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New border regime in the Balkans “inequitable and illegal”
27 November 2015 (IRIN ), In a new column, Jeff Crisp, former policy chief at UNHCR and now an advisor with Refugees International, condemns new border policies that only admit certain nationalities.
COP 21: Ready or not - drought tests Ethiopia
27 November 2015 (IRIN ), Herding weary sheep up a dusty path, Hussein Boru knows he won’t find green pastures. He’s just looking for the minimum to keep his flock fed in drought-hit eastern Ethiopia.
COP21: A turning point?
26 November 2015 (IRIN ), Paris will not be a magic bullet, but can it at least be a turning point? Can there be agreement on the emissions cuts necessary to stop runaway global warming? Can the financing be put in place to help the majority of the world adapt, and find a sustainable development path? This IRIN special feature explores these critical issues.
NRC kidnap ruling is ‘wake-up’ call for aid industry
25 November 2015 (IRIN ), In a case with far-reaching implications for security in the aid industry, a court in Oslo has found the Norwegian Refugee Council guilty of gross negligence in its handling of the kidnapping of Steve Dennis and three other staff members in Dadaab, Kenya in 2012.
Unsustainable Development Goals: Are 222 indicators too many?
23 November 2015 (IRIN ), Are the Sustainable Development Goals in danger of collapsing under the weight of their own lofty ambitions?
How bad is the drought in Ethiopia?
19 November 2015 (IRIN ), Alarm bells are ringing for a food emergency in Ethiopia. The UN says 15 million people will need help over the coming months. The government, wary of stigma and therefore hesitant to ask for help, has nevertheless said more than eight million Ethiopians need food assistance. Inevitably, comment and media coverage compare the current situation with 1984 – the year Ethiopia’s notorious famine hit the headlines. Reports suggest this is the worst drought in 30 years. One declares it a “code red” drought. So how bad actually is it?
How the refugee crisis is hurting foreign aid
18 November 2015 (IRIN ), Faced with the arrival of record numbers of asylum seekers and shrinking levels of public sympathy, more and more European countries are using their foreign aid budgets to foot the bill of feeding and housing the newcomers.
Look back and learn: The Evian Conference, 1938
18 November 2015 (IRIN ), Influxes of refugees, and conferences to determine collective response, are not new in Europe. What can today’s architects of refugee policy learn from applying the 20/20 vision of hindsight?
Comment: What talks in Burundi should look like
17 November 2015 (IRIN ), Warnings of a looming genocide in Burundi dangerously misrepresent the nature of the crisis in my country, but the widespread calls for urgent mediated talks are nevertheless well founded. They are an essential step to halting a cycle of violence that has claimed some 240 lives since April.
Africa’s meningitis A vaccine: how partnership replaced ‘Big Pharma’
17 November 2015 (IRIN ), For years, the unwillingness of big pharmaceutical companies to invest in treatments for diseases that primarily affect the poor has hampered epidemic management in the developing world. But now an experimental partnership working without the support of 'Big Pharma' has delivered an incredible success: a vaccine that has all but wiped out meningitis A across Africa in less than four years. Is this the future of medical research and development in lower-income countries? Elizabeth Blunt reports:
Raqqa civilians on the line
16 November 2015 (IRIN ), No civilians were reported killed in the recent strikes on Raqqa but plenty remain in the area. How are they getting by in the capital of the so-called Islamic State?
The Volunteer Effect
10 November 2015 (IRIN ), Historically, professional aid workers have looked askance at independent volunteer responders, regarding them as well-meaning amateurs as likely to cause problems as to be helpful. But their growing numbers, and increasing role in the frontline response in the current refugee crisis, are starting to force a rethink.
The Quiet Americans
9 November 2015 (IRIN ), Kitting out a Nigerien army unit is not what most humanitarians would consider the best response to Boko Haram. But for the NGO Spirit of America, it is precisely the sort of muscular aid – along with more traditional wealth-generating development projects – that’s needed to tackle the militants.
Will climate change = more disease?
6 November 2015 (IRIN ), Climate change is having a profound impact on animal habitats, but what disease risk does this pose for humans?
Will Yemen’s storm yet prove disastrous?
5 November 2015 (IRIN ), Powerful Cyclone Chapala unloaded the worst of its wind and rain on Yemen earlier this week, flooding large portions of its southeastern coast. The concern now is how the estimated 1.1 million Yemenis impacted by the storm will fare in the days, weeks, and months ahead, especially in a country already gripped by civil war and humanitarian crisis.
Comment: "We can do better" - a volunteer’s perspective of Europe’s refugee response
5 November 2015 (IRIN ), Marienna Pope-Weidermann never meant to become a volunteer. But she spent the last five weeks on the Greek island of Lesvos: pulling babies from the water; negotiating with the police; and becoming increasingly frustrated with the official response. Here are her thoughts on how aid agencies and volunteers can work better together.
Comment: A desert called reform
3 November 2015 (IRIN ), 'Inspired' by our recent interview with new UN humanitarian chief Stephen O'Brien, IRIN columnist Paul Currion says he has lost faith in the World Humanitarian Summit as he argues the powers-that-be want to preserve the status quo, not fix the crisis in the sector.
Five ways Europe could save refugee lives this winter
3 November 2015 (IRIN ), As the death toll mounts in the Eastern Mediterranean, with stormy seas claiming the lives of at least 70 refugees in the last week of October, many of them children, the EU’s slow and fragmented response to the refugee crisis is looking increasingly ineffectual.
NGOs in Kenya protest threatened deregistration of 959 organisations
30 October 2015 (IRIN ), On 29 October, a government body announced plans to deregister 959 local organisations and freeze their bank accounts. But key local groups described the allegations as unfounded and politically motivated.
Afghan conflict and upcoming winter complicate earthquake relief
27 October 2015 (IRIN ), Several districts near the epicentre of a 7.5-magnitude earthquake in Afghanistan are contested by government forces and Taliban insurgents, complicating relief to some of those affected by Monday’s quake.

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