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.  

Closing the Evaluation Gap

Beginning in 2004, CGD convened a working group to evaluate the lack of good impact evaluation and recommend solutions. CGD then led the implementation of one key recommendation: the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie), which provides funding and technical support for rigorous impact evaluations. CGD continues to monitor the generation and use of impact evaluations in development policy through its Evaluation Gap Newsletter.

Demographics and Development in the 21st Century

Journalist Martin Wolf of the Financial Times has called population "the most important issue confronting humanity in this century." Important new books on the future of development have devoted significant attention to it. Debates about population policy continue to stir and columnists and academics argue about what lies ahead if global population challenges are ignored. Population—the study of people using the tool of demography—is now appearing across development discourse, with policy implications that reach far beyond family planning and reproductive health.

Forest Monitoring for Action (FORMA)

Forest Monitoring for Action (FORMA) uses satellite data to generate regularly updated online maps and alerts of tropical forest clearing. David Wheeler, now a CGD senior fellow emeritus, assembled and led a small team that created FORMA, which has since become a core component of the World Resources Institute (WRI) Global Forest Monitoring (GFW) platform launched in February 2014.

FORMA is now available for visualization, analysis, and download at GFW, a dynamic online forest monitoring and alert system that empowers people everywhere to better manage forests. CGD continues to work closely with WRI on forest monitoring issues as part of our Forests for Climate and Development initiative.

Using current data accessed via GFW, FORMA can be used to support international efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions by demonstrating to those willing to pay for forest conservation (for example, through the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), bilateral programs such as Norway’s Forest and Climate Initiative or UN-REDD) that protected forests are indeed still standing. CGD has developed the Forest Conservation Performance Rating (fCPR) system as a set of benchmarks that showcase global progress in reducing forest clearing and that could form the basis for such payments.


Girls Count: A Global Investment and Action Agenda

One in eight people in the world is a girl or young woman 10 to 24 years old. Young people are the fastest growing segment of the population in developing countries, and their welfare is fundamental key economic and social outcomes. But girls in developing countries face systematic disadvantages over a wide range of welfare indicators, including health, education, nutrition, labor force participation, and the burden of household tasks. This CGD initiative examined ways to improve the welfare of girls and young women in developing countries.

Global Health Demand Forecasting

Meeting public-health needs in developing countries is made more difficult without accurate forecasting of the demand for medical products—no matter how much money is available to develop and purchase them. Shortcomings in demand forecasting increase risks for suppliers, resulting in higher costs, supply shortages, and uncertainty surrounding R&D. CGD’s Demand Forecasting initiative led to the publication in 2007 of A Risky Business with recommendations for specific public and private organizations to smooth the delivery of health products to the people who need them.

Global Health Policy Research Network

The Global Health Policy Research Network served as an umbrella for a large number of CGD initiatives that undertook original, focused research on high-priority global health policy issues.

HIV/AIDS Monitor

From 2006 until 2010, the HIV/AIDS Monitor focused on the performance of three HIV/AIDS donor programs—the U.S. government's President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (The Global Fund), and the World Bank's Multi-Country AIDS Program (MAP). The Center for Global Development’s HIV/AIDS Monitor team, led by Nandini Oomman examined key issues in the design, delivery and management of these donor programs, and provided timely analyses to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of each initiative. 

Making Markets for Vaccines / Advance Market Commitments

A CGD Working Group produced an economic and legal framework for funds to incentivize vaccine development. The G-7 Finance Ministers endorsed the approach and five donors (Canada, Italy, Norway, UK and Russia, and the Gates Foundation) committed $1.5 billion to create an incentive for a vaccine against the strains of pneumococcus disease prevalent in low-income countries. For updates, see Advance Market Commitments for Vaccines (, a joint effort of the GAVI Alliance and the World Bank.