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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.

 

How the Next Administration Can Modernize US Security and Development Assistance in the Middle East

Surging violence in the Middle East, massive refugee flows from the region, and the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and here at home have brought renewed focus to the fight against terrorism. The strategies are strikingly familiar—a new international military coalition, the return of US troops to the region, an increase in security assistance to regimes in the region. But if what’s past is prologue, these strategies, taken alone, will fail to secure our interests.

Royal Jelly and “GNUs”: Postcards from the Paris Climate Summit

On November 30th, Germany, Norway, and the U.K. (“the GNU”) pledged to provide over $5 billion for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) between now and 2020, “including a significant increase in pay-for-performance finance”.  This pledge is a welcome and much-needed continuation of the leadership of these three countries, and consistent with the recommendations of the recent CGD Working Group report, Look to the Forests

Two World Bank Surveys Provide (Imperfect) Evidence that De-risking Might Be Hurting Developing Countries

The World Bank recently released the results of two separate surveys aimed at gauging the extent to which de-risking is a problem. The headline result is that banks around the world are closing accounts of money transfer organizations (MTOs) and are severing links with banks in other countries.  These careful, timely reports provide crucial evidence that de-risking is a very real phenomenon and that we should be worried about it.

A Social Impact Bond without the Impact? Critics Question Success of Early Childhood Development Program

The most essential feature of a social impact bond (SIB) is measuring impact. But what happens if the impact metric is questioned or unclear? A recent dispute over measuring the impact of a SIB for early childhood development in Utah yields two important practical lessons for this innovative financing tool. First, SIB implementers should be careful not to exaggerate the precision of their success indicators. Second, they need to be clear to everyone about which objectives they are pursuing.

Postcards from the Paris Climate Summit

I arrived at Charles de Gaulle airport Monday morning jet lagged and optimistic. The lights on the RER train flashed the way to Le Bourget, the site of the climate summit. The summit won’t be enough on its own to deliver a safe climate, but the cumulative pledges countries have already made, if implemented, would be enough to stave off the worst climate calamities, and can lay the groundwork for stronger actions in coming years.

Four Challenges for Blended Finance and Development Finance Institutions

Overseas development assistance amounts to about $135 billion dollars annually, but the cost of paying for the Sustainable Development Goals will be in the trillions. As a result, blended finance is something of a buzz phrase these days. I left a workshop on blended finance last week in Paris excited about the potential of these new structures and instruments to deliver social returns. But I was also struck by the challenges DFIs and their advocates must overcome in order to fully realize that potential. 

Financing for Adaptation to Climate Change: Ensuring the Most Vulnerable Are Covered

At next week’s global climate summit in Paris the mood is likely to be somber in the wake of the devastating terrorist attacks. Spirits won’t be raised by the fact that the national emissions reduction plans submitted so far are only half of what’s needed to keep global temperature increases within the agreed target of 2 degrees Celsius.  Also discouraging are the large gaps that remain between how much climate finance developing countries need to cover the costs of mitigation and adaptation and the commitments put forward by developed countries.

Small Changes, Big Impacts, and Lingering Questions: The Inaugural Birdsall House Conference Series on Women

As part of our new Gender and Development program, CGD just hosted the first annual Birdsall House Conference on Women. This year’s session, “Small Changes, Big Impact: Creating Conditions for Women and Girls to Thrive,” explored the possibility that cheap and scalable aid-funded interventions could considerably improve the lives of women and girls. Short answer: small changes do have big potential, but their limits should be acknowledged — and they require continued study and fine-tuning in order to be more effective.

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