Developments in Development (D2): 2015 Conferences: CDESG, Addis, New York and Paris



The CDESG 2015 conference was quite a success. For those of you who missed it, here’s the program. The first day had 5 excellent presentations and the other days were sessions along the CEA program where great papers were presented. Among them, one stood out a little more: Marco Gonzalez won the Albert Berry Prize, an award given to the best paper presented by a junior conference at the CDESG conference, for his paper Retail Globalization and Household Welfare: Evidence from Mexico, which can be accessed here


Ravi Kanbur gave an excellent keynote address on inequality , which you can access on our page. In addition, Ravi was part of a policy panel, along with Dane Rowlands from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University and John McArthur from the Brookings Institution. Given that we are in 2015, the year, where one should take stock of whether the Millennium Development Goals set in 1999 have been achieved, the panel discussed the future of MDGs and whether it made any sense for the international community to set more targets.


In fact, 2015 is a big year for the international community in terms of policy conferences. Back in June, claiming that “we have six months to save the world”, Jeffrey Sachs pleaded in an interview in The Independent that three key meetings set for July, September and November represented “our generation’s best chance to get on track”.


What are these meetings? The first conference (July 13-16) took place in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia on financing for development. The following UN conference in September in New York officialised the international community’s adoption of new Sustainable Development Goals . (the topic of our 2015 policy panel). Later in November (November 30), the third conference taking place in Paris will be the UN Climate Change Conference .


One does not have to be Jeffrey Sachs to think that these conferences are important. Even the Economist has published a series of articles and editorials on the conferences and the need to seriously consider development funding, new development goals and climate change. These three issues are obviously interrelated and the discussions emanating from the conferences have the potential to bring about some serious policy changes, not unlike the first MDG conference at the beginning of this millennium.


Yet, despite their importance, only a few academic economists and researchers have expressed their opinions on what we should do with development financing and whether the world should adopt new goals, with the possible exception of Charles Kenny and Lant Pritchett at CGDEV, Bill Easterly and others involved in the aid literature.


Of these three conferences, which one do you think is the most important and why?

Canadian voters recently decided to elect a new Liberal government with a majority. Prime Minister-elect Justin Trudeau will go to the Paris conference with, presumably, a new position.  Here are some suggestions from our friends at for a Canadian position.


What about development economists? What do you think should Canada’s position be for the Paris Conference, as well as what it should do concerning the other ones? Why? Should one try getting national governments to set a global course of action to end poverty and protect the environment? If so, how should this take place?


Feel free to give us suggestions!



November 25, 2015 in Blog

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