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Aid on the Edge of Chaos: How Do We Make it Count

Thursday 27 March 2014

1 Hour


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Two leading experts discuss the future of aid to the developing world. Are current forms of aid having the desired impact on poverty and helping people to develop sustainably? If not, why not? And what can countries and charities do to ensure that the resources they contribute help to break the cycle of poverty?

Ben Ramalingam is a researcher, writer and consultant on international development and humanitarian issues who has worked with leading charities and government organisations. In his book, Aid on the Edge of Chaos: Rethinking International Co-operation in a Complex World, he argues that current methods of providing aid are outdated in today’s complex world and that by embracing ideas of ‘complex systems thinking’ aid can be transformed for the 21st century.

Sir John Holmes, a former diplomat now director of the Ditchley Foundation, was UN under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs between 2007 and 2010 and was responsible for supplying UN relief to areas such as Sri Lanka, Darfur, Somalia and the Congo. In The Politics of Humanity: The Reality of Relief Aid, he describes how the UN’s relief efforts were tolerated in the world’s trouble spots but often mistrusted and undermined by both sides in a conflict.

Here they talk to critic, journalist and broadcaster Bidisha.