All posts by alan hudson

Opening Governance to Accelerate Poverty Reduction (What I’m doing at ONE)

ONE’s new Transparency and Accountability Policy Team has a full agenda, spearheading the organisation’s efforts to push for more open, transparent and accountable governance in order to accelerate progress on poverty reduction. Ultimately, our aim is to drive progress towards open development, a world in which people in developing countries have the information and resources that they need to hold their governments accountable and to make well-informed decisions to improve their lives.

As a stepping stone towards that, we are pushing for more transparent and accountable financing for development, so that resources (including but not limited to aid) are spent effectively to deliver improved results in health, agriculture, infrastructure and other issues that are key to the fight against poverty and towards prosperity. Transparency can turbo-charge accountability, encouraging innovation, incentivizing behavior change, transforming political dynamics, and helping to ensure that resources are invested wisely to tackle poverty.

To do this, we’re working on a number of fronts, pushing for natural resource revenue transparency, budget transparency, and aid transparency and encouraging donors to invest more in building the capacity of civil society organisations and other oversight institutions such as parliaments so that they can make use of the information that transparency will unleash, in order to hold governments to account.

To drive progress on these various issues, we’re focused on the G8 in the US, the G20 in Mexico, and the Open Government Partnership. We’re also exploring the potential of new technologies as transparency and accountability game-changers. And, we’re thinking about how best to tackle illicit financial flows, how to boost domestic resource mobilisation in developing countries, and whether a set of post-2015 development goals might incorporate governance, transparency and accountability issues.

Aid Effectiveness – Key pre-Busan readings

Essential reading

1)      ONE’s Policy Pitch (contact me)


2)      UK Aid Network HLF-IV update (October) available here


3)      3rd Draft of the Busan Outcome Document available here


4)      ONE’s comments on the 3rd draft of the Busan Outcome Document (contact me)


5)      ONE’s comments on the Building Blocks on “transparency” and on “results and accountability” (contact me)


6)      The Gates G20 report


7)      Addis Ababa statement on development effectiveness available here


8)      Commonwealth Finance Ministers Statement available here


9)      UK Aid Network – Shaping the future of aid available here


Other useful reading


10)   Tunis consensus on development effectiveness available here


11)   Action Aid – Real Aid 3 available here


12)   David Booth – Aid effectiveness: Bringing country ownership and politics back in (exec sum in attached) available here


13)   Jonathan Glennie / Andrew Rogerson – Global reach is the prize for Busan available here


14)   CABRI Position Paper on aid transparency available here


15)   Brian Atwood – The road to Busan: Pursuing a new consensus on development cooperation available here

My Ph.D. – Globalization, regulation and geography

Due to popular demand, I’m putting my Ph.D. on-line. It was about the relationship between globalization and sovereignty, using tax havens/offshore – a pivotal space in the process of globalization – as the lens to understand that relationship.

I completed it way back in 1996, when it was still possible to read everything that had been written on globalization!

Here it is. Enjoy?!

I’m not sure whether I’m happy or not about the fact that I’m still basically working on issues of globalization, governance and borders. At least I’m now more at the pushing for policy-change rather than “let’s conceptualise place” end of the spectrum.

Tax havens, globalisation and sovereignty

Given the increased interested in tax havens and tax justice, I’ve decided to put the publications that came out of my Ph.D. on tax havens on-line. I wish now, as I wished then, that I’d taken more of a “what are the implications of tax havens and capital flight for developing countries?” line, but the attached may still be of interest both for the detail that they provide about the evolution of the Bahamas and Cayman, and for the way in which they conceptualise the relationship between globalisation and sovereignty and explain the role that tax havens play in that relationship. If you’re interested in seeing my Ph.D., drop me a line.

Reshaping the regulatory landscape: Border skirmishes around the Bahamas and Cayman offshore financial centres,Review of International Political Economy, Vol. 5, (1998).

Placing trust, trusting place: On the social construction of offshore financial centres, Political Geography, Vol. 17 (1998).

Beyond the border: Globalization, sovereignty and extra-territoriality, Geopolitics, Vol. 3 (1998).

Offshores onshore: New regulatory spaces and real historical places in the landscape of global money, pp.139-154 in Martin, R. (ed.) (1999), Money and the space economy, Wiley.

Offshoreness, globalisation and sovereignty: Post-modern geo-political economy?, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, Vol. 25 (2000), No. 3, pp.269-283, Royal Geographical Society.

Governance and Aid Effectiveness: Towards Busan

Donors are keen to play their part in improving governance in developing countries and see the inclusion of governance on the aid effectiveness agenda as an important entry point in this regard. But the role that donors can play in directly shaping the landscape of politics and governance in developing countries is – and should be – limited, for reasons of leverage, understanding and legitimacy. The most helpful thing that donors can do is to nurture an environment of transparency and accountability within which locally-appropriate solutions can emerge.

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Development 3.0: Disempowering donors?

What role should donors play in helping to improve governance and domestic accountability in developing countries? My starting point in addressing this issue is that accountability in developing countries – as elsewhere – is very important for reasons of effectiveness/learning and fairness/justice and that donors, while recognising that domestic politics is the key driver of governance and accountability, ought to do what they can to support the strengthening of domestic accountability. However, some serious questions need to be asked about the “what they can” in that sentence.

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Governance: Complexity, emergence and measurement

I’ve now been working in DFID’s Policy Division for nearly six months. It has been what one calls an interesting experience …

Being in Policy Division has stimulated my thinking in recent weeks about a couple of things. First, about what donors can do to enhance governance in developing countries. And second, about how the effectiveness of donors’ efforts to enhance governance in developing countries can be measured. Both huge issues that I will certainly return to but for now two quick observations: Continue reading

Donors refusing to face the reality?

The Donors’ report produced in response to allegations of aid in Ethiopia being allocated according to political affiliation rather than need was published in early August, peak holiday time for many. As such, it’s perhaps not surprising that there has been very little reaction to it.

Today sees the first mention of the report on the internet. Bloomberg reports that Merera Gudina, the Chairman of the opposition Oromo People’s Congress, is “not enthusiastic” about the report and “fed up of complaining to donors when they are consciously refusing to know and/or knowing the truth but they are refusing to face the reality.”

I am not in a position to state authoritatively what the reality is. However, a casual observer of development and politics in Ethiopia would quickly conclude that the perspectives and priorities of donors and the Ethiopian opposition in relation to that reality are somewhat different.

The former US Ambassador to Ethiopia, David Shinn, called the report a “careful, thorough and rather bureaucratic response” to “highly charged allegations.”

Full Bloomberg report is here. Donors’ report is here.

Aid and Accountabilities in Ethiopia

In late 2009, the Development Assistance Group (DAG) – a group of 26 donors in Ethiopia – decided to conduct a review of the systems and safeguards that are in place in a number of donor-supported development programmes, and that are designed to ensure that aid is spent as intended. The review was in part a response to allegations that aid was being allocated according to political affiliation rather than need. I was heavily involved in this piece of work while in Addis. It was basically complete some time ago, but elections and protracted discussions with various stakeholders meant that its publication was delayed.

The report finally came out yesterday. It’s available here at the DAG website or, failing that, can be found here