From the Editor's Desk (June 2013)
29 June 2013
The June-July summer issue of Angle comes to you amid the 19 hours daylight of the Finnish mid-summer. Last week UNU-WIDER’s Learning to Compete (L2C) conference on industrial policy and development in Africa was held here in Helsinki. We welcomed 200 researchers and policy makers to debate all aspects of industrial policy in Africa. Videos and reports from the conference, as well as all the papers presented, are available on the event website. The conference was held back-to-back with our Board Meeting. And earlier in the month we returned to Stockholm and Sida for the ReCom results meeting on ‘Aid and our changing in environment’. The next six months will be equally as busy.
The UNU-WIDER team, especially the support team, works especially hard to deliver the large development conferences such as L2C, not forgetting all of our ‘smaller’ project meetings, lectures, and ReCom results meetings that take place across the world. Many of those new to UNU-WIDER first meet us via the friendly and super-efficient team that organizes travel, accommodation, contracting, finance, communications, library, and technical support. We’ve met many new friends, and caught up with old friends, through the ability of UNU-WIDER’s team to get people in the right place at the right time, to deliver our meetings, conferences and, ultimately, the working papers, journal articles, books and videos that disseminate UNU-WIDER’s output to you.
And talking of working papers, for your beach reading this summer why not leave the trashy novel at home and take some UNU-WIDER output instead? (66 working papers so far this year, with a lot more to come). As you watch the sea level rise, you could do worse than peruse our climate change papers on what this means for development prospects. Or for those who cannot take a holiday in destinations without fast broadband access (that’s me), you can watch one of the excellent ReCom videos online.
Putting this sun-induced flippancy aside, UNU-WIDER’s latest working papers focus on weighty and serious matters: Andy Sumner on global poverty, aid and middle-income countries (from ReCom); Frauke de Weijer on building the Afghan state (especially relevant at this juncture in Afghanistan’s troubled history); Karl Pauw and James Thurlow on how to select the best investments in rural Uganda; and Blessing M. Chiripanhura and Miguel Niño-Zarazúa on the impact of the fuel, food, and financial shocks on Nigeria’s households (to name just four of the 2013 crop). We also have working papers on such topics as climate finance for sustainable forestry, donor co-ordination in Zambia, jobs in Mozambique, food price policy and many more of key concern to the development community.
UNU-WIDER has a lot more journal articles coming out over the immediate future. Rachel Gisselquist’s ‘Ethnic Divisions and Public Goods Provision, Revisited’, in Ethnic and Racial Studies. And Tseday Jemaneh Mekasha and Finn Tarp’s article in the Journal of Development Studies, ‘Aid and Growth: What Meta-Analysis Reveals’ are just two recent pieces.
Turning to this issue of Angle, with the 68th session of the UN General Assembly coming up in September, and with the post-2015 development agenda now in sharper focus, Angle continues its series on where this is all going. In this issue’s GuestAngle we welcome Gunilla Carlsson, Sweden’s Minister for International Development Cooperation, and a member of the UN High-Level Panel on the post-2015 Development Agenda. You can also view Minister Carlsson’s presentation at the ReCom ‘Aid and our changing in environment’ event here.
On the post-2015 MDG debate, you can still read May’s GUESTAngle by Andris Piebalgs, EU Commissioner for Development, who urges the international development community to finish the job it started back in 2000. For more on the post-2015 agenda in Angle go here. Interventions include Heikki Eidsvoll Holmås, Norway’s Minister of International Development, Christian Friis Bach, Denmark’s Minister for Development Cooperation, and Heidi Hautala, Finland’s Minister for International Development, together with UNU-WIDER director Finn Tarp and UNU-WIDER staff Rachel Gisselquist, Miguel Niño-Zarazúa, and myself. Our ReCom work does of course have very relevant evidence on what could work for aid donors in supporting the development agenda after 2015. See for instance the ReCom results meeting on ‘Aid and the social sectors’ held at Sida in Stockholm in March 2013.
Also in this Angle, we have two reflections on the ReCom results meeting in Stockholm on ‘Aid and our changing in environment’. First Roger Williamson gives his thoughts on the day. Then I summarise what for me were the main points of the day. This issue’s VIDEOAngle is Carl-Gustav Lindén’s interview with Yannick Glemareck of UNDP at the Stockholm meeting. Yannick is Executive Coordinator of UN Multi-Partner Trust Funds, and a former executive director of UNDP's Global Environment Facility. Yannick provides us with a very useful framework for thinking through how aid can best support climate change investment in developing countries.
You can catch all of our videos online here. I still recommend Lant Pritchett’s Folk and the Formula: Fact and Fiction in Development, his WIDER annual lecture if you are interested (as you should be) in state-building. Lant passed through UNU-WIDER earlier in June to chat about his work with Matt Andrews and Michael Woolcock (their working papers are now in our series, with more to come).
ResearchAngle this month continues our climate change and food focus (which of course interrelate), with three summaries on: how can aid help mitigate the problem of overfishing in Africa? Improving food security: what works and what could work? The price of inaction: climate change in Mozambique. More papers on climate change are available here, and on food price policy here.
As the Baltic Sea continues to shine outside UNU-WIDER’s windows, and UNU-WIDER works on arranging the next six month’s worth of events and publications, Angle takes its Nordic summer break, to return in August.
Tony Addison is Chief Economist-Deputy Director, UNU-WIDER