Friday, 29 July 2011

The week in review

Welcome to the Wikiprogress week in review, a round up of highlights from the eventful and busy week that was. Be sure to check out the Wikiprogress community portal for a full round-up of media coverage from the week that was.

On progress
So, how do you measure wellbeing and happiness? (Guardian Data Blog 25.07.2011)
Last November, the UK’s Office for National Statistics was asked by David Cameron to measure the country’s well-being. This week the ONS released the first report on well-being and happiness in the UK.

See more media review on the ONS well-being report

On child well-being
The Cabinet Secretary, Sir Gus O’Donnell, has emphasized the need to teach children that there is more to life than material goods. In the shift from measuring economic production to well-being, there is a need to create a cultural change in the way we see happiness.

See more on child well-being

On gender equality
Still lonely at the top (The Economist 21.07.2011)
The long-standing debate on whether or not governments should impose quotas for women in senior positions has once again come into the spotlight. The emerging pro-quota trend in Europe has been criticised by the Economist, with a series of articles featured on ‘the wrong way to promote women’.

See more on quotas for women in business

On Pakistan – one year later
Global Response to Pakistan Inadequate, Claims Report (Guardian 24.07.2011)
It has been one year since floods devastated Pakistan, forcing 11 million people from their homes.  With the monsoon season approaching, the international community has been criticised for not providing enough resources to Pakistan to recover.

See more on Pakistan

That’s all from us this week. Be sure to tune in the same time next week for another round-up of highlights.

Yours in Progress,

Philippa Lysaght

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Using DevInfo to Support Human Development Monitoring, Planning, Decision-Making and Data Dissemination

Continuing with our discussions on data visualisation, we welcome DevInfo to the ProgBlog. Find out more about them below...

How can we tackle human development more effectively and efficiently? How can we better address persisting disparities and close development gaps? A key solution lies in better data management and utilization - cornerstones of evidence-based decision-making.

DevInfo, a joint project of the United Nations, is a powerful database system for organizing, storing, and presenting data in a uniform way to facilitate data sharing across government departments, UN agencies and development partners. DevInfo facilitates the dissemination of human development data, thereby better positioning data to be used in support of decision-making, advocacy and evidence-based planning. DevInfo’s premier informational display and data capture platform allows users to easily produce tables, graphs and maps, for inclusion in reports, presentations and advocacy materials.

The software platform supports both standard indicators (the Millennium Development Goal or MDG indicators) as well as user-defined indicators. DevInfo is compliant with international statistical standards to support open access and widespread data exchange and operates both as a desktop application as well as on the web, so it can be accessed from anywhere. Software training and technical support is also readily available.

Nearly 140 countries and regions have successfully integrated DevInfo into their regular data compilation, monitoring and dissemination initiatives. For example, Papua New Guinea is using DevInfo to share official government education data via an online DevInfo education database. India is using DevInfo to support polio eradication initiatives through DevInfo-generated polio communication profiles. Moldova is using DevInfo to tackle rural deprivation using Small Area Deprivation Index maps. Niger is using DevInfo to advance poverty reduction by supporting the monitoring of the country’s Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper. Argentina is using DevInfo to assist public officials with child protection issues. For more examples of DevInfo use on every continent, please click here.

Beyond data monitoring and dissemination, the versatile DevInfo database system can be used in a variety of ways. For example, in the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami in Indonesia, DevInfo played a major role in equipping decision-makers with data for reconstruction. Aceh Info, a recovery database built containing both MDG and Tsunami Recovery Impact Assessment and Monitoring Systems indicators, provided stakeholders with easy access to relevant data for recovery decision-making.

Given its user-friendly interface, its endorsement by the United Nations as the chosen software for monitoring MDG progress, and its royalty-free status, DevInfo has become the database system of preference for a growing number of development organizations across the globe. For more information on how DevInfo can help your organization with monitoring, evaluation, advocacy, or data presentation, please contact or visit our website at

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

PISA explained....

Hi all,

We have been watching these great talks produced by RSA that take video of a whiteboard, a voice and an illustrator and put it out on You Tube.

The OECD PISA project on measuring student success around the world has one now and we here at Wikiprogress are very jealous.  What a great way to get your ideas across.

Have a listen and you will find that you actually retain what is said.

On that note, here is one of RSA's most popular films on "The Surprising Truth About What Motivates us".

Happy viewing!


Are quotas the way forward?

The debate on whether governments should impose quotas for women in senior positions has been going on for quite a while now. In Europe, Norway paved the way in 2006 by imposing a minimum quota of 40% of women in corporate boards. Today, many say the initiative worked (yet, this has to be looked at the broader Norwegian context that allows for rather family-friendly policies). And the enthusiasm for quotas is noticed in other European countries too: in France, a new law now requires 40% of board seats for women by 2017; Germany and the Netherlands are also considering a similar law. And on 6 July 2011, the European Parliament called for EU-wide legislation stipulating that women should make up 30 percent of top management in the largest listed EU companies by 2015. If the call for these voluntary measures fails, the enforcement could become legally binding.

But despite an emerging trend of “pro-quotas” in Europe, the debate is far from closed as demonstrated by other governments taking alternative routes. A recent report issued by the UK government urges UK companies that they be more transparent and that they set voluntary targets for boosting female board representation and to improve business performance. If these targets are unsuccessful after 2015, quotas could be an alternative. The report provides some international comparisons with countries that have already opted for quotas and countries that are taking alternative action to quotas enforcement. For example since July 2010, Australia has required that companies disclose the proportion of women in senior management and report on progress on gender objectives in their annual report. The new model came into force in January 2011 and also looks very promising. As Roger Carr, chairman of the British energy company Centrica puts it, “aspiration rather than legislation is the correct way forward”. His company has 5 women on its 15-member board.

Ok, lets look at this. It is argued that there are quite a few advantages in adopting such a drastic measure as quotas: quotas help redress existing prejudice that prevent women from accessing senior positions; also, as women represent half of the world population, quotas in politics are a way to represent the entire population, and quotas in boardrooms mean that women are more likely to answer the needs of women consumers, which is the largest group of consumers in the world; finally, there is evidence that firms with more women in senior positions perform better than those runs solely by men, and that mixed boards make better decisions.

However, there are also clear disadvantages that can be argued for in establishing quotas. In politics, quotas can be seen as undemocratic, as it implies that some of the candidates are imposed; the issue of women accessing senior positions because of their gender rather than on the basis of their merit is another hurdle; and quotas are simply against the principle of equal opportunity for all.

The Economist just published a couple of articles against mandatory quotas, stating that imposing quotas in the boardroom is “the wrong way to promote women” and “a bad idea”.  Quotas risk attracting women that are poorly prepared for the position offered, and it can have a negative impact on the company’s turnover, as shown in the case of Norway by a study from the University of Michigan. The articles in The Economist argue for alternative measures to tackle the loss of female talent in companies. In fact, the problem is not just the sexist stereotypes or the lack of role models for women: the main issue is the lack of flexibility in the workplace. I tend to agree with this view. If women perform as well as men at university, why is it that they lag behind men when it comes to accessing senior positions, apart from the obvious entrenched cultural reasons? Surely this has to do with managing work and family priorities.

It is no surprise that the gender gap affects mainly senior positions, as these are positions that are the most demanding. Women, on average, tend to spend more time looking after children and aging parents as well as performing domestic tasks than men. The difficulty to combine family responsibilities with work obligations means that they have to switch to part-time or flexi-time to make their time more manageable, thus making it nearly impossible to climb up the career ladder.

As argued in The Economist, companies should strive to make work more family-friendly if they are to attract the best pool of talent. In my opinion these family-friendly measures should be targeted at both women and men. Similarly, governments should further support paternity leave policies.
The articles also argue that companies should use the advances of technology and promote telecommuting, as numerous tasks can be done from home. The United States are already showing the way, with nearly 20% of employees that telecommuted in 2010. Breaking the glass ceiling for women is possible, and does not necessarily have to go via the enforcement of quotas. Extended and flexible paternity leave, more flexible hours, telecommuting, training or mentoring for women, and other family-friendly measures are definitely happening in a number of countries, but efforts should be more focused and taken more seriously. Exploring these alternatives further – and setting voluntary targets rather than enforcing quotas through legislation – should start helping reduce the gender representation gap in senior positions.

What do you think?


More on the topic on Wikigender:

Debate on Gender Quotas
Gender Equality in Corporate Boards
Special Focus of the Community Portal on Women, Leadership and Quotas
Motherhood + Career = Success?

Friday, 22 July 2011

The week in review

Welcome to the Wikiprogress week in review- a round-up of media highlights from the busy week that was. For all news items, blog posts, report release and much more, see the Wikiprogress Community Portal.

On progress
Happiness should have greater role in development policy – UN Member States (UN News Centre 20.07.2011)
A resolution was adopted at United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday calling on UN Member States to give more importance to happiness in the pursuit and measurement of social and economic development.

See more on happiness

On data
Sub-Saharan Africa in data: from infant mortality to government debt (The Guardian Data Blog 18.07.2011)
The Guardian Data Blog has gathered and visualized key data sets measuring progress in Sub-Saharan Africa over a ten-year period. This interactive tool allows users to compare indicators and visualize data over time or by country.

On gender equality
Entrepreneurial Activity Is A Key To Success But Women Face Special Obstacles (Radio Free Europe 17.07.2011)
The Legatum Institute, producers of the Prosperity Index, hosted a conference in London last week to consider the role entrepreneurship plays in national well-being. A strong connection has been identified between levels of entrepreneurship and ranking on the Prosperity Index; however researchers have found that the doors of entrepreneurship are not opened equally.

See more on Gender equality, employment and entrepreneurship

On child well-being
Time to start learning (IPS 19.07.2011)
This article looks at the importance of education in the world’s newest country, the Republic of South Sudan. The new government faces a different kind of war, a war on poverty, and access to education for South Sudanese children has been made a high priority.

See more on education and please contribute to our article on The Republic of South Sudan.

Also, the new Wikiprogress Child Well-being Portal just launched.

That’s all from us this week, we hope to see you again the same time next week for another round up of highlights from the week that was.

Philippa Lysaght

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Making you think Wikichild is worth it…

I am the leader of a very important country. And I’ve got a good idea. A new idea. An idea no-one has ever had before. It is an idea that shakes the foundations of conventional wisdom. It flies in the face of cultural and social norms in my country (don’t worry it is not bad, rude, or indeed evil). It is an idea that will change the way citizens live, work, and have fun – and all this for the better!!!

Do you want to know what it is?

Well, I can’t tell you – it’s not real. And it doesn’t matter to you because you don’t live in my country. My country is an abstract and fanciful projection on the back of my eyelids.

What might matter to you though is the question of information sharing (I hope you wanted to know the idea). As well as how to get your message heard and your message understood.  If I ever had a really good idea, I would need to share it, explain it, justify it, before being able to ultimately action it.

So if you had a message to give, just one message – but you had to write a blog about it, what would you do? With me, impatience struck after just five minutes of considering my options. So I wrote about the above (a long standing interest, for which a blog is waiting in the wings). Then I would just give my message… right out of left field…

There, I’ve said it.  Wikichild is back (and again) and it is all brand-new.

Not, of course, that Wikichild went away. But I suppose it might as well have been away. 

If a tree falls down in a forest, and nobody hears it, does it make a noise? If a Wikichild sits on the internet and nobody uses it – does it make a difference?  Well, the answer is a resounding “No”. So guess what…

We have relaunched Wikichild (three’s a charm). 

Lecturers and teachers, look away now, I am about to commit a sin, a grave sin in the world of the written citations… I am about to quote a dictionary definition:

Relaunch: to reintroduce a product or brand to the market after changes or improvements have been made (worst still, I got that definition off the internet).

Wikichild has more on it than before, and it is easier to use. It is full of interesting papers, and news, and notifications of events, and newsletters and everything the good people at Wikiprogress could squeeze into a page of progress (Wikichild is now under the Wikiprogress umbrella).

And do you know what? If we share the message far and wide, and explain why it is important to share our knowledge on these issues, and perhaps find some time in our working day to do this ourselves: Wikichild just might work!

Please help by sharing this link!  Thanks a million.

By Dominic Richardson

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Empowering women by microfinance!?

This post first appeared on Gender Debate.

Against the background of an increasing feminization of poverty in the developing world, microfinance programs represent important means for promoting women’s empowerment. However, most of these programs are only focussed on individual and purely economic empowerment but do not involve full and equal participation of women in all spheres of society. In order to improve the effectiveness of microfinance programs for women, it is necessary to integrate a societal and political dimension which enables women to participate in decision-making processes above and beyond the family context.

A report by Alexandra Dobra, published in the “International Politics and Society” journal of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, depicts important limits of microfinance programs for women:

According to the Microcredit Summit 2005, women represent 70 percent of individuals living on less than 1 us dollar a day. Not only do women represent the major part of the poorest individuals, but in addition they are also the most vulnerable.

Microfinance programs have proven to be important instruments to fight against female poverty and vulnerability in developing countries. Among the 81.9 million poor clients served by microfinance programs in 2005, 84.2 percent were women (World Bank 2005). Microfinance, by targeting women, allows not only improvements in gender equality but also effective decreases in poverty through the positive effect of gender equality on development.

  Image source:
Using microfinance programs to give women access to financial 
services is a means of mobilizing their productive capacities for the 
benefit of economic development. Through access to financial resources, 
microfinance not only gives women access to self-employment, but also 
contributes to the amelioration of family life and influences the social
 situation of women by promoting self-confidence and the capacity to 
play an active role in society. Moreover, extrapolating from household 
expenditure by working women it appears that women are more inclined to 
be altruistic and spend most of their money on their families. In this 
way, the wellbeing of the whole family and society is improved.

Although the social dimension of microfinance enables the emergence of female empowerment, the latter is too underdeveloped. In most instances, microfinance programs only enhance personal empowerment but do not involve full and equal participation of women in all spheres of society, including decision-making and access to power. In most developing countries, women are for example still largely under-presented in politics.

In order to improve their effectiveness of the empowerment process, microfinance programs must try to enhance their contextual adaptation and the political dimension. Therefore, the preponderance of the economic dimension of microfinance has to be reduced. Policy intervention is needed especially when it comes to improve women’s societal status. Action plans should reinforce women’s rights by stepping up the fight against sexual discrimination, by accelerating the politicization of women and by tackling patriarchal norms. Hereby, increasing women’s education and wage income is an important milestone. By these means, microfinance programs can go beyond their current embryonic stage of development and promote a “mentoring” function for women with a stronger focus on long term outputs.

Friday, 15 July 2011

The week in review

Welcome to the week in review- a round up of highlights from the progress community. Be sure to see the Wikiprogress Community Portal for all media coverage, report releases, debates and more.

In the Spotlight:
Wikiprogress has launched a series of video interviews with key progress thinkers. Featured here is an interview with Stephan Klasen at the New Directions in Welfare Congress.  See all interviews on the Wikiprogress YouTube Channel.

On progress
India Makes Some Progress on Poverty (Wall Street Journal 11.07.2011)
The Millennium Development Goals Report 2011, released by the UN last week, shows that India has made significant progress in the fight against poverty. The report states that the poverty rate in India is expected to fall by 22% by 2015, down from 51% in 1990.

On data
World Population Day 2011: The World at 7 Billion (UNFPA 11.07.2011)
Monday the 11th of July saw the 23rd World Population Day, recognising the importance of population trends. With world population predicted to surpass 7 billion by the end of 2011, the UNFPA launched a campaign called 7 Billion Actions aimed at engaging people on the opportunities and challenges presented by a world of 7 billion.

Wikiprogress has celebrated this by adding 6 new data sets to Wikiprogress.Stat.
  • See the Bertelsmann Stiftung’s

  • See also Measures of America’s Progress’

Beyond GDP
Easterlin's Paradox Revisited (The Boston Globe 08.07.2011)
The Easterlin Paradox first came about in 1973 when Richard Easterlin published “Does Economic Growth Improve the Human Lot? Some Empirical Evidence.” This article explores issues of happiness and wealth at both the individual and national level, the key issue of the paradox.

See more on the Easterlin Paradox

On gender equality
Last Wednesday UN Women launched their flagship report: Progress of the World’s Women 2011. Today they released a video of the launch in New York, featuring a panel discussion with key gender equality thinkers.

The Wikigender Community Portal has a special focus on the media coverage given to the report.

That's all from us for this week. We hope you can join us again the same time next week for another round up of highlights from the week that was. 

Yours in Progress, 

Philippa Lysaght

Monday, 11 July 2011

160 Million “missing” women

This post first appeared on Gender Debate

“The tragedy of the world’s 160 million missing girls isn’t that they’re “missing.” The tragedy is that they’re dead.

In 1990, the economist Amartya Sen published an essay in The New York Review of Books with a bombshell title: “ More than 100 Million women are missing.” His subject was the wildly off-kilter sex ratios in India, China and elsewhere in the developing world. To explain the numbers, Sen invoked the “neglect” of third-world women, citing disparities in health care, nutrition and education. He also noted that under China’s one-child policy, “some evidence  exists of female infanticide.” The essay did not mention abortion.
                     Image source:

Twenty years later, the number of “missing” women has risen to more than 160 million, and a journalist named Mara Hvistendahl has given us a much more complete picture of what’s happened. Her book is called “Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys over Girls, an the Consequences of a World Full of Men.”  As the title suggests, Hvistendahl argues that most of the missing females weren’t victims of neglect. They were selected out of existence, by ultrasound technology and second-trimester abortion. The spread of sex-selective abortion is often framed as a simple case of modern science being abused by patriarchal, misogynistic cultures. Patriarchy is certainly part of the story, but as Hvistendahl points out, the reality is more complicated — and more depressing.

Thus far, female empowerment often seems to have led to more sex selection, not less. In many communities, she writes, “women use their increased autonomy to select for sons,” because male offspring bring higher social status. In countries like India, sex selection began in “the urban, well-educated stratum of society,” before spreading down the income ladder.

Moreover, Western governments and philanthropic institutions have their fingerprints all over the story of the world’s missing women. From the 1950s onward, Asian countries that legalized and then promoted abortion did so with vocal, deep-pocketed American support. Digging into the archives of groups like the Rockefeller Foundation and the International Planned Parenthood Federation, Hvistendahl depicts an unlikely alliance between Republican cold warriors worried that population growth would fuel the spread of Communism and left-wing scientists and activists who believed that abortion was necessary for both “the needs of women” and “the future prosperity — or maybe survival — of mankind,” as the Planned Parenthood federation’s medical director put it in 1976. For many of these antipopulation campaigners, sex selection was a feature rather than a bug, since a society with fewer girls was guaranteed to reproduce itself at lower rates.

Hvistendahl’s book is filled with unsettling scenes, from abandoned female fetuses littering an Indian hospital to the signs in Chinese villages at the height of the one-child policy’s enforcement. (“You can beat it out! You can make it fall out! You can abort it! But you cannot give birth to it!”) The most disturbing passages, though, are the ones that depict self-consciously progressive Westerners persuading themselves that fewer girls might be exactly what the teeming societies of the third world needed.

Over all, “Unnatural Selection” reads like a great historical detective story, and it’s written with the sense of moral urgency that usually accompanies the revelation of some enormous crime. But what kind of crime? This is the question that haunts Hvistendahl’s book, and the broader debate over the vanished 160 million.

The scale of that number evokes the genocidal horrors of the 20th century. But notwithstanding the depredations of the Chinese politburo, most of the abortions were (and continue to be) uncoerced. The American establishment helped create the problem, but now it’s metastasizing on its own: the population-control movement is a shadow of its former self, yet sex selection has spread inexorably with access to abortion, and sex ratios are out of balance from Central Asia to the Balkans to Asian-American communities in the United States.

This places many Western liberals, Hvistendahl included, in a distinctly uncomfortable position. Their own premises insist that the unborn aren’t human beings yet, and that the right to an abortion is nearly absolute. A self-proclaimed agnostic about when life begins, Hvistendahl insists that she hasn’t written “a book about death and killing.” But this leaves her struggling to define a victim for the crime that she’s uncovered. It’s society at large, she argues, citing evidence that gender-imbalanced countries tend to be violent and unstable. It’s the women in those countries, she adds, pointing out that skewed sex ratios are associated with increased prostitution and sex trafficking.

These are important points. But the sense of outrage that pervades her story seems to have been inspired by the missing girls themselves, not the consequences of their absence. Here the anti-abortion side has it easier. We can say outright what’s implied on every page of “Unnatural Selection,” even if the author can’t quite bring herself around.

The tragedy of the world’s 160 million missing girls isn’t that they’re “missing.” The tragedy is that they’re dead.

Friday, 8 July 2011

The week in review

It has been an eventful week in the world of progress with the UN releasing a progress report, the OECD holding a congress on welfare and the World Bank making headlines for open data. See a selection of highlights in this review, be sure to see the Wikiprogress Community Portal for all progress related news items and blog posts.

On progress
Rebuilding trust and relationships through local processes (World Bank Blog – podcast 06.07.2011)
Co-director of the World Bank’s 2011 World Development Report, Nigel Roberts, is interviewed on AusAid’s ODE Talks and speaks about the lack of progress in education and health over the last 25 years. This blog provides access to the podcast and transcripts.

See more on the World Development Report

On development
In recent years, an increasing number of countries around the world have begun using ICTs to increase public participation in decision making. The UNDP are working to ensure these efforts extend to the poor and marginalized; this blog explains the challenges met and accomplishments made.

See more on the E-Government Readiness Index (GREAT article Vera)

On data
Moments after the earthquake that devastated Haiti, the World Bank uploaded images of Port-au-Prince taken with their equipment; along with an invitation to help the World Bank assess the damage and figure out the best plan of action. This article explores the importance of the World Bank’s move to open data for public access.

See more on the World Bank

On gender equality
UN Women released Progress of the World’s Women on Wednesday, a report which has caused a flurry of excitement and sparked a wide range of media coverage. The report’s introduction quotes former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, saying: ‘The report highlights the practical barriers that women- particularly the poorest and most excluded- face.’ See the full report here

On child well-being
The UNDESA, UNICEF, UNESCO and UNDPI hosted a live webcast from Geneva on Monday to discuss education, human rights and conflict. The debate took place in support of the 2011 Education for All Global Monitoring Report released by UNESCO on the hidden crisis- armed conflict and education.

See more on education and child soldiers

On happiness

The 'Happiest' Emerging Nation (IPS 06.07.2011)
A happiness index used to compare BRIC countries shows that ‘the degree of life satisfaction’ is highest in Brazil. Over the last few years, Brazil has seen a significant reduction in social inequality, one of the key elements to nation wellbeing. 

See more on Brazil
In the spotlight on Wikiprogress this week: OECD Congress- New directions in Welfare

During the Congress, Wikiprogress ran a series of interviews, the first of which you can see here; Johannes Jütting, Senior Economist at the OECD Development Centre interviewed on the importance of measuring progress of developing countries.

That’s all for us this week. We hope to see you back here this time next week for another round up of weekly highlights from the week that was.

Yours in Progress,

Philippa Lysaght

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

The road to Busan

This post first appeared on OECD Insights.

An editor I once worked for had a golden rule for his reporters and editors: We don’t do process. By that he meant that news stories should focus on what had happened, not the tedious ins and outs of how it had happened. Not bad advice it you want to write a vivid story, and many journalists would probably subscribe to it. Indeed, it may help to explain why there’s such a gap in public awareness regarding two of the landmark development declarations of the 2000s.

The first, the Millennium Development Goals, is known worldwide. Under eight main headings, it sets down a series of anti-poverty goals to be attained by the year 2015, including a memorable pledge to cut by half the number of people living on less than a dollar a day.

The second declaration is less well known, in part, perhaps, because it’s all process. While the Millennium Development Goals are about what development should seek to achieve, the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness is about the processes developing and developed countries should follow to achieve those goals. The language of the declaration and its five core principles can be a little obscure, but the message basically boils down to this: Development won’t happen sustainably unless developing countries themselves – and not donors – take the lead in setting priorities and coordinating activities.

Since it was adopted in 2005, the Paris Declaration has been widely credited with helping to reshape relations between donor and developing countries – development expert Homi Kharas describes the process that created the declaration as a “watershed”. But whether enough has really changed is a matter for debate: It’s probably fair to say that developing countries still feel their donor partners could do more.

How much more? That question, and many others, will be keenly debated at a major conference on development and aid effectiveness in November in the Korean city of Busan. The issues on the table are previewed in an article by OECD colleague Stephen Groff in the latest issue of Global Asia.

As Steve points out, this forum – the latest in a series over the past decade – “will be the first international meeting of its kind to focus on aid in the new development landscape”. That landscape is, indeed, new: Traditional donors in North America and Europe are facing squeezed budgets and rising pressure to get value for money for their aid budgets. Newer donors, like China, India and Brazil, are becoming ever more important players in development. And there’s the evolving political and social situation, in which, as the Arab Spring has shown, things can change in a heartbeat.

Busan will look back at what the Paris Declaration, and other agreements, have and have not achieved. But, as Steve points out, it will also look forward. “In Busan, there is the opportunity to build a fresh — and flexible — global development partnership that will include today’s diversity of actors and approaches,” he writes. “In these times of economic uncertainty, the world simply cannot afford anything less than effective aid and Busan is a critical milestone on the path to more effective development.”

Friday, 1 July 2011

The week in review

It has been another busy week in the world of progress and we have had plenty of media articles to scour through in choosing the highlights for this week’s review. Be sure to visit the Wikiprogress Community Portal for all new items and blog posts on progress.

On progress
In an interview with Sulak Sivaraksa, BBC Hardtalk discusses the problem with associating rising GDP and national income with national success.  Sulak Sivaraksa, a veteran social campaigner, talks about the importance of happiness.
More on happiness

On development
Inequality needs to move up the development agenda (The Guardian Poverty Matters Blog 27.06.2011)
Global income inequality has reached a new high; inequality as measured by the Gini coefficient is 65% higher than it was 200 years ago. Despite this drastic rise in inequality, the issue has never reached the top of the policy agenda. This Guardian article explores why.
More on inequality

On gender equality
The Women2Drive campaign in Saudi Arabia has taken to social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to show the increasing support for women defying the ban on driving. The social media platforms have been credited for assisting these women in spreading the word and challenging the status quo.

On child well-being
Almost half of the 160 million inhabitants of Bangladesh are children, of which 46% live below the upper poverty line. On Thursday UNICEF Bangladesh and the Centre for Policy Dialogue released a report entitled, ‘National Budget: Are the commitments to the children of Bangladesh being kept?’ which calls on the government of Bangladesh to invest more in the country’s children.  

On happiness
Happiness is a land called Oz (The Australian 29.06.2011)
Australia has long since enjoyed a top ten placement in many different wellbeing and happiness indices. This article shows how the OECD has ranked Australia in terms of happiness and what opportunities a strong economy has afforded Australians.
More on Australia

That’s all from us this week. We hope you can tune in again this same time next week for another weekly round up of highlights from the week that was.

Yours in progress,

Philippa Lysaght