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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.

 

Can Payment for Results Repair Political Accountability Relations?

When people hear that a foreign aid program is paying for results, they can think about it in two very different ways. Some people think that paying for results is a way to control recipients, making them more strictly accountable to the people or organizations that are paying them. Others think that paying for results is a way to give recipients more autonomy and encourage them to be accountable to their beneficiaries (in the case of service providers) or their constituents (in the case of governments). It turns out that both perspectives are right—depending on just how the program that pays for results is designed.

For a Clean Energy Breakthrough to Save the Planet, It Cannot Forget the Developing World

Most people accept that we will only achieve sustainable energy patterns with a substantial investment in research and development, but where the research will take place and where energy will be consumed doesn’t necessarily match up. Within 25 years, non-OECD countries will account for two-thirds of global energy consumption. To that end, the climate and energy challenge is primarily about finding ways to bring clean energy to Rio and Lagos, not to San Francisco or Berlin. 

Postcard from Haiti: Life after the 2010 Quake

This is a joint post with Julie Walz.

On January 12, 2010, at 16:53 hours, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck the city of Port-au-Prince, killing over 200,000 people and leaving several million homeless. Foreign aid poured into Haiti, at the rate of almost a thousand dollars per Haitian. For the past two years, we have been putting together the various pieces of data we could find on aid flows and foreign involvement after the quake. We found that the big international NGOs and private contractors have been the primary recipients of billions of dollars in U.S. assistance have been not been required to report systematically on how they use the funds. There has been a lack of accountability to both the funders and recipients. Our preliminary impressions based on our visit to Haiti are that this lack of accountability is if anything worse on the ground: the NGOs are frequently not accountable to the Haitian government or to the people they aim to serve. We even learned something about earthquakes--for example, did you know that Haiti’s two major faults (the northern Sententrional fault and the southern Enriquillo-Plantain Garden fault) are called slip-strike faults, and are similar to the San Andreas Fault in California? It was the southern fault that triggered the quake two and a half years ago.

Thunderstorm over Port-au-Prince

Credit: Vijaya Ramachandran

Win for Ag in Los Cabos: Introducing the AgResults Development Initiative

The G20 leaders at the summit in Los Cabos, Mexico are no doubt focused on the global economic slowdown and ongoing Eurozone crisis, but an ad hoc group of donors took time on Monday to announce the launch of a concrete development deliverable.  The governments of Australia, Canada, Italy, the United Kingdom, and United States, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will provide up to $100 million in results-based financing, using pull mechanism

Guest Post: Five Reasons I Am a Fan of Cash on Delivery, and Five Ways to Make It Sharper

Rakesh Rajani, is founder and head of Twaweza, an initiative that promotes transparency and accountability in Tanzania and other countries in East Africa. This post is based upon comments he made in response to Nancy Birdsall's presentation (see blog post and slides) at the UK Department for International Development on March 9, 2011.

Here are five reasons why I am a fan of Cash on Delivery (COD) Aid:

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