By Lindsey Klaassen
This piece originally appeared on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Above the Fold blog.
Developing countries tend to experience higher costs to trade and are ill-equipped to navigate through the mire of international border requirements. The World Trade Organization (WTO) established the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) in part to address this very challenge.
The TFA is unique in several respects, as it was the first multilateral trade agreement set forth by the WTO, and it was intentionally designed to make cross-border trade easier for developing countries. Once fully implemented, it is estimated that the TFA will reduce trade costs by up to 15 percent for developing countries and increase global merchandise exports by up to $1 trillion annually by increasing customs efficiency and cutting red tape that impedes the efficient flow of goods at the border.
Discussion moderator Andrew Wilson (far left) with panelists Alicia Phillips Mandaville, Chris Maloney, and Beth Tritter.
This week’s podcast is a recording of an event CIPE co-hosted on September 15th with Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) in recognition of the International Day of Democracy. Following each of its quarterly Board of Directors meetings, MCC works with other partners to convene conversations of importance to the development community. This event provided a brief update of the recent MCC Board Meeting, and brought together thought leaders to discuss the role of democracy in development.
Sustainable development and reducing poverty are primary objectives of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Panelists demonstrated how the SDG goals that pertain to democratic governance are vital to reducing poverty, creating jobs, boosting economic growth, and making sure that development is sustainable. They discussed how strong democratic institutions, a robust rule of law, and inclusive economic policies that create a level playing field for everyone are essential elements of a development agenda with lasting impact. The discussion was moderated by CIPE Managing Director [then Executive Director (acting)] Andrew Wilson.
CIPE recently endorsed the Principles for Digital Development, a living guideline to help international development practitioners incorporate best practices into tech-enabled programs. CIPE is joining leading development and democracy strengthening organizations, including the World Bank and NDI, to learn from each other how to implement more human-centered, inclusive, and collaborative projects using information and communications technologies (ICTs).
Podcast guest Murray Hiebert (left), with hosts John Morrell and Julie Johnson
In this week’s Democracy That Delivers podcast, Murray Hiebert, Senior Adviser and Deputy Director of the Southeast Asia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), talks about the historic visit to the U.S. last week of Aung San Suu Kyi. Hiebert discusses what the visit means for Myanmar’s future, including the peace process and the investment climate in a country where peace and development is long overdue. Hiebert also talks about what the lifting of sanctions will mean for the inflow of foreign direct investment, and how economic development and the resolution of ethnic grievances through the peace process are linked. Reaction in Myanmar to Aung San Suu Kyi’s visit is also discussed. Hiebert also talks about the tension between the Muslim-minority Rohingya population and the majority Buddhist population in Myanmar and Aung San Suu Kyi’s commitment to resolve tension between the two groups.
For more information on Murray Hiebert and his work, visit the CSIS website.
Podcast guests Carmen Stanila (far left) and Camelia Bulat (second right) with hosts Ken Jaques and Julie Johnson
In this week’s Democracy That Delivers podcast, CIPE consultants Camelia Bulat and Carmen Stanila talk about working with the private sector and business associations on public policy development and advocacy. They discuss their early work in Romania and later in the Balkans, Moldova, and the Caucuses, and the challenges of managing citizen expectations when countries transition to democratic, free market systems. Bulat and Stanila also talk about how they were able to transfer early lessons learned in Romania to projects elsewhere, and the surprising similarity between the issues and priorities facing business associations all over the world.
Francis Fukuyama giving a lecture about case study methodology at the Leadership Academy for Development in Ukraine.
Ukraine is a resource rich country, an entrepreneurial country, a country filled with talented individuals who work hard for their families, but why do so many Ukrainian people live in poverty? The answer, perhaps, is public governance, or more precisely, a lack thereof.
To be clear, allow us first to define the words “public governance,” as we understand them. Simply put, public governance is the relationship of power among the government, civil society, and the market. Given the strong skepticism concerning democracy in nations near Ukraine, without improvement in the standard of living of Ukrainians, the Ukrainian people may soon lose their excitement about their own bustling and fledgling democracy. In short, Ukraine’s democracy must begin to deliver tangible benefits to its citizens.
President Obama addresses the White House Summit on Global Development (Photo: VOA)
Looking back at the global development efforts over the last few years, one theme tends to reoccur: too many reforms are owned by the elites and civil society leaders in the capital with too little engagement at the grassroots. This common disconnect was raised at the White House Summit on Global Development, and it looms large over future initiatives of the international community.
At a session devoted to transparency, accountability, and open government Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, talked about how crucial these factors are to unlocking economic development and fulfilling Goal 16 – the enabler – of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). She also highlighted the importance of multi-stakeholder partnerships such as Open Government Partnership (OGP) for advancing this approach and providing a hook that civil societies in countries around the world have been able to latch on to for reforms.
A global growth of demand for accountability and transparency, fueled by the rise of communication technology, is definitely a reason for optimism. At the same time, serious problems persist. Rakesh Rajani, Director of Democratic Participation and Governance at Ford Foundation, emphasized that despite progress and path ahead charted by initiatives such as SDGs and OGP serious challenges remain when it comes to authoritarian backlash and reversals of democratic culture. Even in established democracies such as India non-profit organizations increasingly come under undue pressure. As governments in many countries are clamping down on civic space, international efforts to counteract such trends do not resonate sufficiently with citizens on the ground.