Ideas to Action:

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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.


One Year into the SDGs, Six Ideas To Leverage The Private Sector

“Private sector” appears 18 times in the outcome document from last year’s UN financing for development conference in Addis Ababa—exactly the same number of times as “international cooperation.” As we approach the first anniversary of the world signing up to the SDGs, where are the ideas that bring private sector ingenuity and capital to delivering them? In the coming weeks, we’re going to tell you about six.

Dude, Where’s My Cat Bond?

 “Cat” bonds are effectively a cheaper source of large-scale insurance coverage against clearly measured risks like earthquakes, storms, or even disease outbreaks. Generally, though, coverage hasn’t trickled down to the poorer and most at-risk countries—precisely those which are most vulnerable when aid fails to arrive or arrives piecemeal. Scaling up this market for lower-income countries would provide better shielding against many risks that undermine development overseas.

Addis: A Good First Step, but a Terrible Last Word, for 2015

The Financing for Development Conference, which drew to a close yesterday in Addis Ababa, was never going to solve all the world’s development problems.  What it could do was establish a shared policy framework within which decisions for the rest of 2015 can be taken. The outcome document, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, actually does that pretty well.  But the real test is still to come: what specifically will countries commit to which will make these ideas real?

The Rainmakers in Addis

The rainy season, known as kiremt, began in earnest today in Addis Ababa, host city for a huge UN conference on Financing for Development. The arrival of kiremt is good news for the farmers in Ethiopia’s highlands, but bad news for the thousands of delegates from government, business, and civil society sploshing in their Birkenstocks through the puddles between the hotels and the UN conference centre.

How Can We Make Illicit Finance Less Illicit?

The truth is: we don’t know much about illicit finance. We don’t have exact figures on the volume of transactions which could fall within this category, and we also don’t know whether these transactions have any significant impact in developing countries and elsewhere. Adding up estimates of different types of illicit flows provides lurid headline figures (one trillion dollars a year) but more specific analysis is needed to determine whether, and how much, better policies might improve development.

The Can and Can’t of Cat Bonds

The emerging consensus is that the response to Ebola is a test that most rich countries failed. Given that the next public health challenge is a ‘when’, not an ‘if’, what can we do to be more prepared for the next emergency?