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The UK is in an influential and important position to influence development outcomes across the world. It remains the only country to meet both the targets to spend 0.7 percent of its national income on overseas aid and 2 percent on defence. It is also the largest “multilateral” aid donor—providing over a third more in aid through the multilateral system than the United States.
The UK has taken up several ideas developed or supported by CGD fellows. Recently, this includes the use of disaster risk insurance and cash transfers in humanitarian relief; committing to an improved trade for development regime after Brexit; pushing for humanitarian reform; using the CDI to assess policy coherence; and using development impact bonds and advanced market commitments.
By triggering Article 50, the UK Government has started the process of leaving the EU and will end ‘free movement’ between the EU and UK. But what then on migration? Free movement and EU expansion were behind substantial increases in migration to the UK in the last decade, and likely led to policies which reduced non-EU migration. Our new analysis also suggests the UK now accepts hardly any migrants from the poorest countries.
Agricultural subsidies are almost a complete waste of money, go to the wealthiest in society, and are also damaging to global development. With a Green Paper expected on agriculture in the coming weeks, how can the UK do better after Brexit?
The UK Government has today published a white paper on its broad approach to Brexit—what ’s missing though is a commitment to developing countries on the UK’s trade policy. Having emphasised trade at the heart of its economic strategy on international development, it now needs to commit to providing “duty free quota free” access for developing countries, or risk damaging investment and trade over the next two years and beyond.
This paper looks at how the UK can, after Brexit, develop a world-leading trade for development policy. It uses a systematic assessment of how rich country trade policies affect developing countries to identify the leading approaches used elsewhere. It then identifies and describes four key steps: i) eliminating or lowering tariffs; ii) improving preferential access for the very poorest countries; iii) cutting red tape at the border; and iv) enhancing the effectiveness of its aid for trade. These steps would enable the UK to improve substantially on the approach taken by the EU and other countries, benefit UK consumers and businesses, and set a new standard in trade policy for development.
While the UK negotiates its exit from the EU, the EU will be negotiating over its own budget for the period from 2020-2026 as part of the Multi-Annual Financial Framework. So, where will EU development aid be a quarter of the way through the 21st century?
The possibility of leaving the EU means that the UK now needs to revisit the questions of whether and for which countries to offer trade preferences, particularly since the key ‘enabling clause’ underpinning trade preferences does not confine preferences to least developed countries (LDCs). Let's explore the options.