2021 was to be the year in which the UK took leadership of global education. So it’s devastating that, instead of demonstrating its commitment to education during this moment in the spotlight, the UK government has chosen to cut education spending by more than 40 percent, compared with overall aid cuts of around 25 percent.
CGD Policy Blogs
Among the many disparities and inequities that COVID-19 has shone a light upon, the chasm in health outcomes between rich and poor countries is being particularly sharply highlighted. While Israel, the US, the UK, and a handful of high- and upper-middle income countries are charging forward with their vaccination programmes, many of the poorest are left behind—sometimes to rapidly soaring infection rates, as in India. Universal health—that is, a basic level of health and nutrition achieved globally—seems a distant prospect.
COVID-19 and the economic crisis it unleashed have spurred unprecedented action from governments and international institutions. Multilateral development banks (MDBs) like the Asian Development Bank (ADB) swiftly committed resources to COVID-19 response and recovery efforts in 2020 and 2021, including a $20 billion countercyclical support facility and a $9 billion facility specifically for COVID-19 vaccine procurement and vaccination program implementation.
Even before the Biden-Harris administration took office, they made clear that one of their top international priorities would be renewing the United States’ commitment to multilateralism. Within the international financial institutions (IFIs)—the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF)—as well as the United Nations, the US agenda over the next four years will be one of re-engaging with management and rebuilding coalitions with allied shareholders to advance priority issues and approaches. One of these priority areas will be improving the effectiveness of engagement in fragile states.
The world is in the midst of its worst pandemic in 100 years. We have seen human health, livelihoods, and businesses destroyed, but we have also seen unprecedented collective efforts to bring the pandemic under control. Since its inception in April 2020, the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) has been at the centre of these efforts. Led by a Facilitation Council co-hosted by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Commission, ACT-A brings together nine core implementing partners in collaboration with country governments, civil society organizations, and the private sector to develop the tools needed to test, treat, and prevent COVID-19.
Since the start of 2021, the pandemic has taken a more hopeful turn with the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. As such, an increasing number of public and private sectors in many settings are considering the introduction of COVID-19 vaccination certificates or similar instruments as a safe passage into the new normal.
Few would argue that collaboration and collective efforts across the multilateral development banks (MDBs) are not urgently needed. Yet while the logic and need are obvious, the actual extent of collaboration between MDBs is limited. Our recent paper explores how this gap in the international financial architecture might usefully be filled. It addresses what a new cross-MDB governing body might do and what it might look like.
On March 20, President Tayyip Erdogan announced Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention, aimed at preventing and combatting violence against women and domestic violence. The first binding treaty on the topic, the Istanbul Convention seeks to promote governments’ accountability in preventing violence and ending legal impunity for perpetrators. Turkey’s announcement was met with immediate criticism; Turkish citizens took to the streets in protest, and world leaders, including US President Joseph Biden, issued public statements opposing the decision.
In the UK’s recent comprehensive foreign policy review, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has reaffirmed the government’s commitment to resume spending 0.7 percent of gross national income on official development assistance (ODA) “when the fiscal situation allows.” This begs the question: when will the fiscal situation allow?
Biden Wants to Eliminate Lead Poisoning in American Children. We Propose an Even More Ambitious Goal: Global Eradication.
We applaud the Biden Administration's effort to address lead poisoning in the US. But we suggest Biden adopt an even more ambitious goal: not just national elimination, but global eradication of lead poisoning, especially in children. A global eradication campaign—modelled loosely on prior and ongoing global efforts to eradicate smallpox, polio, and guinea worm, mixed with inspiration from the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control—would offer a tremendous contribution to global welfare, economic growth, and even world peace. An American-led effort to eliminate lead poisoning globally could be an international moonshot elevating the Biden administration’s international statue and legacy.