Appeals for sustainable development financing must highlight benefits for major countries, CIGI paper says

News Release

January 21, 2013

Waterloo, Canada – January 21, 2013 – To promote investments in environmental global public goods, major countries must be “bribed,” so to speak, with an appeal to selfish interests, says a paper on sustainable development financing, from The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI).

In Sustainable Development and Financing Critical Global Public Goods (CIGI Paper No. 10), CIGI Senior Fellow Barry Carin outlines the various political obstacles that have stalled the global climate change debate, noting that “proposed conventional ‘inside-the-box’ solutions cannot deal with the difficulties of long-time horizons, uneven intergenerational benefit streams, uncertainty and lack of shadow prices.”

The paper offers a blunt assessment of what is needed in response.“To reach any agreement on the financing of global public goods, a strategy that highlights selfish national interests is required,” Carin writes.“The [climate change] debate has not progressed, in large part, because it has focused on raising funds instead of calling attention to the recipients of the expenditures…It will be easier to raise money if it is obvious how the proposed expenditure package corresponds to the national interests of the major players.”

Carin presents a presumed global package of “expenditure” ideas, which he believes “will win widespread support from all major countries.” He then maps out a positive-sum initiative — or “Green Super Fund” (GSF) — for financing this global package, including “a variety of funds and programs with potentially significant leverage to mobilize powerful constituencies who will lobby for the package.”

In acknowledging that radical economic and political changes are required to make the GSF a reality, Carin points to the euro currency and the evolving policy on sovereign debt relief as international examples of a fundamental shift occurring in the global interest. “If the rules do not allow for a solution to an existentialproblem, we have to change the rules,” he concludes.

For more information on Sustainable Development and Financing Critical Global Public Goods, including a free PDF download, visit

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:                                                       
Barry Carin
is a senior fellow at CIGI and adjunct professor and former associate director of the Centre for Global Studies at the University of Victoria in the School of Public Administration. From 2006 through 2009, he was editor of the journal Global Governance. Prior to joining CIGI, Barry served as high commissioner of Canada to Singapore and as assistant deputy minister of trade and economic policy in the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. He was Canadian representative on the executive committee of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), assistant deputy minister for strategic policy and planning in the Department of Employment and Immigration and was director of effectiveness evaluation in the Treasury Board Secretariat. He has a Ph.D. in economics from Brown University and an honours B.A. in economics and political science from McGill University.

MEDIA CONTACT:                                                              
Declan Kelly, Communications Specialist, CIGI
Tel: 519.885.2444, ext. 7356, Email: [email protected]

The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) is an independent, non-partisan think tank on international governance. Led by experienced practitioners and distinguished academics, CIGI supports research, forms networks, advances policy debate and generates ideas for multilateral governance improvements. Conducting an active agenda of research, events and publications, CIGI’s interdisciplinary work includes collaboration with policy, business and academic communities around the world. CIGI was founded in 2001 by Jim Balsillie, then co-CEO of Research In Motion (RIM), and collaborates with and gratefully acknowledges support from a number of strategic partners, in particular the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario. For more information, please visit

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