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CGD Policy Blogs


The Climate Change Vulnerability Index -- David Wheeler

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.

What Indicators Reveal about Interest in Global Health: The World Health Statistics Report

A few days ago the World Health Statistics 2012 Report released its annual compendium of statistics. No doubt, it was a lot of work to compile—to verify every number in every cell, for each country and indicator. The WHO should be commended for providing this invaluable global public good. A sincere request: the Report would be more user-friendly and useful if the Report came with spreadsheets in downloadable tables (much like the World Malaria Report), and if the Report’s tables were consistent with their main database, the Global Health Observatory (GHO). For example, the coverage measures of oral rehydration therapy (ORT) which were included in the Report are absent from the GHO, as far as we can tell. (On an unrelated note, we did notice that the GHO recently added hand-washing as an indicator, perhaps in response to a recent blog—kudos to WHO!)

EBRD Raises the Bar for International Appointments

On Friday evening, the governors of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development   (EBRD) selected a new president: British civil servant Sir Suma Chakrabarti. The decision is important because the EBRD has recently taken on a major global challenge: assisting the countries of the Arab Spring.  It also matters because the selection process raised the bar for open, transparent and merit-based leadership selection at other international institutions, including the World Bank, IMF and the other regional development banks.

Obama Updates Development Profile: Ag and Private Sector Now Friends

President Obama announced $3 billion in new private sector investments in agriculture in three African countries at a packed event in Washington, D.C., last Friday. The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition is the cornerstone of the United States' 2012 G-8 commitments to development led by USAID and administrator Rajiv Shah. There's a lot to like about the partnership: presidential leadership, a link between public and private investment, and a focus on policy change. But all eyes are on how the relatively modest investments will be implemented and whether they can reach the ambitious poverty reduction targets.