US scores low grade in index of rich nations helping poor led by Denmark

by Ellen Wulfhorst | @EJWulfhorst | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Tuesday, 8 December 2015 10:47 GMT

A woman who lives at Bakateyamba home for the destitute people at Nalukolongo, near Uganda's capital Kampala November 26, 2015. REUTERS/James Akena

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Commitment to Development Index measures how policies of rich countries help or hurt the world's poorest

NEW YORK, Dec 8 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The United States ranks among the lowest of the world's wealthy nations in its policies toward helping people living in poorer nations, according to an annual report comparing 27 countries.

Denmark scored at the top for the fourth year running, followed by Sweden and Norway, in the index ranking the policies and practices of the world's richest nations compiled annually by the Center for Global Development (CGD).

The United States ranked at No. 21, largely unchanged from last year, due largely to its poor performance on financial transparency and high greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuel production, said the CGD, a think tank operating from London and Washington to help reduce global poverty and inequality.

The latest Commitment to Development Index showed the United States did score strongly in terms of trade policies and its contributions to international peacekeeping efforts.

To measure how policies of wealthy countries help or hurt the world's poorest people, the CGD said it looks at each nation's performance in areas of aid, trade, finance, migration, environment, technology and security.

"It reminds us that development depends upon much more than aid," said Owen Barder, senior fellow, director and vice president at the CGD Europe, in a statement.

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

Japan ranked at the bottom of the report released late Monday, below South Korea, Greece and Poland. Britain ranked sixth.

Japan and South Korea, which was bottom of the index last year, scored poorly for their policies on security, trade and the environment, in the index that started in 2003.

Denmark scored high marks in terms of its foreign aid, promoting financial transparency and its investment in technology research and development, the CGD said.

The index is particularly useful, Barder said, in the wake of approval this September of the Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, a new set of global goals agreed by the 193 member nations of the United Nations.

The 17 SDGs comprise a blueprint for tackling the world's ills, including climate change, gender inequality and poverty, over the next 15 years. (Editing by Belinda Goldsmith; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit

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