Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

Working Groups

Advances in artificial intelligence, robotics, and information and communications technology have the potential to transform a range of industries and services around the world. While the effects of these changes in OECD countries have been broadly researched, their potential impacts in the developing world have received less attention.
By 2030, 60 percent of the world’s poor will be concentrated in fragile states, a shift that has prompted the United States to rethink how to confront the particular challenges of these environments and support a path to greater country resilience. Fragile states are where extreme poverty is increasingly concentrated, humanitarian relief is often most needed, and threats to US national security are most pressing.
International organizations influence national-level health sector priorities by affecting how much funding is available for healthcare delivery within countries and setting limits on how that funding is used. They exert particular influence in setting disease-specific targets, developing clinical guidelines, and using investment cases. But for the most part, the processes they follow in undertaking these activities do not account for limited country resources or the other uses those resources could be put to.
A new CGD Working Group, composed of leading experts on Basel III and economic development, will assess the relevance, advantages, and challenges for emerging markets’ financial stability derived from the global implementation of Basel III.
Related Experts: Liliana Rojas-Suarez
Many low-and lower-middle-income countries currently procure a large portion of their health commodities through centralized, donor-managed procurement mechanisms, and often at subsidized prices or as donations. Over the next several decades, however, the landscape of global health procurement will change dramatically as countries grow richer and lose aid eligibility; disease burdens shift; and technological breakthroughs change the portfolio of commodity needs. This working group considers how the global health community can ensure the medium- to long-term relevance, efficiency, quality, affordability, and security of global health procurement.
The Innovative Finance for Resettlement Working Group aims to create more and better opportunities for displaced people to be safely resettled in third countries. The Working Group is developing proposals and setting out practical actions for donors and governments to use innovative financing and related concepts to increase resettlement quantity and quality. Using sources of value from currently untapped resources as financial incentives for resettlement countries and local communities, the Working Group aims to increase agency and choice for refugees and increase the political appetite for accepting refugees.
CGD and IRC are convening a joint study group to explore what a sound partnership framework between host governments and development and humanitarian actors might look like in protracted displacement scenarios. This effort is guided by a vision of displaced people having meaningful opportunities that promote long-term economic, social, and institutional development.
Related Experts: Cindy Huang, Janeen Madan Keller
Investing in family planning is critical because it provides health and economic benefits to the users themselves, their families, and the societies in which they live. To maximize the effect of those investments, however, it is necessary to understand how and why donors prioritize certain programs, technologies, or countries over others. This working group was convened to find ways to improve the allocation strategies and coordination mechanisms underlying investments in family planning.
Related Experts: Amanda Glassman, Rachel Silverman
The Shared Border, Shared Future working group explored ways in which the US and Mexican governments could achieve this bilateral cooperation objective with an agreement that addresses fee systems, visa portability, incentives for worker training, return, and integration, and more. The resulting report and model ‘term sheet’ provide an overview of what a bilateral agreement, regulating temporary and employment-based migration, could look like.
Related Experts: Michael Clemens
Humanitarian and emergency assistance is overstretched and underfunded. Many people living in countries with weak or cash-strapped government services live with the daily risk of disaster. This working group is examining how vulnerable countries and frontline humanitarian agencies can make use of insurance and index-linked securities to provide funding to tackle natural disasters much more effectively. It brings together voices and perspectives from the public, private and academic sector to help develop a program on parametric insurance with a focus on fixing humanitarian and emergency financing.
Related Experts: Owen Barder, Theodore Talbot


As more money is made available for the development and purchase of products that are needed to diagnose, prevent and treat leading causes of death and disability in developing countries, the need to improve demand forecasting comes into sharp relief. Shortcomings in demand forecasting increase the risks for suppliers, resulting in higher costs, supply shortages and concerns about the long-term viability of investing in R&D for health products that would benefit the developing world.
In 2011, the Center for Global Development launched the Future of IDA Working Group, an effort to bring together serious scholars, practitioners, and policymakers to think through specific options for World Bank management and shareholders to consider as the demand for IDA assistance was changing. Many countries, including some of IDA’s largest and best-performing clients, were and are preparing to graduate from needing IDA assistance.
The working group was convened to produce recommendations for the fourth executive director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
The report of the Working Group on Clinical Trials and Regulatory Pathways provides practical policy recommendations to help deliver better, safer, and cheaper medicine and treatment to the 1 billion people suffering from neglected diseases.
The central objective of the What Works Working Group was to document a series of programs in international health that were judged to be successful using a high standard of evidence.
The Commission on Weak States and U.S. National Security recognized that weak and failed states matter to U.S. national security, American values, and the prospects for global economic growth. The commission outlined a framework for action that seeks to mobilize key actors and instruments in U.S. foreign policy to the task of meeting the threat of weak states.
The Group assessed whether a mechanism to increase market-based incentives to purchase a future vaccine product could be designed, and how it might work in practice. The final report, Making Markets for Vaccines: Ideas into Action, laid the groundwork for a $1.5 billion pilot for a vaccine to prevent pneumococcal disease, which annually kills some 3 million children in developing countries.  
The African Development Bank Working Group prepared recommendations to help put the AfDB back on the road to success, at a moment of leadership transition. Recommendations included advising the president to identify and focus on a few key priorities on which the bank has a strong comparative advantage, such as regional infrastructure. Final report: Building Africa's Development Bank: Six Recommendations for the AfDB and its Shareholders.
The Global Health Indicators Working Group assessed the utility of a range of available data to construct indicators of health policies; the primary purpose was to inform decisions about eligibility criteria by the U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation. Final report: Measuring Commitment to Health (PDF).
The group developed practical recommendations to increase the quality and quantity of impact evaluations, with a focus on health and education. The final report, When Will We Ever Learn? Improving Lives through Impact Evaluation recommended the creation of an independent entity to coordinate and support high-quality impact evaluations. This led to the creation of the International Initiative on Impact Evaluation (3IE).