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.

 

Why the Next U.S. President Should Create a Cabinet-Level Department of Global Development

*This is a joint post with Steve Radelet
The extraordinary challenges and opportunities of today require a new vision of American global leadership based on the strength of our core values, ideas and ingenuity. They call for an integrated foreign policy that promotes our values, enhances our security, helps create economic and political opportunities for people around the world, and restores America's faltering image abroad. We cannot rely exclusively or even primarily on military might to meet these goals. Instead, we must make greater use of all the tools of statecraft through "smart power," including diplomacy, trade, investment, intelligence, and a strong and effective foreign assistance strategy.

Pentagon Chief Robert Gates Calls for More Resources, New Approach to Development

*This is a joint post with Steve Radelet
Yesterday in an interview with NPR, Defense Secretary Robert Gates made a strong and smart argument for supporting American troops. No surprises there, right? Except for the fact that he is defending the build-up of civilian troops -- our diplomatic and development corps -- to be America's front line of defense in fighting global poverty and insecurity. Much as he did in his brilliant speech at Kansas State University in November, Gates encourages the United States to devote more resources and create new institutions for nonmilitary means of influence abroad: diplomacy, strategic communications, foreign assistance, civic action, and economic reconstruction and development. His message:

If we are to meet the myriad challenges around the world in the coming decades, this country must strengthen other important elements of national power both institutionally and financially, and create the capability to integrate and apply all of the elements of national power to problems and challenges abroad.
And, how specifically do we elevate global development policy in the national interest? Says Gates:

What is clear to me is that there is a need for a dramatic increase in spending on the civilian instruments of national security -- diplomacy, strategic communications, foreign assistance, civic action, and economic reconstruction and development....The way to institutionalize these capabilities is probably not to recreate or repopulate institutions of the past such as AID or USIA. On the other hand, just adding more people to existing government departments such as Agriculture, Treasury, Commerce, Justice and so on is not a sufficient answer either -- even if they were to be more deployable overseas. New institutions are needed for the 21st century, new organizations with a 21st century mind-set.

The World Bank and the Triennial Tin Cup: The Donors Will Give, But What Will They Ask?

The FT notes that talks have begun for the IDA-15 replenishment round. This is the latest set of negotiations that take place every three years where the World Bank asks its shareholders for cash to provide grants or to buy down the interest rates for its lending to poor countries--and when the donors typically load up the Bank with new conditions. Although these talks are often tough, the donors almost always increase their contributions.

Stand Up & Vote (RED): Translating Conscious Consumerism and Advocacy into the U.S. Elections

In the days preceding the October 17th United Nations International Day for the Eradication of Poverty we have seen the launch of PRODUCT (RED) in America, led by Bono and Bobby Shriver to engage American corporations and consumers in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and “Stand Up Against Poverty,”a worldwide effort to set a Guinness World Record for the most people literally “standing up” against poverty.

Stand Up & Vote (RED): Translating Conscious Consumerism and Advocacy into the U.S. Elections

In the days preceding the October 17th United Nations International Day for the Eradication of Poverty we have seen the launch of PRODUCT (RED) in America, led by Bono and Bobby Shriver to engage American corporations and consumers in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and “Stand Up Against Poverty,”a worldwide effort to set a Guinness World Record for the most people literally “standing up” against poverty.

The World Bank Report on Fragile States: 5 Takeaways

*This post is co-authored by Kaysie Brown
The World Bank's Operations Evaluation Division has just released a lengthy report documenting a rise in the world's "fragile states" and drawing a direct connection between state weakness and transnational threats. As Karen DeYoung reports in today's Washington Post,
“Fragile" countries, whose deepening poverty puts them at risk from terrorism, armed conflict and epidemic disease, have jumped to 26 from 17 since the report was last issued in 2000.
Increased attention to development and stability in fragile states by both the World Bank and the U.S. Government signals the importance of and challenges associated with providing assistance in these critical yet vulnerable states. CGD recently launched the Engaging Fragile States initiative to focus on key unanswered questions for the development community working in these tough environments. A quick read of the Bank report raises a number of issues that our work is focusing on:

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