Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

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.

 

Building on Experience: Lessons about Family Planning from Four Former Directors of USAID’s Office of Population and Reproductive Health

Last month, CGD hosted four former directors of USAID’s Office of Population and Reproductive Health to reflect on their experiences, which spanned US administrations from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama. (You can watch the event here). Below, we highlight three main takeaways— the critical role of technical leadership, the importance of data, and the need to start with the end in mind when planning for successful transitions.  

Can Taxes Postpone Millions of Deaths Worldwide? A New Task Force Led by Michael Bloomberg and Lawrence Summers Inquires

This week, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers announced a new Task Force on Fiscal Policy for Health. This is the first time such a high-level group of respected economic and fiscal policy opinion leaders has convened on this issue, creating an opportunity to acknowledge the importance of taxes for promoting health and to take action to save lives.

On the Docket for Development in 2018: CGD Experts Weigh in

Here at CGD, we’re always working on new ideas to stay on top of the rapidly changing global development landscape. Whether it’s examining new technologies with the potential to alleviate poverty, presenting innovative ways to finance global health, assessing changing leadership at international institutions, or working to maximize results in resource-constrained environments, CGD’s experts are at the forefront of practical policy solutions to reduce global poverty and inequality. Get an in-depth look below at their thoughts on the 2018 global development landscape.

How to Tackle the UK's Chronic Nursing Shortage—and Help Development

What if there were a way to reduce the nursing shortage in the UK in a way that is good for the National Health Service (NHS), good for developing countries, and good for nurses? We believe this is possible, with something called a Global Skills Partnership, that uses UK aid in a win-win partnership with developing countries. In this blog post we explain exactly how it could work to relieve the strain on the UK’s beloved NHS, and how such an idea might be replicated in other countries and other contexts.

Leaving the Paris Climate Agreement Would Be a Shameful Act of Self-Harm

A decision by President Trump to remove the United States from the 2015 Paris climate agreement would be a shameful act of self-harm. The decision would hurt everyone in the world, and poor people most, by making it harder to avoid a future of bigger storms and fires, disappearing coastlines, and tougher crop-growing conditions. But the most severe and immediate harm would be to the United States, which by banishing itself from the community of nations trying to prevent dangerous climate change would irrevocably damage its global standing.

The World’s Most Profitable Slow-Motion Disaster: Tobacco

In April, I attended a very hopeful event sponsored by the World Bank entitled, “Tobacco Taxation Win-Win for Public Health and Domestic Resources Mobilization.” My optimism was buoyed by seeing people from different ministries, disciplines, and perspectives all recognizing the need to raise tobacco taxes and sharing ideas on how to reduce the death toll from smoking. Then the bubble burst. I got home and saw a Wall Street Journal article about the increasing profitability of cigarette corporations in the US domestic market—a reminder that, unbelievably, we are still on the defensive against this large, growing, and completely avoidable disaster.

The World Needs More Bad Schools

A commission led by the UN's special envoy for education, Gordon Brown, is calling for a doubling of global aid for education, without any clear reform agenda to raise learning levels in the world's failing school systems. That might be ok: bad schools in poor countries still seem to produce big benefits.

Really, Global Poverty *Is* Falling. Honest.

Martin Kirk and Jason Hickel published a piece earlier this week on the annual Gates Letter. The core critique is that the letter is too rosy. In particular, Kirk and Hickel say of the Gates' letter: "some of their examples are just wrong." The case they provide in illustration is the idea that poverty has been cut by half since 1990. The Gates "use figures based on a $1.25 a day poverty line, but there is a strong scholarly consensus that this line is far too low." Use other poverty lines, and global poverty "hasn’t been falling. In fact, it has been increasing—dramatically.” (See related pieces by Jason here and here). I don't think this critique holds up.

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