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Two More Reasons for Preemptive Contract Sanctions in Syria

With relentlessly bad news out of Syria, the search continues for what the world can do to put pressure on Assad’s regime and to lay the groundwork for a future, legitimate Syrian government. The case for preemptive contract sanctions is becoming ever more compelling. Under this approach, the United States, United Kingdom, and other members of the Friends of Syria, would declare that new contracts with the Assad regime are illegitimate and that our courts should not enforce them if a legitimate successor government in Syria repudiates them. This could deter new loans and investments in Syria’s oil or other sectors and send a signal to the Assad regime that the economic pressure will not loosen.

Time to Take Nyet for an Answer—and Move On

For the third time in recent months, Russia, supported by China, blocked United Nations action to put additional pressure on Bashir Assad and help end the violence in Syria. A UN Security Council resolution is the preferred way to go. But if that is not possible, preemptive contract sanctions can tighten the squeeze on Assad without the cooperation of Russia and China.

It’s (Still) Time to Try Something New to Pressure Assad in Syria

This is a joint post with Kimberly Elliott

The April 12 deadline for a complete ceasefire in Syria seems to have slightly damped the violence in Syria for now, but alone it will do nothing to ensure a peaceful transition to a democratic government. President Bashar Assad’s government is still not complying with other parts of the UN brokered peace plan aimed at ending more than a year of deadly violence, and world leaders are insisting that a credible political transition must take place quickly for this fragile progress to hold any weight.

Geeta Rao Gupta Wins 2011 Commitment to Development Award

Last night we (Center for Global Development and Foreign Policy Magazine) honored Geeta Rao Gupta with the Commitment to Development “Ideas in Action” Award. The event, a huge success, highlighted her numerous contributions to the field of gender and development. I had fun because the event brought to CGD so many of the early advocates of ensuring attention to women in development (I couldn’t resist saying it felt in a good way to me like “the old girls club”).

UNESCO's Board Must Vote ‘No’ to Obiang Prize at Tuesday’s Board Meeting

This is a joint post with Julia Barmeier.

Tuesday, June 15 marks the last day that the board of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) can object to the UNESCO-Obiang International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences, which is made possible by a $3 million grant given to UNESCO by Equatorial Guinea’s dictator of 31 years—Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. As we blogged earlier, UNESCO gets to keep half of the money as a finder’s fee for identifying the winner. If the award ceremony does go forward, Obiang plans to attend, along with UNESCO's director-general, Irina Bokova.

The United States Can Give Better Aid to Haiti

This commentary also appeared on The Huffington Post and Global Post

Last week at a United Nations conference, donors pledged more than $10 billion to finance reconstruction and development investments in Haiti. The United States promised a hefty $1.15 billion.

But pledging money is the easy part. The United States, the lead donor and friend with the greatest interest in Haiti's future development, can do much more, in two ways: its own aid programs can be more effective; and it can take steps beyond aid that are far more critical to long-run prosperity for Haiti's people.

What Would Barack Obama Be Like If He Was Still President in 2051? Ask Gabon

What would Barack Obama be like if he was still president in 2051? We would expect that despite whatever initial good intentions, that four decades in power would inevitably give way to entrenched corruption, mindless sycophancy, and probably destroy our democracy. Such an outcome is not only barred by the U.S. constitution, but sounds like an absurd question today.

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