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.

 

Hard Times Call for Hard Data: India and UK Will Work Together to Respond

Amidst the profound concerns about a lengthy economic downturn (or worse), public officials are taking measures to improve the effectiveness of public dollars -- or public rupees, as the case may be.
Here in the United States, President-elect Obama has stated that he'll look for ways to offset the cost of a proposed second stimulus package by cutting wasteful government programs. That same spirit is being felt in India.

Obama and House Committee Shake-Up Signal Sea Change in U.S. Climate Policy

This is a joint posting with Joel Meister
Recent announcements of climate-related transition teams and agency director appointments have provided a wealth of information about the prospects for action on climate change by the Obama White House. Bolstered by changes in the leadership of a crucial House committee, the energy and climate change agenda is likely to be a top legislative priority for the new administration. These changes also suggest that climate policies will affect the strategy for economic recovery, as well as a reorientation of US foreign assistance toward climate-sensitive policies that will yield significant benefits for poor people in developing countries.

In the Midst of the Financial Crisis, an Opportunity for Innovative Financing for Development - Cash on Delivery Aid

This is a joint posting with Ayah Mahgoub

This week, from November 29th through December 2nd, heads of government and multi-lateral institutions as well as representatives from business, and civil society will convene to evaluate the progress that has been made since world leaders met in Monterrey in 2002 to develop a plan to confront the challenges of international financing for development. Almost seven years later, some progress has been made towards fulfilling the commitments made there, but much is left to be done. In Monterrey, leaders made commitments to mobilize domestic and international resources, increase financial and technical cooperation, improve international trade, and address issues surrounding external debt and systemic challenges to financing international development.

Bail, Baby, Bail: What General Motors can Teach us about Policy Distortions

This is a joint posting with David Wheeler and Robin Kraft

When countries in Latin America or Africa descend into crisis, economists in Washington take a harsh view. Governments are forced to reduce spending in return for IMF rescue packages and in some instances, countries are even put on a cash-only budget. In the United States, we have a very different approach designed to minimize hardship of any kind -- the bailout.

Dear Mr. President-Elect, Some Early Steps to Begin Elevating Development

This is a joint posting with Sheila Herrling
This week the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network, a fast-growing bipartisan coalition of international development and foreign policy leaders that I am privileged to co-chair, will be sending to the Presidential Transition Team its recommendations for jump-starting the process of strengthening our development programs. A growing number of voices agree that now more than ever, we must substantially bolster our capabilities to fight poverty and create economic opportunities around the world, both through increasing our investments over time and by making these investments much more efficient and effective. Strengthening these programs may well be one of the best investments we can make over the long term to restore global stability, security and prosperity.

Stopping the Emerging Markets Contagion Boomerang

The U.S. rescue package is (rightly) focused on shoring up our domestic financial markets, ground zero in the global credit crisis. Even if this effort is successful, the United States and other global financial leaders cannot ignore the impact on emerging markets. As the crisis has now spread to Latin America, Asia, and elsewhere, we need to ensure that all available tools are used so that the downturn doesn't eventually boomerang back to us.

Smart Obamanomics for the President-Elect's Top Priority: Energy and Climate Change

This is a joint post with Kevin Ummel, Robin Kraft, Joel Meister and Dan Hammer
During the second presidential debate on October 7, an exchange took place that tells us a lot about what to expect from an Obama administration:

Tom Brokaw: Senator Obama, if you would give us your list of priorities, there are some real questions about whether everything can be done at once.
Barack Obama: We're going to have to prioritize, just like a family has to prioritize … Energy we have to deal with today … So that would be priority number one.

Food Aid, With a Twist

This is a joint posting with Rebecca Schutte
Is purchasing food aid locally the answer to higher global food prices and the inefficiencies associated with imported food aid? The World Food Program (WFP), the Bill and Melinda Gates and Howard G. Buffett Foundations seem to think so. While donors and international organizations have been purchasing food aid in recipient countries for years, the idea got a new boost in late September with the "Purchase for Progress (P4P)" initiative. The idea is simple: Rather than import food aid from the U.S. or Europe, WFP will purchase food commodities for distribution within the same country or region. As Josette Sheeran, WFP executive director, explained, "Purchase for Progress is a win-win -- we help our beneficiaries who have little or no food and we help local farmers who have little or no access to markets where they can sell their crops." The program will be piloted in twenty-one countries in 2008/2009, fourteen of which are in sub-Saharan Africa.