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*This is a joint post with Steve Radelet
Yesterday in an interview with NPR, Defense Secretary Robert Gates made a strong and smart argument for supporting American troops. No surprises there, right? Except for the fact that he is defending the build-up of civilian troops -- our diplomatic and development corps -- to be America's front line of defense in fighting global poverty and insecurity. Much as he did in his brilliant speech at Kansas State University in November, Gates encourages the United States to devote more resources and create new institutions for nonmilitary means of influence abroad: diplomacy, strategic communications, foreign assistance, civic action, and economic reconstruction and development. His message:
If we are to meet the myriad challenges around the world in the coming decades, this country must strengthen other important elements of national power both institutionally and financially, and create the capability to integrate and apply all of the elements of national power to problems and challenges abroad.
And, how specifically do we elevate global development policy in the national interest? Says Gates:
What is clear to me is that there is a need for a dramatic increase in spending on the civilian instruments of national security -- diplomacy, strategic communications, foreign assistance, civic action, and economic reconstruction and development....The way to institutionalize these capabilities is probably not to recreate or repopulate institutions of the past such as AID or USIA. On the other hand, just adding more people to existing government departments such as Agriculture, Treasury, Commerce, Justice and so on is not a sufficient answer either -- even if they were to be more deployable overseas. New institutions are needed for the 21st century, new organizations with a 21st century mind-set.
The wellbeing of adolescent girls in developing countries shapes global economic and social prosperity -- yet girls' needs often are consigned to the margins of development policies and programs. This new report describes why and how to provide adolescent girls in developing countries a full and equal chance in life. Offering targeted recommendations for national and local governments, donor agencies, civil society, and the private sector, Girls Count provides a compelling starting point for country-specific agendas to recognize and foster girls' potential.
This post originally appeared on the "Carbon Monitoring for Action" blog.
CGD's CARMA website (Carbon Monitoring for Action) uses information on planned construction of power plants to project increases in carbon emissions during the coming decade. In India, for example, CARMA projects that new facilities will increase CO2 emissions by about 150%, and much of the increase will come from enormous coal-fired plants. CARMA's ranking of Indian power plants on their future emissions shows that Tata Power Corporation's planned Mundra plant in Gujarat will rank third nationally, with projected annual CO2 emissions of 27.8 million tons when it is fully operational. Mundra will be bigger than Georgia's Scherer plant, the largest emitter in the US, which annually spews about 25 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere.
This is a joint posting with Rebecca Schutte
Is purchasing food aid locally the answer to higher global food prices and the inefficiencies associated with imported food aid? The World Food Program (WFP), the Bill and Melinda Gates and Howard G. Buffett Foundations seem to think so. While donors and international organizations have been purchasing food aid in recipient countries for years, the idea got a new boost in late September with the "Purchase for Progress (P4P)" initiative. The idea is simple: Rather than import food aid from the U.S. or Europe, WFP will purchase food commodities for distribution within the same country or region. As Josette Sheeran, WFP executive director, explained, "Purchase for Progress is a win-win -- we help our beneficiaries who have little or no food and we help local farmers who have little or no access to markets where they can sell their crops." The program will be piloted in twenty-one countries in 2008/2009, fourteen of which are in sub-Saharan Africa.