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CGD explores the role and impact of climate finance and broader economic policy in assisting developing countries.
The effects of climate change are already being seen throughout the world, and it is clear that a fundamental change in the world’s economy will be needed if the planet is to survive. Lower income countries will be among those most affected by climate change; yet they have contributed least to global emissions, with the poorest 52 countries, home to 1.4bn people contributing less than 2% of global emissions.
As the world adjusts to a new climate reality, CGD experts are exploring the role climate finance and wider economic policy can have in assisting developing countries to adapt to whatever economic order may emerge. How can higher income countries and international financial institutions best support developing countries confronting the challenges of climate change? How can the COVID-19 recovery support the changes needed for long-term resilience and sustainability?
The Commitment to Development Index (CDI), which ranks 21 countries across six policy areas, is widely seen as the most comprehensive and substantive measure of rich country policies towards development. In response to requests from other would-be index builders, CDI architect David Roodman describes the work of the interdisciplinary team that builds and runs the Index. Among the lessons: to work well, policy indexes must combine humility with a clear sense of purpose.
Many poor countries, especially in Africa, will miss the MDGs by a large margin. But neither African inaction nor a lack of aid will necessarily be the reason. Instead, responsibility for near-certain ‘failure’ lies with the overly-ambitious goals themselves and unrealistic expectations placed on aid. While the MDGs may have galvanized activists and encouraged bigger aid budgets, over-reaching brings risks as well. Promising too much leads to disillusionment and can erode the constituency for long-term engagement with the developing world.
Even as President Obama breaks new ground this week on U.S. environmental policy, an upcoming vote by country members of the World Bank’s Clean Technology Fund Trust Fund Committee may perpetuate business-as-usual policies that subsidize coal-fired power plants and contribute to global warming. On Friday morning, the committee is scheduled to consider and approve investment criteria that include coal-fired power projects among “clean” technologies that are eligible for billions in MDB financing.