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Views from the Center

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Time to Take Nyet for an Answer—and Move On

For the third time in recent months, Russia, supported by China, blocked United Nations action to put additional pressure on Bashir Assad and help end the violence in Syria. A UN Security Council resolution is the preferred way to go. But if that is not possible, preemptive contract sanctions can tighten the squeeze on Assad without the cooperation of Russia and China.

It’s (Still) Time to Try Something New to Pressure Assad in Syria

This is a joint post with Kimberly Elliott

The April 12 deadline for a complete ceasefire in Syria seems to have slightly damped the violence in Syria for now, but alone it will do nothing to ensure a peaceful transition to a democratic government. President Bashar Assad’s government is still not complying with other parts of the UN brokered peace plan aimed at ending more than a year of deadly violence, and world leaders are insisting that a credible political transition must take place quickly for this fragile progress to hold any weight.

UNESCO's Board Must Vote ‘No’ to Obiang Prize at Tuesday’s Board Meeting

This is a joint post with Julia Barmeier.

Tuesday, June 15 marks the last day that the board of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) can object to the UNESCO-Obiang International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences, which is made possible by a $3 million grant given to UNESCO by Equatorial Guinea’s dictator of 31 years—Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. As we blogged earlier, UNESCO gets to keep half of the money as a finder’s fee for identifying the winner. If the award ceremony does go forward, Obiang plans to attend, along with UNESCO's director-general, Irina Bokova.

2006 Commitment to Development Index Launches

I am pleased to announce the release of the 2006 edition of the Commitment to Development Index. Each year the CDI rates and ranks 21 rich countries on how much their policies help or hurt poorer nations. The CDI assigns scores in seven policy areas (foreign aid, trade, investment, migration, environment, security, and technology), with the average being the overall score.