report Archive


Large-scale land deals are not a ‘bubble’ | New online interface Land Matrix

Today a new report and website provide important insight into the complex, global phenomenon of large-scale acquisition of land. They confirm this is a lasting trend and not a mere “bubble”.

While the rush for land may have peaked in 2009, it continues. Analysis of international land investments for agriculture through over one thousand deals since 2000 suggests that they are geographically concentrated – just 11 countries, many in East Africa and Southeast Asia, account for 70% of the total land area acquired in these deals.

Close examination also reveals that almost half of land in question is already being used for crops, implying competition between investors and small-scale farmers. “Land acquisition does often take place in areas with considerable population density, not so-called ‘idle land’” Says Markus Giger from the Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) at the University of Bern.

The report “Transnational Land Deals for Agriculture in the Global South” draws on data now made accessible in a new online interface called the Land Matrix at This website will provide unprecedented access to verified data on land deals, allowing people to explore and visualize trends from the global level down to individual deals. With a couple of clicks, the Land Matrix provides the urgently needed answers to pressing questions: Who invests where and why? What are the trends?”

The aim of the Land Matrix is to promote transparency and accountability in decisions overland and investment through open data, accessible both via maps and visualizations and via download. Source: GIGA Hamburg.


Development Partners to join in Busan HLF-4 for more Effectiveness

HLF-4 logo
Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (HLF-4)
Busan, Korea, 29 November to 1 December 2011

At the fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness approximately 2000 delegates from 160 governments, parliaments, international organisations, civil society and the private sector will review global progress in improving the impact and value for money of development aid and make new commitments to further ensure that aid helps reduce poverty and supports progress in meeting the Millennium Development Goals.

The conference will be a major milestone and turning point for the global aid effectiveness agenda: The conference will assess the achievement of the Paris Declaration targets and the commitments of the Accra Agenda for Action by the 2010 deadline, as well as report on the monitoring of the Fragile States Principles. Significantly, the event will also chart future directions for more effective development aid and contribute towards a new international aid architecture as follow-up to the Paris process. The 2015 MDG deadline and the biennial ECOSOC Development Cooperation Forum will be of particular relevance in this regard and are likely to put the UN system in the limelight during the negotiations.

The Busan Forum is a continuation in a series of High Level Forums on Aid Effectiveness that started in Rome (2003) and continued in Paris (2005) and Accra (2008). For the fourth time since 2003, industrialized and developing countries will be discussing ways of making development cooperation more effective. A third draft of the Busan Outcome Document has been prepared. The Outcome Document will be further discussed and developed and will be finalised at the Busan Forum itself.

It is clear for everyone to see that the context for aid effectiveness has changed a great deal in recent years. Making sure that Busan is about more than just playing the end game of a previous era is vital to us all. The question is, are we brave enough to make it happen?

Michèle Laubscher (Alliance Sud) sees OECD veering in the wrong direction. She writes: ”The last meeting held three years ago in the Ghanaian capital Accra ended with the recognition that effective development cooperation requires democratic ownership, transparency and an enabling environment for to civil society. Another idea that also gained traction in Accra was that aid can contribute only modestly to the social and economic development of poor countries. Much more important are government policies in these countries as well as external factors such as global economic and trade conditions, which are generally dictated by the industrialized countries. Future discussions should therefore be about «development effectiveness» rather than just aid effectiveness. It was not decided at the time what this meant in concrete terms, and this will now be done at the conference in the South Korean city of Busan. The competition for «new donor countries» and the private sector could well set the clock back and water down important principles.” Source:

AidWatch takes a critical look at the European Commission’s proposals ( for the EU common position ahead of the HLF-4. AidWatch is particularly concerned by the proposal to narrow the aid effectiveness agenda down to a more limited set of commitments, to streamline the global monitoring process and the lack of concrete and measureable reform commitments for the EU.

A global aid transparency group around ”Publish What You Fund” has expressed alarm over the ”pushback” in aid transparency commitments among donor countries while the text for the final document to be approved in the HLF-4 is being negotiated.

Women’s groups and gender equality advocates engaged in the HLF-4 process call on all governments and other development actors involved in the HLF-4 and 2012 DCF process to consider some imperatives for Gender Equality (

At Busan, world leaders will again proclaim their faith in the power of local parliaments and civil society to make aid more transparent, accountable and effective. ”I have my doubts,” writes Till Bruckner in this Devev Blog. Accountability is inherently demand-driven. If local parliaments and NGOs are to effectively monitor and influence international aid, they must be highly capable, and willing and able to rise to the challenge. In most aid recipient countries, these preconditions for aid accountability simply do not exist. The Busan forum will doubtlessly produce a polished document full of well-intended promises. But if these promises are based on fantasy, not reality, we cannot pressure donors to live up to them. Aid transparency is a necessary precondition for local aid accountability, but in itself is not sufficient. Accountability is a two-way process. Information gives local accountability agencies ammunition to press for change – but only if they are willing and able to do so. Source:

The European Parliament adopted its report on aid effectiveness ( that demands much more ambitious reforms than the European Commission has proposed so far. The report is published just as EU Member State governments are currently negotiating the joint EU position for the HLF-4. The report calls for further progress to empower developing country‘s people and democratic institutions; and emphasises that donors‘ procurement practices need to be reformed to boost aid‘s economic impact and drive inclusive growth.


Workshop Report on Rural Microfinance and Savings | PlaNet Finance and the European Microfinance Platform

PlaNet Finance, in cooperation with the European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP) has now published its latest Workshop Report on the topic of rural microfinance and
savings. The report summarizes the results of the 6th “University Meets Microfinance”
Workshop organized by the e- MFP Action group “University Meets Microfinance” in the
fringe of the “Second European Research conference on Microfinance” from June 17th – June 18th at the University of Groningen. The 2nd European Research conference assessed the state of the art in the field of microfinance research and provided
researchers and professionals from the sector with the opportunity to present their work, to discuss with senior researchers, and to exchange with international
colleagues. The workshop report is available for download here:


Green Economy is key catalyst for growth and poverty eradication, says UNEP-report

UNEP has launched a report entitled Towards a Green Economy, Pathways to a Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication, in advance of Rio 2012, that focuses on innovative ways to reduce poverty and promote sustainable development.
The report aims to ”demystify” two myths about greening the global economy. First, sustainable development and economy go together. A green economy does not inhibit but rather provides opportunities for employment and wealth creation, it argues. Secondly, a green economy is not the prerogative of wealthy countries.
According to the report, this investment will set up the transition towards a green economy, defined as low carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive. A large part of this transition, however, implies policies and investment that dissociate growth from the current intensive consumption of materials and energy use.
The report also seeks to motivate policy makers to create the enabling conditions for increased investments in a transition to a green economy. Investing 2% of global GDP into ten key sectors can kick-start a transition towards a low carbon, resource efficient Green Economy, a new United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) report suggests. The sum, currently amounting to an average of around $1.3 trillion a year and backed by forward-looking national and international policies, would grow the global economy at around the same rate, if not higher than those forecast under current economic models.
In his foreword to the report, UNEP Executive Director Acheim Steiner writes: ”New ideas are by their very nature disruptive, but far less disruptive than a world running low on drinking water and productive land, set against the backdrop of climate change, extreme weather events and rising natural resource scarcities. A green economy does not favour one political perspective over another. It is relevant to all economies, be they State or more market-led. Neither is it a replacement for sustainable development. Rather, it is a way of realising that development at the national, regional and global levels and in ways that resonate with and amplify the implementation of Agenda 21”


AidWatch: Aid allocation increasingly driven by EU ‘self-interest’ – Eurostep

AidWatch: Aid allocation increasingly driven by EU ‘self-interest’ – Eurostep.

The EU’s aid commitments are becoming increasingly determined by domestic political agendas as well as security, immigration and commercial interests, says a new report, launched on 19 May. According to this year’s AidWatch report, entitled “Challenging self-interests: Getting EU aid fit for the fight against poverty”, EU member states inflated official aid spending by more than €5 billion and only nine countries met their committed EU aid targets.


OECD: Green and growth go together

OECD work on green growth.

Governments must look to the green economy to find new sources of growth and jobs. They should put in place policies that tap into the innovation, investment and entrepreneurship driving the shift towards a greener economy.

Green growth makes economic as well as environmental sense. In natural resource sectors alone, commercial opportunities related to investments in environmental sustainability could run into trillions of dollars by 2050.

The OECD Green Growth Strategy, and the new report, Towards Green Growth, provide a practical framework for governments to boost economic growth and protect the environment.

“This report shows that green and growth can go together,” said the OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría. “With the right policies in place, we can create jobs, increase prosperity, preserve our environment and improve the quality of life. All at the same time.”

Two broad sets of policies are essential elements in any green growth strategy: the first set mutually reinforces economic growth and the conservation of natural capital, including core fiscal and regulatory settings and innovation policies. The second includes policies that provide incentives to use natural resources efficiently and make pollution more expensive.

Replacing natural capital with physical capital is expensive and the infrastructure needed to clean polluted water can be costly, but the cost of inaction can be higher still. Greening growth now, the report argues, is necessary to prevent further erosion of natural capital, such as increased scarcity of water and other resources, more pollution, climate change, and biodiversity loss, all of which can undermine future growth.

In addition to the Synthesis Report, the document Tools for Delivering on Green Growth outlines options available to policy makers for developing green growth strategies. The report Towards Green Growth – Monitoring Progress: OECD Indicators outlines ways to measure progress.

The OECD will continue to support national and global efforts to promote green growth in the run-up to the Rio+20 Conference. Going forward, OECD will integrate green growth into national reviews and in future work on indicators, toolkits, sectoral studies and development co-operation.


European Report on Development: Social protection is key to poverty eradication

The second European Report on Development (ERD) was launched at the European Development Days in Brussels with the message that social protection needs to be
placed at the heart of EU development policy. ‘‘A number of African countries already
have social protection programmes in place. It is increasingly on the policy agenda of
African leaders and several EU donors already support social protection based on the belief that it is both a human right and a catalyst for promoting inclusive
development and pro-poor growth,” said Giorgia Giovannetti of the European University
Institute, the lead author of the report. ‘‘This year’s edition of the ERD concludes that these piecemeal efforts are not enough. Social protection needs to become a
central and coordinated component of the development policies of African countries, the EU and its Member States, and other donors. Our analysis shows that it is
feasible, affordable, and that the time is ripe”. The ERD is an initiative sponsored by the European Commission and seven EU Member States (Finland, France, Germany,
Luxembourg, Spain, Sweden and the UK). The research is conducted primarily at the
European University Institute in Florence. The first report, published in October 2009, focused on state fragility in sub-Saharan Africa.


UNCTAD Least Developed Countries Report

On Friday 26 November, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) launched its Least Developed Countries Report 2010, subtitled ‘Towards a new
international development architecture for LDCs’. The report argues that the world’s
49 Least Developed Countries (LDCs) need ‘‘more and better-designed financing — rising from an estimated $4 billion to $17 billion per annum by 2030 — to cope with the difficulties posed by climate change. The report calls for ‘‘a new international architecture to support LDCs”, which would establish international funds for
infrastructure, green development, climate change mitigation, productive capacities
and financing innovation for LDCs. Climate change is a particularly crucial issue for
LDCs, as the report notes that it has been estimated that ‘‘for every 1˚C rise in
average global temperatures, annual average growth in poor countries could drop by 2–3
percentage points, with no change in the growth performance of rich countries”. The
report is intended to inform debate at the Fourth United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries, which will be held in May next year in Istanbul.


Weitzenegger’s Publication Review

New on entries
Weitzenegger’s Publication Review

Agricultural Diversification for the Poor – Guidelines for Practitioners.
This World Bank study treats diversification as a differentiated form of agricultural
development and recognizes its role to spur sustainable growth in the rural sector.
The principle purpose of this study is to outline practical ways for implementing
diversification activities. Throughout the paper, emphasis is particularly on how the diversification process can be made pro-poor with minimum risk involved. Paper concludes with a list of key investment areas to assist diversification.

Assets, Shocks, and Poverty Traps in Rural Mozambique
Using a micro-level approach to poverty traps, this paper explores welfare dynamics
among households in post-war rural Mozambique. The analysis by Lena Giesbert and Kati
Schindler shows that shocks and household coping behavior help to explain the observed poverty dynamics.

Beyond Development Aid
Publication of the Europe-Africa Policy Research Network (EARN) that intends to address the EU-Africa political dialogue on global issues of common concern.

Brazil: An Emerging Aid Player
This ODI Briefing Paper reviews the institutional set up of Brazil’s aid programme and the implications of its rise in the aid scene.

Challenges in Impact Evaluation of Development Interventions: Opportunities and Limitations for Randomized Experiments Institute of Development Policy and Management (IOB study by Jos Vaessen

Combating Poverty and Inequality: Structural Change, Social Policy and Politics
This UNRISD Flagship Report argues that this is because many current approaches to reducing poverty and inequality fail to consider key institutional, policy and
political dimensions that may be both causes of poverty and inequality, and obstacles
to their reduction. Moreover, when a substantial proportion of a country’s population
is poor, it makes little sense to detach poverty from the dynamics of development. For
countries that have been successful in increasing the well-being of the majority of
their populations over relatively short periods of time, the report shows, progress has occurred principally through state-directed strategies that combine economic
development objectives with active social policies and forms of politics that elevate the interests of the poor in public policy.

Evaluating Transportation Economic Development Impacts
Understanding How Transport Policy and Planning Decisions Affect Employment, Incomes, Productivity, Competitiveness, Property Values and Tax Revenues. By Todd Litman, Victoria Transport Policy Institute

Evaluation Study on ADB Assistance for Public-Private Partnerships in Infrastructure Development Public-private partnerships have been gaining recognition in many of the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) developing member countries as an important means of
mobilizing private sector capital and expertise for infrastructure investments and
service provision. This study evaluates the performance of ADB’s public and private
sector operations in support of public-private partnerships in the power, transport, and water sectors; and the development of related policy, legal, regulatory, and institutional frameworks.

Global Employment Trends for Youth–en/docName–WCMS_143349/index.htm International Labour Organization (ILO), Report 2010

Global Report on Migration
This report captures the main results from Development on the Move: Measuring and
Optimising Migration’s Economic and Social Impacts, a joint project of the Global
Development Network (GDN) and the Institute for Public Policy Research (ippr). The
ground-breaking global research project, supported by a consortium of international donors, has gathered new, comparative qualitative and quantitative data about migration’s development impacts.

IFAD Rural Poverty Report 2011: Global food production must increase by 70 per cent
The Rural Poverty Report 2011, released on 6 December 2010 by the International Fund
for Agricultural Development (IFAD), predicts that global food production will have to
increase by 70 percent in order to feed the expected world population of 9 billion by
2050. Boosting the agricultural sector in developing countries is therefore the key to combating world poverty in the coming decades, it stresses. Source: EuroStep.

Is a Financial Transaction Tax a Good Idea? A Review of the Evidence
The Institute of Development Studies has undertaken a comprehensive review of the feasibility of financial transaction taxes (FTTs). We find that, worldwide, a
financial transaction tax on foreign exchange transactions could raise Us$26 billion.
In the UK alone it could raise US$11 billion (£7.7 billion), roughly the same as the
entire UK aid budget. Such a tax would be most effective if implemented by the key financial centres around the world, but a currency transaction tax could be
implemented by individual countries. However, an FTT is unlikely to reduce market volatility as claimed by some campaigners.

Multilateral Resource Allocation: Best Practice Approaches
ODI Project Briefings 51 by Tony Faint and Deborah Johnson.

OECD Studies on SMEs and Entrepreneurship
High-Growth Enterprises: What Governments Can Do to Make a Difference
This report presents reports from 15 countries that provide interesting insights into
the operations of and challenges faced by high-growth enterprises as well as a policy survey of 340 programmes in 24 countries.

Remittances, Value Added Tax and Tax Revenue in Developing Countries
Centre d’Etudes et de Recherches sur le Developpement International (CERDI) paper by CE Eberke.

Report denounces humanitarian aid politicisation, lauds EU
A report by the Good Humanitarian Donorship (GHD) initiative, an informal donor
network, ranks humanitarian aid donors according to their aid effectiveness, as rated by 475 senior representatives of aid organisations. The report finds that while bilateral aid from EU member states is becoming increasingly driven by politics,
multilateral EU aid distributed by the European Commission was ranked 6th place out of 37. The only EU member states judged to deliver more effective aid were Denmark, Ireland and Sweden. Source: EurActiv

Stemming girls’ chronic poverty
A new report from the Chronic Poverty Research Centre investigates how to catalyse
development change by including girls (and boys) more prominently in development agendas.

Sustainable management in emerging countries
An analysis of German companies’ activities in India.

The Concept of Corporate Social Responsibility: a Philosophical Approach
International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS) Research Paper 508 by Adele Lebano.

The Failure of Cross-border Financial Firms: New Thinking in the Aftermath of the Financial Crisis
The development of rules for handling insolvencies of financial and non-financial firms with operations in a number of countries (cross-border insolvencies) is a
long-standing item on the international regulatory agenda. In this context, the author Andrew Cornford analyses the measures proposed in various reports to address the problems associated with systemically important financial institutions.

The Financial Crisis and Lower Income Countries
Danish Institute for International Studies Working Paper 2010:35 by Sam Jones.

The future of EC trade policy 2010-2015
In its discussion paper “Trade, Growth and World Affairs”, the Commission analyses how
trade is an engine for economic growth and job creation. It proposes a strategy to
reduce trade barriers, to open global markets and to get a fair deal for European
businesses. The overarching aim is to take a more assertive approach to ensure the benefits of trade reach European citizens.

The G20 as a Development Opportunity for the European Union
EDC2020 Policy Brief by Madeline R. Young, FRIDE, Opinion No. 6 – November 2010.

The Impact of the Crisis on Employment and the Role of Labour Market Institutions International Labour Organization (ILO) Publication byWerner Eichhorst et al.

Trends and issues in international development cooperation
Emerging economies and private donors provide an increasing proportion of aid.
Progress has been made in implementing the 2005 Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness
in a few fields, such as untying aid, but the results do not meet expectations. The approach, too often purely technical, omits taking fully into consideration the
political dimension which strongly affects aid effectiveness. The issue of overall
policy coherence receives renewed attention at a time when the debate about climate
change is leading development agencies to reconsider goals and strategies. Graduate
Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) study by Gérard Perroulaz.


Global report reveals poor transparency and accountability in government spending

The International Budget Partnership’s Open Budget Survey 2010 is the only independent, comparative, regular measure of budget transparency and accountability around the world. Produced every two years, the report reveals that 74 of the 94 countries assessed fail to meet basic standards of transparency and accountability with national budgets. This opens the door to abuse and inappropriate and inefficient use of public money according to the report.