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January 21, 2015

Time for FAO to Shift to a Higher Gear

Originally published in October 2013 and updated January 2015

Food security has arisen again on the development agenda. High and volatile food prices took a toll in 2007–08, and in many low-income countries agricultural yields have risen little, if at all, in the last decade. Moreover, food production in these poor countries is especially vulnerable to climate change. Meeting this demand is a global challenge. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is expected to lead the way in meeting this challenge and, with the arrival in 2012 of the first new director-general in 18 years, it has an opening to restructure itself to do so.

publishing government contracts
November 10, 2014

Publishing Government Contracts: Addressing Concerns and Easing Implementation

Government contracts regarding the use of public property and finances should be published by default. Many jurisdictions already require that contracts be made public in response to requests for the information; some now publish contracts proactively. Doing so helps new entrants compete in the market for public contracts, helps governments model their projects on other successful examples, and allows citizens greater insight into how their taxes are being spent. This provides a practical outline for reaping the benefits of open contracts while addressing legitimate concerns about costs, collusion, privacy, commercial secrecy, and national security.

CGD Working Group on Contract Publication
December 16, 2013

Clear Direction for a New Decade: Priorities for PEPFAR and the Next US Global AIDS Coordinator

PEPFAR is at a critical turning point in its decade-long existence. The next US Global AIDS Coordinator is uniquely positioned to set the course for the program’s future. A change in leadership at the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief creates an opportunity to ask questions about the organization and reflect in more general terms on the US response to the global AIDS epidemic.

October 17, 2013

Getting to Yes on Expanded US Markets for the Poorest Countries

Opening markets to trade with poor countries was a key part of the eighth Millennium Development Goal and its global partnership for development. Countries recognized that development is about more than aid and that the poorest countries needed to be more integrated with the global economy to help them create jobs and opportunities for growth. In 2005, the World Trade Organization embraced this goal and developing country members agreed that those of them “in a position to do so” should also open their markets to the least developed countries (LDCs). Since then, most developed countries have removed barriers on at least 98 percent of all goods for LDC exporters, while China and India adopted less expansive programs to improve market access for these countries.

October 7, 2013

Investing in Social Outcomes: Development Impact Bonds

This report explains how Development Impact Bonds (DIBs) can increase the efficiency and effectiveness of development funding. Based on Social Impact Bonds in industrialized countries, a DIB creates a contract between private investors and donors or governments who have agreed upon a shared development goal. The investors pay in advance for interventions to reach the goals and are remunerated if the interventions succeed. Returns on the investment are linked to verified progress.

May 6, 2013

Schooling Is Not Education! Using Assessment to Change the Politics of Non-Learning

Most of the world’s children now live in countries on track to meet the Millennium Development Goal of universal primary completion by 2015. Countries have indeed made great progress getting kids in school, but behind that progress is a problem: many children are hardly learning anything in school. Some measures of learning are just dismal. In India, for example, only about one-third of children in grade 5 can perform long division. Nearly one-half cannot read a grade 2 text, and one in five cannot follow a grade 1 text.

What is to be done? Broadly speaking, schools, governments, and donors need to focus more on actual learning goals, not just filling seats. This report of the CGD Study Group on Measuring Learning Outcomes shows how to make some headway in that direction. Governments need to develop comparable, public learning assessments. Civil society should engage at the grassroots to demand accountability. Donors can play a secondary role by pegging funding to results or experimenting with different strategies. And the UN and other multilaterals should set global standards against which national efforts can be measured. One option is to establish a global learning goal as part of the post-2015 development agenda.

The Study Group on Measuring Learning Outcomes
February 28, 2013

Getting to Normal with the Two Sudans

After more than a decade of US special envoys (Danforth, Zoellick, Natsios, Williamson, Gration, and Lyman) and the independence of South Sudan in July 2011, it is time for the United States to reevaluate what it is trying to achieve in its relations with the two Sudans and how best it can do that.

October 9, 2012

Soft Lending without Poor Countries: Recommendations for a New IDA

The Future of IDA Working Group shows how IDA could adapt to changing circumstances. By 2025, IDA-eligible countries will be half as large in number and one-third as large in population; they will also be almost exclusively African and much lower performing economically. The working group explores the options available to IDA, from small tweaks to the status quo to bold alternatives for the future.

June 11, 2012

Competitiveness in Central America: The Road to Sustained Growth and Poverty Reduction

In this report, senior fellow Liliana Rojas-Suarez and José Luis Guasch, senior regional advisor on regulation and competition at the World Bank, investigate what donors can do to help Central America secure sustained growth, alleviate poverty, and reduce inequality, and what the role is for the private sector. They focus their recommendations on five areas in which policy changes can make Central American economies more competitive.

José Luis Guasch , Liliana Rojas-Suarez and Veronica Gonzales
June 11, 2012

Priority-Setting in Health: Building Institutions for Smarter Public Spending

Decisions about which type of patients receive what interventions, when, and at what cost often result from ad hoc, nontransparent processes driven more by inertia and interest groups than by science, ethics, and the public interest. Reallocating a portion of public and donor monies toward the most cost-effective health interventions would save more lives and promote health equity.

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