Aid for countries after a disaster is rooted in our best impulses, but the way we provide it urgently needs to be reformed. We spend too little on reducing the costs of future disasters, aid shows up too late, and calls for reform are met with replies of “too bad” because the poorest people bear the greatest costs. But this is a problem that we can fix.
CGD Policy Blogs
Female genital mutilation/cutting rates have fallen in some countries but risen in others, despite a global ban. A new paper looks at the success story of Burkina Faso and the role of legal reform in decreasing FGM/C.
More people are now displaced outside their home than at any other time since UNHCR records began; these mass movements will only continue as conflict, disaster, extreme poverty, and other hardships force people to seek safety and opportunity. Unfortunately, most recent policy solutions have been ad hoc and based in fear. Can we do better? CGD and co-host ODI recently convened a panel of experts to discuss the economics and politics of this crucial question.
India's Ministry of Health is committed to universal health coverage and has announced its plan to provide dialysis in the face of rising kidney failure. But providing dialysis for all who need it could consume the entire public health budget. Policymakers need to evaluate affordable dialysis options, pay systematic attention to the selection of who will receive dialysis, and put more emphasis on prevention.
Financing for humanitarian aid is broken. The costs of rapid- (like cyclones) and slow- (like drought) onset disasters are concentrated in poor, vulnerable countries, with a bill to donors of more than $19 billion last year. But far too often, we wait until crises develop before funding the response—what experts at CGD’s recent panel event (recording available at the link) described as a medieval approach of passing around begging bowls and relying on benefactors. The delays make crises worse. And since money shows up, however imperfectly, when things go wrong, it undermines incentives to build resilience, relegating vulnerable people to depending on fickle goodwill.
Now the Government of India and the World Bank have adopted an approach using principles we describe as Cash on Delivery (COD). The program follows three of these principles by linking payments to outcomes, not inputs; independently verifying outcomes; and allowing recipients to take the lead. India has become the single largest payer for outcomes in a nationwide sanitation initiative.
As President Obama joked earlier this week, the White House Summit on Global Development assembled “a lot of do-gooders in one room.” It was a daylong celebration of the Administration’s achievements across food security, global health, energy access, open government and more. There was much to applaud, including President Obama’s announcement that he had just signed into law the Global Food Security Act. Here are my three takeaways.
Yesterday at the White House Summit on Global Development, as President Obama outlined the programmatic successes of his administration’s global development policy (all genuine and worthy of acclaim), he didn’t even bother to mention the response to the global financial crisis that consumed his administration for much of its first year. Yet, when we consider just how perilous the economic conditions were for the United States and the world during that time, it is not unreasonable to conclude that the cause of global development was served at least as much by these efforts than by any single development initiative launched by an American president.
Uttar Pradesh Just Planted 49 Million Trees in a Day. Shouldn't It Get More Than a Guinness World Record?
Given the global climate benefits those trees will provide, shouldn't the tree-planters earn more than just recognition? Shouldn’t they earn some performance-based payments too?