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Weekly wire: The global forum

Roxanne Bauer's picture

These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.

Fast-forward progress: Leveraging tech to achieve the global goals
The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) adopted in 2015 invite global action by 2030 in three overarching areas: end poverty, combat climate change and fight injustice and inequality. Today we see ICT as a powerful enabler for each of the 17 goals, and an essential catalyst in driving rapid transformation of nearly every aspect of our lives.
The Commitment to Development Index 2017
Center for Global Development
The Commitment to Development Index ranks 27 of the world's richest countries on policies that affect more than five billion people living in poorer nations. Because development is about more than foreign aid, the Index covers seven distinct policy areas: Aid, Finance, Technology, Environment, Trade, Security, Migration. Why does Commitment to Development matter? In our integrated world, decisions made by rich countries about their own policies and behaviour have repercussions for people in developing nations. At the same time, greater prosperity and security in poorer countries benefit the whole world. They create new economic opportunities, increase innovation, and help reduce risks posed by public health, security, and economic crises. The Commitment to Development Index (CDI) celebrates countries whose policies benefit not only themselves, but also the development of others, and promote our common good. 

Global Trends Report: Forced Displacement in 2016
Over the past two decades, the global population of forcibly displaced people has grown substantially from 33.9 million in 1997 to 65.6 million in 2016, and it remains at a record high (see Figure 1). Most of this increase was concentrated between 2012 and 2015, driven mainly by the Syrian conflict. But this rise also was due to other conflicts in the region such as in Iraq and Yemen, as well as in sub-Saharan Africa including Burundi, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, and Sudan. The increase of recent years has led to a major increase in displacement: from about 1 in 160 people a decade ago to 1 in 113 today. Although still at a record high at the end of 2016, the growth in the number of people who have been forcibly displaced has slowed for the first time in recent years. However, large numbers of people were on the move in 2016 and affected by forced displacement, with many people newly displaced as well as large numbers of returning refugees and IDPs.
Five TED Talks that inspired me
Voices WB blog post by Jim Yong Kim
This April, I had the honor of delivering a TED Talk in Vancouver, Canada. TED Talks aim to inspire and spread ideas, and this year’s theme – The Future Us – explored what lies ahead for the world.  Artificial intelligence, robotics, and other technological advances hold great promise, but these changes are coming at break-neck speed. I’m afraid many of us aren’t ready. There’s still too much poverty and inequality in the world, and we have a lot of work to provide opportunities for everyone.  A grave concern is that millions, or potentially billions, of poor people could be left behind as we enter a new industrial age. Too many people in developing countries lack access to quality education, nutrition, health care, and the opportunity to reach their potential. Yet, their aspirations for a better life are rising. We must find ways to help our clients meet these aspirations or risk more frustration, migration, and conflict. In a nutshell, this is what I talked about on the TED stage. To prepare, I watched a number of other TED Talks by World Bank Group colleagues and alumni, scientists, authors, economists, and technologists.
These 3 barriers make it hard for policymakers to use the evidence that development researchers produce
Washington Post
In international development, the “evidence revolution” has generated a surge in policy research over the past two decades. We now have a clearer idea of what works and what doesn’t. In India, performance pay for teachers works: students in schools where bonuses were on offer got significantly higher test scores. In Kenya, charging small fees for malaria bed nets doesn’t work — and is actually less cost-effective than free distribution. The American Economic Association’s registry for randomized controlled trials now lists 1,287 studies in 106 countries, many of which are testing policies that very well may be expanded. But can policymakers put this evidence to use?
Stop blaming poor countries’ poverty on corruption—sometimes it’s just bad luck
There was a time when the predominant view worldwide as to why poor people and countries were poor involved the circumstances they were in—they lacked the money for the roads, factories, and power that would spur industrialization, or the education and healthcare that would make them productive. But, in the rich world at least, views have shifted. Now it is a commonplace argument that the reason poor countries are poor is because of the moral failings of the people who live there—governance that doesn’t work, perhaps driven by a “culture of corruption.” More than half of respondents in the UK suggested in a recent poll that that the single most important reason poor countries are poor is because of corrupt governments. That view of developing countries—and the implied moral superiority of richer countries—is corrosive. Just as “they are lazy” is a justification to slash domestic welfare programs, “they are corrupt” justifies opposing aid or trade reform that might improve prospects for the global poor. And it doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.

Photo credit: Flickr user fdecomit

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