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Postcard from Davos

The world’s elite—plus a few ringers like me—gathered last week in the small Swiss village of Davos to discuss the state of the world at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF). Although not formally on the agenda, the issue of tropical forests infiltrated a number of discussions. But first, a quick recap of the meeting’s big themes that provided the broader context.

The Paris Climate Agreement Feels Historic, but the Sustainable Development Goals Don’t. Why?

There were two major gatherings of global leaders this year – in New York for the UN General Assembly and in Paris for the climate talks.  In some ways, the agreements that came out of both meetings look similar.  The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a bunch of aspirational targets for national and global progress without any legal authority, some of which look simply implausible without truly revolutionary global policy change of which there is little sign to date.  Paris

SDG Thirteen: A Pound of Cure, Sure, But Where’s the Ounce of Prevention?

Expanding economic prosperity while avoiding dangerous climate change is perhaps the defining challenge of the 21st century.  So I’m glad to see that the draft Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) include a goal for climate.  But I’m puzzled by a pretty fundamental omission. While the draft SDGs list targets for adapting to climate change, and educating people about climate change, and even mobilizing serious money in response to climate change, there’s not actually a target for, ahem, preventing climate change.

Can’t HiPoPoDomAe and Donuts Just Get Along?

I got to be part of a panel yesterday at the UN, grandly titled “Conceptualizing a Set of Sustainable Development Goals - A Special Event of the Second Committee of the UN General Assembly.” I was excited to be there not just because of the location and topic, but also because of considerable respect for the rest of the panel, including Andrew Revkin of the NYT Dot Earth blog, WRI’s Manish Bapna and Oxfam’s Kate Raworth.