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All That Glisters: The Golden Thread and Complexity

David Cameron co-chairs the UN Panel on the future of the development agenda, so his 'golden thread' view of development is likely to have a global impact. In the second of three blog posts looking at development policy through the lens of complexity thinking, Owen Barder asks whether the British government's golden thread is good development policy. He concludes that though it has much to commend it, it also has significant weaknesses.

The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, wants us to stop talking simply about the quantity of aid we give, and:

“start talking about what I call the ‘golden thread’, which is you only get real long-term development through aid if there is also a golden thread of stable government, lack of corruption, human rights, the rule of law, transparent information.”

This is not a new wheeze: Mr Cameron has been talking about the golden thread since before he became leader of the Conservative party. Given that he is a co-chair of the UN High Level Panel on the global development agenda after 2015, we can expect to see some of this thinking in that panel’s recommendations.

Follow the Money: Illicit Financial Flows and Development

When I joined CGD to start our Europe programme, I said there were two particular reasons why we need more of CGD’s approach in Europe: first, there is more to development than aid; and second, as citizens of rich countries we have a responsibility to focus on how our policies affect development. CGD in Europe is now embarking on an exciting new programme which puts those principles into action.

What Is Development?

This is the first of three blog posts looking at the implications of complexity theory for development. These posts draw on a new online lecture by Owen Barder, based on his Kapuscinski Lecture in May 2012 which was sponsored by UNDP and the EU. In this post, Barder explains how complexity science, which is belatedly getting more attention from mainstream economists, gives a new perspective to the meaning of ‘development’.

CGD in Europe – Owen Barder

This podcast was originally recorded in March, 2012.

Most Wonkcasts focus on CGD’s research and policy work. This one is different. My guest is Owen Barder and our topic is CGD itself, specifically the effort that Owen is leading to greatly increase the Center’s engagement in Europe. Owen, a CGD senior fellow and director for Europe, previously worked for CGD on our Advance Market Commitment initiative, which led to a $1.5 billion pilot commitment to purchase and ensure delivery of new vaccines to prevent pneumococcal disease. He subsequently spent three years in Ethiopia and recently resumed working for CGD, based in London, to strengthen the Center’s ties with the European development research and policy community. [Note: Owen continues to maintain his own excellent blog, Owen Abroad and to host occasional podcasts, Development Drums; these are also now available on the CGD Website multimedia page.]

Europe Development Digest: How to Get It

The small CGD team in Europe tries to keep abreast of what is going on in development policy around Europe, for our own benefit and to share with CGD colleagues.  We thought others might be interested to receive our weekly digest of up to a half dozen stories which have caught our eye.

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