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Reality is not yet matching rhetoric in moving from “billions to trillions” to finance the SDGs—how can we accelerate sustainable development finance?
To meet the Sustainable Development Goals, the world must ramp up development financing from billions to trillions. We must think beyond aid, to private finance and unlocking developing countries’ own resources. How development financing is mobilized and allocated must also change. Shared problems like climate change and the threat of pandemics can only be addressed through international cooperation. In addition, the rise of China as a major bilateral development partner and the emergence of new development agencies raise the question of whether the existing multilateral financing system is fit for purpose.
Our research focuses on four questions: How can international finance produce sufficient funding for development? How should it be allocated to meet both ongoing needs and future challenges, such as climate change and pandemics? How can financing most effectively mobilize private capital, safeguard public monies, and keep debt levels sustainable? And how should existing institutions be changed to best assist?
Last week President Obama’s Global Development Council at long last held its first official, public meeting at the National Press Club in Washington. For those of you who don’t remember (and you’ll be excused for forgetting), President Obama signed an executive order that formally established the Council in February 2012, although the Council’s origin story dates back to the 2010 Presidential Policy Directive on Global Development.
If one thing was clear at the first High Level Meeting of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation, it’s that the 1500 people in attendance— representing the governments of developing, emerging and rich countries, multilateral institutions, business, philanthropy, and civil society—were not interested in how aid can be delivered more effectively from rich to poor countries but how the wide and growing range of actors who contribute to development can work together more effectively.
Avoiding dangerous climate change is possible, technologically and economically. That is one of the main takeaways from the report released Tuesday by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on cost-effective ways to mitigate climate change. That report is the third of four constituting the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the IPCC. The first, on the science behind climate change, was released in September 2013; the second, on the current and future impacts of climate change, was released earlier this month. A synthesis report is set to be published in October.
The newly released Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, "Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change,” describes the actions that people will need to take if we are to maintain a safe and stable global climate. Like the two previous IPCC reports (which I have written about here and here), it is based on the collective volunteer work of dozens of top scientists and economists synthesizing the findings of thousands of peer-reviewed articles.
Washington, D.C. (April 16, 2014) – Frances Seymour, senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, has been awarded the title of Officer by the French Republic’s Order of Agricultural Merit (Officier de l'Ordre du Mérite Agricole) for her work as Director General of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) from 2006 to 2012.
The Order of Agricultural Merit is bestowed by the French Republic to individuals for outstanding services to agriculture in public duties or in the practice of agriculture. It also rewards people who distinguish themselves in scientific research or in related publications. The rank of “Officier” is one step higher than the rank of “Chevalier”, or “Knight”. It is rare that the Republic of France bestows one of their most distinguished awards on an American woman.
Seymour received her Officer decoration and a certificate signed by Minister of Agriculture Stéphane Le Foll in February at a ceremony hosted by the French Ambassador to Indonesia, Her Excellency Corinne Breuze. The ambassador praised Seymour for her leadership in encouraging dialogue between the worlds of science and policy, developing a culture of impact assessment at CIFOR, establishing the annual Forest Day, and insisting on the highest quality of scientific research. Headquartered in Bogor, Indonesia, CIFOR conducts policy research on the use and management of forests in less-developed countries.
“Your exceptional dynamism, your visionary thinking never prevented you from listening to partners and from remaining open to their concerns. This is a very rare quality among leaders,” Ambassador Breuze said at the ceremony. Importantly, Ambassador Breuze also acknowledged Seymour’s success at CIFOR “would not have been possible without the experience gained previously within the World Resources Institute, World Wildlife Fund, the Ford Foundation or the USAID.”
On May 1, Seymour will be honored at a reception hosted by the French Embassy in Washington, DC. Remarks will be given by Embassy General Consul Oliver Serot Almeras, CGD President Nancy Birdsall, and World Bank vice president and special envoy for climate change Rachel Kyte.
Birdsall said: “The French Republic chose well when it selected Frances Seymour for this honor. She has been a great asset to us here at CGD, where her work is helping to broaden policymakers’ appreciation of the close linkages between forest protection, successful development and reduced climate change threat. Frances epitomizes the combination of research rigor and practical policy experience that is a hallmark of our work at CGD.”
French Ambassador to the United States François Delattre offered his commendation to Seymour on this high accolade. “It is a great honor for me to welcome Frances Seymour, senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, to the French Embassy. I am particularly delighted that she has been promoted to the rank of Officer of the Order of Agricultural Merit in recognition of her eminent contribution to the protection of our ecosystems—a topic dear to both France and the United States, and important to the cooperation between our countries,” he said.
Kyte said: “In a world where we struggle sometimes to find ways to bring science, evidence and data smoothly into policy, and to go from the lab to the field or the forest, through both public and private sectors, quickly, Frances’ career is testament that it can be done.”
As a CGD senior fellow, Seymour leads the Tropical Forests for Climate and Development initiative. Her work has focused on creating a global consensus about the importance of forest conservation and promoting results-based financing for REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation).
She is also the lead author of a forthcoming CGD report, Why Forests, Why Now?, which will present evidence of the urgency, affordability, and feasibility of rich country support for reducing deforestation to improve rural livelihoods and avert catastrophic climate change. In addition she is a member of a CGD working group that is identifying means for rapidly scaling up pay-for-performance finance for forest conservation.
The Center for Global Development: CGD works to reduce global poverty and inequality through rigorous research and active engagement with the policy community to make the world a more prosperous, just, and safe place for all people. As a nimble, independent, nonpartisan, and nonprofit think tank, focused on improving the policies and practices of the rich and powerful, the Center combines world-class scholarly research with policy analysis and innovative outreach and communications to turn ideas into action.
The World Bank loves to talk about the importance of “good governance” and “strong institutions” and “rule of law” as keys to development success. Presumably that means that organizations are managed in accordance to their own legal procedures. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the primus inter pares of the many units under the World Bank group umbrella (IDA, IFC, MIGA) has an agreed upon Articles of Agreement. Article One is worth reproducing in its entirety: