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Aid & development links: child abuse and the UN, randomised controls, ivory smuggling and more

Aid & development links: child abuse and the UN, randomised controls, ivory smuggling and more
Published 20 Jun 2016   Follow @jonathan_pryke

  • The UN has woefully mismanaged the response to horrific allegations of the sexual abuse of children by UN peacekeepers in the Central African Republic. Citing impunity and lack of accountability, the whistle-blower who originally revealed the incidents has now resigned. According to the UN, of the 60 largest troop contributing countries to peacekeeping forces, only 14 have not reported cases of sexual abuse committed by their forces in the past five years.
  • The Economist has come out swinging against the foreign aid industry, arguing that while it 'can work wonders', too much of it is not being spent in the right places.
  • Those who are sceptical about the importance of aid will see this as justification for slashing aid budgets, as Australia has done in recent years. Unfortunately scale brings benefits, with new research showing that the biggest aid donors are also often the best.
  • Meanwhile, while justifying how useful randomised control trials (RCTs) in development economics can be, Rachel Glennerster does a great job in exhibiting the great leaps forward that are being made in combating Malaria in Africa, a fight foreign aid has significantly contributed to.
  • The question of whether RCTs are taking over development economics has also been argued elsewhere in the last few weeks. David McKenzie argues that they haven't, while Martin Ravallion says in the comments they are becoming hegemonic as a tool of evaluation (h/t Devpolicy).
  • Chris Blattman has summarised a new working paper that shows how legalising the ivory trade actually increased ivory smuggling.
  • With Venezuelans now ransacking stores as the economy collapses, Vox has an excellent account of how the country's socialist dream has become a nightmare.
  • Stephen Howes has critiqued the Australian aid program's track record on transparency. DFAT fired back that transparency is no worse than under AusAID, missing Stephen's main point that it is also no better.
  • The Australian Greens have released the party's foreign aid platform, calling for aid to increase to 0.7% of GNI over the coming decade.
  • For more on The Greens foreign affairs policies watch Senator De Natale's recent address at the Lowy Institute. You can also watch Shadow Foreign Affairs Minister and Deputy Opposition leader Tanya Plibersek's recent remarks. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop also addressed the Institute today. Keep an eye out for a podcast of her remarks in the coming hours.
  • Finally, because these links have been particularly depressing (and because two ni-Vanuatu athletes are featured!) check out this documentary of three stories of Olympic hopefuls from developing countries aspiring to represent their nations in this year's games in Rio:

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