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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.
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.
The agenda for the G-20 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting in Sydney this weekend focuses on two themes: promoting stronger economic growth and employment and making the global economy more resilient. The G-20 leaders have recognized that expanding and strengthening capital markets in developing countries is crucial to both these goals and member countries have identified this as a priority issue for their deliberations.
Lost in all of the noise of the post-Lehman crisis response was an important structural shift in the international development landscape: a much bigger footprint for the regional development banks relative to the World Bank.
Starting in 2009, the G20 pursued a number of measures to help developing countries weather the crisis, one of the most visible of which was an agreement to have the multilateral development banks (MDBs) lend aggressively into the crisis, paired with the commitment of new capital from the institutions’ shareholders in subsequent years.