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.

 

Twelve Takeaways from the IPCC Report

On Friday in Stockholm the IPCC released the first of a series of four reports comprising its Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), documenting the “physical science basis” of climate change. 

OECD Dispute with Oslo Has a Bad ODA

In Norway last year I met with the impressive staff of one of the world’s largest and smartest NGOs. They were unhappy that Norwegian aid money was being used to discourage deforestation in Brazil instead of to immunize children and educate girls in low-income Africa—in other words, to deal with climate change rather than “development.”  I countered that minimizing climate change is a crucial piece of development, and urged them to rethink the issue. 

Policy Coherence Is a Hobgoblin

In a world of horrible development jargon and TLAs, one of my least favourite is "Policy Coherence for Development (PCD)".

This ugly phrase is meaningless to most people; worse, it is misleading. It suggests that we care more about whether we have joined-up policies than we care about the overall impact of our policies on poor people and poor countries.

It’s Not That Complicated

It is a lesson that (development) economists need to relearn every generation: stuff is complicated and “best practices” don’t always work.  But in a well-meaning attempt to find universal solutions to (seemingly) intractable problems, the development industry does seem to like proclaiming new panaceas, however poorly the last panacea played out. I’m a card-carrying member of the “stuff is complicated” party—it is one big reason why cross-country regressions haven’t taught us terribly much about the causes of economic growth.

The Calm after the Storm: Why the United States Should Recommit to the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act

The Atlantic Council’s recent event on US foreign assistance to Pakistan kicked off a new round of discussion about US-Pakistan relations, which should gain momentum as we approach the Strategic Dialogue expected later this year.  Anchored in the context of the country’s recent elections and prospects for regional stability, the discussion included remarks b

The Parable of the Visiting Impact Evaluation Expert

Visitans Perito works at the World Bank as an education specialist, and has just set off on a two week mission to the country of Peripheria, a poor, land-locked former Soviet Republic in Central Asia, about which he knows very little, except that everyone seems to agree it has a totally dysfunctional public school system.

Close but No Cigar: Paying for Performance Is Not Necessarily COD Aid

When we make presentations on COD AIDat development agencies, we are frequently told: “Oh, we’re already doing that.” The more we investigate, however, the fewer cases we find where agencies are really disbursing funds against independently verified outcomes in a hands-off fashion. We’re tempted to say “close but no cigar.”

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