Which wealthy countries have the best and worst development policies?

Where do donor countries stand in a barometer-Denmark has the most development-friendly policies while South Korea, Japan and US ranks poorly

The Commitment to Development Index (CDI) for 2015 ranks the policies of donor countries especially when the Paris Climate deal, the SDG goals and the global humanitarian crisis demand bold shifts in policies.


2015 results for CDI


Following the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September, the CDI published by the Center for Global Development is a report card for the world’s richest countries which shows how well they are doing to help all countries make progress on the SDGs – and how to do better. The Commitment to Development Index ranks 27 of the world’s richest countries on policies that affect the more than five billion people living in poorer nations. Those policies extend well beyond giving foreign aid, and includes finance,technology, environment, trade, security and migration.

Development-friendly policies on trade, transparency, the environment and in many other areas are a win-win for both rich and poor.

Owen Barder, director and vice president, Center for Global Development Europe

Scandinavian countries did the best overall, with Denmark, Sweden and Norway taking the top three spots. Denmark came out on top with some of the best policy rankings for aid, technology, trade and security; Norway ranked highest for polices related to migration, security and finance. Slovakia remains at the top of the environmental standings, with gasoline taxes among the highest in CDI countries and greenhouse gas emissions among the lowest, but its weak performance in other areas drags down its ranking to 23rd of 27.

The CDI shows that rich countries need to do more to help people in the developing world, in ways that would also benefit their own citizens.
The press release specifically mentions that the US could do more to help developing countries achieve the SDGs. In 2015, the U.S. ranks in only 21st place, with its policies around migration, finance and the environment dragging it towards the bottom of the table. While the U.S. gives the most foreign assistance overall, the money spent only represents 0.18 percent of the country’s national income (by comparison Luxembourg and Norway, the most generous aid donors, give more than 1 per cent of their national income in foreign assistance each year).

The index gives credit for generous and high-quality aid, financial transparency and incentives for foreign direct investment, robust support for technological research and development, policies that protect the environment, open and fair trade policies, contributions to global security, and open immigration policies. Scores are reduced for barriers to imports from developing countries, selling arms to poor and undemocratic nations, barriers to sharing technology, and policies that harm shared environmental resources.

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