By Jonathan Pryke, Research Fellow and Chloe Hickey-Jones, Intern in the Lowy Institute's Melanesia Program.

  • The 2016 Australasian Aid Conference is on this week in Canberra. The conference brings together a host of researchers from Asia, Australia and the Pacific who explore aid and development issues in the region. Selected plenary sessions and keynotes will be live streamed. Check out the full program here.
  • Formerly thought of as the breadbasket of Africa, Zimbabwe has declared a state of emergency due to severe food and water shortages from the ongoing drought caused by El Nino. Critics believe that it is a combination of the severe weather patterns and lasting effects of land reforms introduced by President Mugabe in 2000 that have resulted in food shortages. El Nino is wreaking havoc across Africa, the Caribbean, and Asia.
  • The World Bank turns 70 this year. Michael Clemens reviews two papers,'The New Role of the World Bank' and 'The World Bank: Why it is still Needed and Why it still Disappoints', that consider the changing role of the Bank and its relevance.
  • Related to this, specialists from The World Bank have a crash course for NGOs to measure their impact.
  • The World Bank also has nifty data visuals via Tumblr collecting all of the amazing websites out there using big data to visualise the fight against poverty.
  • The Guardian has released a picture series talking to the women of Somaliland, where an estimated 98% of girls endure Female Genital Mutilation.
  • As concerns over the Zika Virus outbreak mount, experts across the globe urge that this will not be an 'Ebola 2.0'. Why? Two reasons: 1. The virus' mode of transmission and 2. Government response locally, regionally and internationally has been far swifter than during the Ebola outbreak. Continual surveillance and adaptable, multi-level responses will be required in 2016 to contain and manage the Zika Virus.
  • Duncan Green returns from his brief digital hiatus with a whimsical critique of the Beatles' song Revolution written by John Lennon: