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.

 

The UN Goes to Hollywood—But Is It Ready for a Close-Up?

This is a joint post with Lauren Young.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has been getting negative press about the relief efforts after the earthquakes in Haiti and Chile. Perhaps worst is a scathing report from Refugees International accusing the UN of ineffectual leadership, missing coordination, and weak communication while an estimated 1.2 million Haitians remain displaced. Though much of the report consists of standard blandishments (the authors spent just 10 days in-country), there is indeed evidence of serious negligence. To give just one example: the organization initially planned on allowing itself two and a half months—well into the rainy season—to distribute plastic sheeting to protect the displaced. It took a personal intervention from a senior official to get this activity moved up.

Look, Ma, New Clothes

Devoted readers may have noticed last week that the we launched a revamped website with improved navigation and a greatly enhanced search function. Other new features:

Blurring the Line between Defense and Development

This is a joint post with Julia Barmeier.

In a little-noticed move in January, private military contractor DynCorp bought 100% of the shares of international development contractor Casals & Associates (the value of this acquisition was not disclosed). DynCorp says it plans to integrate Casals & Associates into its International Global Stabilization and Development Solutions division. In 2007, CGD research highlighted the Pentagon’s ever-expanding role in the development space. In the administration’s 2010-2011 budget proposal, 20% of the 2011 Department of State and Agency for International Development (USAID) budget is slated for “securing frontline states” (Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan). The DynCorp-Casals merger suggests a blurring of the line between development and defense in the private sector, as well.

Should we be worried?

A New Home at USAID

Ruth LevineOn Monday, I will join USAID as Director of Evaluation, Policy Analysis & Learning. In this position, I'll be supporting initiatives that are already underway to apply the best available evidence to decisions at many levels, and to generate new knowledge as an integral part of the agency’s work.

A Green Fund: From the IMF, George Soros, and the Government of Mexico

On January 30 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the Managing Director of the IMF, announced a possible new initiative – a multi-billion dollar Green Fund (that name is popular – see below) that would help developing countries finance the measures needed to tackle climate change – possibly with partial funding through issuance by the IMF of new Special Drawing Rights (SDRs).

Dubai's Labor Market - A Model for Other Countries?

Dubai has many unique features—it is a city state arising improbably out of the desert, boasting some extraordinary buildings, including a hotel shaped like an Arabian dhow and a 12 million sq ft shopping mall, with a fountain four times the size of the one at the Bellagio in Las Vegas.  But despite this uniqueness, its labor market policies may well serve as a model for other countries.  Dubai has actively sought talent from all corners of the world—its population of 1.7 million has four times as many foreigners as locals.  These guest workers staff hotels, drive cabs, build skyscrapers, a

Putting the ‘Fast’ Back into the Education Fast Track…

2010 is supposed to be the ‘Year of Education’. The Global Campaign for Education and the 1-Goal Campaign are lobbying soccer supporters around the world to sign a petition pressuring government leaders to provide a good quality education to all children and adults by 2015. Stars and international leaders have already committed themselves to joining an event on the eve of the World Cup in South Africa in June to bring attention to the shameful fact that more than 70 million children worldwide still do not have the chance even to go to primary school.

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