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In testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade last week, CGD president Nancy Birdsall argued that support for the G-20 commitments to increase lending resources at the IMF is a critical part of ensuring U.S. recovery from the economic crisis and global prosperity and security. She was, however, confronted with a host of concerns about whether multilateral lending would go to governments like Iran, Sudan, and Syria, and with one member of Congress’s view that he “is a citizen of the United States, not the world.”
Leaders from more than 20 major nations announced Thursday (see the Communiqué) that they would make available an additional $1 trillion through the International Monetary Fund and other institutions to help developing countries cope with the global economic crisis.
There’s a lot to like in UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s call yesterday for the heads of heads of state attending the April 2 London Summit to commit to new measures to help developing countries cope with the global economic crisis. According to an interview reported in today’s Financial Times:
The accelerating downward spiral in the global economy has made me increasingly convinced that the G20 leaders gathering at the London Summit in early April should announce that they stand ready to provide up to $1 trillion to help developing countries to cope with the crisis over the next two years. This wouldn't be a handout, but an important part of a global stimulus package. It's in the rich world's own self-interest to anticipate the developing world's financing needs and to put in place the necessary resources. To do so is both a moral and a security imperative.
Eldis, the online aggregator of development policy, practice and research at the Institute of Development Studies in Sussex, is conducting a survey to identify "the most significant new piece of development research of 2008." This strikes me as having roughly the same statistical validity as American Idol does for when it comes to finding new singing talent. Still, as with Idol and other talent shows, the entertainment value of a popularity contest is hard to dispute!
We are at the start of what promises to be an unusually difficult year in the global economy. Policy decisions in the United States and other rich world countries will matter immensely for poor and vulnerable people living in developing countries.
We at CGD warmly welcome president-elect Barack Obama's appointments of Timothy Geithner as Secretary of Treasury and Lawrence Summers to head the National Economic Council. Both are members of the CGD Board of Directors. This is no coincidence.