Ideas to Action:

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CGD in the News

November 23, 2015

Unsustainable Development Goals: Are 222 Indicators Too Many? (IRIN)

From the article: NEW YORK, 23 November 2015 (IRIN) - Are the Sustainable Development Goals in danger of collapsing under the weight of their own lofty ambitions?

As statisticians race to compile a very long list of indicators for the 17 goals and 159 targets by March next year, critics argue that the rush to get it all in place could be a costly mistake. They also worry that countries daunted by the logistical challenge of implementing and measuring the wide-ranging agenda will “cherry pick” goals or even sideline the whole agenda. 

Some warn that the immense task of finding the funds, data and tools to measure the many qualitative improvements to people’s lives may overshadow urgent development imperatives. In today’s turbulent world of refugee crises, civil wars and global terrorism, they also discern a waning interest from the media.  

Read full article here

October 12, 2015

Measuring The Millennium Development Goals: The Quest To End Extreme Poverty (Fast Co.Exist)

From the article: Extreme poverty is the most obvious and visible indication that our society is unequal, and that the amazing benefits that technology and development have bestowed on some of us are not trickling down and helping people in the poorer parts of the world. So when the UN launched it's Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2000, with the mission to achieve benchmarks in improving the conditions of people around the world, poverty was the first item on the list.

Millennium Development Goal 1, which uses a 1990-level baseline, covers the most basic of basic needs: Do people have enough food and money to survive? The goals specifically aimed to half the number of people living on $1.25 a day, achieve full employment for everyone, and half the number of people who suffer from hunger.

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September 29, 2015

What The UN's New Sustainable Development Goals Will (And Won't) Do For Cities (The Atlantic's City Lab)

From the article: Included in the United Nations’ newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) is goal No. 11, which calls world leaders to make cities and all “human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable.”

It’s a goal that economists and urban academics have been pushing for, with some—like CityLab’s Richard Florida—arguing that it’s one of the most pressing issues of our time. For one thing, more than half of the world’s people currently live in cities. And by 2050, the World Health Organization predicts, more than 6.4 billion people will be city dwellers.

“The battle for the SDGs will be won or lost in cities,”says Homi Kharas, senior fellow and deputy director of the global economy and development program at the Brookings Institution. Kharas was also part of the panel that advised the U.N. secretary general on the post-2015 development agenda. “Up until now, [cities] have just been left to their own devices to evolve as they see fit, but they’re evolving in a way that has very little planning and very little consideration to efficiency issues.”

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September 24, 2015

Global Goals Can Deliver On 2C And New Development Finance – Here's How (The Guardian)

From the article:  What if there were an affordable programme to prevent catastrophic climate change and provide the finance that developing countries need to end poverty by 2030? With summits this week on the sustainable development goals and in December on climate change, this year marks the most significant push on the world’s biggest challenges since 2005, the year of the G8 meeting at Gleneagles and the UN world summit.

It’s sobering to compare then with now. A decade ago, big ideas were on the table: timetables for donors to reach 0.7% of national income on overseas development assistance (ODA); cancellation of all debt to the World Bank and IMF; a development trade round. Today, by contrast, it’s like watching tumbleweed roll across the desert. The Addis Ababa finance for development summit agreed on next to nothing to deliver the SDGs; tomorrow’s gathering in New York is unlikely to do much better. On climate, meanwhile, no one (including Christiana Figueres, the head of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change) believes a 2C deal is in prospect.

But what if there were a big idea that could achieve both?

Read full article here

September 24, 2015

Global Goals Can Deliver On 2C And New Development Finance – Here's How (The Guardian)

From the article:  What if there were an affordable programme to prevent catastrophic climate change and provide the finance that developing countries need to end poverty by 2030?

With summits this week on the sustainable development goals and in December on climate change, this year marks the most significant push on the world’s biggest challenges since 2005, the year of the G8 meeting at Gleneagles and the UN world summit.

It’s sobering to compare then with now. A decade ago, big ideas were on the table: timetables for donors to reach 0.7% of national income on overseas development assistance (ODA); cancellation of all debt to the World Bank and IMF; a development trade round. Today, by contrast, it’s like watching tumbleweed roll across the desert.

Read full article here

September 23, 2015

What, Really, Does 'Sustainable' Mean? (NPR Goats And Soda Blog)

From the article: Sustainable, sustainable, sustainable. Sustainable. Sustainable. SUSTAINABLE! 

Oh, excuse me. I was just counting the number of times the word "sustainable" (and its close cousin, sustainability) appear in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals that the U.N. will endorse this coming weekend. I got 75. And I probably missed a few. The SDGs, as they're called, aim to improve life on earth, especially in poor countries — no more extreme poverty, the eradication of "a wide range of diseases," education and equal rights for all, taking care of the planet. And, clearly, the designers of the goals want them to be, well, sustainable. But the more I thought about that word, the more I wondered: What exactly does the word "sustainable" mean when it comes to development goals?

Read full article here

September 15, 2015

Experts Divided Over Value of UN Sustainable Development Goals (Financial Times)

From the article: When world leaders gather in New York this month at the UN General Assembly, they are set to endorse an ambitious package of global economic, social and environmental objectives for the coming 15 years.

The aims include ending poverty in all its forms everywhere; providing inclusive and equitable quality education for all; achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls; taking urgent action to combat climate change; conserving and sustainably using the oceans; and ensuring healthy lives and promoting wellbeing for all.

Read full article here

August 12, 2015

With New UN Development Goals, Focus Shifts Away From Infectious Disease (Global Post)

From article

The Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, continue efforts first mapped out in 2000 with the Millennium Development Goals, which expire later this year. The new goals reflect a changed landscape for top global health priorities, with an emphasis on the rising threat of non-communicable diseases like heart disease and cancer over that of infectious diseases like HIV and malaria. And so the goals have some in the international public health community concerned that years of progress on infectious disease control could become undone and leave the world vulnerable to epidemics.

Read full article here.

July 15, 2015

Calls for Clampdown on Tax-Dodging Multinationals at UN Development Conference (Radio France International)

From article

Owen Barder, an economist with the Centre for Global Development who is at the conference says small policy changes, such as removing import tariffs, could make a big difference.

“In the European Union we provide aid to India and we are right to do that because a third of the world’s poorest people live in India,” he told RFI by phone from Addis.

“But we also impose a tariff on Indian textile exports. If they want to sell a T-shirt in the EU, we tax that at 10 per cent. Now, if we got rid or that tax on Indian T-shirts that would be good for Indian jobs, growth and it would be good for the poor people in India. And it would be good for European consumers, who would be able to by goods cheaper in the supermarket.”

Another source of potential income for developing countries is remittances: money sent back by people going to work in Europe or the United States, where they earn a lot more money than they would back home.

Read full article here

July 13, 2015

Addis Ababa Hosts Key Development Summit (Deutsche Welle)

From article

Owen Bader, a development economist at the Center for Global Development in London, is in Addis Ababa for the summit. He told DW's AfricaLink radio show that "the typical African doesn't need aid, but a job."

Bader said the World Bank's reference to trillions meant that "we have to use public resources to work together with the private sector. In the end, it is the private sector that will create those jobs. We can use public investment to create the right conditions for that investment and that growth and we can use it to protect the most vulnerable people who aren't benefiting immediately."

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