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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.

 

Pakistan’s Elections: A Victory for Development? (And What the US Should Do Next)

This is a joint post with Alexis Sowa.

Last weekend marked the first time in Pakistan's 60-plus year history that a democratically elected government completed its term. This is a major achievement for Pakistan. It also raises the possibility of a new chapter in US-Pakistan relations because a new civilian government led by the PML-N (Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz, the winning party) might prove to be surprisingly open to US help in addressing Pakistan's huge development challenges.

A Missed Opportunity for Sensible US Action on IMF—And Why It Matters

This week Senate appropriators failed to include an OK for an International Monetary Fund quota increase in the Senate version of the continuing resolution—the spending bill to keep open the US government for the remaining six months of the fiscal year 2013. The administration had requested Senate appropriators approve a transfer of previous US commitments from one IMF account to another -- a transfer involving virtually no cost for US taxpayers.

World Bank Study Explores Options on Global Public Goods

Many obstacles to development transcend national borders and therefore cannot be adequately addressed within a single country. These include issues such as drug resistance and other cross-border health risks, financial crises contagion, money laundering, water scarcity, fisheries collapse and, of course, climate change. Economists call efforts to address these problems Global Public Goods (GPGs). Like other public goods, funding for GPGs is chronically in short supply: of $125 billion in annual official development assistance (ODA ) only about $3 billion goes to GPGs.

A Critical Moment for COD Aid or “The Trouble with Targets”

As mentioned in our last post, aid agencies are experimenting with programs that incorporate the main features of COD Aid: paying for outputs and outcomes, giving the recipient greater discretion to spend as they see fit, independent verification, and transparency. Once these results-based programs are up and running, they face a critical test when the first results are reported. In particular, most programs create expectations by setting annual targets and are then judged relative to those targets rather than to their baseline. And this means that even successful programs will be viewed as failures (a point also made in an earlier blog). By refusing to set targets, a results-based program can avoid this pitfall. How is it that targets can create such a problem?

A Critical Moment for COD Aid or “How to Be Patient When It Matters”

An increasing number of aid agencies are experimenting with programs that incorporate the main features of COD Aid: paying for outputs, giving the recipient greater discretion to spend as they see fit, independent verification, and transparency. (See our brief and book for more details). We’ve argued that the design of COD Aid programs can be rather easy, though the quality of the indicators chosen and the verification process are certainly critical to success. We have spent less time talking about what happens once the program is up and running. In particular, what happens when you find out how much progress actually occurred?

“The United States Must Be a Leader in Development” -- Senator Richard Lugar

“No superpower that claims to possess the moral high ground can afford to relinquish its leadership in addressing global disease, hunger, and ignorance,” said former US senator Richard Lugar. “Our moral identity is an essential source of national power… We diminish ourselves and our national reputation if we turn our backs on the obvious plight of hundreds of millions of people who are living on less than a dollar a day and facing severe risk from hunger and disease.”

Could China and Its Fellow BRICS Nations Lead the Way on Climate Change?

The stalemate in the latest round of climate negotiations, held in Doha, Qatar, last month, makes it clear that a fresh approach is needed if the world is to avert climate catastrophe. One part of the solution should be a new global climate agency, founded, financed and led by a coalition of the big emerging market countries.

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