Fortnightly links: Kiribati, malaria, data, refugee mental health, #WhatIReallyReallyWant and more

This NY Times feature highlights some of the efforts that the Kiribati government is making to prepare for the effects of climate change.

In the world of global health, ABC’s Rear Vision has an interesting podcast on the fight against polio. And in a piece that is part of a larger series on fighting malaria in Tanzania, Kaleigh Rogers argues that the real key to malaria elimination is economic development.

A smart experiment [gated; ungated version here] on a payments for ecosystem services project in Uganda that makes great use of satellite data. The substantive finding is that (depending on what happens after the project stops) the project delivered significant benefits.

Third time lucky: the US Congress has approved the long-awaited Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act. Now all that awaits is the president’s signature.

Morten Jerven has a new working paper, published through NYU’s Development Research Institute, which provides a good primer on the quality of data in the leading economic development databases. Also on data, Tim Herschel-Burns highlights the totally inconsistent reporting of conflict death tolls, and why that is a significant problem.

From The Smithsonian, a sobering piece on the challenges of devising mental health support and rehabilitation programs for child and adolescent refugees.

Fans of ’90s girl bands will no doubt love the latest Global Goals promo video (below). But for a wider audience, is it an improvement on Project Everyone’s previous effort? Leave us a comment and let us know your thoughts!

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Camilla Burkot

Camilla Burkot was a Research Officer at the Development Policy Centre, and Editor of the Devpolicy Blog, from 2015 to 2017. She has a background in social anthropology and holds a Master of Public Health from Columbia University, and has field experience in Eastern and Southern Africa, and PNG. She now works for the Burnet Institute.

Terence Wood

Terence Wood is a Fellow at the Development Policy Centre. His research focuses on political governance in Western Melanesia, and Australian and New Zealand aid.


  • I love the Spice Girls ad – I think it’s a really effective comms tool, particularly for those who are in their late 20s/early 30s and lived through the Spice Girls era (aka… me!). It brings a bunch of celebrity ambassadors on board as well, and it has been shared like crazy. I would say it is the best communications effort around the SDGs so far – particularly effective as it actually highlights the targets that sit under the goal as well, and encourages interactivity. Also, it is just good fun.

    Will be interesting if this approach will be able to be translated to other goals. It makes me wonder what other pop songs we could use to promote the SDGs? ‘Hot in here’ by Nelly to raise awareness on climate change? So many options. I personally would be looking to see if Salt’n’Pepper were keen to use ‘Push it’ to promote any of the goals really, because all the goals need a really big push – you can have that idea for free, UN.

    • Excellent ideas, Ash. Also, I can’t help but feel that a PokemonGo-inspired effort is in order (‘SDGs: gotta meet ’em all!’) 🙂

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