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CGD in the News

March 15, 2019

David Malpass unchallenged to be next World Bank president (Devex)

From the article:

LONDON — The legitimacy of the World Bank’s presidential appointment process is under renewed scrutiny after U.S. President Donald Trump’s pick, David Malpass, emerged as the only candidate to succeed Jim Kim.

Nominations for the position closed on Thursday, and the World Bank confirmed in a press release that Malpass, currently a U.S. Department of Treasury official and a former investment banker, was the only candidate nominated for the job.

Civil society groups and development experts reacted with dismay. Many had hoped the historic “gentleman’s agreement,” which sees the United States appoint the World Bank chief and Europe nominate the head of the International Monetary Fund, would face a genuine challenge this time around. With only one candidate, it is hard for the bank’s directors to argue credibly that the process was merit-based and transparent, they say.

“It is very depressing that the World Bank board has failed to live up to the repeated commitments of its members to an open, merit-based process for key international appointments,” said Owen Barder, vice president at the Center for Global Development.

“Going back to choosing the World Bank president by coronation rather than a fair contest is a setback for an effective, rules-based multilateral system. This is another nail in the coffin for the World Bank,” he said.

As Malpass made his rounds to meet with World Bank shareholders, he secured commitments of support from countries including Australia and South Korea before the nomination deadline closed, begging questions about whether they were ever open to challenging the Trump administration’s pick by considering alternative candidates.

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February 14, 2019

Letters to the editor (The Economist)

From the article:

We want a proper contest

You are right that Donald Trump could have picked a less-qualified American than David Malpass to lead the World Bank, but you are wrong in thinking that the rest of the world should sigh with relief, hold its nose and accept him (“A qualified pass”, February 9th). Nominations for the job are open for another month. Until then, the shareholders, and The Economist, should keep an open mind. When all the candidates are known, the bank’s board can assess them against the qualifications it has agreed on, which does not include being the candidate nominated by America.

In the 21st century the World Bank will have a useful future only if it can evolve into a club of countries with the resources and legitimacy to tackle a growing list of shared challenges such as climate change, financial instability, the refugee crisis, pandemics and boosting investment to build prosperity. The informal bargain that lets America decide who should lead the bank was an anachronism even when it was struck more than 70 years ago. It should now be consigned to history, especially as the bank no longer depends on American financing. The Europeans may worry that they will therefore lose the right to nominate the head of the imf: good. Both institutions deserve better.

Owen Barder Centre for Global Development London

November 15, 2018

Europe's migration lessons for Japan (European Council on Foreign Relations)

By Irina Angelescu

From the article:

Japan is in the process of changing its famously restrictive immigration laws. During the last few weeks, Japanese lawmakers have held an extraordinary session of the Diet to discuss the topic. They aim to bring in foreign workers to address the most severe national labour shortage in four decades while causing minimal disruption to society. This may prove difficult: in 2017, legal foreign residents comprised only 1.95 percent of the country’s population.

What lessons can Europe – a continent with a long history of immigration – teach Japan? In light of the much-publicised migration crisis in Europe, many Japanese see the European experience as a cautionary tale rather than a model to emulate. Indeed, for those who oppose immigration, the rise in social unrest and populism in Europe that followed the migration crisis vindicates their stance. However, they have adopted a reductive view of a complex phenomenon. If Japan genuinely wants to address its migration challenges, as well as the challenges of a shrinking population, it needs to look beyond the migration crisis.

A third lesson is that the gains discussed above will only be sustainable if the government implements effective integration policies in collaboration with civil society. Here, countries in Western Europe are by no means perfect but, in the Center for Global Development’s 2016 ranking of states’ immigration policies, they performed better than Japan. Integration is a multifaceted process that requires effort from both sides: immigrants working to integrate into the host society, and that society reaching out to accept them. According to Harvard University’s recent study of perceptions of immigration in Western Europe and the United States, most people exaggerate the size and impact of the immigrant population in their country. Those who know immigrants are a notable exception.

Read the full article here

 

September 12, 2018

Fresh start for Oxfam as new CEO announced (Devex)

By Jessica Abrahams, Sophie Edwards 

From the article: 

LONDON — Aid insiders said it was the start of a fresh chapter for Oxfam GB as it announced its new chief executive on Tuesday, following a tumultuous six months.

The embattled charity named Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah, currently chief executive officer of CIVICUS, a Johannesburg-based global alliance of civil society organizations, as its new head. Described by insiders as a strong advocate of the “global south” and a progressive thinker on development, he is due to take up the role at the end of the year. 

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LONDON — Aid insiders said it was the start of a fresh chapter for Oxfam GB as it announced its new chief executive on Tuesday, following a tumultuous six months.

The embattled charity named Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah, currently chief executive officer of CIVICUS, a Johannesburg-based global alliance of civil society organizations, as its new head. Described by insiders as a strong advocate of the “global south” and a progressive thinker on development, he is due to take up the role at the end of the year. 

Read the full article here

 

August 28, 2018

Owen Barder: We need an alternative to refugee camps (Displaced/Vox Media)

Show Description:

"When people look back on our time they will wonder why we tolerated refugee camps for so long.” Owen Barder, Vice President at the Center for Global Development, talks in this episode about why we should abolish refugee camps, and what’s wrong with the humanitarian aid system more broadly. Barder talks about the alternatives to keeping displaced people in camps, and how to make the humanitarian system more simple, more focused, and serve the interests of displaced people receiving aid, rather than those providing it.

Displaced is produced by the Vox Media Podcast Network in partnership with the International Rescue Committee. 

Listen to the podcast here.

August 28, 2018

Owen Barder: we need an alternative to refugee camps (Displaced Podcast/Vox Media)

"When people look back on our time they will wonder why we tolerated refugee camps for so long.” Owen Barder, Vice President at the Center for Global Development, talks in this episode [Displaced podcast] about why we should abolish refugee camps, and what’s wrong with the humanitarian aid system more broadly. Barder talks about the alternatives to keeping displaced people in camps, and how to make the humanitarian system more simple, more focused, and serve the interests of displaced people receiving aid, rather than those providing it.

Listen here.

Displaced is produced by the Vox Media Podcast Network in partnership with the International Rescue Committee.

 

August 23, 2018

Is the global education sector heading toward fragmentation? (Devex)

By Sophie Edwards 

LONDON — The global education sector, long neglected according to some experts, could be set for transformation with the emergence of a string of new funds and financing instruments launching this year. But while the funds have the potential to channel much-needed money into learning, some development experts are asking whether their sudden proliferation risks fragmenting the sector, or duplicating efforts. 

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Yasmine Sherif, executive director of ECW, agreed: “We don’t look at fragmentation, we look at comparative advantage … [Each organization] needs to focus on what it’s good [at] and work together.”

She also pointed out that the yawning funding gap for education makes it unlikely that proliferation or duplication is the problem.

“I can say with absolute conviction the challenge is not that we’re duplicating each other, the challenge is we’re not doing enough,” she said, adding that the global education sector should learn from other sectors, including global health and climate change, which have multiple players and funds.

But others aren’t so sure. Owen Barder, vice president at the Center for Global Development, said that in general there is “excessive proliferation … and insufficient consolidation” in the development space, particularly when it comes to health and education. 

Read the full article here.

 

August 1, 2018

Could we deliver aid before a disaster strikes? (Devex)

By Burton Bollag 

WASHINGTON — As a young expert in disaster risk reduction with the German Red CrossThorsten Klose-Zuber visited Bangladesh in 2010, where he witnessed the devastating floods that can occur when monsoons and tropical storms hit this overcrowded, low-lying country.

When floods inundate grazing land, smallholder farmers are often unable to feed their cows and have to sell them at cut-rate prices before fleeing with their families to higher ground. In some cases, they take out high-interest loans to transport their animals with them, and can end up indebted for years. International aid often follows, providing emergency food, shelter, and supplies to help people start rebuilding their lives after the waters recede. 

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A further issue is that relief organizations often have no budget category for predisaster spending.

“They are not mandated to use the money for something that is not disaster relief,” said van Aalst. As the idea takes off, more formal spending categories could be created, driven by both operational groups and donors. 

Finally, “while forecast-based financing is perfectly sensible,” Owen Barder, a vice president of the Center for Global Development, told Devex, there are strong political disincentives against it. “Politicians get less political benefit from averting disasters than they get from rescuing people after a disaster has happened,” he said. 

Read the full article here.

June 11, 2018

SDG Knowledge Weekly: Finance, Development Cooperation, Data and Innovative Technology (SDG Knowledge Hub)

As a high-level meeting of the UN General Assembly on breaking the bottlenecks to SDG investment convenes in New York, this brief explores a wide range of sources for SDG financing, as well as some challenges associated with their advancement. Data and technology continue to feature strongly in such conversations, and are also highlighted in the items below.

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On public finance, the Center for Global Development’s Owen Barder examines the idea of development cooperation as a win-win for donors and recipients, in a blog posted to the organization’s website. He describes two camps of thinking: some believe that “aid should never be spent in the national interest” whereas others are of the mind that “all development cooperation should be directly win-win.” Barder argues for a middle ground. Graphing the relationship between the level of altruism in development cooperation and the extent to which a policy tackles the causes, rather than the symptoms, of poverty, he explains that it may be difficult to make highly altruistic forms of development cooperation serve national interests without decreasing their impact on the ground. However, the resulting increases in stability or prosperity in the recipient country is still good for the donor country, he notes.

Read the full article here.

February 15, 2018

The Saints And Sinners Of Oxfam (Economist)

From the article: 

...Oxfam’s deputy chief executive, Penny Lawrence, who was in charge of the charity’s international programme when the Haiti behaviour was reported, resigned on February 12th. On the same day Mark Goldring, the charity’s boss, was hauled into the Department for International Development (DFID) to be told that Oxfam could forfeit over £30m of government money if it did not explain itself. The European Union, which gives Oxfam £29m, has demanded “maximum transparency”. The next day several of Oxfam’s corporate partners, including Visa and Marks & Spencer, said they were reviewing their links.

Similar allegations are now being made against other charities. Priti Patel, a former DFID secretary, has said the Oxfam case is the “tip of the iceberg”. This may sap confidence in the sector, which was already at its lowest-ever ebb in polls by the Charity Commission, which began in 2005. But the headlines may not affect the volume of giving, now £10bn a year. Daniel Fluskey of the Institute of Fundraising says that, despite the weak economy, giving has remained remarkably stable in recent years.
 
Proponents of Britain’s aid industry hope it will stay that way. For all Oxfam’s woes, experts like Owen Barder of the Centre for Global Development, a think-tank, argue that Britain’s aid is particularly effective and generally well-targeted. Oxfam may be bad at policing its staff, but, argues Dan Corry of New Philanthropy Capital, which assesses charities, it is one of the best at evaluating its projects.
 
As for the foreign-aid budget, the Oxfam affair has emboldened those on the Conservative right who want to end the commitment to spend 0.7% of GDP on aid, which they consider extravagant at a time of austerity. But other Tories, such as Andrew Mitchell, a former DFID secretary, argue that development is one of the few areas in which Britain is a global leader, spending more than any country bar America and Germany. As the country retreats from the EU, it would be sad if that role, too, were relinquished.
 

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