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Humanitarian Financing Is Failing the COVID-19 Frontlines

Longstanding weaknesses in the humanitarian business model are undermining the COVID-19 response in fragile and conflict affected states. Extensive delays, poor mechanisms for tracking disbursement of funds from intermediaries to implementers, and persistent obstacles to financing local actors are preventing funds from reaching organizations on the frontlines of the COVID-19 fight. Donor governments have generously contributed nearly $2.5bn in humanitarian COVID-19 financing.

A forklift moves pallets of USAID supplies. Photo by Lance Cheung/USDA.

Trump’s Looming Aid Cuts Are Unwise—Are They Also Unconstitutional?

After seeing Congress repeatedly reject its proposals for drastic foreign aid cuts, the White House is once again making a late-breaking attempt to subvert Congressional budget intent. These measures are designed to look like good-faith steps to take stock of federal spending before the end of the fiscal year, avoid a frivolous spend-down of expiring funds, and conserve unused resources. The reality is far different.

A health worker during the Ebola crisis in West Africa puts on a mask. Photo by Morgana Wingard/USAID

Three Big Lessons for The Next Pandemic Response

The next pandemic is coming. We don’t know when it will hit or what it will be, but we do know that risk factors for the spread of infectious disease are worsening. The 2014–15 Ebola outbreak in West Africa provides a useful microcosm of the challenges a pandemic would pose. My new report explores how policymakers navigated the policy and operational challenges of rolling out a large-scale outbreak response with no strategic or operational blueprint.

David McKenzie, Ratna Omidvar, Michael Clemens

Migration, Displacement, and Humanitarian Policy Program Launch: Here’s What You Missed

Migration and displacement are among the greatest policy challenges of this century. Governance of the humanitarian system is at a crossroads, and key innovations shaking up traditional ways of working provide a window of opportunity for a broader, pragmatic reform effort. CGD has launched a new program built on these three pillars to propose evidence-based ways forward for policymakers and practitioners.

Photo of a hand with a syringe and a vaccine

Global Health Security in the Trump Era: Time to Worry?

Is it time to ring the alarm bell on a declining US commitment to global health security? For most of the past year, I would have said no. But after the last few weeks, I’m starting to think so. And the simultaneous news of a new Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo underscores the stakes at play here.

Looking Forward: Development in 2018 – CGD Podcast

What's going to happen in the world of development in 2018? Will we finally understand how to deal equitably with refugees and migrants? Or how technological progress can work for developing countries? Or what the impact of year two of the Trump Administration will be? Today’s podcast, our final episode of 2017, raises these questions and many more as a multitude of CGD scholars share their insights and hopes for the year ahead. 

How to Tackle the Refugee Reform Dilemma

Speculation about the future of the State Department’s Population, Refugees, and Migration bureau has swirled following the Trump administration’s moves to curtail refugee admissions, and a proposal to eliminate the bureau and distribute its components to the Department of Homeland Security and USAID. But I fear that diminishing or removing an empowered humanitarian voice from the State Department weakens humanitarian priorities in US policy writ large. And I believe there are ways to address legitimate concerns about the existing structure without dismantling PRM.

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