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The World Bank's New Safeguards: A Step Forward or Back? – Podcast with Scott Morris

A multi-year project just came to fruition with the endorsement by the Board of the World Bank of its new set of safeguards—the social and environmental standards that govern Bank-funded projects in client countries. CGD's expert on multilateral development banks, senior fellow Scott Morris, reacted to the new policies in a recent blog post, and joins me this week on the CGD Podcast to discuss. 

Doing More than Safeguarding the Safeguards at the World Bank

Depending on who you listen to, the World Bank has either just launched an unprecedented reach into the domestic political affairs of sovereign nations, or it has gutted the rules that have helped define its essential character as a global norm-setter. Both can’t be right, and most likely, neither is. To better understand the objectives of the bank's newly adopted “safeguards” regime, and why I’m somewhat encouraged by it, it’s worth looking more closely at the arguments of critics on both sides.

The Latest Oil-to-Cash Battleground: Juneau, Alaska

One of the nearest real-world examples of Oil-to-Cash is Alaska, which has paid an annual dividend to every state resident since 1982. One of the presumptive lessons drawn from Alaska’s experience has been that once a dividend was in place, political forces aligned to protect it from politicians. Yet last week, Alaska Governor Bill Walker announced the first-ever cut to the Alaska Permanent Fund dividend.

The Senate’s Ideas for MCC: All Good in Theory, One Questionable in Practice

The FY17 State and Foreign Operations spending bill brought good news for the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) with big implications for its operations. New authority to engage in concurrent compacts in a single country would enable MCC to operate on a regional level, and provisions adjusting the criteria MCC uses to select partner countries could influence where MCC works. These are reasonable (even good!) ideas in theory, but the proposed eligibility requirement gives me some pause and could be challenging to apply in practice.

Getting to 1504 in 2016: Long-Awaited Progress on Extractive Industry Transparency

At long last, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has published the rule requiring extractive industry investors—oil, gas, and mining companies—to publish all payments of $100,000 or more that they make to governments as part of their operations. Great congratulations are in order to all those, including Oxfam and Publish What You Pay, who have worked so hard to get this rule published!

Escaping the Scandal Cycle: Three Ways to Improve Funder Response

Health aid pays for life-saving medicines, products, and services in the poorest countries in the world. Funding for such uses needs to be smooth and uninterrupted. But when fraud is detected, funds are subject to sudden stops and starts—the result of a sequence of events set off by the scandal cycle in health aid. We examine this idea in a new CGD policy paper.

"The Worst Aid Project in the World:" EU Support for Detention Camps in Sudan

More than a million migrants and refugees arrived in Europe in 2015, with thousands dying in the attempt to cross by sea. EU development policy has swung into action, in an attempt to address the “root causes” of the movement of people. But this rapid reaction has led to some poor decisions, with the potential to waste a lot of money, and potentially cause serious harm.

Welcome, President Joyce Banda!

Last week CGD hosted an event on advancing women’s political leadership, featuring Malawi’s first female president and Africa’s second, President Joyce Banda. President Banda discussed her own experiences as a woman in African politics and her current work to encourage other women to become political leaders, arguing forcefully for leveling the playing field

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