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Views from the Center

Global Development: Views from the Center features posts from Nancy Birdsall and her colleagues at the Center for Global Development about innovative, practical policy responses to poverty and inequality in an ever-more globalized world.


Postcards from the Paris Climate Summit

I arrived at Charles de Gaulle airport Monday morning jet lagged and optimistic. The lights on the RER train flashed the way to Le Bourget, the site of the climate summit. The summit won’t be enough on its own to deliver a safe climate, but the cumulative pledges countries have already made, if implemented, would be enough to stave off the worst climate calamities, and can lay the groundwork for stronger actions in coming years.

Four Challenges for Blended Finance and Development Finance Institutions

Overseas development assistance amounts to about $135 billion dollars annually, but the cost of paying for the Sustainable Development Goals will be in the trillions. As a result, blended finance is something of a buzz phrase these days. I left a workshop on blended finance last week in Paris excited about the potential of these new structures and instruments to deliver social returns. But I was also struck by the challenges DFIs and their advocates must overcome in order to fully realize that potential. 

Financing for Adaptation to Climate Change: Ensuring the Most Vulnerable Are Covered

At next week’s global climate summit in Paris the mood is likely to be somber in the wake of the devastating terrorist attacks. Spirits won’t be raised by the fact that the national emissions reduction plans submitted so far are only half of what’s needed to keep global temperature increases within the agreed target of 2 degrees Celsius.  Also discouraging are the large gaps that remain between how much climate finance developing countries need to cover the costs of mitigation and adaptation and the commitments put forward by developed countries.

Small Changes, Big Impacts, and Lingering Questions: The Inaugural Birdsall House Conference Series on Women

As part of our new Gender and Development program, CGD just hosted the first annual Birdsall House Conference on Women. This year’s session, “Small Changes, Big Impact: Creating Conditions for Women and Girls to Thrive,” explored the possibility that cheap and scalable aid-funded interventions could considerably improve the lives of women and girls. Short answer: small changes do have big potential, but their limits should be acknowledged — and they require continued study and fine-tuning in order to be more effective.

US Treasury Under Secretary Nathan Sheets Calls for Action on De-risking at CGD Report Launch Event

Last Thursday, Under Secretary of the US Treasury Nathan Sheets spoke at CGD about anti–money laundering policies and the problem of de-risking, in connection with the launch of a new CGD working group report on the unintended consequences of anti–money laundering policies for poor countries. Sheets’s comments were consistent with the report’s key recommendations including the need for better data and for clearer guidance from financial regulators and standards setters.

A Letter from Nancy Birdsall

Dear friends, colleagues, supporters of CGD,

I am writing to share with you my decision, after a healthy period of careful consideration, to step down as president of CGD in 2016, once a successor is in place. I’m pleased and excited about moving to a new chapter in my work life, as a senior fellow at CGD, with more time for research, writing and collaborating with incredible colleagues; and a new chapter in the other part of life, with more time and flexibility to travel and enjoy a large and still-growing extended family.

A Well-Intended Waste at Malta? The New EU-Africa Deal Will Do Little for the Migration Crisis

On Thursday, the leaders of 30 African countries signed a European Commission action plan tasking them–in exchange for a $2 billion “emergency trust fund”–to take back economic migrants looking to settle in Europe. If this sum is meant as a bribe, it is a bad deal. With remittances dwarfing foreign aid worldwide ($580 billion versus $135 billion in 2014), migration is a better deal for Africa than aid.