Ideas to Action:

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Views from the Center

CGD experts offer ideas and analysis to improve international development policy. Also check out our Global Health blog and US Development Policy blog.

 

What’s New in Tobacco Control?

Saturday was World No Tobacco Day which prompted me to ask: “What’s new?” After looking at the press releases, I decided that the most significant thing that happened last year was that another 30 million young people have started smoking around the world. Of these, 25 million are in low- and middle-income countries and about 12 million of them will die prematurely from disease linked to tobacco – 10% of them because of second-hand smoke. This epidemic is not caused by a virus or spread by mosquitoes. It is intentionally planned and profited from by large tobacco companies – for-profit multinationals as well as state-owned monopolies.

Using “Value of Information” Concepts to Prioritize the Data Revolution

I recently proposed that any assessment of a country’s statistical capacity be structured around the functions of government, such as those offered by the UN statistical office here.  When this list is fully expanded, it includes all of the data that advanced countries like the US or Japan use to manage government and inform citizens.  Most developing countries will fall below such an ambitious standard.  So how should investments in improved statistical capacity be prioritized?

Dealing with Big Tobacco Bullies Part 2: The Trade and Investment Angle

Colleagues Amanda Glassman and Bill Savedoff posted an excellent piece on the role of the World Bank, the US Agency for International Development, and other nontrade agencies in helping developing countries fend off the “Big Tobacco Bullies.” They argue that agencies like the World Bank could use their money, technical assistance, and policy dialogue to provide big visible support for developing countries to implement their anti-tobacco policies.

The (Other) UN Cholera Whitewash

There is understandable outrage over the United Nation’s reaction to its role in first creating and then denying responsibility for Haiti’s cholera outbreak in 2010 that killed 8,000 people.  But last week another UN cholera denial story garnered less attention, this time in Zimbabwe following a UN tribunal ruling in Nairobi.

An Executive Order That Could Save Children Here and Abroad

Amanda and I wrote before the New Year about the tragic violence against vaccination workers in Pakistan who were doing vital work in the struggle to completely wipe out polio worldwide. Their deaths were linked to allegations that the CIA had used a vaccine campaign as part of intelligence gathering operations in the country.  I’d like to propose a specific policy action by the US government that might marginally reduce the risk of such attacks –and their knock-on effect in terms of more

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