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.

 

The Humanitarian-Development Divide: Addressing the "New Normal" of Protracted Displacement

For refugees and internally displaced people, business-as-usual is no longer working. The “new normal” of displacement means that development and humanitarian actors urgently need to adapt their approach. That's the impetus for a new CGD study group, convened in collaboration with the International Rescue Committee and co-chaired by Cindy Huang and Nazanin Ash.

Emergency Aid is Broken: Expert Panel at CGD on How to Make Disasters Dull

Financing for humanitarian aid is broken. The costs of rapid- (like cyclones) and slow- (like drought) onset disasters are concentrated in poor, vulnerable countries, with a bill to donors of more than $19 billion last year. But far too often, we wait until crises develop before funding the response—what experts at CGD’s recent panel event (recording available at the link) described as a medieval approach of passing around begging bowls and relying on benefactorsThe delays make crises worse. And since money shows up, however imperfectly, when things go wrong, it undermines incentives to build resilience, relegating vulnerable people to depending on fickle goodwill.

Building on the Momentum: Focusing on Adolescent Girls through MCC Country Scorecards

In CGD’s last blog post on the new strategy, we commended the US government for leading the charge for adolescent girls—by issuing the first-ever country strategy specifically focused on the demographic. But how do we make sure that this articulated commitment continues to get translated into concrete action? What can MCC specifically contribute? One opportunity may lie in MCC’s country scorecards.

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.

Escaping the Scandal Cycle: Three Ways to Improve Funder Response

Health aid pays for life-saving medicines, products, and services in the poorest countries in the world. Funding for such uses needs to be smooth and uninterrupted. But when fraud is detected, funds are subject to sudden stops and starts—the result of a sequence of events set off by the scandal cycle in health aid. We examine this idea in a new CGD policy paper.

Using Aid for Cash Transfers: What Do 10,000 People in 28 Countries Think?

Cash transfers might be the next big thing in international development. Yet our analysis of new survey data suggests that public support for cash transfers is modest and fragile. Donors—who are poised to leverage a promising new way of delivering aid to do more good for less money—must continue to make the public case for cash transfers, and continue to present the remarkably strong evidence that they are not misspent.

Head and Heart: Are More Generous Donors Less Effective?

When it comes to development aid, you might think that there is a trade-off between head and heart: that more generous donors would be less serious about making sure that their aid is used properly. But in a new CGD working paper, we find that In general, more generous donors tend also to be the most effective. One possible explanation of this correlation is that much of what we consider to be effective aid involves donors putting the interests of the intended beneficiaries of aid ahead of the interests of the donor country.

Do Middle-Income Countries Get More Aid than Low-Income Countries?

In a recent TV documentary, Professor Hans Rosling suggested that middle-income countries (MICs) get three times as much aid per person in poverty as countries which are further back in their development. Is aid being spent disproportionately in MICs? As you would expect, countries are diverse, and so too is the amount of aid they each receive. We show that the apparent under-allocation of aid to low-income countries (LICs) calculated by ODI, which is cited by Rosling, depends heavily on the choice of averages.

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