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After two weeks in Indonesia I returned to Washington to discover that fall had turned to winter in my absence. A new CGD Working Paper explains how the prospects of jurisdictional forest offsets have experienced a similar chill in California since first proposed in the late 2000s.
I’m clearly not much of a prognosticator. In highlighting, with skepticism, the World Bank’s new Global Infrastructure Facility as a major G-20 Brisbane outcome on infrastructure, I missed far more of the actual agenda than I should have.
Update November 17: As expected, the United States and Japan announced their pledges of $3 billion and $1.5 billion, respectively, to the Green Climate Fund at the G-20 summit in Australia. The United Kingdom is set to announce a £650 million ($1 billion pledge) in Berlin later this week and Canada said it will contribute, although it did not announce how much. Together with pledges from 11 other countries, total pledges amount to $7.5 billion, getting close to the $10 billion target for beginning operations of the Green Climate Fund. Pledges are also expected from Australia (despite the step-back from climate action by the new government), Italy, Norway, and Spain. The agreement reached by the Green Climate Fund board a few weeks ago, which approved a logical framework for REDD+, may spur Norway to pledge given it lays the groundwork for GCF support to forests.
The current rules for what counts as aid are a mess. Richard Manning, a former chair of the DAC (the OECD’s donor club), said last year that the system allows donors to “get away with murder” by counting loans as aid even if they are made on commercial terms. He has led a commendable campaign for reform.
The CGD Working Group report on Publishing Government Contracts lays out the case for routine publication of government contracts, suggests approaches to maximize the impact and effectiveness of that publication, and addresses some common concerns about collusion, privacy, and commercial and national security.
As we approach the G-20 Leaders Summit in Brisbane, it is worth giving credit to Australia for its robust presidency, and particularly the attention paid to the G-20’s development agenda. Sandwiched between the Russian and Turkish presidencies—countries considerably more controversial these days in the West—Australia faced the difficult task of generating sufficient goodwill among the membership within a year to make some progress on a sprawling work plan.
Last years’ G-20 and G-8 meetings produced important commitments to bolster tax systems and to fight corruption. The upcoming G-20 meeting in Brisbane will show just how serious member countries are about delivering on them.