CGD Policy Blogs
It seems like everyone is making lists this time of year, and we at CGD are no exception. Here’s a look at the 20 most popular posts to our Views from the Center blog in 2011.
Thank you for your continued readership and we look forward to bringing you even more information and expert analysis in 2012.
It’s back to business in the aid industry with the High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (HLF4) behind us, although the impact of the Forum and its communiqué, the Busan Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation, will likely continue to be debated for some time.
Brian Atwood, the chair of the Development Assistance Committee at the OECD (and administrator of USAID from 1992 to 1998), was one of the key figures at last week’s Busan High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness. He had to help find a balance between broadening the alliance to include new and emerging donors with pushing for further and faster reforms among the main existing donors and multilateral institutions. He has shared with us his reflections on the progress made in Busan, and I encourage you to read them below. He argues that the agreement reached there has set a new direction in the effort to rationalize the global architecture for development.
This is a joint post with Stephanie Majerowicz
“The defining division these days is increasingly: open or closed? Are we open to the changing world? Or do we see its menace, but not its possibilities?”
—Tony Blair, A Global Alliance for Global Values, September 2006
It is easy to be cynical about international summits and their carefully drafted communiqués. But they sometimes matter more than people expect. (If they didn’t, why would government officials put so much time and effort into negotiating the text?) Even if the text is often a bland compromise, these meetings can help to move an issue forward, by locking in a new consensus which forms the platform for further progress.
Last week the respected British Medical Journal published a back-of-the-envelope calculation by Mills et al. suggesting that the emigration of physicians from Africa cost the continent billions of dollars and saved billions for the countries of destination. I share and appreciate the authors’ concern for strengthening health care systems in Africa. But the numbers they calculate are deeply flawed, and their unfortunate arithmetic should be ignored by policymakers.
This post was originally featured on Owen Barder’s Owen Abroad: Thoughts on Development and Beyond blog.
Will the largest aid donors hide behind China to excuse their inability to make substantial improvements in foreign aid? How can Busan balance the desire to be more universal with the pressing need for real changes in the way aid is given?
This is a joint post with Owen Barder
Whether future historians remember last week’s G-20 Summit in Cannes will depend on what happens in the weeks and months ahead. If the eurozone problems spiral out of control, Cannes will be to the coming crash as the 1933 London Economic Conference was to the Great Depression: a lost chance to avert calamity. If Europe muddles through, the brief association of Cannes with the G-20 will be soon forgotten and the resort will again be famous for its film festival.
It is now clear that donor coordination meetings are not the answer to making aid more effective, and donors such as USAID are becoming interested in a more decentralized ‘Google Maps’ approach to aid coordination, facilitating well-informed decisions by people on the ground. For this to work, donors need to publish detailed project level information in an open, reusable, internationally consistent data format. Some donors are not yet showing the necessary resolve.
We now know that the development system has met just one of the 13 targets it set in 2005 for making aid more effective. That is not surprising: the problems diagnosed in the Paris Declaration are real and important, but the solutions that have been pursued in its name have not been practical. There are better ways to achieve the aid effectiveness which the Paris Declaration envisages.