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Targetting aid

Soutik Biswas of the BBC reports on the informal earthquake relief effort in India:

As is the case with most Indian relief operations, there are a lot of hit-and-run gigs where 'volunteers' throw old clothes, food and plastic to screaming hungry and shivering throngs and depart. It is a very Darwinian way of relief distribution - the old, sick and women practically get nothing.

The private sector and disaster recovery

QuakedayBack in July we hosted this online discussion on the role of the private sector in disaster recovery and mitigation. Unfortunately, due to Katrina and the recent South Asia earthquake this archived discussion has been receiving considerable traffic.

A responsible profit from malaria

Following up on Tim's Milton Friedman post:

“Business is for profit, and profit is for a purpose,” [Frandsen] says. “This makes business sustainable and profit responsible.” …The crucial thing to remember, he adds, is that profit is a key tool but not the ultimate goal. “We are business people, but this is not capitalism in its purest form. The profit is for a purpose.”

How will blogs change development thinking?

Tim and I have written a short editorial at id21 venturing some guesses as to what the impact of blogs on development might be. We are optimists. What do you think? Can blogs inform and energise the development debate, or is this blog part of a passing fad? Are there creative ways in which blogging can be used to maximize the results of development dialogues and efforts? Do you know of a blog that is having an impact on development?

Brain drain

Braindrain Two new books (both free online) look at the impact of ‘brain drain’ on development, and agree that the loss of skilled workers may be trapping the least developed countries in poverty. This 'loss' is often particularly damaging to private sector development.

Global Stakeholder Report 2005

Pleon has released its second-annual stakeholder survey of corporate social responsibility reporting. The report finds that while CSR reporting has improved, it still consistently fails to meet expectations. Respondents also stressed that human rights and energy/eco-efficiency where two key issues for them in terms of reporting. A welcome nuance of the report are 8 editorials by external commentators, such as BP and Friends of the Earth.

Does the private sector care about AIDS?

A new (draft) paper by Ramachandran, Shah and Turner tries to better understand the impact of HIV on the private sector. Using data from the investment climate surveys the authors examine manager and worker perceptions regarding how HIV affects the private sector and what private employers are doing (or not doing) in response.


RisepakRISEPAK (Relief and Information Systems for Earthquakes in Pakistan) was recently launched. The site aims to tackle two of the main obstacles to effective delivery of aid in post-disasters situation: a lack of information and a lack of coordination.

France to privatize power

France’s conservative government has finally given the go-ahead for the partial privatisation of EDF. Some 15% of the vast company—the world’s biggest generator of nuclear power—is set to revert to private ownership in the next few days.