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An image of an Indian woman wearing a mask.

Delivering Social Assistance during COVID with a “Digital-First” Approach: Lessons from India

As the COVID-19 pandemic started to exact a toll on lives and livelihoods in early 2020, countries imposed strict lockdowns to stem the spread of infections, disrupting economies and societies across the world. With pandemic-induced constraints on in-person interactions, many countries adopted a “digital first” approach to delivering social assistance, primarily cash transfers.

The U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office headquarters.

Why the UK Treasury’s Obsession with Targets Is Damaging for Development

After deciding that the UK can only afford to spend around £10 billion in aid, the Treasury is reportedly proposing further cuts in real aid spending solely to accommodate some unusual (but ODA-eligible) accounting items under the 0.5 percent target. These accounting items have no bearing on the affordability of, or expected benefits from, spending the initial £10 billion. In contrast to 2005, it seems the Treasury is about to let accounting anomalies dictate real-world decisions, and as a result, worthwhile programmes risk being cut for no other reason than to keep ODA constant as a percentage of GNI. There is no economic rationale for this, “difficult fiscal circumstances'' or otherwise

USAID Administrator Samantha Power speaks at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine.

Power Play: USAID's Administrator Makes the Case for Global Engagement, More Focus on Effectiveness

USAID Administrator Samantha Power appeared before House and Senate authorizing committees late last week to discuss the agency’s FY22 budget. It wasn’t surprising to hear Administrator Power make a case for strong US global engagement—including robust aid investments and continued commitment to humanitarian response. But she also demonstrated—in a number of important ways—a clear-eyed focus on development effectiveness. Below we highlight several issues we were glad to see receive attention.  

A group of women smile outside a health center in Lanier, Senegal

Gender Data Systems: Better Data for All

Earlier this month, nearly 50,000 people from civil society organizations, governments, and corporations convened in Paris for the Generation Equality Forum to define and announce bold commitments to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment across the globe. This mostly virtual forum culminated in the launch of a global 5-year action journey to accelerate gender equality by 2026 backed, for the first time ever, by significant financial resources. Forty billion dollars in new funding were committed over five years -- $23 billion by the public sector, $13 billion by the private sector, $4 billion by philanthropic organizations and $1.3 billion by UN entities. Now begins the hard work of spending these resources wisely and the even harder work of tracking expenditures and measuring their impact on the lives of women and girls everywhere.

International flags

Financing Pandemic Preparedness and Response: the Role of Germany and the US

In light of this current global health challenge, the Center for Global Development (CGD) and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS) have launched a series of events to strengthen the understanding and ties between German and US policy makers, experts, and civil society organizations. The first private rountable, “Financing Pandemic Preparedness and Response – the role of Germany and the US”, was held on July 9th 2021 under the Chatham House Rule. This blog highlights some of the main discussion points and outlines areas of cooperation.

A man lies in a hospital bed with an oxygen mask over his face

Three New Estimates of Deaths in India during the Pandemic

The official Covid death count in India as of end-June 2021 is 400,000. The reality is, of course, catastrophically worse. Unlike in other countries, authoritative excess death estimates based on official data have not been available because government recording of deaths, especially at the center, has been lagging. In new research, we provide three different estimates of such excess deaths based on three different data sources, each requiring different assumptions and methodologies.

An image of a doctor holding a vaccine.

Three Ways for DFC to Maximize Impact in the Health Sector

The early days of the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) have been defined by a mixed record, and its health-focused investments are no exception. In the face of competing foreign (and even domestic) policy priorities under the Trump Administration and pandemic-related shifts in the broader development landscape, the agency has struggled to build a solid pipeline of projects in lower-income markets and systematically articulate a strong development rationale for its financing.

A graph of countries where debt service exceeds new disbursements on official debt

Visualizing the Debt Service Drag on Developing Country Governments

The G7 countries pledged a massive scale-up in support of developing-country financing at their recent summit in the UK. How it will be financed remains an open question. But analyzing trends in recent debt flows by lenders to developing countries, and taking stock of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI), can provide some important lessons for the G7’s new ambitions.
Rail passengers wearing masks

It’s Freedom Day in the UK—but COVID Is Not Going Away Any Time Soon

The UK government is removing almost all COVID-19 restrictions from England in what the Prime Minister has as “Freedom Day”, but unfettered freedom does not exist. COVID is not going away any time soon. It’s time to prioritize transparency, consultation and long-term solutions. Everyone wants the world to return to normal, but we need to find a new normal that maximizes freedom in a world where COVID will be ever-present, rather than trying to return to a pre-pandemic status quo.

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