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There was another meeting in Doha this past weekend through yesterday. This time it was the United Nations not the WTO that failed to close any deal.
I attended because CGD organized a "side event" on our COD Aid initiative -- more on that in another comment later this week.
We at CGD warmly welcome president-elect Barack Obama's appointments of Timothy Geithner as Secretary of Treasury and Lawrence Summers to head the National Economic Council. Both are members of the CGD Board of Directors. This is no coincidence.
The Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) just launched its new website. As many of you know, CGD's Steve Radelet is co-chair of this initiative. The new site provides information on how foreign assistance is in our national interest, why it is vital to modernize the current system, and how you can get involved in the effort.
The U.S. Congress launched a new bipartisan Caucus for Congressional-World Bank Dialogue at a packed event on Capitol Hill July 16. The caucus, co-chaired by Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Betty McCollum (D-MN), provides a forum for members of Congress to engage the World Bank, parliamentarians and policy experts on poverty reduction, global development and trade.
Back in December 2006 I blogged a meeting in Paris at which the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP), a sort of microfinance think tank operating out of the World Bank, won a mandate to hold a mirror up to the aid agencies that fund it. A year and a half later, CGAP's new SmartAid Index looks at the quality of donors' work in supporting micorofinance.
Two former administrators of the U.S. Agency for International Development -- Peter McPherson and Brian Atwood -- said the U.S. government should give greater prominence to development and rewrite the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 in their testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee last week. Their testimony and other events around town signal growing momentum for a dramatic overhaul of U.S. foreign assistance.
This post is joint with Tom Slayton, a rice trade expert and former editor of The Rice Trader
It has been a busy week in the rice markets following CGD's release on Monday of our note about how to puncture a speculative price bubble that threatens millions of people with malnutrition and worse (see Unwanted Rice in Japan Can Solve the Rice Crisis--If Washington and Tokyo Act ). On Wednesday our proposal was discussed at hearings on the world food crisis in both the House and Senate.
And now for a really bad idea: according to the Financial Times Michel Barnier, France's farm minister, told a food crisis summit in Berne that Africa and Latin America should adopt their own versions of Europe's Common Agricultural Policy -- massive trade-distorting subsidies -- as a response to rising demand for food.
CGD President Nancy Birdsall praised the intent of new legislation (S. 2166) to expand debt relief to additional poor countries, but cautioned against the bill in its current form last week at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing. She urged the U.S.