Ideas to Action:

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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.

 

road through forest

China’s “Green” Belt and Road Initiative Isn’t Very Green

What would it look like today if major multilateral finance institutions like the World Bank had never adopted the climate agenda as a binding constraint on their operations? Unfortunately, we have a real-world approximation of that hypothetical in the form of Chinese development finance. At least, that’s a conclusion I draw from an important new report from World Resources Institute (WRI) and Boston University, Moving the Green Belt and Road Initiative: From Words to Actions.

Eight Reasons for California to Lead on Climate and Tropical Forests

When it comes to fighting climate change, California is already a world leader on pricing carbon, transitioning to renewable energy, and decarbonizing the world’s eighth largest economy.  California has yet another golden opportunity to lead on climate, by green-lighting finance to protect tropical forests. 

Setting a Price on Carbon Immediately Is Necessary to Avoid Dangerous Climate Change

Avoiding dangerous climate change is possible, technologically and economically. That is one of the main takeaways from the report released Tuesday by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on cost-effective ways to mitigate climate change. That report is the third of four constituting the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the IPCC. The first, on the science behind climate change, was released in September 2013; the second, on the current and future impacts of climate change, was released earlier this month. A synthesis report is set to be published in October.

How Well Are Performance-Based Payments Working? Lessons from Guyana

What if international development finance paid for outcomes, like children educated or diseases avoided, rather than inputs like classrooms built or medicines procured?  That’s the premise of CGD’s longstanding work on Cash-on-Delivery Aid.  By paying only for the verified progress on measured outcomes, donors are assured of value for money, and recipients have the flexibility and incentive to innovate.  This idea is taking hold in educationhealth, and other sectors.

Do Trees Grow on Money? The Problem of Attribution

How can donors know if their aid is making a difference? This question is tougher than it seems. Attributing results to donor inputs seems straightforward if the donor pays for progress on a measurable outcome, as CGD has proposed for Cash on Delivery Aid (COD Aid). If the desired results are achieved—say an increase above an agreed baseline in the number of kids completing primary school and taking a competency test—then the program has demonstrated value for money, no? 

Carbon Fund Pioneering Multilateral Payments for Forest Carbon in a Bottom-Up Climate World

Here’s what was supposed to happen at the 2009 climate talks in Copenhagen: Rich, industrialized nations like the US and Australia would commit to deep reductions in their greenhouse gas pollution, joined by rapidly industrializing countries like China and India. Part of these commitments would be met by paying for emission reductions from reduced deforestation by tropical forest countries like Brazil and Indonesia.

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