Denmark again ranked most commited to global development

Index finds that rich countries are still doing little for the world’s poor, but Denmark is doing the best out of 27 developed countries

While many wealthy countries could do better at helping share global prosperity with developing nations, Denmark is once again ranked the world leader at supporting international development.

Denmark topped the Commitment to Development Index from The Center for Global Development (CGD), which scores 27 countries according to their contributions to aid, trade, finance, migration, environment, security, and technology transfer in the developing world.

“The international community has made repeated promises to pursue better policies for the developing world,” said Owen Barder, CGD senior fellow and director for Europe, who is responsible for preparing the Index. “But the data show that progress so far has been disappointing. The international community is discussing what kind of shared commitments to development it wants to put in place after 2015 and they should include quantified, country-specific commitments on the part of wealthy countries to get their house in order.”

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Not only praise
Denmark was commended for giving a large quantity of foreign aid, contributing a significant amount of personnel and finance to international peacekeeping and humanitarian interventions, encouraging research and development, and promoting investment in developing countries and financial transparency.

But it wasn’t all praise, and the CGD found time to criticise Denmark for its immigration policies that limit immigrants and students from the developing world, as well as its oil industry and relatively low tax on petrol, which brought down its environment score.

Overall the CGD found that the policies of rich countries are still doing little for the world’s poor and that policies in OECD countries in particular have improved little in the eleven years that the Commitment to Development Index has been compiled.

An opportunity to learn
CGD adds, however, that the index shows ways that countries could learn from each other to help create growth and reduce poverty in the developing world. For example, if every nation pursued trade policies that were as development-friendly as New Zealand, or made the same proportionate contribution to global security as Norway, the impacts on the developing world would be much greater.

Nancy Birdsall, the president of CGD, said that the index should remind wealthy countries that their contribution to development should be about much more than simply giving aid.

“There are many ways for high income countries to help foster shared growth in the poorest countries. Many of the necessary policy changes are good for the rich countries themselves and don’t cost them a cent," she said. “What we see are slight improvements but overall, industrialised countries – and the largest, richest nations in particular – fall well short of their potential.”