Ideas to action: independent research for global prosperity
Relief Chief: A Manifesto for Saving Lives in Dire Times
May 17, 2022
Relief Chief: A Manifesto for Saving Lives in Dire Times is Mark Lowcock's behind-the-scenes account of his experience as the world's most senior humanitarian official—the UN Relief Chief. In his four years on the job, Lowcock coordinated the work of UN agencies, the Red Cross, and countless nationa...
Here’s How a UN Insider Wants to Reform the Humanitarian System
May 17, 2022
This week we welcome the release of a new CGD book: Relief Chief: A Manifesto for Saving Lives in Dire Times, by Mark Lowcock. A former UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator—and a current Distinguished Non-Resident Fellow at CDG—Mark gives us an inside ...
How Do Humanitarian Donors Make Decisions, and What Is the Scope for Change?
October 28, 2021
In this policy paper we review donor responses to a survey and interviews to probe the effects of the broader political and economic context in which donors operate, and identify internal constraints on humanitarian funding, planning, and making allocative decisions. We identify and highlight percei...
Effective Humanitarian Governance
October 21, 2021
This paper argues that humanitarian system reform should extend to governance. Governing institutions—such as member state boards of multilateral organizations, and NGO boards of directors—have tremendous influence over the strategic direction of individual institutions and the sector writ large. Bu...
Rethinking Humanitarian Reform: What Will it Take to Truly Change the System?
September 29, 2021
This brief summarizes three years of research under the project, “Rethinking Humanitarian Reform,” led by Jeremy Konyndyk, Patrick Saez, and Rose Worden, and funded by the aid departments of the United Kingdom and Australia. The project aimed to understand the incentives behind the humanitarian syst...
Four Transformative Actions to Localize International Development
September 01, 2021
How can organizations and networks in Washington, DC, London, or Paris contribute to shifting power dynamics in international development in support of researchers, advocates, and practitioners in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs)? In August, Women of Color Advancing Peace and Security (WCAPS...
Financing the Global Humanitarian Public Good: Opportunities for Change
July 29, 2021
On July 7, CGD convened a private, online, high-level roundtable of 15 major humanitarian donors, multilateral agencies, and NGO leaders under the Chatham House Rule to discuss humanitarian financing challenges and four proposals to reform the humanitarian business model. This note explores what was...
Who Represents Whom? A Conversation on Decolonizing Humanitarian Governance
July 26, 2021
The Black Lives Matter movement, #AidToo, and the failure to support locally-led responses during COVID-19 have spotlighted power imbalances in the humanitarian sector. Whether between large NGOs and local organizations, or crisis-affected populations, there are limited ways for people to participat...
Why Do Some Donors Give More Aid to Poor Countries?
July 07, 2021
Most differences in global aid allocation cannot be explained using our measures of need, humanitarian demand, capacity and donor relations in a simple linear regression model.
Financing the Humanitarian Public Good: Towards a More Effective Humanitarian Financing Model
July 07, 2021
The international humanitarian system provides a global public service but is financed on a voluntary basis. The way official donor funding is mobilised and allocated is unpredictable and haphazard, reducing efficiency and effectiveness. Donors should overcome the collective action problem that is i...