerated global warming, the growing gap between rich and poor, or the further expansion of the global shadow financial system. Given these problems, a future development agenda focusing only on poor countries and not on the rich ones would be inadequate. The old division of the world into developed and developing countries no longer reflects the political and economic realities of today’s world. Moreover, the concept of “developing countries” that gradually become “developed countries” is based on an outdated modernisation theory notion of a linear development trajectory on which progress is primarily defined as the speed of economic growth.

The debates on the Post 2015 Agenda offer the opportunity to reconsider development in light of the new realities and to overcome the old and often still paternalistic approaches of development policy. Therefore, a truly universal Post 2015 Agenda must not just become an updated set of MDGs. It should contain universal sustainability goals and a program for structural transformation which defines the necessary financial, regulatory and institutional means of implementation in all countries of the world, and this in line with their differentiated responsibilities and capabilities.

Kinky development – why „1$/day” doesn’t solve poverty

Foreign Policy Magazine named Pritchett as one of the top global thinkers and described his work as: “Pritchett’s solution is straightforward: Do a better job of measuring the things that matter. Rather than counting post offices, ask whether the mail is getting delivered. Rather than tallying the numbers of enrolled students, find out if they’re learning anything. This may be easier said than done, but at least it’s a start.“

Can we afford sustainable development?

Effective poverty reduction beyond MDGs

As the end of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) approaches, it is important to evaluate and plan for the future vision. Although the MDGs have been generally successful and some goals have been met, such as halving extreme poverty, there are still many lessons to be learned. Economic development, decent work and job opportunities, inequality and sustainable development will be high on the post-2015 development agenda. Organized jointly by the European Commission (EC), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), and in partnership with Devex and the Global Association Masters in Development Practice, José Antonio Ocampo, Professor and Director of Economic and Political Development Concentration at Columbia SIPA, and Esther Duflo, Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics at MIT, discussed effective policies in poverty reduction beyond the Millennium Development Goals, as part of the Kapuscinski Development Lecture Series. 

John Coatsworth, provost of Columbia Universityopened the lecture and noted this was the first to be held outside of Europe.

Andris Piebalgs, European Commission, stated that the goal of Kapuscinski development lectures series is to discuss the post-2015 MDGs and to shape the development debate in the years to come. The European Union is committed to poverty eradication and provides an example for social and economic development that allows dignity for citizens. It is crucial that no one suffers from a lack of access to housing, water, education and health, but also to jobs, justice, institutional access and dignity. Mr. Piebalgs indicated that the EU could provide policy coherence for the post-2015 MDG discussion. He added that development “used to be solely based on how much money was being spent on aid, but now we are shifting to a focus on outcomes and outputs and the success of development.”

Helen Clark, UNDP, thanked the European Commission for their strong partnership around the world and the work with EU accession members and future members. For the post-2015 MDGs, “over a million respondents took part in the World Survey and Global Debate, showing an appetite and interest in engaging in the debate.” Many voices were heard, including the young, indigenous people, women, people with disabilities, displaced persons, and LBGT. People want their governments to be honest and responsible and their leaders to be more ambitious in current topics such health and education. They want to expand to new areas such as addressing increasing urbanization, energy, inequality, marginalization, decent work, and sustainable development that does not push growth at any price if destructive.

Poverty Eradication in Post-2015 Development Agenda

In his speech, Professor Ocampo addressed post-2015 macro issues, highlighting that the current debate has been highly participatory by including not only states, but also civil society, the private sector, foundations and academia. He stated that the MDGs have been successful because they are concise, human-oriented, visible, useful for advocacy and design of development strategies, backed by significant institutions and measurable, which represents a huge improvement in the monitoring of UN goals from the past. On the other hand, the major criticisms of the MDGs have been the high centralization of defining goals and targets viewed as donor-centric. There was a lack of participation by member states and no economic issues were addressed, such as productive and decent employment. The goals also included incomplete targets in many areas, for instance gender and environment and many were irrelevant to middle-income countries.

The vision of the post-2015 MDGs has been headed by a UN Task Force and has been based on the fundamental principles of respect for human rights and equality. A high level panel summed up the ambition, “our vision and responsibility are to end extreme poverty in all its forms in the context of sustainable development.” Professor Ocampo pointed out that extreme poverty is not the only issue at the center, but also inequality between and within nations. He called for adopting a universal agenda, applicable to both developing and developed countries. As a result, developed countries need to address their own domestic challenges related to unemployment and inequality and also assist developing countries. The agenda also needs to leave “ample space for national policy design as it’s important to build ownership of strategies”. Goals should be few, practical and measurable.

Professor Ocampo sees the main issues on the table as figuring out what GDP means and implies, including future economic development, addressing inequality, increasing social services and changing the rules for global finance and trade. “Domestic inequality, primarily income inequality, is the most important issue in high and middle-income countries, and 60% of the world in the beginning of the 21st century continue to live in nations where income inequality is increasing.” He views inclusive development as having four ingredients: productive employment, universal social services, redesigned care economy and redistributive fiscal policies.

While peace and good domestic governance are difficult to measure, they are a core element of well-being. The broader UN agenda has linked peace and security to sustainable development; but because there are no specific goals, a framework is needed in order to improve peace and good governance.

Making Poverty Reduction More Effective

Esther Duflo, MIT, gave a presentation on making poverty reduction effective and defining the new role of international assistance. She began her talk by breaking down the two perspectives on foreign aid, the optimist and the pessimist. While many think aid can eradicate poverty, others believe aid is useless or worse. Professor Duflo stressed that broad sweeping statements cannot apply from country to country and we need a more modest objective, because eliminating poverty is a very broad goal. Since poverty is not going to go away with one approach, she suggested “experimentation and imagination.” Currently, policy makers lack imagination and are prisoners of ambition, as they promise too much and want to solve the problem all at once. This is not only a problem of aid, developing country’s governments often have the same mindset and challenges.

Professor Duflo stated that aid has traditionally filled a gap in financing, such as building bridges, or other infrastructure projects. But she pointed out that money is fungible and will reduce return to further public and private domains. She predicts, “Aid will eventually become irrelevant” unless a venture capital approach is implemented. Capital could finance investment in new technologies and new approaches to development. She further outlined 3 stages for this: basic research, making products market ready, and scaling-up and diffusion. Such capital is lacking in the development sector, even if there is potential market. The Acumen Fund and the Omidyar Foundation demonstrate how this can work. Ideas in development have huge social value, but many might not have a market yet. Therefore, markets need to be developed and linked to social programs and redistribution.

Professor Duflo urged the audience to stop to thinking of aid as providing things and technical knowledge and to get away from the mindset of “you don’t know, we know.” To illustrate this point, she provided results of her studies in improving educational quality in India. In many countries, including India, learning levels in schools have actually reduced because current MDGs only target enrollment and equality between genders. By focusing on the children lagging behind, 

low-paid employee came to schools and provided weekly remedial classes.  Even though the evaluation showed large increase in test scores and evolved to become Read India, attendance and school commitment to the program still lagged. Through a series of experiments in different states, 

Professor Duflo and her team finally found a system that works with the government. She added, “the system does not come out of anyone’s hat, it needed time and money and experimentation.”

Her message was that aid must become a venture capital model for development innovation so it does not become obsolete. It is important to facilitate research, promote replication and scaling up, and foster a culture of learning in governments to support their own growth.At the end, Professor Duflo stated that “Agencies are not ready to accept failure and risk yet, but the mindset will need to shift. I’m not sure if can be done, but it is worth trying and necessary to be optimistic. An excellent start will be if even a small amount of money can be set aside for experimentation and see the results. There is movement in this area. USAID, for example, has an innovation fund…there is now the Global Idea, which the UK and Sweden have supported, to expand innovation. It is just a matter of pushing it along.”

Tackling inequalities in development