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People and the Planet

Population issues have been conspicuously absent from the discussions on the environmental sustainability of our globalized economy in the run-up to the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development, which will take place in Brazil on June 20-22 under the auspices of the United Nations.

Is European Aid Skepticism Going to Drive Aid Innovation?

Cash on Delivery Aid (COD Aid) is moving from concept to reality as I learned in a recent trip to Europe. In the process we are learning a lot about measuring outcomes and other implementation challenges. While I heard about the ways aid agencies are beginning to try COD Aid or similar initiatives, the internal resistance they face told me a lot about the internal contradictions we’ve lived with in foreign aid for a long time.

It’s (Still) Time to Try Something New to Pressure Assad in Syria

This is a joint post with Kimberly Elliott

The April 12 deadline for a complete ceasefire in Syria seems to have slightly damped the violence in Syria for now, but alone it will do nothing to ensure a peaceful transition to a democratic government. President Bashar Assad’s government is still not complying with other parts of the UN brokered peace plan aimed at ending more than a year of deadly violence, and world leaders are insisting that a credible political transition must take place quickly for this fragile progress to hold any weight.

The World Bank Gets Open

The World Bank has responded to concerns about its recent agreement with Google with a welcome announcement that it will only support mapping collaborations which make crowd-sourced data publicly available – and that means not collaborating this way with Google.

CGD in Europe – Owen Barder

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.]

What Happened to Health at the G-8?

For many years, the G8 was a great place for global health.  In 2010, the G8 committed to US$ 5 billion for maternal, newborn and child health that grew into the US$ 40 billion Global Strategy on Women’s and Children’s Health.  In 2007, G8 members made a $1.5 billion pledge “to reduce the gaps in … maternal and child health care and voluntary family planning.” In 2005, leaders agreed to provide “universal access to anti-HIV drugs in Africa.” And in 2001, the G8 created the Global Fund on AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Don't Be Evil (World Bank & Google Edition)

This post first appeared on Owen Abroad, along with a list of suggested further readings. Please post any comments on the original version.

I am a generally a fan of both the World Bank and of Google, but we should all be worried about their recent deal.

The intention is good: it is to promote crowd-sourcing of maps, to improve planning in disasters and to improve the planning, management and monitoring of public services. This is an important goal, which is now being made possible by new technologies and the spread of the internet. The deal is sufficiently important for World Bank Managing Director Caroline Anstey to write about it in the opinion pages of the New York Times:

Barder on Post-Bureaucratic Aid . . . and the Complexity Motive Behind Cash on Delivery

Owen Barder unpacks the results agenda, now so much discussed in the aid and development community, here.  It’s brilliant. He sets out four different motivations of various parties in the community for their recent focus on the “results agenda”. I asked myself which motivation has driven my devotion to the idea of Cash on Delivery Aid (COD Aid). (If you are new to COD Aid, see this short video for a start.)

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