Links & Contents I Liked 422

Hi all,

More than 40 of our students presented 10 group blogging projects today & yesterday and it's always amazing to see the breadth of topics & approaches that emerges around ICT4D & #globaldev-from podcasts to Clubhouse chats, to posts about contemporary issues including decolonizing aid, reflective practice & Matt Hancock's spectacularly short career as UN envoy...if you are teaching: I can't recommend (group) blogs highly enough as tools for collaboration, reflecting on digital practices & #globaldev theories, case studies & complexities!

There's a special COP26 section this week & all sorts of other intellectual, sometimes scary (Melania Trump returns...), treats for holiday reading!

Happy Halloween!

My quotes of the week
In 2019 Trump picked Malpass to run the World Bank, where he was mostly silent on climate before delivering a plan that watchdog groups denounced as a failure due to its refusal to phase out support for fossil fuels. His record suggests that Malpass has neither the vision nor credibility to make the World Bank a climate leader.
(Working at the World Bank, I can see how it is failing humanity on the climate crisis)

I propose a subtle but important shift in the way we understand localisation: one that swings away from overly focusing on localising the humanitarian sector and instead moves towards supporting local humanitarian solutions.
(
Localisation Re-imagined: Localising the sector vs supporting local solutions)

Development news
Melania Trump wanted to send full-length mirrors to African children so they could 'see that they are very strong,' book says
While touring the Chipala Primary School, Grisham wrote that the first lady's entourage was "surprised" that children at the school asked their American visitors to take photos of them on their phones "so they could see what they looked like."
"As soon as we returned to the United States, she wanted us to send full-length mirrors to the school," Grisham continued, quoting Melania as saying, "We need to send the school mirrors. Children need to know what they look like and see that they are very strong or very beautiful."
Grace Panetta & Eliza Relman for Business Insider; the story was already published in early October but it's just a train wreck gem that it deserves to be shared as worst practice...

COP26 week
Trash and Burn-Big Brands Stoke Cement Kilns With Plastic Waste As Recycling Falters.
The Indonesian project, funded in part by Unilever PLC, maker of Dove soap and Hellmann’s mayonnaise, is part of a worldwide effort by big multinationals to burn more plastic waste in cement kilns, Reuters has detailed for the first time.
This “fuel” is not only cheap and abundant. It’s the centerpiece of a partnership between consumer products giants and cement companies aimed at burnishing their environmental credentials. They’re promoting this approach as a win-win for a planet choking on plastic waste. Converting plastic to energy, these companies contend, keeps it out of landfills and oceans while allowing cement plants to move away from burning coal, a major contributor to global warming.
Joe Brock, Yuddy Cahya Budiman, John Geddie & Valerie Volcovici for Reuters with a special report from Indonesia.

Vanessa Nakate Wants Climate Justice for Africa
But I believe that we need to speak out—to “break the silence,” as Sani says. I see my role in climate activism as bringing up conversations that many people have never had, and highlighting the destructive policies and investments of banks, hedge funds, multi-national corporations and governments—all of which would like the rest of us to have no idea what they’re up to. I see my task as drawing attention to communities that people may not have heard of, where lives are being upended and lost on a daily basis.
No country, no matter where, is just a country. What happens in the Congo Basin rain forest doesn’t just affect people in countries in central Africa; it influences weather patterns across the world. The climate crisis respects no geopolitical borders, political bloc or regional trade associations. So what happens in the Congo isn’t just the business of the Congolese or their neighbors. It concerns all of us.
Vanessa Nakate for Time.

What’s the aid sector’s carbon footprint?
Other aid organisations, such as the UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, look for “green” options, but they’re not always to be found, said Andrew Harper, the agency’s special adviser on climate action. “As emergency organisations – in lifesaving situations – we have no option but to have a large footprint,” Harper said. “At the same time, COVID-19 and climate change provide amazing opportunities for a paradigm shift in this sector.”
Since the pandemic, some organisations were also looking toward localisation, pooled resources, and preparedness to reduce emissions.
Léopold Salzenstein & Kylee Pedersen for the New Humanitarian.

Working at the World Bank, I can see how it is failing humanity on the climate crisis
The World Bank is ultimately funded by taxpayer money from its member states, and it has a specific mandate to end poverty and build shared prosperity. If it wants to maintain its international credibility, it cannot be seen to be stalling on climate action. The Bank should phase out all direct and indirect support to fossil fuels and instead fund and assist a just transition toward clean energy worldwide. Saddling developing countries with soon-to-be obsolete technology does not put them on a path to green development.
(...)
In 2019 Trump picked Malpass to run the World Bank, where he was mostly silent on climate before delivering a plan that watchdog groups denounced as a failure due to its refusal to phase out support for fossil fuels. His record suggests that Malpass has neither the vision nor credibility to make the World Bank a climate leader.
Jake Hess for the Guardian.

Glasgow’s COP26 is crunch time to save the world from disaster
In half a century of covering UN conferences, I have never known such an important one open with as much optimism as “Hopenhagen”, as it was dubbed. True, preliminary negotiations had gone slower than expected and there was no prospect of concluding a formal treaty. However, in the preceding weeks, all the main emitters of carbon dioxide had announced unprecedented measures to control their pollution and differences had so narrowed that an effective political agreement seemed within reach. More than 120 leaders rushed to attend, confident of its lustre rubbing off on them.
They were met with a shambles, poorly run by the Danish prime minister, Lars Løkke Rasmussen. The talks began to fall apart as soon as the second day. A compromise text was undermined by being prematurely leaked. Negotiations were constantly obstructed by procedural moves. China and the US were, fatally, at loggerheads. And tempers were exacerbated by appalling organisation, which left participants queuing for hours in freezing weather, unable to get in.
Geoffrey Lean for openDemocracy with some historical reflections on climate summits (full disclosure: First time I read 'Hopenhagen'...)

It’s time to pivot from war aid to climate aid
So, what is climate humanitarianism? It has to be much, much more than the currently underfunded and unprioritised DRR – last year, out of $30.9 billion in humanitarian assistance, only $1.9 billion went towards DRR. This won’t be enough as global climate hazards will not be occasional episodes but near-constant hazards that will set in train a whole-world transition in human geography, the world economy, and the rights and duties of human society. To match these global shifts, humanitarians must develop new forms of climate relief, transition support, and legal protections.
And finally Hugo Slim's reflections for the New Humanitarian in this special COP26 section.

Localisation Re-imagined: Localising the sector vs supporting local solutions
I propose a subtle but important shift in the way we understand localisation: one that swings away from overly focusing on localising the humanitarian sector and instead moves towards supporting local humanitarian solutions.
Arbie Baguios for ALNAP introduces his great new work around 'localisation'.

Lessons Learnt from Humanitarian Negotiations with the Taliban, 1996-2001
Humanitarian organisations used various strategies to negotiate with the Taliban. One that had little success was the public denunciation of Taliban policies. By contrast, persistent, considered dialogue was found to bring better results. Joint principled positions among humanitarian actors strengthened negotiating power, as did analysis of how the Taliban might respond. And while no one suggests that humanitarians abandon principles, the experiences of the period show that they should think carefully about which objectives to prioritise, and what an acceptable compromise might be.
Luke Kelly for IDS; this overview is a great reminder of the #globaldev knowledge repository that has been amassed over time-in this case 25 years of dealing with the Taliban.

Bangladesh’s NGOs at 50: a conversation between David Lewis and Naomi Hossain
Summing up, if we look back, we can identify moments during the past 50 years where there was some dominant idea or vision about the NGO sector’s role in development. But I think that’s probably now gone and that what we have today is a bunch of different kinds of NGOs, informed by many different sorts of values, and doing different kinds of work. And that’s ultimately a good thing. I remain quite optimistic about the fact that there are organizations trying to challenge the current narrowing of civil society space, and continuing to expand the possibilities of what an NGO can be – whether focused on an activist agenda of rights, on business development and employment creation, or on relief, charity and welfare.
Two leading Bangladesh and/or NGO experts talk for the LSE's International Development blog.

Our digital lives
Will Uber still exist by the end of the decade?
It has been argued that Uber falls into a wider trend of subsidised luxury consumption – that venture capital and exploited workers have collectively been picking up the tab to allow for cheap prices on things that should always have costed more. We see this across many platform-driven services from private hire vehicles to food delivery, the latter of which has been propped up by charging high commissions (often 30 per cent of menu price) to restaurants who have struggled with in-person sales during lockdowns. If Uber’s business strategy fails to succeed, then it may cause the momentum behind the app-based venture capital frenzy to fade – and we may see a return to a more risk-averse strategic basis that puts an increased emphasis on medium-term, rather than long-term, profitability
Georg Maier for LSE's Business Review blog with a great overview over Uber's unsustainable business model.
Publications
Forum on Race and racism in critical security studies
This means that humanitarianism as it has developed over time allows white supremacy to go unchallenged but also to thrive. As such, humanitarianism offers no reparative possibility within its current terms of reference, which raises questions about the potential for and limits of decolonizing humanitarianism.
Some free, some open access articles in the latest issue of Security Dialogue, including Polly Pallister-Wilkins' article which includes the quote.

Uprooting, trauma, and confinement: psychiatry in refugee camps, 1945 -1993
This thesis is a history of psychiatry through the lens of refugees, and a history of refugees through the lens of psychiatry. It explores the history of psychiatry in medical humanitarianism and refugee relief from the end of the Second World War to the end of the Cold War. My research shows that throughout the period under study, psychiatrists have approached refugees through three perspectives: as uprooted and homeless people, as people confined in a camp and dependent on humanitarian assistance, and as traumatized victims who have been through horrific experiences.
Baher Ibrahim's PhD thesis at the University of Glasgow looks really interesting!
Academia
Is hybrid a desirable ‘new normal’ for academic events?
This isn’t an argument against physical meetings, but rather a plea that we avoid drifting back to them. The familiar rhythms of seminars and conferences feel intensely alluring after the isolation and suffering which have characterised the last eighteen months. However, do we really want to return to a situation where they are the default? Or could we imagine an approach to academic events which recognises how these options (face-to-face, hybrid, digital) are equally worthwhile depending on what we’re trying to achieve? We’ve barely scratched the surface of how we could innovate with online conferences and there’s no reason they need to feel like poor substitutes. My fear is that the potential to build a more resilient, equitable and sustainable social infrastructure for scholarship will be wasted if we rush back to our old ways of doing things.
Mark Carrigan for LSE's Impact of Social Sciences blog; come spring, mega conferences will return to in-person mode & everybody will be surprised that the Internet in their Hilton in (large US city) will not allow to bring in remote participants via Zoom...

What we were reading 5 years ago
(Link review 212, 16 December 2016)

What’s next for #allmalepanel?
Maybe people only share panels with a particularly large number of men, but in general I have a gut feeling that panels seem to grow in different surroundings such as academia, policy and other public events. So even if we assume that these panels could be more diverse, that does not answer the more strategic question: What do you expect from a 6, 7 or 8 people panel? Even if everybody only speaks for 5 minutes and you add a little time for transitions or Q&A that automatically turns a 7-person panel into an hour-long affair. So you may have invited 7 people to get 5-10 minutes out of them (travel cost, accommodation, per diems etc.).
As in-person conferences are making a comeback so are over-crowded panels of 7-10 people for 1 hour slots...even if they tend to get more diverse...

Twenty years after Novye Atagi: A call to care for the carers
It took many years to make sense of what happened to me and my colleagues on that fateful day twenty years ago, and to overcome the effects of PTSD. From my perspective, the initial experience of being shot was a trigger to a much longer experience of recovery, which was much more prolonged and painful than it needed to be. The biggest failure that occurred along the way was the inability to establish a fruitful process where both the individual and the community co-created a healing journey. Even now, twenty years later, I acutely feel the need to belong, arising from a craving to heal an injury that I have sustained on behalf of a much larger community.
Christoph Hensch for the International Review of the Red Cross with an essay that seems more timely than ever when we discuss attacks on aid works & their lasting impacts.

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