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.

 

A hedgehog (sans fox) on a white background. Photo via Adobe Stock

Expanding the Menagerie: Why the FCDO Needs To Be Both Hedgehog and Fox To Reach Its Potential

In Isaiah Berlin’s famous essay, he divided the world into hedgehogs, who have a singular vision uniting all action, and foxes, characterized by the breadth of their intellectual curiosity and locus of attention. The UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office needs to be both hedgehog and fox to fulfill its promise, being able to relate all of its work to its central vision of being a force for good in the world, while retaining the fox’s ability to work on multiple problems in multiple ways.

Image of Whitehall

Joint Ministers the Latest Step in Johnson’s Global Britain

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s recent reshuffle saw substantial changes to the Department for International Development’s (DFID) and Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s (FCO) ministerial teams, the most striking of which was that the two departments will share all of their junior ministers while each retaining cabinet-level secretaries of state.

Flowchart showing an overview of the policy cycle, and where ICAI fits in and can influence decisions.

Results vs. Claims: Strengthening the UK’s Aid Watchdog

ICAI has just entered its third four-year phase. ICAI is a major asset in ensuring aid is well-spent. Having reviewed ICAI’s prior work, we think ICAI could should focus more on “results claims”—that is, whether the estimates of expected benefits that underpin decision-making by Ministers are well-evidenced.

Africa CEO Forum

UK Aid Watchdog to CDC: Time to be More Accountable, More Transparent on Development Finance

The Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) issued a report this week on the performance of CDC–the UK’s development finance institution–in low-income and fragile states. ICAI gives CDC an Amber/Red rating on its performance, which means “unsatisfactory achievement in most areas, with some positive elements.” In particular, the commission says that CDC has not done enough to monitor its performance. 

R&D ODA by UK, compared to other DAC donors ($ millions)

ODA for Research & Development: Too Much of a Good Thing?

If you line up all countries ranked by their ODA spending on research and development (R&D) in 2017, the UK has spent more than the next 15 combined. This has the potential to generate new technology and ideas that accelerate the increase in living standards we are witnessing across the globe. But for it to fulfil this potential, there are a series of questions that should be considered concerning its allocation.

timeline of UK departments for development

Should the UK’s Development Department be Merged with Foreign Affairs and Trade?

Rumours have re-surfaced—perhaps as a result of Treasury kite-flying—that  the Government is considering merging its international-facing Departments as part of the coming spending review. We’ve argued in the past that the best approach to development policy is through an integrated approach to aid, trade and foreign policy. But merging DFID into the FCO at this time would be likely to diminish the UK’s global influence, damage its development effectiveness, and work against the idea of Global Britain.

MAC report

Why Is Development Missing from the Migration Advisory Committee Report?

Last week’s report from the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC)—an independent body commissioned by the Home Office—included some good suggestions for the UK government, such as removing the cap on high-skilled immigration. However, the committee also made the rather extreme, and we think ill-advised, recommendation that there should be no legal work-based route for so called “low-skilled” immigration, which would shut the door on people without a job offer worth £30,000. 

Pages