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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.

 

WTO Members Avoid Failure in Nairobi, But Future Still Uncertain

Trade ministers, while attending the World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting in Nairobi, again managed to pull a rabbit out of the hat. Faced with the prospect of complete failure, ministers worked overtime to cobble together a package of mostly small, symbolic agreements at the WTO’s Tenth Ministerial Conference. While the outcome is not being greeted with the same dismay, Nairobi looks more like the Copenhagen summit on climate change than the recent session in Paris, which managed to bridge North-South differences.

My Top Three Videos about Energy and Development: Rosling, Gates, and Pritzker

Energy is a colossal development issue, touching on virtually every aspect of human progress from health and education to job and wealth creation. Modern energy access got its own Sustainable Development Goal (#7). Here are my three all-time favorite videos about the power unleashed by delivering energy to people—and what we can do about it.

Saving Forests in Paris: Breakthrough for REDD+?

The historic UN “Paris Agreement” achieved by climate change negotiators highlighted the importance of conserving forests and laid the groundwork for future global carbon markets to finance emissions reductions from tropical forest countries.  But a full-fledged carbon market-based mechanism to protect forests and reduce rampant deforestation is still years down the road.  In the meantime, reducing emissions from deforestation will continue to depend on a medley of public and private financing appr

The Paris Climate Agreement Feels Historic, but the Sustainable Development Goals Don’t. Why?

There were two major gatherings of global leaders this year – in New York for the UN General Assembly and in Paris for the climate talks.  In some ways, the agreements that came out of both meetings look similar.  The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a bunch of aspirational targets for national and global progress without any legal authority, some of which look simply implausible without truly revolutionary global policy change of which there is little sign to dat

US Holiday Lights Use More Electricity Than El Salvador Does In a Year

At this time of the year, sparkling trees and decorated lawns have taken over. A 2008 study from the US Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) found that decorative seasonal lights accounted for 6.6 billion kilowatt hours of electricity consumption every year in the United States. That’s just 0.2% of the country’s total electricity usage, but it could run 14 million refrigerators. It’s also more than the national electricity consumption of many developing countries, such as El Salvador, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Nepal, or Cambodia.

For the IMF Package in the Omnibus Budget, a Sigh of Relief — and a Warning for the Future

Congress finally gave the administration what it has been asking for on IMF quota reform, and then some. At the same time, Congress didn’t just give the administration the ability to go forward on governance reform that gives more voting power to rising developing countries.  It also included some potentially consequential conditions on its approval. Here we see risks going forward that are manageable but will require some skillful navigation by the next administration.  

What the Fed Rate Increase Means for Emerging Economies

The first thing we should be asking is why now in particular, since conditions have not really changed much in the past few months. For example, back in September, there were large uncertainties in the global economy. China’s economic slowdown was causing alarm. Volatility in international capital markets was high. The appreciation of the US dollar was hurting US exports, which could (yet) mean slower US economic growth. That was not the time for the US Federal Reserve to up interest rates. But now it is – and here’s why.

Ranking Aid Donors, Revisited: Perhaps Big, Old Donors Are Better Than We Thought

The research organization Aid Data has been getting a lot of attention in the aid world of late with its survey of recipient country policymakers and practitioners and their views of the utility, influence and helpfulness during reform of various aid agencies. Suggests the press release: “According to nearly 6,750 policymakers and practitioners, the development partners that have the most influence on policy priorities in their low-income and middle-income countries are not large Western donors like the United States or UK. Instead it is large multilateral institutions like the World Bank, the GAVI Alliance, and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria." That conclusion is based on average worldwide agency scores from the survey.

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