A HUB FOR IDEAS, DEBATE AND RESOURCES ON HOW THE WORLD IS DOING ON INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT GOALS
A year of conversation on what works in development
It’s the same at the end of every year in development. We all look back at the last 12 months and it seems like a blur of major global events and new trends (unfortunately, my picture to the right is not a selfie), coupled with a nagging feeling that a lot has changed, but that a lot remains the same.
Not so for Development Progress. For us, 2013 has been all about creating conversations on how to measure, explain and finance progress in international development. In other words: conversations about what works. And, just in case you missed these debates, this is where we pause to take stock of some of the defining moments for the Development Progress project this year.
- We ran a blog series on how best to measure extreme poverty, with contributions from a range of leading experts. Lant Pritchett and Stephan Klasen presented their views on poverty lines, whilst Sabina Alkire and Amanda Lenhardt focused on how we can conceive and measure multi-dimensional poverty. A fascinating post from Emmanuel Letouzé on using big data to measure poverty was followed by a piece to round off the series by Emma Samman. These perspectives were pulled together in a working paper, ‘Eradicating global poverty: a noble goal, but how do we measure it?’.
‘Isn’t how we define poverty too important to be left to technical experts? After all, it gets to the heart of who we consider to be excluded, how we try to tackle deprivation, and how ambitious a new global framework should be.’ - Emma Samman on the ‘From Poverty to Power’ blog
- Why do different methods of measurement produce such different signs and perceptions of progress? We took this question to participants at the EU Development Days and the ACFID Development Futures conference, and explored the specific impact on setting targets for sanitation in this infographic for World Toilet Day and in the accompanying blog. We wrapped up the year by looking at the ‘what, who and how’ of measurement for the post-2015 agenda.
- We launched our first case study, covered by The Economist, telling the story of Nepal’s remarkable progress on maternal mortality, despite years of conflict and some of the world’s most difficult terrain for the delivery of healthcare. Infographics explaining the drivers of progress and the financing of progress complemented blogs from the lead author and two local authors, one on the importance of birthing centres and the other sharing a personal history of Nepal’s improvements in maternal health..
‘Nepal’s story of progress can provide important lessons for other countries struggling to address high levels of maternal mortality and morbidity, especially within a context of difficult terrain and high poverty rates.' - Jakob Engel, lead author
- Our exploration of progress in health led to a blog series on the links between health and development and a working paper on why Neglected Tropical Diseases matter in reducing poverty. Both of these set out how progress in one dimension of well-being can ripple out to benefit other dimensions.
‘The work of Development Progress and the Overseas Development Institute is helping to bridge the gap between health and broader issues of development and poverty that arguably remain siloed in current debates.’ - Fiona Samuels, health dimension lead
- We also looked at how to measure progress in employment, with a working paper aiming to develop a methodology that would identify bottlenecks and opportunities related to the achievement of full and productive employment for all in sub-Saharan Africa.
- A long-term blog series on what works in development finance has, to date, focused on the current context of development finance, with leading experts in the field outlining some of the key challenges. These include: developing new perspectives for post-2015, changing the mind-set on aid and issues such as tax avoidance, as well as the need for a new financing consensus after the post-2015 agenda has been set. 2014 will see three further sets of blogs and we hope that the lively debate on this issue will continue – don’t forget that you can propose a blog or comment on the contributions so far.
‘Today, far more power lies in the global east and south, and there is less reliance on aid in all but the very poorest countries. The aims of development finance, meanwhile, are likely to expand significantly, to respond to the ever growing sustainability crisis that faces our planet.’ - Jonathan Glennie, financing progress lead
Aid for Trade
- Exploring how Aid for Trade (AfT) contributes to progress in development has been a key research question. January’s Policy Dialogue in Paris began the year’s work on AfT, with a briefing paper and an audio interview with WTO Director General Pascal Lamy (amongst others). July’s 4th AfT Global Policy Review in Geneva was the moment to launch a summary of key messages from our research on AfT as well as an audio-blog with opinions from some of the key figures. Closing the year, and to mark the 9th WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali where a deal was finally reached, we explored what it means for developing countries, and for the least-developed countries in particular. Other AfT-related resources included:
- Reports: Future directions for Aid for trade and Aid for Trade facilitation in lower-income countries and an event report: The future of Aid for Trade at the WTO
- Vox pops from the WTO: What do the trade experts say?
- Blog series: What does the future hold for Aid for Trade and
Aid for Trade on Business Fights Poverty
- A book: Assessing Aid for Trade; Effectiveness, Current Issues and Future Directions.
‘Our research has shown that we need to go further. We need to keep reinvigorating the concept of AfT so that it remains relevant in the future.’ - Dirk Willem te Velde, AfT lead
Our new website
- Our refreshed and refocused developmentprogress.org site has been live since September, providing a hub for debate and resources on progress towards the MDGs and hosting a variety of perspectives and analyses of progress at both global and country level. Do get in touch with any relevant content you come across or propose a topic for a blog if inspiration strikes you.
Check out our animation for a whistle-stop tour of what’s yet to come from the project. 2014 will see the publication of many more case studies on progress at a national level, with the first half of the year featuring further research on progress in health, alongside education, political voice, social cohesion and the environment. Our financing progress blog series will continue, with an already stellar list of bloggers lined up, and there will be additional series on urban poverty, valuing progress, political voice and women’s empowerment. We’d love to hear your hopes and expectations for the coming year, so please do drop us a line by commenting below. And don’t forget, if you haven’t already, sign up to receive our monthly newsletter, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. We look forward to the conversations and debate that 2014 will inspire.