Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

CGD in the News

December 31, 2007

Why a Market-Driven Vaccine Plan Faces Big Obstacles (Wall Street Journal)

The Wall Street Journal cites CGD Non-Resident Fellow Michael Kremer on Advanced Market Commitments for vaccines to developing countries.

From the article:

"At the heart of an advanced market commitment, says Michael Kremer, the Harvard economist who came up with the idea in the 1990s, is an effort to make markets work for the world's poor."

December 30, 2007

Should Celebrities Set The Global Agenda? (LA Times)

The Los Angeles Times quotes CGD on celebrities role in the global agenda.

From the article:

"Of course, some celebrities are more effective than others. In the 1990s, Princess Diana embraced a ban on the use of land mines. Her death became a rallying point that led to Britain's ratification of the 1997 Ottawa Convention to ban the devices. The Bono-championed Jubilee 2000 campaign to assist highly indebted poor countries resulted in 'the most successful industrial-country movement aimed at combating world poverty for many years, perhaps in all recorded history,' according to the Center for Global Development, an independent, nonprofit think tank. Bono and Bob Geldof also helped fuel the pledge at the 2005 Gleneagles G-8 summit to double aid to developing countries. "

December 19, 2007

State of Decay (Washington Times)

The Washington Times cites Sheila Herrling's blog on the HELP Commission.

From the article:

"As far as foreign aid is concerned -- a crucial component of 'soft power' -- the problem is, as correctly identified by the HELP commission, that billions of U.S. dollars have been spent on foreign assistance with very little or no change in poverty worldwide. The commission recognizes the good governance approach of the Millennium Challenge Account as the only one that holds the promise of sustainable progress, which is the good news. The bad news is that Congress has been busy cutting funding for the MCA. The Senate has proposed to come up with just half of the president's $3 billion request for the account. As it is, the MCA represents a mere 10 percent of the U.S. foreign aid budget.

As Sheila Herrington at the Center for Global Development noted in her blog, the HELP commissioners use the MCA as an example of good development assistance that meets their criteria for country-led development. The underlying problem, also identified by the HELP commissioners, may be that the timeline for the definition of success is too short -- reflecting impatience, which in the context of foreign policy has an awfully familiar ring to it."

December 18, 2007

The Schools the Taliban Won't Torch.... (Washington Monthly)

The Washington Monthly quotes CGD Vice President for Special Initiatives, Dennis de Tray, on local grants distributed to small villages in Afghanistan.

From the article:

"....Guggenheim designed a program that would distribute small grants to villages....Local leaders were charged with administering the projects and required to take bookkeeping classes and keep minutes at planning meetings. Billboards above project sites indicated how money had been spent, encouraging local oversight. 'The core elements were requiring that citizens participate and that there be high levels of transparency about how money was being transferred and used,' one of Guggenheim's former Bank colleagues, Dennis de Tray, now at the Center for Global Development in Washington, said. 'It had to be auditable.'

....Maybe the most surprising characteristic of NSP projects is security related. In a survey last year of school burnings by the Taliban, Human Rights Watch observed that schools built by the NSP have less chance of being destroyed by insurgents than schools built by other aid programs. The reason, as Dennis de Tray explains, relates to the matter of local ownership. 'If you're the Taliban, you feel some comfort in attacking things built by foreigners,' de Tray says. 'But you don't want to create animosity among citizens you're trying to recruit to your side.'"

December 15, 2007

Britain Overtakes U.S. as Top World Bank Donor (NYT)

The New York Times quotes CGD President Nancy Birdsall on the disparity between U.S. and European contributions to the World Bank.

From the article:

"Development experts said the loss of the top ranking was symbolically important, even if Britain has been closing in on the United States for years. More significantly, though, it shows that Europe has thrown its support behind the bank.

'The Europeans were looking for a sense of direction and some confidence in where the bank was going,' said Nancy Birdsall, president of the Center for Global Development, a policy organization in Washington. 'This shows there is a renewed confidence.'"

December 14, 2007

U.S. Role as Biggest World Bank Donor at Risk in Negotiations (Bloomberg)

Bloomberg quotes CGD Vice President for Special Initiatives Dennis de Tray on U.S. contributions to the World Bank.

From the article:

"'The fall in the dollar and the rise in sterling will make it even harder for the U.S. to keep its lead in international currency terms,' said Dennis de Tray, a former World Bank director and now vice-president of the Center for Global Development in Washington."

December 13, 2007

Media Report: "Another Inconvenient Truth: A Carbon-Intensive South Faces Environmental Disaster, No Matter What the North Does"

Media attention continues to surround CGD's climate change research especially in the UK and Canada. CGD's most recent working paper on climate change, "Another Inconvenient Truth: A Carbon-Intensive South Faces Environmental Disaster, No Matter What the North Does" by Senior Fellow David Wheeler, garners attentions from a number of news outlets.

The Canadian Press recently ran an article about CGD's new working paper, highlighting Dr. Wheeler's argument that rising carbon emissions from developing countries would threaten severe climate change within a single generation, even if the rich countries were to stop all of their greenhouse gas emissions tomorrow.

From the article:

"Even if the world's rich countries eliminated their carbon emissions now, developing nations would still threaten the world with severe climate change within a generation, says a new study from the Center for Global Development.

The research, based on newly available emissions data for 1850 to 2005, disputes the notion that poor countries can defer worrying about global warming while building up their economies, leaving the well-off that produce most of the carbon dioxide to solve the problem. "

Read Additional "Another Inconvenient Truth..." Media Mentions

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December 11, 2007

A Businesslike Approach to Charity (FT)

The Financial Times quotes CGD co-founder and board member Ed Scott and board member Adam Waldman in an article about how applying business principles to philanthropies.

From the article:

"Adam Waldman, founder and president of the Endeavor Group, a Washington-based philanthropic consultancy, says the hallmarks of the so-called new philanthropy are: an entrepreneurial, results-oriented framework; leverage; personal engagement; and impatience.

'New philanthropists may be mavericks in their business lives but rarely are solo in their philanthropic lives -- they have an intense desire to partner with each other,' he says. “New philanthropy is also marked by the principal’s personal engagement in the work. It isn't about hiring people and saying, ‘Let me know how it works out’, it is about getting on planes, going to meetings and reading documents. For many new philanthropists, this becomes their job."

One such donor, and a client of the Endeavor Group, is technology entrepreneur Ed Scott, a former senior US government official and co-founder of BEA Systems, the software company. His philanthropy is informed not by the private sector’s thirst for instant gratification but by the laser-like focus honed building a business.

'When I was in the business world I had tunnel vision,' he says. 'I only cared about the company being successful and nothing else. A nuclear weapon could have landed in Kansas City and I wouldn’t have noticed it. Once I left the business I had to re-educate myself about the state of the world. I became interested in debt as systemic issue and I began to read more about it.'

Over the course of many discussions, Mr Scott learnt that policymakers had nowhere to turn for reliable information and what was needed was a centre staffed by people who really knew what they were talking about.

In 2001, he co-founded the Center for Global Development, an independent, non-profit think-tank that works to reduce global poverty and inequality. He chairs its board. Mr Scott also helped found, with George Soros and Bill Gates, Debt Aids Trade Africa, and Friends of the Global Fight, which works to educate, engage, and mobilise Americans in the fight against Aids, tuberculosis and malaria. He is also an active board member in Malaria No More, which is co-chaired by Peter Chernin and Ray Chambers."

December 10, 2007

Overseas Donors Can't Get a Break (FT)

The Financial Times cites CGD on the effects of tax incentives on charitable giving.

From the article:

"Pressure is building up for change. With the growth in international migration, it is increasingly common for people to want to give money to a cause outside the country in which they are resident. Jim Myers of the European Association for Planned Giving, a cross-border network of charities, advisers and wealth managers, says: 'Charitable giving 20 years ago was very local or national. Now there is a lot more wealth and it is moving across borders. People are increasingly wanting to make gifts outside their own countries of residence.'

The problem does not stop international giving entirely. Tax incentives, broadly defined, increased charitable giving from the main industrialised countries by some $7.5bn in 2003, equivalent to 13 per cent of total net aid transfers, according to estimates published last year by the Center for Global Development, a think-tank."

December 8, 2007

Counties Try To Cut Greenhouse Gases (USA Today)

The USA Today cites CGD work on CO2 Emissions in an article about how counties can reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

From the article:

"Power plants and other industrial facilities in the U.S. released more than 2.7 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the air this year, according to estimates compiled by the Center for Global Development, a non-profit Washington think tank."