Anit Mukherjee of CGD, Pam Dixon of World Privacy Forum, and Camilla Ravnbøl of the University of Copenhagen discuss how vaccine certificates work, what challenges they pose, and how to make sure no one gets left behind.
CGD Policy Blogs
Bitcoin has failed to live up to the hype that it would democratize finance by enabling cheap, instantaneous, and secure payments that could be conducted without having to rely on stodgy old financial institutions like banks and credit card companies. And the Bitcoin network’s spiraling energy needs are truly staggering when compared to other potential uses.
Relying on biased information undermines the effectiveness of evidence-based policymaking. A potential source of bias in many datasets is that most of the world’s data scientists—i.e., the people who collect, organize, analyze data, and make decisions—are men.
Their Knowledge, Their Rights: Using Traditional Knowledge and Intellectual Property to Protect Communities
In the case of traditional knowledge, developing countries tend to be exporters rather than importers. They also tend to favor stronger protection of traditional knowledge through intellectual property laws, a position that distinctly contrasts with their calls for more flexible IP protection standards in general.
What impact do development finance institutions (DFIs) like the IFC have on actual development? Today, George Yang and I release a paper that tries to take a sectoral approach to impact: does an IFC electricity investment lead to more power production per capita in a country, or financing provided to local banks lead to a larger proportion of people with a bank account?
Can technology help? At the most basic level, a COVID ID would be a digitized version of the Yellow Card, the paper-based International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis that many international travelers carry with them traveling to and from high-risk areas of the world.
The COVID-19 pandemic has thrust digital issues into the spotlight by highlighting the importance of government access to accurate and timely information for public health surveillance and accelerating the shift towards a digital-first approach in many countries, due to the need to provide services at a distance. It has also brought to the forefront difficult questions about the limits that should be placed on governments and companies that seek to use potentially sensitive data to monitor the spread of disease and target public health efforts.
Directing innovation to overcome barriers to development in the world’s poorest countries is surely a good use of aid, then. But who should decide the barriers to overcome, and how should the research and development be supported?
While the spread of COVID-19 overshadowed the launch of the first digital strategy from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) in early April, the pandemic has also highlighted its significance by calling attention to the importance of access to digital technology and accelerating the global trend towards increased reliance on digital systems.
Increased reliance on digital tools to monitor the spread of disease raises serious questions about how to prevent governments from using those same tools to track individuals for other purposes after a health crisis has subsided.