The session chairs for this year’s seminar are the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, British Red Cross, Oxfam GB, the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Oxford University’s Saïd Business School, the Skoll Foundation and Linklaters.

The seminar series brings together thought leaders from the academic, donor, micro-finance, NGO, social entrepreneurial, government and private sector communities to identify timely issues in the international development and humanitarian sectors, and how good governance may address those issues. Each year, we title the Seminar to provoke thought about key challenges.


The Seminar was launched in 2012 at Rhodes House in Oxford by the Consortium’s founding members: Linklaters, Camfed International, the Blavatnik School of Government, and the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship. The Seminar was founded on the principle that, through good governance, development can be more just, accountable, and effective for the people it serves. As the linkages between humanitarian and development issues have become increasingly apparent in recent years, the Seminar has evolved to encompass topics of importance to both sectors. In collaboration with our new partners, we anticipate deepening the Seminar’s engagement with these topics, alongside our ongoing focus on international development.

In 2016, the Seminar, entitled Peace, Security, and Governance in Goal 16: How Do We Tackle This?, examined the many challenges, complexities, sensitivities, and ambiguities contained in Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals. The Seminar featured focused and practical sessions on tackling illicit flows; on making progress with Goal 16 in contexts of conflict and protracted crisis; on balancing the Goal 16 themes of peace and security, on the one hand, and governance and development on the other; and on measuring progress with Goal 16. Further information on the 2016 Seminar can be found here.

In 2015, the Seminar, entitled Making Market-Based Approaches to Development Work for the Poor, focused on the ways in which market-based philosophies are an increasing factor in international development. We had sessions on how private sector operators in fragile states can contribute to humanitarian and development action; a debate and paper by the Brookings Institution on making public contracts public; and a closing plenary on ensuring market-based approaches to development work for the poor. Further information on the 2015 Seminar can be found here.

In 2014, the Seminar, entitled The Changing Paradigm: Is it Leading to a More Empowered Citizenry?, included a paper and session by the Brookings Institution on reforming public procurement in a compliance-oriented world, a master class by New York Law School on Rwanda and new governance and a closing plenary, with an outcome statement, on governance and the post-2015 development agenda. Further information on the 2014 Seminar can be found here.

In 2013, the Seminar, entitled Sustainability of Impact: For the Sector, or the Client?, included sessions exploring ways in which new business models and approaches to governance can assist the international development community in empowering its clients—the recipients of development aid—and enhancing development outcomes for them. Further information on the 2013 Seminar can be found here.

In 2012, our first year, the Seminar was titled Accountability to the Client and included sessions on fraud-free aid, client and citizen empowerment, and monitoring and evaluation. Further information on the 2012 Seminar can be found here.

We welcome your thoughts and contributions.