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.

 

Two Smart Ideas to Achieve a ‘Learning Generation’

Is big money really necessary, or even sufficient, to improving learning outcomes for children in the developing world? CGD’s background research submitted to the Commission has convinced us that the key to faster progress is not incremental money; it is focused action in two critical areas. The first necessary, unavoidable step is for political leaders, education officials, and parents in low-income countries to recognize the depth of the problem (children’s lives and public money wasted) in their country, and have the information to design and implement local solutions. The second is to shift education funding to paying for results, rather than inputs and plans.

What Can International Development Learn from Britain’s Olympic Team?

There is a lot of chatter about the reasons for Britain’s relative success in the Olympic games. This transformation in Britain’s sporting performance has generated a raft of tortured analogies with various non-sporting challenges, such as industrial and education policies (on which Britain’s performance is rather less stellar). So I’m leaping on the bandwagon with two lessons for international development.

First (Out)come, First Served? “Dispensers for Safe Water” Tests a COD Hypothesis

I’ve been working on the idea of Cash on Delivery (COD) for some years under the hypothesis that if we could define good outcome indicators, someone would step forward to buy them. So what would happen if an organization came forward with a plan to supply a verified outcome in return for a set unit payment after delivery? In a sense, this is what Dispensers for Safe Water, an Evidence Action program, is currently doing.

Sometimes the Spotlight is Enough

On June 15 in Oslo, US Secretary of State John Kerry signed a Joint Statement on Deeper Collaboration on Forests and Climate Change with Norway. While we might wish that bolder action from the US government were possible sooner, this moment in the spotlight to move forests higher up on the US government’s agenda is a good first step.

Snakes or Ladders at the Carbon Fund?

After meeting in Paris, the Carbon Fund has provisionally approved the first two REDD+ programs in DRC and Costa Rica. After eight years writing a charter, negotiating a rulebook, and vetting proposals, it was long overdue. Learn about the Carbon Fund approval process in this post.

A New Anti-Corruption Strategy: Control Less, Verify Results More

I’ve been reading news of corruption scandals in Brazil with a great deal of sadness. I lived in Brazil during its return to democracy and experienced first-hand the hope and optimism that came with that transition. In a recent policy paper, I argue that decisions about funding projects in other countries should depend more on the results achieved by those countries than by formal actions meant to control corruption.