The Importance of Measuring the Distribution of Health

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The Importance of Measuring the Distribution of Health

BY LAUREN HARTEL

In the past half-century, health economics as a subject has grown substantially.  Yet, economic analysis of health distribution in and of itself—particularly in developing countries—remains nascent.  The few studies that exist tie health to other socioeconomic variables such as income or income inequality, confounding the examination of health distribution. 

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 LNG IMPORTS: A CASE STUDY IN DEVELOPING HAITI'S ENERGY SECTOR

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LNG IMPORTS: A CASE STUDY IN DEVELOPING HAITI'S ENERGY SECTOR

BY CHARLOTTE BLOMMESTIJN, MARINA GRUSHIN, & ELODIE MANUEL

Weeks after the earthquake struck Haiti in January 2010, electricity service in the capital of Port-au-Prince remained in disorder.  Experts estimated the damages to the electricity system at $40 million.  Access to electricity in the capital dropped by nearly 50 percent.  In addition, the disaster exposed the urban vulnerabilities of Port-au-Prince, the heart of Haiti’s struggling economy.  The hundreds of thousands of people relocating to Port-au-Prince from affected areas in the periphery were putting more pressure on the city’s electricity sector.

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ADDRESSING THE MOST MARGINALIZED: CONSIDERING SEXUAL ORIENTATION AND GENDER IDENTITY IN DEVELOPMENT POST-2015

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ADDRESSING THE MOST MARGINALIZED: CONSIDERING SEXUAL ORIENTATION AND GENDER IDENTITY IN DEVELOPMENT POST-2015

BY MITCHELL DELANEY

Thus, the post-2015 Development Agenda would be importantly advanced and critically improved by the institutionalization of sexual orientation (SO) and gender identity (GI). A practical focus on data collection, with specific indicators for SO and GI, will form the necessary basis to provide evidence-based support for the economic, social, political, and legal benefits of this more inclusive agenda.

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SDGs, the Post-2015 Development Agenda, and the Challenges of Consensus Decision Making

BY LYNN WAGNER

AT THE END OF 2014, A MULTIPLE-YEAR CONSULTATION PROCESS TO DEVELOP THE NEXT SET OF MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS (MDGS) AND NEGOTIATIONS TO IDENTIFY SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS (SDGS) ARE EXPECTED TO MERGE, AND UNITED NATIONS MEMBER STATES WILL ATTEMPT TO CREATE A SINGLE SET OF GOALS.  THE PROCESS CURRENTLY UNDERWAY TO DEVELOP THE “POST-2015” AGENDA OFFERS THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY THE OPPORTUNITY TO CHART A NEW DIRECTION FOR INTERGOVERNMENTAL COOPERATION.  FIRST, HOWEVER, INTERNATIONAL ACTORS WILL NEED TO OVERCOME THE DECISION-MAKING CHALLENGES THEY HAVE FACED FOR THE PAST TWENTY YEARS.  GOVERNMENTS DEVELOPING THIS POST-2015 DEVELOPMENT AGENDA WILL FACE THE CHALLENGES ASSOCIATED WITH REACHING CONSENSUS-BASED NEGOTIATED AGREEMENTS.

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The Role of Institutions in Development: Contemporary Debate and Application to Côte d’Ivoire’s Experience between 1960–1990

BY AYSO VAN EYSINGA

THE EXPERIENCE OF CÔTE D’IVOIRE ILLUSTRATES THE NEED FOR PRAGMATIC APPROACHES TO DEVELOPMENT, INSTITUTIONALLY AND OTHERWISE, AND THE NEED TO CONSIDER CONTEXT-SPECIFIC FACTORS IN POLICYMAKING. IN THE ABSENCE OF SUCH A CONTEXTUAL APPROACH, ANY ATTEMPTS TO ENGAGE IN EXOGENOUS REFORM BY CONFORMING TO THE CONSTRAINTS OF A SINGLE THEORY WILL ONLY RESULT IN THE SAME FAILURES THAT HAVE MARKED PRIOR ATTEMPTS AT DEVELOPMENT.

 

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Interview: Perspectives on the Future of Development

INTERVIEW WITH MELISSA THOMAS (SAIS DC), MICHAEL PLUMMER (SAIS EUROPE), AND ADAM WEBB (SAIS NANJING) on their thoughts regarding the post-2015 development agenda.

If I had to name the one greatest success in the field of development, it would be the reduction in absolute poverty—partly due to the fact that the MDGs were all correlated.  Even with some exceptions (for instance, the rise in gender inequality), by and large most development goals—improvements in primary education, provision of basic health services, access to energy and water resources—can all be highly correlated with poverty reduction, which in turn is associated with increases in per capita income.  I would take issue, however, with the assertion that the MDG “guided” international development.  The MDGs are used more as a yardstick, in the sense that they were a good benchmark for assessing where we have and have not made progress.

 

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The Forgotten and the Hard-to-reach: Incorporating Child Refugee Right to Education into the Post-2015 Agenda

BY IRENA GRIZELJ

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have mobilized international action “to achieve universal primary education” by 2015.  This target, however, has neglected the education of vulnerable displaced children and failed to address the quality of the schooling they receive.  By paying greater attention to education for refugee children in the post-2015 agenda, we can simultaneously improve the future welfare of individuals, and that of fragile societies worldwide. 

 

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BOOK REVIEW: BENJAMIN RAMALINGAM "AID ON THE EDGE OF CHAOS"

BY LAUREN FREDERIC

“Aid on the Edge of Chaos” is an eye-opening book that examines international aid: when it works, why it fails, and how it can be improved. Author Ben Ramalingam, a researcher with the Overseas Development Institute, focuses on how insights from “complexity science” can help practitioners re-think aid in the post-Millennium Development Goal (MDG) world. Ramalingam reflects on the business model and institutions of aid, and how ideas from complexity science can—and have—been applied to development. He concludes with some exciting prospects for the future of the aid industry.

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Youth Unemployment: An Issue We Can No Longer Afford to Overlook

BY SEETHAL KUMAR

IN MANY DEVELOPING COUNTRIES, YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT IS MORE THAN A LOST SALARY.  IT GENERATES PERSONAL INSECURITY AND FRUSTRATION.  IT CAN DELAY THE MILESTONES OF ENTERING ADULTHOOD, SUCH AS FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE AND MARRIAGE.  AT ITS WORST, IT HAS THE POTENTIAL TO SPARK POLITICAL UNREST AND DESTABILIZATION.  THE MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS (MDGS) PROVIDED A LAUDABLE FIRST STEP IN INSTITUTING UNIVERSAL PRIMARY EDUCATION, BUT TO MAKE EDUCATIONAL GOALS SUSTAINABLE, THIS NEEDS TO TRANSLATE INTO EMPLOYMENT AND FINANCIAL STABILITY.

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THE ELUSIVE QUEST FOR WATER AND SANITATION FOR ALL...

BY TANVI NAGPAL & MARK RADIN

The quest for universal access to water and sanitation began with the United Nations Water and Sanitation decade from 1980 to 1990.  At the beginning of the decade, 56 percent of the world’s population (1.826 billion people) lacked access to safe water and 54 percent (1.734 billion) lacked access to sanitation.  While substantial gains were made throughout the decade, and access to safe water extended to 80 percent of the world, sanitation lagged behind, reaching only 60 percent. Challenges threatening the realization of universal access to water and sanitation became evident: steady population growth, financial and administrative constraints, and poorly maintained hardware investments, which resulted in premature disrepair and disuse of pumps and toilets. 

 

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OP-ED: INSTITUTIONS BEFORE ELECTIONS IN THE CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

BY BILL GELFELD

Historically, countries that have prospered, regardless of their form of government, have established dependable, effective institutions responsible for law enforcement, peace keeping, and jurisprudence.  In the absence of these institutions and the order they provide, society falls apart.  The ongoing tragedy in the Central African Republic (CAR) provides a stark illustration of the consequences of wholesale institutional failure.  In seeking to rebuild fragile or failed states, the international community should focus first and foremost on creating stable, resilient institutions rather than promoting the kind of quick, cosmetic changes offered by premature elections.

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LEVERAGING THE STRENGTH OF THE PRIVATE SECTOR IN INCREASING GOVERNANCE: THE SOMALI CASE

By Amber Stewart

Private sector initiatives have been so successful that welfare may have improved since the fall of the government, with poverty at lower levels than in richer, more stable African countries.  In this way, progress in the private sector could actually impede state formation, as Somalis may rationally believe that they have little to gain under a new government.  A new government would undoubtedly raise the cost of doing business through tax collection and regulation expenses.  The business community will need to be persuaded that its achievements will not be wiped away under an institutionalized state. 

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Poem: Prioritization for a Developing Nation

BY William A. Douglas, IDEV Poet Laureate Emeritus

The development process has multiple factors – 
It’s a drama with roles for numerous actors.
Economics is only one part of the game;
Politics too can be partly to blame,
When a country just stagnates and development slows,
And social divisions can also deal blows!
The environment, too, can not be ignored – 
As the rich nations grew, earth’s temperature soared!

 

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