New Rules

New rules can catalyze rapid change, but new ways to make those rules often lead to even more lasting change. Today, communities, states, and regions around the world are experimenting with the systems of rules and rule-making that define their approach to governance. Sometimes these experiments are seemingly small, as in the use of digital voting machines to make voting and its results more accessible and reliable. But the most important innovations may be in the ways that governments are reorganizing themselves-from the way they interact with their constituents to the way they cooperate with one another and with other actors in the global economy. These new patterns of reorganizing the process of governance pose both new opportunities and new challenges for those who would change the landscape of poverty.

The Pivotal Challenge

Action Zones

From the creation of a regional currency for West Africa to an integration of stock markets in Colombia, Chile, and Peru, countries in the developing world are hoping a new regionalism will provide both economic advantage and a stronger voice in global politics. With this new regionalism comes a new mobility in both work and play, requiring innovative ways of thinking about old borders.

Cross-border social security

Unified pension tracks worker contributions across Mercosur countries

Free movement

ECOWAS plans electronic visa for cross-border travel

Transborder parks

Transfrontier Conservation Areas promote stability in southern Africa

The Pivotal Challenge

The Vanishing Right to Place

Even as governance is becoming increasingly mobile, the right to citizenship remains largely tide to place-and poor people are often excluded from this basic right. From indigenous peoples whose lands and livelihoods are being disrupted by development to inhabitants of informal urban settlements with no official address to stake a claim, the right to place is becoming a key battleground in the war on poverty.

Cash transfers

Maternity benefits are extended to women in Indian Settlements

Deforested habitat

The 16% deforestation in Ghana threatens women disproportionately

Limits on land holdings

A referendum in Brazil favors limits on land holdings


Discover More Signals

Voting machines in India and Brazil show developing countries can integrate ICT and democracy
Activism drives tech adoption in Thailand
West African election very different from Western ideal
Multiparty democracy, Niger style
Digital politics as a tool of politicians/government actors
Somaliland’s surprising peace
Citizen advocacy are bringing political awareness to lower classes in India
Decentralized cooperation initiatives better than official development mechanisms?
Thabo Mbeki South African Leadership Institute
Internet penetration lays the groundwork for digital politics in Southeast Asia
Digital villages open to e-government services in non-connected areas
Nigeria not ready/willing for ICT in general elections
Lack of cohesion in South African Government impedes development
India plans road network near disputed border with China
Colombia, Chile, and Peru: An integration of stock markets
China key to Southeast Asian unity (or lack thereof)
India, Bangladesh to restore rail links
Afro-Iranian alliance, contemporary world order
South-East relations less patronizing
China and ASEAN Member States Create a Zero-Tariff Trade Agreement
Sustainable Urban Transportation Project (Bangkok, New Delhi, Bogota)
Challenges and possibilities of CSR practices in South America
State-owned enterprises gaining power in South America
For-profit sector entrepreneurs the future of development
Democratizing philanthropic giving in Latin America
National development agencies less about development, more about trade
Skepticism of corporations in South Africa in wake of financial crisis
Cross-border cash management platform built for Africa-China commerce
Diasporas define Singapore’s cultural, economic character
Social media, mobility of labor connects diasporas
Kenya openly discriminating against Somalis
Perception of China in Africa
South America’s economic recovery fueled by expansion of trade with China