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Already 126 days into implementation, the 230 individual indicators that make up the SDGs are not quite ready for action. The decision to not consider data availability during goal and target selection may come back to haunt SDG implementation.
Somewhere in a village in Nigeria, a young girl is sitting in school today, just like she does every day, packed onto a crowded wooden bench in a faded school uniform. She represents a victory in the global effort to get all children learning, and her presence will be recorded as progress in the global databases maintained by UNESCO and the World Bank. There's just one catch. She's not learning anything.
“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.
Cared for by her grandmother in a village in Nigeria, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is emphatic that her experiences as a child are what led her into a career in public service and development. “I lived some of the issues that people are concerned about in development,” she explains in the video below, part of a new CGD podcast.
After seeming to settle on 230 indicators to measure the sustainable development goals (SDGs), the United Nations has abruptly decided to adopt additional indicators for Agenda 2030. During its latest session, the Interagency Expert Group on the SDGs (IAEG-SDGs) determined that each of the 169 targets should be measured in relation to each of the 17 goals. In this way, the SDG agenda will have maximum integration, interdependency, and inclusion through the incorporation of 2,873 indicators.
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.
Uganda has sought to finance its development agenda with oil since discovering the resource in its Albertine Lakes Basin in 2009. This paper considers alternative methods for distributing the rents from oil that mitigate some of the governance risks associated with natural resource revenues.
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are unlikely to be met by 2015, even if huge increases in development assistance materialize. The rates of progress required by many of the goals are at the edges of or beyond historical precedent. Many countries making extraordinarily rapid progress on MDG indicators, due in large part to aid, will nonetheless not reach the MDGs. Unrealistic targets thus may turn successes into perceptions of failure, serving to undermine future constituencies for aid (in donors) and reform (in recipients). This would be unfortunate given the vital role of aid and reform in the development process and the need for long-term, sustained aid commitments.
Nigeria is currently classified by the World Bank as a ‘blend’ country, making it the poorest country in the world that does not have ‘IDA-only’ status. This paper uses the World Bank’s own IDA eligibility criteria to assess whether Nigeria has a case for reclassification.