The Center for Global Development (CGD) works to reduce global poverty and inequality through rigorous research and active engagement with the policy community to make the world a more prosperous, just, and safe place for us all. CGD is the only think tank based in Washington, DC that maintains a singular focus on global economic development and is the leading US think tank on development policy. CGD Europe was established in 2011 to expand CGD’s innovative research, ideas, and outreach to the European development and policymaking community.
About This Cause
CGD conducts research and analysis on a wide range of topics related to how policies and actions of the rich and powerful affect poor people in the developing world. Examples include aid effectiveness, climate change, education, globalization, health, migration and trade. Drawing on our research, we actively engage with thought leaders, policymakers, and others to move our ideas to action.
We organize work that is related to proposals for specific, practical policy improvements into initiatives, such as Development Impact Bonds, Cash-on-Delivery Aid, Preemptive Contract Sanctions, Oil to Cash, and More Health for the Money. Our Commitment to Development Index annually ranks more than two dozen high-income countries on the seven main policy areas that influence development outcomes: aid, trade, investment, migration, environment, security, and technology. Much of our work is conducted by working groups of experts across disciplines who come together to find solutions to difficult policy challenges.
Who We Are
CGD’s senior researchers and other experts are intellectual leaders in their fields, combining academic rigor and practical experience to increase global prosperity. Our visiting and non-resident fellows contribute an added level of knowledge to CGD’s work. Many are simultaneously employed at leading universities, institutions, and NGOs around the world.
CGD also provides promising young researchers from developing countries an opportunity to work for one year at the Center as part of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) fellowship. Our complete staff listing includes CGD policy analysts, program managers, communications professionals, and research assistants. Our growing Alumni Association links former staff, visiting fellows, and other associates, offering periodic updates on their diverse contributions to shared global prosperity after they leave CGD.
CGD benefits from the support and guidance of an influential Board of Directors composed of prominent individuals from the public and private sectors with a passionate commitment to development. Our Advisory Group of top-tier development economists, political scientists, and policymakers, helps CGD maintain the high quality of our research and identify over-the-horizon issues for early attention. CGD works with others through contractual and informal partnerships with a wide range of organizations who share complementary goals.
Where We Came From
Since its founding in 2001, CGD has earned a reputation as a "think and do" tank, where independent research is channeled into practical policy proposals that help to shape decisions in Washington, other rich-country capitals, and the international financial institutions.
We have put on the global agenda—and sometimes helped to drive to implementation—proposals to accelerate vaccine development; to permit migration as a tool in disaster recovery; to write down $36 billion in Nigerian debt; to make the World Bank more effective, accountable, and legitimate; and to create a new international institution for independent evaluation of poverty-reduction efforts.
CGD was founded in November 2001 by Edward Scott Jr., C. Fred Bergsten, and Nancy Birdsall. A technology entrepreneur, philanthropist, and former senior US government official, Ed Scott provided the vision and a significant financial commitment that made the creation of the Center possible. Fred Bergsten, the director of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, lent his formidable reputation in academic and policy circles and provided the fledgling Center with a roof and logistical support within the Peterson Institute for the Center’s initial months of operation. Nancy Birdsall, a former head of the World Bank research department and executive vice president of the Inter-American Development Bank, became CGD’s first president. Her intellectual leadership and rare combination of being both hard-headed and soft-hearted about development attracted a cadre of researchers and other professionals who are deeply dedicated to CGD’s mission.
CGD’s three founders perceived a growing need for independent research to generate practical, creative solutions to the challenges that global interdependence poses to the developing countries, starting with debt. Delivering on Debt Relief: From IMF Gold to a New Aid Architecture (CGD, 2004), by Birdsall and John Williamson, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute, was the Center’s first book.