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International Investment Agreements: Not Fit for the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda

In a world with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the international investment policy system stands as an obsolete regime in urgent need of revision and reform. This is the main conclusion of the analysis that the think tank CIECODE conducted for CGD’s 2017 Commitment to Development Index (CDI). The analysis measures the amount of “sustainable development content” included in International Investment Agreements (IIAs) signed between developing and developed countries. Here, we look at best practices, main issues and which countries could do better.

Fifteen Years Isn’t That Long: The SDGs and Holistic Development

Do the fifteen year targets of the SDGs stand in the way of their vision of integration and sustainability? If you wanted to achieve long term development progress, you’d probably focus on technology change, learning and innovation in policies, and improving institutional functioning. If you wanted to improve outcomes in fifteen years, you’d probably focus on throwing money at technical solutions. The problems with the second approach include that we don’t have the money, and the technical solutions won’t necessarily work best over the long term.

A Global Burden of Disease Data Plus Model to Inform Domestic Decision-Making: In Search of Super-local Data

Global Burden of Disease (GBD) country rankings can strengthen the case of advocates at global and national levels for prioritising investment towards the major drivers of mortality and morbidity. But as discussed in our earlier blog post, when it comes to informing specific investment cases within these broader priorities, GBD data alone are not enough to allow consideration of trade-offs and of opportunity costs of alternative investment choices addressing the same problem. The next step in using data to trigger action ought to be the generation, in conjunction with domestic stakeholders, of what we call below “super-local data.”

Measuring Progress towards Health SDGs: Great Effort, More Needed

Earlier this month, the first analysis of countries’ progress towards attaining the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was published in the Lancet. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) used Global Burden of Disease Data (GBD 2016) to create an index for 37 (out of 50) health-related SDG indicators between 1990–2016, for a total of 188 countries. Based on the pace of change recorded over the past 25 years or so, the researchers then projected the indicators to 2030. The punchline: if past is prologue, the median number of SDG targets attained in 2030 will be five of the 24 defined targets currently measured. Not very inspiring.

A Third Wave of Intellectual Leadership on Development at the UN?

In the lifetime of the United Nations, there have been two times when there have been intellectual centers addressing major global issues that led to a sea change in how the world works. One such time was in the late 1940s when a number of Nobel Prize thinkers created national accounting, like the gross national product, and established the post-World War II international trade regime. The second such time started in 1989. Can we imagine a third wave of intellectual leadership at the UN?

Where Are the Gender Data? Three Steps to Better Data and Closing Gaps

Gender data are essential. How else are we going to monitor progress in the wellbeing of women and girls? Below, we provide background on data shortage, and outline three key steps that countries and the international community should take in order to produce better data and close gender gaps.

We Don’t Want Kinky Energy Either

Energy wonks will gather in New York City on April 3 for the third annual Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) forum to discuss progress on SDG7, whose aim is “By 2030, [to] ensure universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services.” The target is wonderful. The details are where this gets a little kinky.

Insights from Experience: Practical Effects of the SDGs on Public Administration and Aid

When the UN adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015, they were met with a mix of hopedismay, and derision. Until we see how people respond to these goals, judgments about their specificity, complexity, and usefulness are educated guesses. At a workshop last month, I got a glimpse of two ways the SDGs may be making a difference—focusing political attention and reorganizing aid relationships.

Postcard from Davos

The world’s elite—plus a few ringers like me—gathered last week in the small Swiss village of Davos to discuss the state of the world at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF). Although not formally on the agenda, the issue of tropical forests infiltrated a number of discussions. But first, a quick recap of the meeting’s big themes that provided the broader context.

To Leave No One Behind, Data Disaggregation Needs to Catch Up

The inaugural UN World Data Forum, which wrapped up yesterday, saw the launch of the Cape Town Global Action Plan for Sustainable Development Data—a framework for governments, international organizations, and others to generate quality and timely data to measure progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Plan includes a number of actions around data disaggregation. We’re glad to see them, because the current level of disaggregation for SDG indicators is deeply inadequate.

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