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Design and implementation of strategic communication programs for development policy research; communications measurement; web and e-mail strategies; publication management
Lawrence MacDonald was vice president for communications and policy outreach at the Center for Global Development. A development policy communications specialist and former foreign correspondent, he worked to increase the influence and impact of CGD's research and analysis by leading an integrated communications program that includes events, publications, media relations, online engagement, and government and NGO outreach. He also hosted a weekly podcast, CGD’s Global Prosperity Wonkcast, and serves frequently as chair for public events at CGD and elsewhere.
Before joining the Center in October 2004, MacDonald was a senior communications officer at the World Bank where he provided strategic communications advice to chief economists, coordinated the preparation of research publications, created the World Bank Research web site, and was founding editor of the Bank's Policy Research Report series. Before that he worked for 15 years in East and Southeast Asia as a reporter and editor for The Asian Wall Street Journal, Agence France Presse and Asiaweek Magazine, during which time he lived in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Beijing, Seoul, and Manila. His Mandarin is less fluent than it used to be but still serviceable.
What role can biometrics play in aiding development? My guest this week, senior fellow Alan Gelb, explains why new biometric identification technologies may be the key to radically expanding the social, political, and commercial opportunities for people in the developing world. Biometrics, he says, make it possible to fulfil for people everywhere the right to a unique, personal identity.
Global Forest Watch (GFW) is an online monitoring and alert system that aims to empower people to better manage forests. GFW uses satellite technology, open data, and crowdsourcing to offer timely, reliable information about forests so that governments, businesses and communities can halt forest loss.
Development progress has traditionally been measured in terms of reductions in poverty and increases in per capita GDP, that is, average income as calculated by dividing total income by the total population. My guests on this week’s Global Prosperity Wonkcast, Nancy Birdsall and Christian Meyer, argue that median income—the income at the middle of a country’s income distribution—is a better measure.
This Wonkcast was originally recorded in April 2011.
Rapid climate change is upon us, and governments, multilateral organizations, and development agencies are preparing to dole out billions of dollars in adaptation assistance. Nevertheless, little research has gone into calculating which countries are most vulnerable to global warming.
On this Wonkcast, I’m joined by David Wheeler, senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, who created an index for determining which countries should be prioritized when the money starts to flow. His paper, “Quantifying Vulnerability to Climate Change: Implications for Adaptation Assistance”, provides an index for comparison of cross-country vulnerability to some of the most extreme climate threats. An accompanying map makes it easy to see which countries will be hit hardest.
The day before we recorded this Wonkcast news broke of an agreement between the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain to pilot “multilateral automatic tax information exchange.” My guest, research fellow Alex Cobham, explains why this is so important, why financial secrecy and international tax law seem suddenly to be at the top of the global economic policy agenda—and why this could be especially good news for developing countries.
Clare Walsh, a senior official in the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the chair of the Development Working Group of the G-20, recently visited CGD for a round-table discussion with CGD senior staff. Afterwards I hosted her and CGD senior associate, Scott Morris, a former senior US Treasury official, on the Wonkcast.
Ghana’s recent recalculation of its GDP led to an overnight $500 per capita jump, putting in motion unexpectedly rapid graduation from the International Development Association (IDA) and ultimately a new relationship with the World Bank. In this week’s Wonkcast, I speak with Todd Moss, vice president for programs and senior fellow at CGD, about his recent trip to the newly categorized lower-middle income country, the implications of IDA graduation, and a sudden influx of oil wealth.