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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.

Hurricane Sandy and Development

Will Hurricane Sandy be the wake-up call that Americans need to finally recognize that rapid climate change is already upon us and the rest of the world?  Michael Mann, a leading climate scientist, told the Los Angeles Times it may be a galvanizing event, “a Cuyahoga River moment for climate change.” The superstorm, Mann says, “has galvanized attention to this issue and the role that climate change may be playing with regard to the intensification of extreme weather.” Cleveland’s Cuyohaga River in

The Biggest Experiment in Evaluation: MCC and Systematic Learning

MCC recently published five impact evaluations on farmer training programs – the first of many because MCC, unlike most other development agencies, is conducting such studies for about 40 percent of its portfolio. I would argue that this makes MCC the biggest experiment in evaluation: an entire agency committed to seriously produce impact evaluations on a large share of its operations and publicly disseminate them.

South Korea Wins Green Climate Fund: Now Comes the Hard Part

This is a joint post with Lawrence MacDonald.

In a break with the post-World War II practice of international organizations being headquartered in either Europe or the US, South Korea beat five nations to become the host of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), a new entity that may become a key player in international efforts to avert runaway climate change. The GCF interim secretariat announced late last month that Songdo International Business District, a gleaming new satellite city adjacent to South Korea’s main airport, won the competition to host the fund. The decision is expected to be confirmed at the 18th Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that will get underway in Doha, Qatar, later this month.

Dodd-Frank, the EU, and the Resource Curse

British Prime Minister David Cameron’s op-ed  in the Wall Street Journal lays out his anti-poverty vision. As my colleague Todd Moss notes, this type of serious, top-down and bottom-up debate about development issues doesn’t make the US look especially good by comparison.

David Cameron’s Antipoverty Agenda: It’s Post-Gleneagles, Post-2015, and Post-Aid, but is it Post-November 6?

While we are desperately trying to decode a strand of insight into US development policy in the Presidential debates, the British are having a full-throated debate about leadership on 21st-century global issues —and, frankly, making us look bad. In today’s Wall Street Journal, British Prime Minister David Cameron lays out his antipoverty vision in this op-ed.  My three takeaways:

Corruption and Development -- William Savedoff

Pogo famously said: “We have met the enemy and he is us.” That thought underpins my conversation with CGD senior fellow Bill Savedoff on corruption and development. Bill joined me last week after hosting a roundtable discussion with two anti-corruption experts who have recently published books on the issue, Frank Vogl, author of Waging War on Corruption and Laurence Cockcroft, author of Global Corruption Money, Power, and Ethics in the Modern World. In our conversation, Bill draws on the key ideas in these two books to unpack the various ways of thinking about—and addressing—corruption in development. We also discuss three emerging areas of CGD work on the issue, each of which focuses on the policies and practices of the rich and powerful—in global terms, us.

On My Wish List for the Next Administration: A US Africa Policy Worthy of Africa

Precisely as Africa is rising on the radar screens of investors and security types, it seems to be falling off the US foreign policy map. With the exception of Governor Romney’s mention of Mali (twice!) in the third debate, Africa hardly featured at all. That’s a shame, since Africa is both a growing opportunity and will become a greater threat if neglected. I’ve been deeply disappointed to see the United States reduce its engagement with the continent under the current administration, losing ground on the progress made under Presidents Clinton and Bush. Regardless of who wins on November 6, the scope for doing better—and more without more money—is obvious.

The following originally appeared on October 1 as “Missing in Africa” on ForeignAffairs.com.

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