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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.

 

An image of a classroom.

A Poll of Education Officials in 35 Countries: Three Reasons the Idea of a “Learning Crisis” Isn’t Getting Traction

With half of kids in low- and middle-income countries unable to read a simple story by the end of primary school, international organizations and foreign aid donors have declared a “global learning crisis.”

The crisis framing has coincided with a shift in policy messaging from many big international donors in the education sector. To oversimplify a bit, education access is out, school quality is in. The World Bank, UNICEF, the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Gates Foundation all promote greater emphasis on “foundational skills,” implying a renewed focus on basic literacy and numeracy in primary school, measured through an increased use of standardized testing.

Stacks of coins overlaid over clouds with plants growing out of them

Bad versus Better Ways to Leverage Private Investment in the Global Fight for 1.5 Degrees

While hopes for mobilizing private finance for climate response were boosted by the investment firms managing a collective $130 trillion who signed onto net zero pledges at the COP, actually getting the private trillions to move south remains a huge challenge. And two leading proposals point to the risks of missing the mark, one by misdirecting support and the other by failing to achieve adequate scale.

A wind turbine farm in Tunisia

Rethinking the World Bank Model for More Climate Financing

The fact is $100 billion a year is woefully insufficient to cover the cost of climate change adaptation, let alone financing clean energy transitions across the developing world. The adaptation price tag alone could reach $300 billion a year by 2030. According to the IEA, the cost of financing clean energy transitions could exceed $1 trillion a year by the end of the decade. These are big numbers. But they are achievable.

An image of humanitarian aid in Chad.

Humanitarian Challenges in 2022

Next week the UN will publish its global humanitarian overview (GHO) for 2022: the world’s most comprehensive, authoritative, and evidence-based assessment of need. The GHO has sustained a good track record in recent years in predicting what is ahead, albeit that every year unexpected new challenges also arise. (This year’s catalogue of unwelcome surprises included the impact of the coup in Myanmar, the famine in northern Ethiopia, and the escalation in humanitarian problems in Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover. Last year, of course, saw the start of the COVID-19 pandemic).

An image of solar panels and windmills.

What Aid Agency Leaders Should Worry About on Climate Finance

One of my overwhelming preoccupations over the last 10 years as a chief executive of international aid organisations, first as permanent secretary of the UK’s Department for International Development and then as head of the UN’s humanitarian affairs, has been that there was never enough money, even when budgets were growing.

Economics & Marginalia: November 19, 2021

How do parents of young children get anything done? Even in a two-parent household, the nursery/home-with-fever cycle is relentless (and, in the case of our little one, a little too heavy on the home-with-fever side of the cycle for my liking). Anyway, by my count I’ve got a few hours before I’m struck down by whatever bug my little petri dish is currently incubating, just in time for the weekend. Let’s hope I finish the links before it hits. Even more necessary, because the last link features a grown man (yes, me) screaming like a small excited child at the prospect of the new Spiderman movie, and a superhero who is a Bollywood star (rather than a Bollywood knock-off of a superhero) prompting a lot of Bollywood clips.

Refugee and artisan, Kapya Kitungwa, 44, from Tanganyika Province in Democratic Republic of the Congo, carves wooden holiday ornaments for Made51 from his workshop in Nairobi, Kenya.

If Given the Chance, Refugees Can Help Kenya’s Economic Growth and Recovery

Kenya has hosted one of the largest refugee populations for decades and should be commended for this. But refugees in Kenya still face long-standing barriers to economic inclusion, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated these challenges. These barriers, largely stemming from current government policies, limit refugees’ right to work, the right to move freely, and the freedom to access financial services.

Headquarters of the World Bank. Photo by Simone D. McCourtie / World Bank

Mapping China’s Rise in the Multilateral System

In a new report, we rely on public reporting from multilateral development institutions and funds to provide a clearer picture of China’s participation across the multilateral development system. We find that China has staked out a uniquely important position, one that relies on leading roles as a shareholder, donor, client, and commercial partner. No other country wears so many hats so effectively across these global institutions.  

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