Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

Press Release

Update: CGD Statement on New York Times Story on Think Tank Funding

September 12, 2014

Washington, D.C.  – A recent New York Times story on non-US financial support for Washington think tanks raised questions concerning funding that CGD receives from Norway for work on tropical deforestation and development. CGD stands fully by the independence of our research and policy work, which never has been and never will be compromised by the sources of our funding.

CGD is an independent, nonprofit research organization that works to reduce global poverty and inequality through rigorous research and the creation and promotion of new policy ideas. Those who give money to support our work—a mixture of foundations, governments, individuals, and firms—have no role in determining our research findings or our efforts to publicize and promote discussions of these findings. Our research on financing mechanisms for tropical forest conservation aims to promote development, reduce poverty, and limit deforestation-related greenhouse gas emissions that are a significant factor in human-caused climate change.

We are fully transparent about all of our funding sources. Transparify, the first global rating of financial transparency of think tanks, recently awarded CGD the maximum-possible five-star rating for “exemplary” transparency.  CGD’s “How We’re Funded” page lists all grants, gifts and contracts that are greater than 1% of our annual budget, including our support from Norway. Of course, there’s always room for improvement. We are reviewing our procedures and will make adjustments to the extent necessary or advisable.

CGD had a strong track record on issues related to finance mechanisms for tropical forest conservation long before we received funding from Norway. In 2009 CGD released Forest Monitoring for Action (FORMA), an online tool that used satellite data to provide the first, high-resolution monthly estimates of changes in forest cover in the developing world. An influential 2010 CGD book, Cash on Delivery: A New Approach to Foreign Aid, argued that aid programs could be much more effective if they paid for outcomes instead of inputs. This approach is supposed to be at the heart of the international effort dubbed Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+). We are pleased that starting last year a grant from Norway helped make further work on this research possible.

As with all our work, our policy views on this issue are and will be grounded in our own scholars’ rigorous, evidence-based analysis that has been subject to peer review.

CGD is proud of our research and our record of success in bringing new and better ideas to the global agenda.  We believe that our research on financing mechanisms to reduce tropical deforestation has the potential to make a real difference—perhaps even a globally significant difference—on the complex, difficult issues of development, deforestation, and climate change.  

This statement expands upon a previous statement on September 7.

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The Center for Global Development is private nonprofit organization that works to reduce global poverty and inequality through rigorous research and active engagement with the policy community to make the world a more prosperous, just, and safe place for all people. The policies and practices of the rich and the powerful—in rich nations, as well as in the emerging powers, international institutions, and global corporations—have significant impacts on the world’s poor people. We aim to improve these policies and practices through research and policy engagement to expand opportunities, reduce inequalities, and improve lives everywhere.