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Posts Tagged ‘United Nations’

2010 Human Development Report

Thursday, November 18th, 2010
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UNDP_LogoOn November 17, the Academy for Education Development hosted the UNDP Washington Roundtable event “The Real Wealth of Nations: Pathways to Human Development”, a discussion on the UNDP’s 20th anniversary of the Human Development Report.  The discussion was moderated by Gregg Easterbrook, contributing editor for The Atlantic Monthly and The New Republic and columnist for Reuters and ESPN.  Panelists included Jeni Klugman, Director of the UNDP Human Development Report Office; Donald Steinberg, Deputy Administrator of USAID; Kemal Derviş, Vice President and Director of Global Economy and Development at the Brookings Institution and former UNDP Administrator; and Nancy Birdsall, President of the Center for Global Development.

Klugman started the discussion with a presentation on the 2010 Human Development Report.  To see the complete findings of the 2010 Human Development Report, click here.  The report highlights that, in the past few decades, most developing countries have made dramatic progress in areas such as health, education, and basic living standards.  Much of that progress is occurring in fast-developing Asia—Indonesia and China in particular—but some Arab nations and countries in Latin America have grown quickly as well.  One criticism of the report is that it neglects to clearly illustrate the disparities that exist within countries.  On a related note, Klugman acknowledged that the successes seen in the report are diminished by other measurements of human development such as gender equality.

Deputy Administrator Steinberg highlighted President Obama’s announcement at the UN of a new global development strategy for the US and suggested that we need to look beyond overall growth rates and at the actual impacts on the ground.  Steinberg suggested that the scrutiny of development results—as seen in the Human Development Report—validates new approaches that can be found in the administration’s development strategy.  A new approach to development that is more selective and focuses on game-changing innovations will help increase the effectiveness of foreign assistance.

Klugman highlighted the need to focus on understanding local contexts as implemented policies look different in different contexts because of varied structural systems.  Birdsall discussed how in mature democracies, the middle class creates a demand for good governance which benefits the poor as well.  In developing countries, however, Birdsall underscored the need to “unpack the problem of poor governance by finding ways to deliver aid without bureaucracy and infrastructure impediments.”  In essence, Birdsall confirms the need for foreign assistance reform.


Noteworthy News – Pakistan Floods

Friday, August 20th, 2010
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See below for a sampling of opinion pieces and news articles discussing the floods in Pakistan and the disaster’s implications for security and development:

  • Pakistan’s tragic flooding demands an international response (The Washington Post editorial, August 17) There is a strategic case for aiding Pakistan in this time of crisis. Timely, generous assistance could improve America’s image in an area of the world where it has been unpopular. After a 2005 earthquake shook Pakistan, U.S. aid proved helpful in burnishing America’s reputation. But the positive impact of that assistance has largely faded; in this volatile region, images of helicopters bearing food have been replaced with helicopters delivering soldiers. Now the West has a chance again to show solidarity with Pakistani citizens — or it can risk losing ground to the extremist groups that some say are already stepping up to offer assistance. Aid might help build trust and reinforce Pakistan’s position as an ally in the international war on terror.
  • U.N. Warns of Supply Shortage in Pakistan (The New York Times, August 18) The United Nations, which had been saying that as many six million people needed some manner of emergency assistance — shelter, food, drinking water or medical care — estimated that figure could reach eight million.  “The funding response to the floods is improving but much more is needed,” he said. “The effort must be sustained in the days and weeks ahead in order to have the resources to reach the people who desperately need help.”  The United States was by far the largest single donor, with $82 million, according to United Nations figures, with the next largest donor Australia at $26.6 million. The United States said its total contributions amount to $90 million, including helicopters, boats and temporary bridges, according to the State Department.
  • US to boost Pakistan flood aid to 150 million dollars (AFP, August 19) Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday that US aid is swelling to 150 million dollars for Pakistan and called for a halt to extremist attacks during the flood crisis as an “expression of common humanity.” “I want to see more, and today at the United Nations I will be announcing more US assistance,” the top American diplomat told Dawn TV, in a transcript provided by the State Department.  When asked if the new aid total would be 150 million dollars, she said: “Yes. And I will also be announcing a way for individual Americans to contribute; a fund that I’m setting up here in the State Department.”  The State Department has said US flood aid was being distributed through the Pakistani authorities or relief organizations on the ground to “provide critical supplies to flood affected populations.”
  • Holbrooke: Donations Offer Leverage Over Pakistan Floods; Need Still Enormous (PBS Newshour, August 19) Holbrooke: … we all know how important Pakistan is strategically and politically to the U.S. We’re doing this, however, because the people are in desperate need, as you pointed out a moment ago. And it but we are not oblivious to the political and strategic implications of it. It’s just that we’re the president, President Obama, who has issued a statement, the United States government, all of us are just pitching in to do everything we can right now. And then we will let the dust settle and see where we go from there.

Sec. Clinton’s Remarks at Haiti Donors’ Conference

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010
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Today in New York, a host of foreign governments gathered at the United Nations headquarters to discuss plans to fund reconstruction and long-term development for Haiti.  Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered remarks to an audience that included Haitian President René Préval, citing the need to continue supporting relief and reconstruction efforts beyond humanitarian grounds, saying “If the effort to rebuild is slow or insufficient, if it is marked by conflict, lack of coordination, or lack of transparency, then the challenges that have plagued Haiti for years could erupt with regional and global consequences.”  She also noted critical reforms that had begun to turn the country around – including 3% growth of Haiti’s economy – just before the earthquake struck on January 12th.  See the following excerpts from her speech that use foreign assistance reform principles like country ownership, coordination, better monitoring and evaluation, and transparency to talk about building a better Haiti:

“The leaders of Haiti must take responsibility for their country’s reconstruction. They must make the tough decisions that guide a strong, accountable, and transparent recovery. And that is what they are starting to do with the creation of a new mechanism that provides coordination and consultation so aid can be directed where it is most needed.”


Reps. Carnahan and Cao Launch American Engagement Caucus

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010
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In an effort to address the many global challenges the U.S. faces today through increased partnership and multilateral engagement, Congressman Russ Carnahan (D-MO) and Congressman Anh “Joe” Cao (R-LA) created the American Engagement Caucus.  The new caucus establishes a forum for Members to discuss best practices and lessons learned from international bodies like the United Nations and the African Union and partnerships made between countries to overcome threats.  A statement from the caucus reads “America’s security, economic, environmental, and moral interests are inextricably linked with those of the international community.  The United States must find creative new approaches for working with other nations to create a safer, more peaceful, prosperous, and just world.”

MFAN Principal and President and CEO of InterAction Sam Worthington noted, “We are pleased to have the opportunity to work with the new American Engagement Caucus and Representatives Carnahan and Cao as we draw on our common goal of an American foreign policy that demonstrates in word and deed the desire of the American people to work in a bipartisan manner with all of our partners and with multilateral institutions to build a more just and sustainable world.”