The debate about whether it is more important to have good individual statistics or be a team player that contributes to overall victory is hugely important in development today.
Harmful cultural practices and norms—even the seemingly non-violent ones that consign girls to bear the brunt of household labor—have consequences for nutrition, health, educational achievement, sexual abuse, and child marriage. Accordingly, it is critical to develop a research agenda that places girls aged 0 to 10 at the center of policy to address harmful practices. Both as an issue of gender-based violence and as an impediment to girls reaching their potential, we need greater commitments to country-level data, informed and enforced legislative action, and innovative methods to challenging and shifting socially shared definitions of girlhood.
In fact refugees and victims of natural disasters account for such a small fraction of the world population, less than half a percent. There is no excuse for not providing adequate timely funding for disasters whose numbers if not locations are relatively predictable. The costs are manageable, or at least they are a fraction of, say, the costs of ending poverty or combating climate change. This is at the easier end of world problems. And therefore fashioning the political will to act in a timely and effective way should be possible.
The development landscape between now and 2030 will be look completely different from the last fifteen years. The Sustainable Development Goals which look likely to be agreed in September, including a commitment to eradicate absolute poverty by 2030, will be addressed against a very different backdrop to the relatively successful period of the Millennium Development Goals. There are three challenges we are going to have to address.
Time and time again I have seen NGOs and politicians in rich countries advocate that the poor follow a path that they, the rich, never have followed, nor are willing to follow.
When Sir Tim Lankester defends the aid programme against charges that it can sometimes be misused for other things, he knows what he is talking about. He was the most senior civil servant in Britain’s aid ministry (then called ODA, now known as DFID), and in 1991 he bravely blew the whistle on a project to finance a dam in Malaysia because it was not a good use of development money (and indeed turned out to be connected to agreements to buy British arms).
Afghanistan’s progress against mortality reflects the success of providing health aid that differed radically from the bulk of American aid to Afghanistan during the war. The USAID program that contributed to the decline was a multilateral effort coordinated by Afghanistan’s own Ministry of Public Health. Results were verified by random sampling, and some funding was linked to measures of performance. This internal policy experiment, however, was destined to provoke resistance. More surprising is the source of resistance to an aid program that attempted to stop simply throwing money at a problem and focus on building sustainable systems: auditors.
If private markets can produce the iPhone, why can’t aid organizations create and implement development initiatives that are equally innovative and sought after by people around the world? The key difference is feedback loops.
J. Brian Atwood, chair of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC), analyzes the process and achievements of the Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, held in Busan, South Korea, in 2011.
William Savedoff looks at the long history of global multipolarity and forecasts what recent geopolitical changes mean for the future of international cooperation.
A new wave of development programs that explicitly use incentives to achieve their aims is under way.They are part of a trend, accelerating in recent years, to disburse development assistance against specific and measurable outputs or outcomes. With a proliferation of new ideas under names such as “payments for performance,” “output-based aid,” and “results based financing,” it is easy to lose sight of basic underlying similarities in these approaches and to miss some significant differences.
The main body of this short essay comprises written testimony that Owen Barder submitted to Britain’s House of Lords in response to a question about the effectiveness of foreign aid. In a brief introduction Barder draws upon his recent experience living in Ethiopia for three years to shed light on how he thinks about the question of aid effectiveness.
Charles Kenny investigates the complex role development agencies have in promoting technology overseas.
Arkedis focuses on understanding why long-term development is often subjugated to other objectives in the day-to-day planning processes of the U.S. government. She proposes one way to ensure that funding choices are made more rationally and systematically: by aligning the differing goals of aid more explicitly with redefined foreign assistance budget accounts.
A new focus on measuring development results would have far-reaching benefits for U.S. development strategy, for U.S. public diplomacy efforts, and for the strength of Pakistan’s democratic institutions. In this essay, Nancy Birdsall and Wren Elhai suggest five possible indicators that illustrate the type of measurable targets that could help the United State and Pakistan meet shared goals for effective and transparent development.
This essay draws on the work of the Center for Global Development's Study Group on U.S. Development Strategy in Pakistan and on the ideas in the group's open letters to Ambassador Richard Holbrooke to present five recommendations for spending aid money well in Pakistan.
Visiting fellow Nuhu Ribadu reflects on his experience as the head of Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the international work needed to challenge corruption in Africa.
In this essay, Andrew Natsios gives a first-hand account of what he finds most hinders USAID—layers of bureaucracy that misguide and derail development work.