Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

Working Groups

The high level panel will seek to address these fundamental questions as part of an effort to provide a new policy blue print for multilateral development banks, both new and old. Starting with the basic elements of financing and governance first defined 70 years ago, the project will identify what is essential, what is adaptable, and what no longer serves a useful purpose in MDBs.
Related Experts: Nancy Birdsall, Scott Morris
Paying for global health programs on the basis of their outcomes has the potential to focus various actors on a single goal and make those investments more efficient and impactful. Yet in the face of institutional inertia, risk aversion, and operational challenges, few such projects have made the jump from theory to real-world implementation.
The Energy Access Targets Working Group will assess the current common definition of “modern energy access” and propose possible alternative targets. With at least a billion people worldwide living without electricity, and many millions more held back by blackouts and high costs, improving energy access is increasingly a top priority for governments, business leaders, and citizens across the developing world. With Power Africa, SE4All, and the inclusion of a universal energy access target in the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals, the international community is responding to these growing demands. It is thus imperative that modern energy targets and indicators are set in a meaningful and practical way.
The Unintended Consequences of Rich Countries’ Anti-Money Laundering Policies on Poor Countries Working Group examined how rich countries might rebalance their policies to continue to protect against money laundering and terrorism financing without hindering the ability of people from poor countries to conduct business and transfer money across borders. In 2014 migrants sent over $400 billion of remittances home through formal systems and at least an additional $130 billion through informal channels. Businesses in poor countries also engage in cross-border transactions whether it be to export goods or import key inputs. But banks in rich countries, under pressure from anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism enforcement efforts, are increasingly “de-banking” money transfer organizations, thereby raising costs or removing services for users, some of whom then turn to informal channels. This shift may have detrimental effects on poor people as well as on the security situation.
Increased financial inclusion—greater access by the poor to the use of payments, deposits, credits, insurance and risk-management services—can improve the opportunities and welfare of people living in poverty. 
In many large federal or decentralized countries, the majority of public spending on health is executed by state and district governments (see graph below). Improving health in these countries—and globally—depends on improving the sufficiency, efficiency, and effectiveness of health spending at the subnational level. The Intergovernmental Fiscal Transfers for Health Working Group, a partnership of CGD and the Accountability Initiative in India, is tasked with identifying practices that improve health and increase the efficiency of subnational allocations.
Transparency in government contracting has gained increasing international support over the past years. Some countries, including the Slovak Republic, Colombia and the United Kingdom, have begun publishing online the complete text of government contracts. Publishing government contracts can bring many benefits: companies, especially new bidders, have a clearer idea of the goods and services they will bid to provide; governments benefit from increased competition among contractors and product quality; and civil society would have the opportunity to keep track on the value for the money invested and the service delivery.
Related Experts: Charles Kenny, William Savedoff
If you have $200 to spend on health in a developing country, would you vaccinate 10 children against deadly childhood diseases or provide AIDS treatment to one woman to prevent transmission of HIV to her unborn child? Policy makers routinely face such tough budgetary dilemmas with little expert guidance. The Priority-Setting Institutions for Global Health working group report provides practical means to assist priority-setting efforts in low- and middle-income countries.
Related Experts: Amanda Glassman
As international commitments become more ambitious and aid resources become increasingly constrained, global health funding agencies are seeking to improve the efficiency and impact of their investments. This growing “value for money” (VfM)  agenda aims to reduce costs, increase impact per dollar spent and focus investments on the highest impact interventions among the most affected populations.


In advance of the 15th replenishment of the International Development Association (IDA), the IDA 15 Working Group report - The World Bank’s Work in the Poorest Countries: Five Recommendations for a New IDA - proposed five  
The working group investigated the effects of IMF-supported programs on the health sector, with an emphasis on poor countries. The group’s final report offered recommendations for the IMF to ensure that national spending on health care is not constrained by IMF programs.  
The group developed recommendations about how to generate and report timely, accurate information about spending on health services and public health programs, within countries and by donor. The group’s final report is called Following the Money: Toward Better Tracking of Global Health Resources.
Poor people in developing countries often receive health care from private providers yet donors and developing-country policymakers often overlook the sector, missing opportunities to improve care. The group final report Partnership with the Private Sector in Health, recommends creating an advisory facility to provide technical support to developing-country policymakers who want to engage the private sector to improve health outcomes.  
A very large proportion of households and firms in developing countries lack access to financial services. To help address this problem, CGD senior fellow Liliana Rojas-Suarez convened, together with Stijn Claessens and Patrick Honohan, a task force of leading experts to identify 10 policy principles for expanding access to financial services.
Some performance incentives aim to improve provider behavior, promoting delivery of more and better services; others focus on household or patient behavior, to increase health service utilization or affect health-related lifestyle choices. How well do they work?
CGD’s Commission on International Migration Data for Development Research identified steps to improve data collection so that researchers and policymakers have the numbers they need to assess the impact of migration. CGD continues to push for implementation.
As the founding executive director of UNAIDS prepared to step down at the end of 2008, CGD and the Economic Governance Programme of Oxford University convened an expert working group to develop recommendations for the incoming leadership of UNAIDS, the Programme Coordinating Board, and other stakeholders.
Related Experts: Mead Over, Nandini Oomman, Ruth Levine
Many creditors will lend to a government without regard to the government's legitimacy, allowing illegitimate governments to saddle the country with debt and burdening the successor governments with repayment. Ex ante loan sanctions would put creditors on notice that any future loans to a regime would be considered the responsibility of that regime and would not be considered transferable to successor governments.
The Drug Resistance Working Group is focusing on the potential for solutions effected collectively or individually by organizations that operate at the global level. The Group draws on the strength of its diverse composition to extend the problem-solving conversation around drug resistance into and among communities that all have an interest, but rarely have the opportunity to forge joint solutions. In doing so, members stimulate each other’s active commitment to address the problem, possibly through changes in funding, policies and program implementation.
Related Experts: Amanda Glassman