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British Prime Minister David Cameron’s op-ed in the Wall Street Journal lays out his anti-poverty vision. As my colleague Todd Moss notes, this type of serious, top-down and bottom-up debate about development issues doesn’t make the US look especially good by comparison.
When I joined CGD to start our Europe programme, I said there were two particular reasons why we need more of CGD’s approach in Europe: first, there is more to development than aid; and second, as citizens of rich countries we have a responsibility to focus on how our policies affect development. CGD in Europe is now embarking on an exciting new programme which puts those principles into action.
On January 12, 2010, at 16:53 hours, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck the city of Port-au-Prince, killing over 200,000 people and leaving several million homeless. Foreign aid poured into Haiti, at the rate of almost a thousand dollars per Haitian. For the past two years, we have been putting together the various pieces of data we could find on aid flows and foreign involvement after the quake. We found that the big international NGOs and private contractors have been the primary recipients of billions of dollars in U.S. assistance have been not been required to report systematically on how they use the funds. There has been a lack of accountability to both the funders and recipients. Our preliminary impressions based on our visit to Haiti are that this lack of accountability is if anything worse on the ground: the NGOs are frequently not accountable to the Haitian government or to the people they aim to serve. We even learned something about earthquakes--for example, did you know that Haiti’s two major faults (the northern Sententrional fault and the southern Enriquillo-Plantain Garden fault) are called slip-strike faults, and are similar to the San Andreas Fault in California? It was the southern fault that triggered the quake two and a half years ago.
A couple of weeks ago, CGD hosted a workshop on a transparency proposal we’re calling (at least for the moment) Publish What You Buy. In the spirit of openness, I meant to blog about it straight after --but where would have been the irony in that? So, two weeks later, (still) faster than a speeding freedom of information request denial, here’s a brief write-up.
The World Bank has responded to concerns about its recent agreement with Google with a welcome announcement that it will only support mapping collaborations which make crowd-sourced data publicly available – and that means not collaborating this way with Google.
This post first appeared on Owen Abroad, along with a list of suggested further readings. Please post any comments on the original version.
I am a generally a fan of both the World Bank and of Google, but we should all be worried about their recent deal.
The intention is good: it is to promote crowd-sourcing of maps, to improve planning in disasters and to improve the planning, management and monitoring of public services. This is an important goal, which is now being made possible by new technologies and the spread of the internet. The deal is sufficiently important for World Bank Managing Director Caroline Anstey to write about it in the opinion pages of the New York Times:
This post was originally featured on Owen Barder’s Owen Abroad: Thoughts on Development and Beyond blog.
Will the largest aid donors hide behind China to excuse their inability to make substantial improvements in foreign aid? How can Busan balance the desire to be more universal with the pressing need for real changes in the way aid is given?