CGD initiatives are practical proposals to improve the policies and practices of rich countries, international bodies, and others of means and influence to reduce global poverty and inequality. Initiatives draw upon the Center’s rigorous research and utilize innovative communications and direct engagement with decision-makers to change the world. 

Carbon Monitoring for Action (CARMA)

Carbon Monitoring for Action (CARMA) is a global database that  gathers and presents the best available estimates of CO2 emissions for 50,000 power plants around the world and the identities of the 4,000 firms that own them. Electricity production is responsible for about one-quarter of all climate-warming greenhouse gas pollution, and CARMA is the only global database for tracking specific sources of CO2, the most important greenhouse gas. First launched in 2007, CARMA was  expanded and upgraded in 2012 to incorporate data from authorities in the United States, European Union, Canada, India, and South Africa as well as the International Atomic Energy Agency. For facilities lacking publicly-disclosed data, estimates are generated using a new suite of statistical models.

Cash on Delivery Aid

Cash on Delivery is a new approach to foreign aid that focuses on results, encourages innovation, and strengthens government accountability to citizens rather than donors. Under COD Aid, donors would pay for measurable and verifiable progress on specific outcomes, such as $100 dollars for every child above baseline expectations who completes primary school and takes a test. CGD is working with technical experts and potential donors and partner countries to design COD Aid pilots and research programs.

Combating Drug Resistance

The initiative seeks practical ways to prevent or contain the emergence of drug resistance in such high-burden diseases as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria through improvements in common-property management, information flows, and stepped up research and development.


Development Impact Bonds

CGD has partnered with UK-based Social Finance to explore a new development financing mechanism, Development Impact Bonds (DIBs). DIBs provide upfront funding for development programs by private investors, who are remunerated by donors or host-country governments—and earn a return—if evidence shows that programs achieve pre-agreed outcomes.

To download the report of the DIB Working Group, please click here.

Europe Beyond Aid

How do the policies of European countries – individually and collectively – affect the developing world? How could those policies be improved? CGD in Europe is launching a detailed policy debate about European commitment to development.

Latin America Initiative

Latin America faces important development challenges. Although many countries have implemented solid macroeconomic and financial policies, large segments of the population have not reaped the benefits from higher economic growth. Based on the analysis of CGD’s substantial in-house expertise in the region, the initiative goal is to advance recommendations to policymakers in Latin America as well as those in developed countries and multilateral organizations to support the region’s efforts to climb the development ladder and reach shared prosperity.

Migration as a Tool for Disaster Recovery

Every year natural disasters take a heavy toll on poor people in the developing world. High-income countries could do more to help, at very low cost, by admitting a limited number of the victims of natural disasters within their borders.

Millions Saved Cover

Millions Saved

Since 2004, the Center for Global Development has been collecting success stories in global health – remarkable cases in which large-scale efforts to improve health in developing countries have succeeded – and releasing them in the book Millions Saved: Case Studies in Global Health.  A second edition of Millions Saved was printed in 2007, and a third edition was published in 2016.  Millions Saved is currently required reading at over 60 universities around the world.

Oil-to-Cash: Fighting the Resource Curse through Cash Transfers

Natural resources and the income they generate can stifle development by undermining the relationship between citizens and their state. This CGD initiative explores a policy option—direct distribution of resource revenues—to encourage a “social contract” in resource-rich countries. The income generated by resource extraction can be distributed directly to citizens and then taxed by governments. With a personal stake in the government’s budget, the citizens could then hold the government accountable for providing goods and services with their taxes. 

Pakistan: US Development Strategy

CGD convened a Study Group on the US Development Strategy in Pakistan to draw lessons from past experiences and offer practical recommendations to US policymakers on the effective deployment of foreign assistance and other, nonaid instruments for achieving sustainable development in Pakistan.  As the relationship between the United States and Pakistan evolves, CGD continues to identify the fixable problems that hinder US development efforts in Pakistan and offer recommendations for the future.

Preemptive Contract Sanctions

When an illegitimate regime contracts with foreign actors and, in essence, mortgages its country’s future, successor regimes and innocent citizens are expected to pay back that mortgage.  This all-too-common occurrence saddles citizens with unjust contracts from which they did not benefit and burdens legitimate successor governments with repayment. A declaration of contract nontransferability would put creditors and investors on notice that any future contracts to a regime would not be considered binding on successor governments.  CGD is exploring how this approach could be applied in Syria and other fragile states. 

Reforming Trade Preferences

Rich countries and emerging powers offer some developing countries preferential market access, but their programs are often flawed and lack coordination. This initiative aims to reform trade-preference programs to expand market access for the poorest countries.
Image: flickr user Austin Yoder / cc

Tropical Forests for Climate and Development

Climate change threatens to reverse decades of development gains in poor countries, and its impacts are likely to be felt first and worst in poor countries and communities. Avoiding irreversible catastrophic events  is not possible without reducing emissions from forest loss. This CGD initiative is investigating performance-based financing mechanisms to help safeguard forests and the benefits they provide to the global climate and more directly to the people who live nearby.

US Development Policy Initiative

The US Development Policy Initiative (DPI), formerly the Rethinking US Development Policy initiative, seeks to broaden the US government’s approach to development while strengthening existing foreign assistance tools. Its engagement with policymakers is backed by rigorous research and analysis of a full range of investment, trade, technology, and foreign assistance related issues.