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Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has posted a response to the 2006 Commitment to Development Index. CGD released the fourth annual edition on August 14. Japan still ranks last. The CDI rates 21 rich countries on how "development-friendly" their policies are in seven areas--aid, trade, investment, migration, environment, security, and technology. The Ministry writes:
I am pleased to announce the release of the 2006 edition of the Commitment to Development Index. Each year the CDI rates and ranks 21 rich countries on how much their policies help or hurt poorer nations. The CDI assigns scores in seven policy areas (foreign aid, trade, investment, migration, environment, security, and technology), with the average being the overall score.
A quick scan of the "People's Choice" nominees for the Commitment to Development Award gives the impression that the individuals from developed countries who have done the most to make rich-world policies more "development-friendly" are from a pretty narrow slice of the population. Mostly U.S., all male, many "inside-the-beltway" -- an environment not known for its friendliness to anything, much less poor people in poor countries. So what's going on?
The Hudson Institute has just released its new Index of Global Philanthropy. The report makes an important point: U.S. private charitable flows to developing countries are on the rise and can do much good. In a world with the Gates, Turner, Hewlett, Soros and other foundations doing plenty of good things, it is a point worth making. But this new index is flawed in crucial ways.
The U.S. Agency for International Development just released its initial estimates of how much foreign aid the U.S. government gave to developing countries in 2005. It submitted the figures as part of normal reporting processes to the Paris-based Development Assistance Committee. The overall figure is a stunner: U.S.
The recent attacks by Islamic fundamentalists on the Danish embassies in Lebanon and Syria can be called blind, tragic, even cartoonish. To that list of adjectives, add this one: ironic. According to the Commitment to Development Index, which rates rich countries on how much their government policies help or hurt poorer countries, no nation works harder than Denmark to help people in poorer parts of the world, including predominantly Muslim nations. Few less deserve this hatred.