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In their shoes

Sudan, circa 2007. At the time I was a consultant doing free-lance evaluations for humanitarian organisations big and small. I had spent the last three months assessing a major international NGO operating in several developing countries. The team leader and I were supposed to leave together for the final stop, a field office in a remote village South-East of Juba, the capital of the now independent South Sudan. At the last minute, though, we had to change plans: my colleague would stay in Juba to meet with local authorities while I would have to travel to the village alone...

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The dividing line

Once again Davos has kicked off the new year with its glitzy gathering of the world’s most influential leaders to discuss the hottest issues on the global agenda. This time the focus was on the so-called ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ – how do we ensure the spectacular technological changes of our times benefit our economy and the well-being of our society? How do we limit the risk of seeing more and more insecurity for people unable to keep up with these changes? A little scratch below the surface and the thorny issue of widening inequality rose again as the common...

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Humans of My World

First few days into the new year and already my shopping list of resolutions has shrunk to a couple. Besides my eternal plan to exercise more, the resolution that has stuck the most is to continue what I started last October: to help voice the opinions of those who are usually voiceless, particularly people living in the least developed countries, through my blog. I could hardly find a more refreshing source of inspiration for the challenge than to sift through the stories of Humans of My World, the human face behind the UN My World survey. As I have...

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Adapting to a whole new climate

  Big sighs of relief about the climate change agreement reached in Paris last week. While it is far from perfect, many experts see it as a historic turning point that puts all of us in a better position to tackle the greatest challenge of our time. The least developed countries, however, are not so happy. From their perspective, very little has changed in terms of the resources that can help them better react to the negative impact of climate change, especially global warming. A few vague commitments were made in Paris with no immediate effect. Adaptation – the...

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Are climate change talks a privilege of the few?

Living in Paris and working on development and climate change issues, I couldn’t escape the deluge of updates on the ongoing Conference of the Parties (COP21) even if I tried. Curiously enough, for all the articles, policy analyses, recommendations, briefings and papers I have been reading, it is hard to find anything voicing the views of average citizens from developing countries on global warming and climate change. Virtually everything I have read reflects the positions of either experts or advocates. Many would agree that when it comes to these topics you really enter the realm of science and so...

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