Welcome to IRIN's weekly assortment of noteworthy humanitarian journalism and research, compiled by our editorial team.
Five to Read:
In a week in which migration has dominated the headlines - from the unveiling of the European Commission’s new agenda to the recent abandoning of Rohingya refugees at sea in southeast Asia - Claire Melamed, director of the poverty and inequality programme at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) offers a sobering analysis. A tin of beans, she points out, has more freedom to travel the world than a person does, and the evidence shows that just as trade barriers and restrictions never stopped people trading, nor do migration rules stop people migrating. “Who will be brave enough to lead the last liberalisation of capitalism and give to people the same freedoms as cars, as clothes, and as computers?” she asks.
A fascinating insight into how groups like the so-called Islamic State use social media to communicate and recruit. Expert interventions from: Peter Bergen, director of National Security Studies Program, New America Foundation; J.M. Berger, non-resident fellow project on US Relations with the Islamic World at The Brookings Institution; Mubin Shaikh, author of "Undercover Jihadi;" and Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, senior fellow of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. All testimonies are shown in full but also downloadable as text.
In case you’ve been living in a cave for the last two months, the UK just held a general election in which David Cameron’s Conservative Party won a surprise majority. Experts canvassed by the Guardian give a mixed review of the outgoing coalition. The paper also considered social media reaction to the appointment (or “demotion”) of former housing minister Grant Shapps as minister of state at the Department for International Development (DfID).
Conflict-affected countries are often some of the largest recipients of foreign aid, yet despite this their success at achieving long-term developmental outcomes is limited. This peer-reviewed paper looks at foreign aid flows into the Occupied Palestinian Territory. It questions whether aid is effective in situations where driving political factors remain unresolved and whether or not aid in a vacuum can in fact lead to the prolonging of crises.
The private sector is playing an increasingly significant role in humanitarian response. It provides both paid-for commercial services as well as other initiatives such as capacity-building and system design, offered without charge under corporate social responsibility programming. But while collaboration with the private sector offers opportunities for aid agencies – and important new sources of funding - it also presents new challenges. This deep-dive from Berlin-based thinktank Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi) explores the issues.
Starting on 18 May, this free five-week online course from the University of Geneva provides training in how to deliver communication plans within humanitarian and crisis settings.
Bringing drones down to earth
Disaster coverage now seems incomplete without amazing drone footage of the damage, accompanied by effusive media reports on the technological wizardry of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and their humanitarian application. But is that really the story? We took a look at the evolution needed for them to better fulfill their potential.