Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

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.

 

InterAction Forum Brings a Dose of Political Realism (and Optimism) to 21st Century Foreign Assistance Efforts

Hundreds of development advocates gathered in Crystal City last week for the annual InterAction Forum urged a fresh effort to bring U.S. foreign assistance efforts into the 21st century.
At a luncheon plenary session during the conference, Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN) summarized:

Foreign assistance is more important to America's national security and foreign policy than ever before. But our Cold-War mechanisms aren't up to the challenge.

Lost in Translation: How to Transform Good Intentions into Poor Policy and Ensure a Climate Crisis (A Primer by the World Bank)

Three months ago, the finance ministers of the U.S., UK, and Japan introduced a Clean Technology Fund to be administered by the World Bank in an effort to "help developing countries bridge the gap between dirty and clean technology."1 Smart and strategic use of limited clean technology financing is absolutely critical if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change.

Does Sharing Apply to Development? Yup!

McNealy arrived late, delayed by a meeting at the Pentagon. You could tell he was tired. He’d flown to DC from California with a stopover in Dallas where he stayed up late watching hockey as his beloved San Jose Sharks fell to the Stars in the 4th overtime. Nonetheless, by the time lunch was finished at 1:30pm we had made good progress answering moderator Lawrence MacDonald’s query – does sharing and openness really matter for development?

Delight About Donor Disclosure -- Now Kick It Up A Notch!

This is a joint post with Kate Vyborny
We have been trying for a while to convince official aid donors to report to recipients more detailed, timely information about their disbursements of aid. You might well ask: how is it that recipients do not know how much money they are getting? Money may be in projects completely separate from the government; or it may go to specific project units within ministry of education or health, for example -- even the health or education minister may not know who in his or her ministry has access to what money. This undermines the collective decisionmaking process over how funds are spent that is central in the role of democratic governments. The recipient government should be involved in deciding how the money will be spent -- mechanisms like budget support and our proposed "cash on delivery" aid allow this to happen automatically. But at the very least, donors should be keeping tabs and telling the recipient -- quite a low bar, especially considering the standards to which donors hold or exhort recipients.

President Bush Can and Should Do More to Address the Food Crisis: Let Japan Sell Its Rice Reserves

This posting is joint with Vijaya Ramachandran

Today, President Bush called on Congress to provide another $770 million in food aid, in addition to the $200 million already allocated through the Department of Agriculture,in order "to keep our existing food aid programs robust."

There is no doubt that these additional funds are much needed to purchase and distribute food to those who are suffering greatly from the current spike in food prices. But the U.S. can and should do more. Specifically, the U.S. must allow Japan to sell, at full cost on Japanese books, the 1.5
million metric tons of rice that it has in storage. About 600,000 tons is
Thai and Vietnamese long-grain rice (high quality) and the rest is US medium
grain (good rice). All of the rice is in Japanese warehouses because of an
agreement with the World Trade Organization, and the U.S. as "cognizant
observer" of the rice agreement, would need to approve the sale of both
the
US and the Thai/Vietnamese rice. Japan currently cannot release this rice
to the World Food Program (or to the world market) without permission from
the U.S., and the Bush administration is yet to move on this.

Sharing as a Development Strategy

Scott McNealy is Chairman of Sun Microsystems a company he co-founded in 1982. He is a fierce competitor in business and in a hockey rink. He can be abrasive and outspoken explaining that "diplomacy has never been my middle name." He is an avowed capitalist and self-proclaimed libertarian. Nonetheless, his bio page says he's a "Champion for Sharing." In fact, Sun, as part of its business strategy shares almost everything. Its Java software platform and Open Office applications suite are open source.

Pages