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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.

Views From The Center Blog

 

The Perfect Game of (State of the Union) BINGO

This is a joint post with Christopher Molitoris.

On Tuesday, January 24, President Obama will deliver his third State of the Union address to Congress, the American public, and global audiences seeking to better understand the domestic and foreign policy priorities for the United States in 2012. With a presidential election year in full swing and a still-uncertain U.S. economic recovery, it’s unlikely global development will get much mention in the president’s address. But that won’t stop us at CGD from tuning in to assess the president’s remarks using our state-of-the art policy proclamation evaluation instrument: CGD State of the Union Bingo.

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Together with CGD friends and colleagues, we’ll track in real-time how the president measures up to his commitment to development by listening for the key development-relevant words listed on our bingo cards. Will he mention his new pledge to increase access to HIV/AIDS treatment? Pakistan? Climate? Trade?

Women, Development, and the Arab Spring: Moving from Protest to Political Participation

This is a joint post with Jessica Brinton

At a recent CGD breakfast with Johnny West on his new book Karama! Journeys Through the Arab Spring, our colleague Mead Over asked how women would benefit from the Arab Spring. Though he speaks Arabic and has spent 20 years in the region, West didn’t have much to share about the role and prospects of women. As West explained, he had very few opportunities to interact with women. Unfortunately, this is a piece of a broader reality: even when women have played a huge role in protest movements, they are rarely represented in accounts of the revolution.

Can New Leader Get Respect for UN Population Agency?

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon last week named Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin of Nigeria to be the next executive director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), replacing Dr. Thoraya Obaid who held the position for 10 years. Dr. Osotimehin is a professor of medicine at Ibadan University. He served a brief time as Minister of Health in Nigeria and supported several controversial global health efforts, including polio elimination and increasing access to treatment for HIV/AIDS.

Three Early Moves for Michelle Bachelet’s UN “Start-Up” for Women

This post also appeared on the Huffington Post.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon yesterday named former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet to head UN Women (full name: UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women), a new UN entity. Congratulations to Dr. Bachelet!

While the selection process was criticized for lacking openness and transparency, I hope that those of us, like me, who have been awaiting this appointment will put that concern behind us and let her get on with the job. In many ways, Michelle Bachelet is the ideal candidate, with the right credentials to make this important new entity function effectively:

Behind the Headlines: Toronto Summit(s) and Development

The G-8 and G-20 summits held in Canada last week yielded few headlines on development issues, but there was plenty of rhetoric about global interdependence and poverty reduction and a handful of promising, if mostly modest, development initiatives just below the media’s radar.

As expected, the G-20 declaration focused on when and how to unwind stimulus programs that helped to avert a global economic collapse, and on strengthening regulation of the financial sector to avoid a repeat of the 2008–09 financial crisis.

The Hottest Guest List in Town: Dinner at the White House for Visiting Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

This is a joint post with Nandini Oomman.

The White House State Dinner for visiting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh tonight is perhaps the biggest social event of the year in the nation's capital. The names of the 400 lucky people who have made it on to the guest list are yet to be released—the list has generated as much buzz as the event itself, both in Washington, DC and in India.

Wanted Now: A Pragmatic and Visionary Leader for the Improved UN Entity for Women

This is a joint post with Geeta Rao Gupta.

In all of last week’s hoopla in NYC with the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and the Clinton Global Initiative in full swing, news about an improved, composite U.N. entity for women (still to be formally named) went under the radar. The idea for consolidating several U.N. agencies into one has been in the works for about three years, but was finally adopted just two weeks ago. The resolution merely approves the creation of the entity and states that the Secretary General should announce the final plan for the structure and mission of the agency at next year’s UNGA. Now that’s classic UN style—to take one entire year to figure out what has already been figured out! It’s time for urgent and quick next steps, which if implemented smartly (not just politically) can make all the difference.

Reflections on NYT Magazine Special Issue on Gender: Three Questions to Guide the New Crusade

This is a joint post with Molly Kinder.

This week The New York Times Magazine is dedicated to a single theme: women. The main attraction of this special issue is a stirring essay by journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, who write passionately about the great moral, national security and economic development imperatives of investing in the world’s women and girls. The “women’s crusade” they call for seems already to have begun. A few pages beyond, an interview with Secretary Clinton heralds the start of a “new gender agenda” at the highest reaches of the U.S. foreign policy. Also noted is the growing philanthropic attention to the cause of women and girls – a trend that will be further evidenced next month, when the issue headlines at the annual (Bill) Clinton Global Initiative meetings in NYC.

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