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Mali’s post-coup transition in the South and the separatist rebellion in the North are two distinct but inter-related crises. Neither can be ignored by Mali's friends. But the current planned interventions seem both muddled and wrong-headed. The South appears destined for a prolonged and ambiguous political transition that will eventually get to new elections and put the military back in barracks.
One of the Rio Summit’s all-to-few accomplishments was language in the outcome declaration about an intergovernmental process to develop Sustainable Development Goals. An "open working group" of 30 nations nominated by the five regional UN groups will come up with a list by September 2013.
The Friends of Syria coalition will meet in Paris on July 6 to discuss how they might stem the escalating violence in Syria. Once again there will be much hand wringing on what to do and a search for new ideas. Owen Barder and I, who have been working with our colleagues at CGD and officials in the U.S.
Given the harsh tone and general gridlock in the U.S. Congress of late, one might think that signs of bipartisanship and ‘getting things done’ would be welcome, but not always. We caught a glimpse this week of the good, bad and ugly in congressional activities surrounding the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which grants duty-free treatment to most imports from sub-Saharan Africa , and the U.S. farm bill.
The great new frontier in the global fight against poverty is access to electricity. The UN has launched a campaign to provide energy for all and our friends at the ONE Campaign have issued an Energy Poverty Challenge (see Michael Elliott’s video here). According to ONE, some 70% of Africans don’t have access to modern energy.
On January 12, 2010, at 16:53 hours, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck the city of Port-au-Prince, killing over 200,000 people and leaving several million homeless. Foreign aid poured into Haiti, at the rate of almost a thousand dollars per Haitian. For the past two years, we have been putting together the various pieces of data we could find on aid flows and foreign involvement after the quake. We found that the big international NGOs and private contractors have been the primary recipients of billions of dollars in U.S. assistance have been not been required to report systematically on how they use the funds. There has been a lack of accountability to both the funders and recipients. Our preliminary impressions based on our visit to Haiti are that this lack of accountability is if anything worse on the ground: the NGOs are frequently not accountable to the Haitian government or to the people they aim to serve. We even learned something about earthquakes--for example, did you know that Haiti’s two major faults (the northern Sententrional fault and the southern Enriquillo-Plantain Garden fault) are called slip-strike faults, and are similar to the San Andreas Fault in California? It was the southern fault that triggered the quake two and a half years ago.
The G20 leaders at the summit in Los Cabos, Mexico are no doubt focused on the global economic slowdown and ongoing Eurozone crisis, but an ad hoc group of donors took time on Monday to announce the launch of a concrete development deliverable. The governments of Australia, Canada, Italy, the United Kingdom, and United States, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will provide up to $100 million in results-based financing, using pull mechanism
One of the biggest experiments in development economics is about to begin on Honduras's Northern Coast. Honduras has altered its constitution to open the way to ceding a large tract of land to build a new "Special Economic Zone", modeled on NYU economist Paul Romer's idea of charter cities -- new cities, built up from scratch, where first-world institutions and third-world immigrants can meet and do business.