Questions to Discuss : LUSENET : Financing Global Public Goods : One Thread

Questions to Discuss

For many years, a fraction of ODA has been spent on global programs or "global public goods". Although estimates vary widely depending on the definitions used, by all accounts that fraction has been rising in recent years. Global programs cannot replace ODA at the national level, but they can and must complement it to make it more effective.

To illustrate, the pandemic of HIV/AIDS cannot be controlled through domestic actions alone, however essential they are. In order for the global public good "control of HIV/AIDS" (or, to mention such other examples as "control of malaria", "control of greenhouse gas emission", or "financial stability") to emerge, policy actions at all levels -- local, national, regional, and global -- are required as complementary inputs.

While many global public goods require such multi-level strategies, and others may be able to rely just on international efforts (e.g., "best-shot" approaches to R&D), ODA allocations have traditionally been determined mainly on a country-by-country basis. Moreover, although global public goods generate benefits for all (by definition), we currently label many of them as "aid" and finance them from ODA budgets, i.e. as assistance to poor countries.

Since we must expect that in an interdependent world the provision of global public goods (as well as that of regional public goods) will constitute a continuing policy challenge, the question arises whether we have to develop new modalities and mechanisms for dealing with these issues in order to be able to address them more effectively and efficiently. In particular, the questions to be clarified are:

  1. Would it be necessary to complement the current system of predominantly country allocations of ODA with a systematic approach to and criteria for allocations to regional and global levels, or allocations on an issue-specific basis (say, special accounts for specific tasks such as "HIV/AIDS control" or "averting risk of climate change")?
  2. How should one approach the challenge of setting priorities for spending on different global programs? Could Thematic Consultative Groups (in analogy to Country Consultative Groups or Round Tables) be useful?
  3. Is there an aid effectiveness case for devoting part of ODA to global programs? What kind of coordination / management mechanisms should be put in place to make sure that spending on global programs interacts efficiently with domestic development expenditure?
  4. If we consider ODA to be there for aid, can a case be made for additional resources to tackle global public good issues? What other (i.e., non-ODA) sources could be tapped with the aim of ensuring that financing for global public goods is, whenever possible, additional to ODA financing for national programs?

-- Anonymous, October 06, 2000

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