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Critical visions of development from the Global Development Institute: Uniting the strengths of IDPM and BWPI.

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Fire risk reduction in informal settlements: interrogating evidence, imagining solutions

Fire risk reduction in informal settlements: interrogating evidence, imagining solutions

Laura Hirst is working on an ESRC CASE PhD studentship with Operation Florian at the Global Development Institute, University of Manchester, researching the production of vulnerability to fire risk in resource poor urban settlements in the Global South. She is about to commence her fieldwork in different urban settlements in Nairobi, Kenya.

The immediate aftermath of a tent fire in an informal refugee settlement in Zahle, Beqaa Valley, Lebanon

Medair staff conducting household visits as part of a fire risk training at an informal refugee settlement in Taanayel, Beqaa Valley, Lebanon.
Photo credit: Laura Hirst and Steve Jordan.

Workshop organised by the Manchester Migration Lab and Operation Florian, 27 April 2017

Fires cause over 300,000 deaths annually worldwide, causing permanent injuries to millions more, with the vast majority occurring in low and middle income countries. However, these figures are likely to be a vast underestimate; fire risk is classed as extensive – meaning it is everyday, localised, and high frequency – and is less likely to be documented and managed than intensive risks. Fires in informal urban settlements are even less likely to be officially recorded, due to a combination of issues related to poverty and spatial, social, economic and political marginalisation. Similarly, the impact of fire risk on lives and wellbeing beyond physical injuries can be extensive but difficult to quantify; long term health, livelihoods, housing and well-being at different levels may be severely jeopardised, compounding existing disadvantages often experienced by residents of informal settlements. read more…

The Call for a New Deal- Conversing with Dr. Richard-Kozul Wright (Director, UNCTAD)

The Call for a New Deal- Conversing with Dr. Richard-Kozul Wright (Director, UNCTAD)

By Karishma Banga, PhD researcher at the Global Development Institute  

We have been living in what Richard Kozul-Wright deems as the ‘Age of Anxiety’, with developing economies suffering from post-traumatic crash disorder, advanced economies finding it difficult to recover from the crisis and growing risks for everybody, everywhere. This comes on top of 30 years of hyper-globalisation, precarious work, rising levels of debt and inequality and- the cherry on the cake- ruthless corporations. Raising fingers at the bleakness of the current scenario, we have proponents pushing forward the mantra of ‘Inclusiveness for All’. While these words sound good to our ears, we continue to witness a slow-down of growth in the global economy.

To re-assess the current economic agenda, the Global Development Institute’s 21st century Globalisation and Development Research theme invited Dr. Richard Kozul-Wright (Director of the Globalization and Development Strategies Division, UNCTAD) to deliver a lecture on ‘Emerging Economies and end of Hyper-globalisation’, followed by a Masterclass for PhD students.

‘We require much more in today’s age of anxiety!’ announces Kozul-Wright at the beginning of his lecture. There have been serious concerns about the whole process of catching up of developing economies, particularly around the struggles to industrialise in the South. In the words of Christine Lagarde – growth has become too low for too long and for too few.  A major reason behind this could be the structural slow-down of growth in the North, affecting global demand. Just like in Game of Thrones, ‘the North’ seems to be in trouble. This could also in part be explained by the slow and lopsided recovery of the North after the financial crisis, with too much dependence on Monetary Policy and the consequent slow investment recovery.

The South is not without problems either; in both the North and the South, there is rising inequality, insecurity in the labour marker and an increasingly informal economy.  Interestingly, when the BRICS were the flavour of the month, there was talk about ‘strategic-decoupling’ in the South, with developing economies becoming independent engines of growth. Kozul-Wright argues that this has been true only in the case of China. East Asian countries have indeed done well, with China emerging as the big winner, but this success story presents an uneven picture. Elsewhere, such as Latin America and Africa, growth has been erratic since the 1980s and some countries have actually witnessed an increasing divergence from the US income level. These countries continue to be dependent on commodity prices and private capital flows, which remain volatile and contribute to the growing instability in these economies.

Kozul-Wright brings in an interesting point here; contemporary globalisation has not been about trade. What matters for globalisation today is how finance interacts with the real world, and this will decide the future of globalisation. Investment remains a key driver for growth but the conventional discussion on investment needs to be shifted from attracting FDI to capital formation. Kozul-Wright stresses on a profit-reinvestment nexus which is complemented with the access to external finance.

A self-proclaimed manufacturing fundamentalist, Kozul-Wright does not side-line the importance of manufacturing. Sustainable and inclusive development can be attained by countries building a strong manufacturing base and the ability or capacity to upgrade. Industrialisation has stalled in some parts of the world, such as India, Sub-Saharan Africa and Mexico. These have been cases of ‘premature deindustrialisation’ where industrial capacity has been lost at a time when one expected a rise in productivity performance. In order to promote export-led- growth in these countries, rising sophistication of the export basket can be important. In short, what you export matters!

Kozul-Wright closes with emphasising the need for a new discussion- a discussion that harps back historically and seeks a ‘global new deal’ based on the principles of; anti-austerity, reflation agenda, expansionary fiscal and monetary policy, strong regulation in finance and labour markets, and global re-distribution. As a last takeaway, Kozul-Wright throws in SDGs as the largest investment planning strategy in history. Meeting them requires mobilisation of investable resources at the domestic level, complemented and reinforced at the international level. The day concluded with a lively discussion in the masterclass on the importance of re-conceptualising investment, regional relations and bringing South-South trade back into focus.

Note: This article gives the views of the author/academic featured and does not represent the views of the Global Development Institute as a whole.

 

Alumni profile: Justice Bawole

Alumni profile: Justice Bawole

Since graduating from GDI with a PhD in Development Policy and Management in 2013, Dr Bawole has visited The University of Manchester every year to deliver guest seminars and collaborate with colleagues and former supervisors. We caught up with him on his latest visit to chat about how his degree from The University of Manchester led to two promotions when he returned to Ghana.

read more…

Aid Memoir: By maintaining the foreign aid budget and adopting a joined up approach, the next government can show its commitment to becoming Global Britain rather than Little England

Aid Memoir: By maintaining the foreign aid budget and adopting a joined up approach, the next government can show its commitment to becoming Global Britain rather than Little England

Professor David Hulme, Executive director of the Global Development Institute

A day is a long time in politics and the first full day of election campaigning was dominated by suggestions that the Conservatives would row back on the commitment to spend 0.7% of GNI on aid. But, barely 24 hours later, Theresa May scotched these rumours, perhaps encouraged by a passionate plea from Bill Gates that “lives will be lost if the UK reduces its aid”.

But this does not mean that battles about the aid budget are over. This now shifts to defining exactly what official development assistance (ODA or ‘aid’) can be used to achieve. The OECD controls this definition, enabling it to collect authoritative statistics on what each member country spends. Over the years it has had to produce a very precise definition, preventing countries from attempting to count any overseas spending as ODA. This has included commercial loans, subsidies to arms manufacturers, export-credit guarantees for civil engineering companies to win contracts in Africa and Asia: all activities to achieve domestic benefits rather than promoting international development. read more…

Listen: Richard Kozul-Wright on emerging economies and the end of hyperglobalization

Listen: Richard Kozul-Wright on emerging economies and the end of hyperglobalization

Richard Kozul-Wright (Director of the Globalization and Development Strategies Division, UNCTAD) gives a fascinating and timely lecture on why we shouldn’t defend the current international order and why a global new deal is urgently needed.

Recent events have provoked considerable hand wringing from supporters of globalization; talk of rising trade protectionism, currency wars, migration controls and economic populism have been taken as evidence that the open global economic order built over the previous seven decades is under serious threat, with some even warning of a return to the kind of economic and political chaos witnessed during the interwar years. read more…

GDI Lecture Series: The Global Arms Trade and International Law with Dr Shavana Musa

GDI Lecture Series: The Global Arms Trade and International Law with Dr Shavana Musa

On Wednesday, 26 April, Dr Shavana Musa gave a lecture entitled ‘The Global Arms Trade and International Law: Prevention is Better than Cure’. You can watch the live stream below

 

Note: This article gives the views of the author/academic featured and does not represent the views of the Global Development Institute as a whole.
DI Working Paper: The Demographics of Digital Development

DI Working Paper: The Demographics of Digital Development

By Professor Richard Heeks, Professor of Development Informatics

Read the Development Informatics Working Paper ‘Examining “Digital Development”: The Shape of Things to Come?

Any emergent digital development paradigm will be shaped by three changing demographics of ICT usage: geographical, maturational and experiential.

Geographically, we have already moved from domination of the old Internet world (the US and Europe) to domination of the new Internet world (emerging nations of the global East and South), as summarised in the table below[1].  Use of digital technology in developing countries[2] now represents the majority not minority global experience. read more…

The Drama of Resilience – or the head, heart and soul of places, people and change

The Drama of Resilience – or the head, heart and soul of places, people and change

By Dr Robbie Watt, who gained his PhD from the Global Development Institute and is now a Lecturer in International Politics at The University of Manchester.

Poster in New Orleans

Image: Because every time you say, “Oh, they’re resilient,” that means you can do something else to me. . Image source: https://twitter.com/JulReid/status/405024781772148736

‘Ohh, resilience.’

When I mentioned resilience, the topic of that evening’s GDI lecture to social worker friends in a Manchester pub, their reaction was cynical. ‘We hear about resilience all the time,’ they said disdainfully. Manchester social work, facing austerity and cuts, deploys resilience terminology to justify withdrawal from tragic situations. Don’t worry, they are resilient.

Professor Katrina Brown, Chair in Social Science at the University of Exeter, is by no means ivory tower bound nor isolated from stories such as these. In New Orleans, post-Hurricane Katrina, people objected to being labelled resilient, and Professor Brown was there to notice.

The language of resistance and political struggle can be avowedly anti-resilience. Yet Professor Brown sees resistance as (just?) one part of resilience. Naming grassroots resistance and struggle as (mere?) aspects of resilience invites controversy because resilience has been criticised as a neoliberal and depoliticising concept that speaks to ideas of self-reliance and technocratic governance. Hence there is a tension involved in calling resistance efforts, which often challenge neoliberal policies, as intertwined with resilience.

Nevertheless, resilience is a sufficiently broad concept that Prof Katrina Brown can escape definitions that conform to neoliberal ideas. Indeed Prof Brown’s work, including her recently published monologue Resilience, Development and Global Change, is critical of business-as-usual policy discourses on resilience. Her aim is rather to reclaim resilience as a rich analytical concept that can help us to understand processes of change in dynamic socio-ecological systems, where people and landscapes interact with power and agency.

In her excellent lecture, Prof Brown identified three components of resilience – resistance, rootedness, and resourcefulness – giving colourful examples of each. She then showed us how resilience can be articulated in an empowering fashion through participatory theatre. I turn to each below. read more…

WATCH: Participatory planning in Ruimsig, Johannesburg

WATCH: Participatory planning in Ruimsig, Johannesburg

Professor Diana Mitlin recently visited Ruimsig, Johannesburg, to learn about participatory planning. This research is part of a new network on ‘Achieving Inclusive Cities through Scaling up Participatory Planning in Africa’ which is being led by Prof Mitlin. The network was awarded £120,000 by the Leverhulme Trust and will bring together community organisations and academic departments in three sub-Saharan African countries and researchers at the Global Development Institute.

You can watch Diana’s interviews with local community activists below. read more…

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