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CGD Policy Blogs


From the White House with Love: Call for Global Development Council Nominees

The development community got an early Valentine from the White House: an executive order establishing the President’s Global Development Council. The council’s mission is to inform the president and other senior government officials on U.S. global development policies. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to help the White House generate nominees for the twelve non-government seats at the table.

USAID Needs to Develop Guidelines for Trilateral Cooperation

The concept of trilateral cooperation – understood in its basic form as a partnership among a traditional donor, an emerging donor, and a low income country – has been popping up with greater frequency of late signaling an increased interest in this new style of engagement.  Although the idea has been around since at least 2005 and already represents a growing share of south-to-south cooperation, it has not gained much currency in U.S.

Where Oh Where Has the GHI Gone? The Whole of Government Approach Hangs in the Balance

Amanda Glassman and Nandini Oomman, here at CGD, have released two separate notes (here and here) on the Global Health Initiative (GHI).  Amanda and Nandini, who both have deep backgrounds in global health issues, are critical of the GHI and cautious about its future.  Both see health assistance, in all its many forms, as a fundamental development activity.  Both knock the dysfunction of the current bureaucratic structure and lines of authority and

Expectations for the State of the Union

Tonight President Obama will make his third State of the Union address with the expectation that its themes will be largely driven by electoral considerations.  I agree, but Obama also addresses the public as the sitting president; he must strike the right balance between incumbent and candidate.

Given the dual purposes of the speech, here are my expectations on what he may say with regard to foreign policy and development issues.

S/O/N May Be DONE but We Need More Reform

Admittedly, procurement reform isn’t the most exciting topic in development policy. But the implications of USAID’s move last week to reform its Source, Origin, and Nationality rule (S/O/N), one of the mother relics of procurement rules, are too important to pass relatively unnoticed through the news cycle.

New Income Categories for MCC Countries

This is a joint post with Owen McCarthy.

The development community breathed a sigh of relief on December 23 when President Obama signed a nine-bill spending package that included healthy funding for the International Affairs budget. But there is more in this behemoth than topline funding numbers. Tucked away in the State, Foreign Operations portion are new income definitions for the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s (MCC) low income and lower middle income country categories.

At first glance, this may seem like news only for MCC wonks and income data nuts, but the new specifications will have far-reaching effects. The new income definitions will create new low income country (LIC) and lower middle income country (LMIC) groups with new indicator medians that could change a country’s passing/failing status. MCC legislation also dictates that only 25% of MCC funds may be used for LMICs; the new income definitions will alter the countries that fall under this cap by altering the income country groups.