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A year of conversation on what works in development

Chris Little's picture
Chris Little
December 2013

Chris Little is Development Progress' Project & Communications Assistant. In this blog, he gives an overview of what the project has been up to in 2013 as well as what to expect from us in 2014.

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.  

Measuring progress

‘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

Explaining progress

‘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

‘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.

Financing progress

‘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

- 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.

What’s next?

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.