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Views from the Center

CGD experts offer ideas and analysis to improve international development policy. Also check out our Global Health blog and US Development Policy blog.

 

Haiti Quake: Four Years Later, We Still Don’t Know Where the Money Has Gone

January 12, 2014 marks the fourth anniversary of the massive quake in Haiti that left over 200,000 people dead and several million people homeless.  The response from rich countries was overwhelming—over $9 billion was disbursed towards relief and reconstruction efforts ($3 billion from the United States, an estimated $3 billion in private contributions, and another $3 billion from foreign governments).

Philippines Launches Aid Transparency Hub, Encourages Donor Transparency

This is a joint post with Lawrence MacDonald.

Struggling to provide relief and reconstruction assistance in the wake of super typhoon Haiyan (a.k.a. Yolanda), the Philippines has launched a foreign aid information hub and gently encouraged donors to follow through on their own transparency pledges, with a top official reported in the Philippine press as saying that the two efforts "should go hand in hand."

Filipinos Like Typhoon Relief Transparency

Something surprising happened this week after my colleagues Vijaya Ramachandran and Owen Barder posted a call for donors providing help in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan (a.k.a Yolanda) to rapidly post data on their plans and actions. Their post, Let’s Not Help the Philippines Like We Helped Haiti, which argued for helping the Philippines better through aid transparency, went viral overnight as thousands of Filipinos around the world visited the page and “liked” it on Facebook.

Financial Secrecy and the Commitment to Development Index

Many people cite corruption as the biggest obstacle to development, but corruption has many faces.  Viewed primarily as a poor country problem, corruption can be the basis for arguing against aid, on the grounds that it will be stolen or wasted. Seeing the global nature of corruption in practice, however, reveals the responsibility of aid donors and other rich countries to address their own culpability. Turns out that rich country financial secrecy can facilitate illicit transfers and even make possible grand corruption, to the tune of billions of dollars.

Let’s Not Help the Philippines Like We Helped Haiti

The immediate aftermath of a natural disaster, such as that the typhoon which devastated part of the Phillipines on Friday, can bring out the best of the global community. There will come a time to discuss how we can do more to prevent the environmental changes which make such events more likely; but the immediate priority is to get water, food and shelter to people who urgently need it. 

Open Ownership: UK Leads

This morning at the Open Government Partnership summit in London, David Cameron announced the result of the UK’s consultation on the beneficial ownership of companies: the information will not only be collected but be put online, for free, in a public register.

The G-8 Declaration on Tax and Transparency

This is a joint post with Owen Barder. 

International tax has continued to rise up the political agenda, and the crucial UK-hosted G-8 meeting is now approaching.  We’ve updated our draft declaration that we would like to see from that summit, to reflect discussions that have taken place since then, and many valuable comments from a wide range of contributors.

A Little More Transparency at EITI Can Go a Long Way

The Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative Global Meeting is underway in Sydney.  Today, EITI Chair Clare Short leads a panel discussion of a fundamental strategy review for the organization.  This a pivotal moment for EITI to take steps to create a level playing field for natural resource investors around the world, so that some outliers from China, Russia, India and elsewhere cannot operate according to different standards of transparency than their rivals.

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