Ideas to Action:

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CGD Policy Blogs

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A Quarter of Aid Is Transparent – What About the Rest? Podcast with Rupert Simons of Publish What You Fund

“Transparency has the potential to transform the effectiveness of aid spending,” said UNDP Administrator Helen Clark at a recent CGD event co-hosted with Publish What You Fund to launch its 2016 Aid Transparency Index. For the second year running, UNDP comes out at the top of the index – and in this week's CGD Podcast, Publish What You Fund’s CEO Rupert Simons says that generally, we understand more clearly who gives what to whom and why.

FY2016 Omnibus – Naughty or Nice?

While you might not know it from the weather, there’s at least one sure sign it’s December in DC. No, we’re not referring to the oversized and ornamented evergreens on the Capitol and White House lawns, but to the recent mad dash by Congress to wrap up remaining legislative business before the end of session. Despite a year marked by bitter partisanship, Congress managed to arrive at an agreement to fund the federal government through the rest of FY2016.

Four Challenges for Blended Finance and Development Finance Institutions

Overseas development assistance amounts to about $135 billion dollars annually, but the cost of paying for the Sustainable Development Goals will be in the trillions. As a result, blended finance is something of a buzz phrase these days. I left a workshop on blended finance last week in Paris excited about the potential of these new structures and instruments to deliver social returns. But I was also struck by the challenges DFIs and their advocates must overcome in order to fully realize that potential. 

A Global Prosperity Agenda for the 2016 Election – The White House and the World

What does the 2016 election mean for America’s future position in the world?  It’s likely too early to tell at this stage of the campaign cycle.  Many of the early Republican contenders — such as Jeb Bush and Scott Walker — have been relatively quiet on foreign policy issues or have focused almost exclusively on Iran, Israel, and Russia.  That’s to be expected at this point.  Yet, other candidates — like Marco Rubio and Lindsey Graham — are already outlining a more comprehensive vision for advancing American interests.

My Ten Development Policy Wishes for 2015

Here are my wishes for commitments that countries could make at each of three big development-relevant international events in the next 12 months. I find it harder than ever to make such a list this year; global cooperation is becoming harder than ever to manage. With the rise of China and other emerging markets, cooperation in what is now a multipolar system is more necessary than it has been in decades, but more and more elusive. That puts a premium on strengthening the world’s international institutions and on—yes—UN and other international conferences and convenings and conversations in search of a global consensus on norms, programs, actions, and goals

My Two Big Worries about the World Bank

For the first time in its seven-decade-long history, World Bank staff staged a work stoppage earlier this month. Staff are unhappy about the “Change Process,” aka the ongoing internal reorganization that President Kim initiated on his arrival at the bank now more than two years ago.

One Way Not to Leave Global Fund Money on the Table

President Obama earlier this week made a last minute appeal to donors to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Offering a US pledge of $1 for every $2 pledged by other donors for a total US pledge of up to $5 billion, the president said, “don’t leave our money on the table.” Well, the initial commitments are in, and it appears that there will in fact be US money left on the table. Donors to the Global Fund announced total pledges of $12 billion, suggesting a US commitment of about $4 billion.

Is Anyone Listening? US Foreign Aid (Mis)Alignment – Benjamin Leo

My guest on this week’s Global Prosperity Wonkcast is CGD senior fellow and director of the Rethinking US Development Policy program Ben Leo, here to discuss his new CGD working paper, Is Anyone Listening?  in which he examines how well US foreign assistance aligns with the priorities of people in recipient countries. Answer: not so much or, as Ben puts it more diplomatically: “the alignment is modest at best.”

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