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The Copenhagen Consensus Project recently asked a group of 24 UN ambassadors and other diplomats to prioritize a list of 40 global development interventions. The US was there. Their interesting report places heath and sanitation on top, with education and hunger somewhat lower. Trade, financial, and environmental policies received lowest priority, due in part to political infeasibility.
There have been many many bad ideas over the years about how to help Africa, but here’s my vote for the worst one in a long while: UNCTAD’s proposal to create a new UN agency to manage a doubling of aid flows to the continent.
Before we get to the proposed solution, the analysis of the problem is deeply flawed. According to the press release:
In a speech that took even insiders by surprise, UN Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, Stephen Lewis, announced yesterday that a high-level UN Panel will recommend the creation of a new UN Agency for Women. The recommendation by the High-Level Panel on UN Reform would pave the way for the proposal for a new agency to be submitted to the UN General Assembly, where approval is considered likely.
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.
Recently DfID, the British aid agency, issued the third White Paper in its series on Eliminating World Poverty, this one focused on Making governance work for the poor. Yesterday I was privileged to join a panel at the IMF where Mark Lowcock, DfID's Director General for Policy and International, gave an overview of the immensely ambitious and wide ranging Paper and the rationale for the commitments it makes.