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.

 

David Wheeler's Paper on Country Stakes in Climate Change Wins a Prize

Our motto at CGD is “Independent research & practical ideas for global prosperity.” Translating ideas to action requires world-class policy research, effective outreach, and teamwork with colleagues in many global institutions, When everything goes right, my colleagues at CGD produce some real gems that command global recognition.

This just happened to CGD senior fellow David Wheeler, whose work with colleagues at the World Bank and United Nations Development Program has received the first annual prize for excellence awarded by the journal Climate Policy.

Still Time to Prevent Another Food Price Crisis—and the One after That?

This is a joint post with Vijaya Ramachandran.

The UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) recently reported that the December 2010 Food Price Index surpassed the peak reached in June 2008. A closer examination of the data, however, provides some modest hope that the worst effects of the 2007-08 price spikes can be avoided, with luck and better policies.

First, it is important to note that only two of the five components of the Food Price Index were above 2008 levels—meat (slightly above) and sugar (more than twice as high). Second, as shown in the chart below, staple grain prices, which are key to preventing hunger among the poor, are increasing sharply, while rice and, to a lesser degree, wheat remain well below their 2008 peaks. Maize is the exception, thanks in part to U.S. policies supporting corn-based ethanol that bring to mind the zombies populating popular culture—they just won’t die!

Climate: Is a Big Technology Push Really Enough?

I’ve been mulling over this problem ever since I finished this paper with Arvind Subramanian. We conclude that to deal with the climate change threat to human well-being and livelhoods as we know them today requires an extraordinary technological revolution – not just reducing carbon content but completely eliminating it, i.e. completely severing the link between burning fossil fuel and generating energy.

Can New Leader Get Respect for UN Population Agency?

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon last week named Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin of Nigeria to be the next executive director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), replacing Dr. Thoraya Obaid who held the position for 10 years. Dr. Osotimehin is a professor of medicine at Ibadan University. He served a brief time as Minister of Health in Nigeria and supported several controversial global health efforts, including polio elimination and increasing access to treatment for HIV/AIDS.

President Bush’s Enduring Legacy

Bipartisanship made a reappearance in a most unlikely place last Wednesday – at the podium of the United Nations.  In his address to the United National Millennium Development Goals Summit, President Obama unveiled his “new” approach to development, emphasizing a focus on results, investing in countries committed to their own development through sound governance and democracy, tapping the forces of the economic growth through entrepreneurship and trade, and the need for mutual accountability between developed and developing countries.  In doing so, he followed precisely in the footsteps of

Can the UN Development Summit Handle Success?

Plenty in the blogosphere today (here and here) about the opening of the UN summit on the Millennium Development Goals. With just five years to go, there is a lot of worrying about which countries can make it. Of course it’s probably too late to do much at this stage, no matter how much new money is spent.

At the United Nations MDG Summit: Don't Forget MDG 8 and Trade!

This is a joint post with Kaci Farrell.

Later this month, world leaders will meet at the UN in New York City to discuss accomplishments and challenges to meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the 2015 target. While their discussions will cover a range of topics and strategies, summit participants should remember the importance of trade as a development tool.

Trade preference programs can encourage investment, promote prosperity and ultimately reduce poverty in the world’s least developed countries.

Are the MDGs Useful for Africa?

Good question as the world prepares for the September summit to assess progress. But this is a slightly odd debate here at The Africa Report. The UN Millennium Promise’s Charles Abugre Akelyira seems to think the MDGs are a rejection of economic policy reform:

UNESCO’s Dictator Prize Put on Hold

This is a joint posting with Julia Barmeier.

Today, UNESCO’s director-general, Irina Bokova, announced that the UNESCO-Obiang Prize would be suspended so that UNESCO’s executive board can study the situation. The Board will take up the issue again in October. Ms. Bokova released a statement saying:

“I have heard the voices of the many intellectuals, scientists, journalists and of course governments and parliamentarians who have appealed to me to protect and preserve the prestige of the organization. I have come to you with a strong message of alarm and anxiety. I am fully aware that the Executive Board made a decision two years ago (to establish the prize), but I believe that given the changing circumstances and the unprecedented developments of the past months, we must be courageous and recognize our responsibilities for it is our organization that is at stake. Therefore I will not set a date for awarding the UNESCO-Obiang Prize for the Life Sciences.”

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