Our efforts toward more and better impact evaluation of development programs made a major advance this week with the announcement that Howard White, who has dedicated his career to building evidence about development effectiveness, has accepted the position as the first director of the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (see the CGD initiative: Closing the Evaluation Gap).
CGD Policy Blogs
The White House finally blinked in the final hours of the UN's Bali Conference on Climate Change. The catalyst may have been the unprecedented boos and hisses directed at the US delegation from the floor, or the peremptory challenge from Kevin Conrad, Papua New Guinea's representative: "If for some reason you are not willing to lead, leave it to the rest of us. Please, get out of the way." Confronted by the prospect of pariah status, the US dropped its categorical resistance to emissions reduction targets and permitted their inclusion in a footnote to the final agreement.
Besides the official negotiations and speeches, the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Bali that I've been attending also provided opportunities for sharing new research and ideas. Two subjects dominated the schedule: adaptation and forestry (no doubt reflecting the preferences of our Indonesian hosts). Here I briefly discuss the use of climate models in adaptation -- a critical issue for those in the development community. [In a separate post to follow I'll note some new efforts in the measurement and monitoring of forest carbon.]
I'm in one of the world's most beautiful places, and I am seriously bummed. Few people had much in the way of expectations for the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Bali -- its purpose is to simply set the terms for negotiations over the next two years -- but I had retained a modicum of hope. I was especially hopeful that, in light of the IPCC's synthesis report and mountains of observational evidence of rapidly changing climate, we would see a new sense of urgency in the talks.
You might have seen Gunilla Pettersson’s excellent Development Data site mentioned recently on Dani Rodrik’s blog. Any development researcher will find riches in what Gunilla has carefully amassed and organized. Here are some other general-interest sources of data for empirical research on economic development:
What is a country to do with thousands of young rebel fighters, wives, and children returning from an unpopular war? The question is one that has been faced by dozens of developing countries, and is currently confronting several more. More often than not, the answer has been to provide ex-fighters with goods, cash support, and promises of services, such as vocational training. This approach has been fraught with challenges and controversy.
It's been a busy week here at the Center for Global Development. On Tuesday we hosted the meeting of CGD's Board of Directors--an activity that would have normally been plenty of excitement for one week.
In today's Financial Times, Martin Wolf explains why international labor movement is "hard to tackle". He starts from the premise that free, open migration is off the table:
Leaders create news as they stake out new territory, and they also create turbulence that can be harnessed by institutional reformers when conditions are right. The conditions were undoubtedly right at the World Bank in 1992.