Last night, the Senate approved the FY08 Omnibus spending bill with $34.31 billion in base funding for the International Affairs budget. The House-approved $1.54 billion for the Millennium Challenge Account stayed in tact through the Senate approval process.
CGD Policy Blogs
Our efforts toward more and better impact evaluation of development programs made a major advance this week with the announcement that Howard White, who has dedicated his career to building evidence about development effectiveness, has accepted the position as the first director of the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (see the CGD initiative: Closing the Evaluation Gap).
In his LA Times article on December 16, Charles Piller addresses the very real possibility that the extraordinary amount of funding now flowing to poor countries to combat individual diseases might undermine other health sector capabilities.
If You Can't Do Everything, Should You Do Anything? LA Times Article Hits, and Misses, the Mark on Global Health Programs
Readers of this recent LA Times article were treated to a series of heart rending stories -- which taken together suggest serious program design flaws in, mainly Gates-funded, health programs in poor countries. The article is long, and raises many issues. I think it's worth examining some of them a bit more deeply.
Today we got our first look at the results of Senate and House Appropriators' weekend wrestling with the FY08 Omnibus Appropriations bill, comprising the remaining 11 appropriations bills, including State-Foreign Operations. In an effort to meet the president’s demand that aggregate discretionary spending be held to his request of $933 billion, the current Omnibus slashed an additional 4% from the Foreign Operations discretionary spending level earlier passed by both chambers to arrive at $32.8 billion.
The White House finally blinked in the final hours of the UN's Bali Conference on Climate Change. The catalyst may have been the unprecedented boos and hisses directed at the US delegation from the floor, or the peremptory challenge from Kevin Conrad, Papua New Guinea's representative: "If for some reason you are not willing to lead, leave it to the rest of us. Please, get out of the way." Confronted by the prospect of pariah status, the US dropped its categorical resistance to emissions reduction targets and permitted their inclusion in a footnote to the final agreement.
Besides the official negotiations and speeches, the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Bali that I've been attending also provided opportunities for sharing new research and ideas. Two subjects dominated the schedule: adaptation and forestry (no doubt reflecting the preferences of our Indonesian hosts). Here I briefly discuss the use of climate models in adaptation -- a critical issue for those in the development community. [In a separate post to follow I'll note some new efforts in the measurement and monitoring of forest carbon.]
Last week was a good week for the world's poor countries. It was also a good week for multilateralism and for Bob Zoellick, the World Bank's president. The rich country governments that support the International Development Association or IDA, the World Bank's concessional window, pledged a record $41.6 billion for IDA's 15th replenishment, a 30% increase over the 14th replenishment.
In a recent Q&A over at IHT's Managing Globalization blog, CGD President Nancy Birdsall repeatedly emphasized the need for an International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3IE) to better ascertain what works in global health and development. Now, Ruth Levine and Bill Savedoff expand on the plans for establishing 3IE in a new Alliance Magazine article.
Yesterday, the Millennium Challenge Corporation Board of Directors decided which countries to add to -- and if you look closely, which countries to withdraw from -- the list of those eligible for funding. For Compact program eligibility, the Board chose one new country -- Malawi -- to add, and it looks like The Gambia, Cape Verde and Sri Lanka were quietly removed.