WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rated one of the top 15 think tanks in the United States by Foreign Policy Magazine, the Center for Global Development (CGD) is an independent, leading research organization focused on international development. Their mission, as stated on their website, is “[…] to reduce global poverty and inequality through rigorous research and active engagement with the policy community.”
The CGD conducts research on a range of topics, including aid effectiveness, education, globalization, global health, trade and migration. In 2003, they published their first Commitment to Development Index (CDI,) using their wide research base to provoke discussion and reveal gaps in current knowledge and encourage policy reform. This index ranks the world’s richest countries on their dedication to policies affecting those in poor nations, and in doing so, serves as a stark reminder of the world’s dedication to respect for human life and dignity.
To rank the countries, the CGD examines seven indicators of commitment to global development, including quantity and quality of foreign aid, openness to exports, financial transparency, openness to migration, environmental policies, promotion of international security and support for technological innovation.
Using these criteria, the CGD has ordered 27 of the world’s richest countries by their overall scores and arranged them on display in their interactive graph. For the second year in a row, Denmark has ranked first on the Commitment to Development Index because of its high aid quantity and quality, financial transparency, commitment to security and its dedication to developing new technologies.
Following closely behind Denmark are Sweden, Norway and Luxembourg, all high aid donors with strong migration records. The United States tied for the 19th spot with Switzerland, and South Korea tied for last place with Japan.
After ranking fifth in the index in 2011, the United States dropped to 19th in 2012, where it stayed in 2013. With highs including large contributions to international security and low agricultural trade barriers, the United States has experienced an increase of lows over the last few years. U.S. weaknesses in international development include its high level of arms exports to undemocratic countries, elevated levels of fossil fuel emissions and its low support of investment in technological innovations for developing countries.
For its low foreign aid contributions, high tariffs on imports and little contribution to international peacekeeping, South Korea has been ranked last out of the 27 countries. Japan’s high rice tariffs and small foreign programs have tied it with South Korea this year. Though many good things have been accomplished for the world’s poor, many more are needed to lift the most needy out of the shadows and into a more just, peaceful and secure global society.
– Tara Young