The Center for Global Development is a unique think tank ‘plus’ focused on reducing poverty and inequality through rigorous research and active engagement with the policy community in rich countries and powerful institutions that shape the prospects for poverty reduction and sustainable growth for the world’s poorest people. CGD combines world-class research with policy analysis and innovative communications to turn ideas into action, with the aim of producing a more prosperous and just world.
The decisions that affect development are becoming more global, in design, decision, and reach, and CGD is exploring ways to become more global in our interactions and influence. The Center for Global Development in Europe was established in October 2011 with the aim of engaging with and learning from policymakers, academics, and researchers in Europe, and bringing the CGD blend of evidence-led, high-quality research and engagement to European policymaking and engagement about development.
CGD in Europe Blog Posts
Europe Beyond Aid
CGD’s Commitment to Development Index (CDI) reminds the world that reducing poverty in developing countries is about far more than giving aid. The CDI ranks nations in seven policy areas: aid (both quantity as a share of income and quality), trade, investment, migration, environment, security, and technology. Using the CDI data and framework, CGD in Europe is looking more closely at how European policies are affecting development and to identify the main policy priorities through the Europe Beyond Aid initiative.
Through the Europe Beyond Aid initiative, CGD in Europe aims to bring attention to the beyond aid agenda and to build support for policy changes that will support the efforts of developing countries. Initial analysis in Europe Beyond Aid’s first working paper, Europe Beyond Aid: Assessing Europe’s Commitment to Development, illustrates that Europe’s approach to development could be generally characterized as energetically tackling the symptoms of poor economic opportunities for developing countries by providing substantial and effective aid, while doing relatively little to tackle the underlying structural causes of poverty.
Working collaboratively with leading experts across Europe and around the world, CGD in Europe is conducting detailed research papers in each of the seven dimensions of the CDI. In each study, CGD will examine how Europe performs overall on that dimension and the key drivers of that performance, including assessing the extent to which the room for improvement is primarily a question for the European Union collectively and the extent to which individual member states need to strive to do well independently. CGD in Europe aims to convene a conversation of experts and policymakers to identify a European policy agenda in each of the seven policy areas that would make a significant difference to Europe’s impact on developing countries.
Development Impact Bonds
The Center for Global Development, in partnership with Social Finance, established a working group to explore a new development financing mechanism called a Development Impact Bond (DIB). The Development Impact Bonds Working Group is exploring the feasibility of using the Social Impact Bond model, piloted in the UK, to improve international development outcomes.
A Social Impact Bond (SIB) is an outcomes-based contracting model whereby external investors pay for the costs of implementing development programmes and are remunerated with a return by a public sector agency if the pre-defined social outcomes are achieved. The first example of a SIB, launched by Social Finance in the UK, raised capital upfront from socially motivated investors to finance interventions to reduce recidivism for a group of post-custodial offenders. The investors receive a return on their investment only if evidence shows that the targeted reduction in recidivism is met.
In the context of international development, a DIB has the potential to improve the effectiveness of traditional donor-funded projects by shifting the focus of donors, recipient country governments, and service providers onto implementation quality and the achievement of results, and by introducing private sector actors who may be better-positioned than the public sector to take on the risks associated with development interventions and trying innovative approaches. The Center for Global Development and Social Finance have convened a group of experts to explore the challenges and benefits of this funding model for development, and contexts in which a DIB could be applied. The Working Group will release a report of its findings in late spring 2013.
Illicit Financial Flows
Developing countries are subject to substantial illicit financial flows, which relate to a spectrum of corrupt and corrupting activity – from the theft and alienation of state assets, including through corporate bribery, to laundering the proceeds of crimes including human and drug trafficking and counterfeiting, to individual and corporate tax evasion. Illicit financial flows also manifest as tax avoidance by companies via abuses of transfer pricing rules and the use of financial and tax havens. These flows are likely not only to reduce the volume of resources available for development, but also – and ultimately, perhaps more importantly – to undermine governance and so to distort the allocation of spending and provision of services, entrench elites in positions of power, and sustain criminal activities worldwide.
Many advocacy groups call for policy change in rich countries to curtail these flows. Proposed measures include transparency improvements and challenges to transfer pricing abuse in order to increase incomes and tax revenues in developing countries. Many have also called for the better policing of overseas bribery and corruption, improved information sharing among tax and other regulatory authorities, and steps to make it harder to use secrecy jurisdictions (‘tax havens’) for ill-gotten assets and income streams.
CGD in Europe aims to contribute to the evidence base with a substantial research program that views the various kinds of flows systematically, identifies their size, and analyses their impact on development. Key policy instruments will be identified and promoted, with the added insight of a group of experts on specific policy measures. The intended outcome is to move from broad estimates of scale to more focused analysis of the damage done to individual countries at different income levels by particular types of flow, to inform a prioritisation of policy measures for development and so to bring about sustained, systemic change.
Owen Barder, Senior Fellow and Director for Europe
Owen was a British civil servant from 1988 to 2010, during which time he worked in the UK Treasury, No.10 Downing Street, and the Department for International Development. He was private secretary (economic affairs) to the Prime Minister and previously private secretary to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. In the Department for International Development he was variously director of international finance and development effectiveness, director of communications and information, and head of Africa Policy Department. From 2005 to 2007, Barder was a senior program associate at CGD, where he worked on the Advance Markets Commitment for vaccines. He has also worked in the South African Treasury on budget strategy, and was a visiting scholar at the University of California–Berkeley.
Alex Cobham, Research Fellow
Alex Cobham is a research fellow at the Center for Global Development in Europe. His research focuses on illicit financial flows, effective taxation for development, and inequality. He joined CGD in Europe in March 2013 from Save the Children UK, where he was head of research. He was previously at Christian Aid, and before that he was a researcher at Queen Elizabeth House (the Department of International Development at Oxford University), and a junior economics fellow at St Anne’s College, Oxford University.
Jenny Kendra, Special Assistant
Jenny Kendra is the Special Assistant to Owen Barder, Senior Fellow and Director for Europe. She is a graduate from Edinburgh University with an MA (Hons) in English Language and Spanish for which her thesis covered non-native language attitudes to different varieties of English. Jenny spent ten months collecting data in Buenos Aires, Argentina, teaching English to school children and as a translator before becoming a skills and research assistant at Newcastle University medical school. She went on to work for the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the Protocol directorate as a Ceremonial Officer, overseeing and managing several events of national significance. Jenny supports the work of the Europe office and helps to manage events in the UK.
Alice Lépissier, Research Assistant
Alice Lépissier coordinates the Europe Beyond Aid initiative and supports Alex Cobham on the Illicit Financial Flows initiative. She also supports the research of senior fellow Owen Barder and works on a climate change mitigation policy proposal. She previously served as a consultant on climate-change adaptation and interned at the African Secretariat of the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) in Cape Town. Originally from France, Lépissier holds a BA in European politics from University College London where she spent a year abroad at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. She also holds an MSc in economics and public policy from Sciences Po and École Polytechnique, and an MSc in economic history from the London School of Economics.
Rita Perakis, Program Associate
Rita Perakis is a programme associate working on results-based aid initiatives including Development Impact Bonds and Cash on Delivery Aid. She is a co-author of the Quality of Official Development Assistance (QuODA) Assessment. Before joining CGD, Perakis earned a masters in public administration at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, where she served as a consultant on an agribusiness development project for the Millennium Challenge Corporation and intern working on youth unemployment issues for the Education for Employment Foundation-Morocco. She previously held positions at Seedco, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Carter Center. Perakis holds a BA in international studies from Emory University.
Clare Waite, Head of External Relations in Europe
Clare Waite is the head of external relations in Europe. She joins CGD after having worked at the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) where she specialised in international safe motherhood projects. Before that, she worked for Marie Stopes International in various roles, including in programme management providing technical assistance and organizational support to partners in Asia, and for Amnesty International developing and implementing campaigning strategies on targeted human rights violations in Western European countries. She has also worked as a freelance consultant for Marie Stopes International Ethiopia (based in Ethiopia), for Development Initiatives (on an initiative aimed at accelerating poverty reduction by making aid more transparent) and for Penal Reform International. She holds a BA Hons in modern languages and contemporary history, and has a working knowledge of several European languages, including Italian, French, Spanish and Portuguese.
Development Impact Bonds Working Group
Details of the Working Group CGD in Europe is organizing with our partners, Social Finance.
Interviews with EBRD Candidates
Owen Barder interviews candidates for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development presidency on their vision of the Bank’s future
Global Prosperity Wonkcast on CGD in Europe
Owen Barder speaks with Lawrence MacDonald about his intentions for CGD in Europe
A development podcast from CGD in Europe
Nancy Birdsall announced CGD in Europe
Nancy Birdsall, founding President of CGD, announces plans for greater engagement in Europe.
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