By Sung Lee
Secretary Clinton stressed that the President’s FY 13 Budget request focus on: 1) Sustaining the US national security missions in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan; 2) Building a strong relationship with the institutions in the Asia Pacific; 3) Demonstrating America’s commitments to support democratic movement in the Arab world; 4) Engaging in economic statecrafts - utilizing diplomacy and development to create American jobs; 5) Making strategic investments to help the overall US foreign policy goals. She said, “Our Feed the Future Initiative is helping millions of men, women, and children by driving agricultural growth and improving nutrition to hasten the day when countries no longer need food aid at all.” Her testimony is available here.
Today's top stories on global agricultural development and food security issues.
The Conservative Case for Foreign Aid, Opinion, John Kerry, Wall Street Journal, February 29
There's nothing fiscally conservative about starving our foreign policy budget of a billion dollars today only to spend a trillion dollars years later in armed conflict. Every day, the State Department leads operations that strengthen our security. At this time of budget crisis, a U.S. senator trying to defend foreign aid might well be advised to seek the counsel of a political consultant if not a mental health professional. But energetic global leadership is a strategic imperative for America, not a favor we do for other countries.
Obama to Sign Executive Order Creating Trade Enforcement Panel, Washington Post, February 28
President Barack Obama plans to sign an executive order creating a U.S. panel to investigate unfair trade practices by nations including China. The Interagency Trade Enforcement Center will bring together lawyers, researchers, analysts and agents to monitor and enforce trade agreements and laws, the White House said in an e-mailed statement. The panel’s director will be chosen by U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, with a deputy selected by Commerce Secretary John Bryson and other staff coming from that agency.
Millions of Children in Cities Face Poverty and Exclusion, UN News Center, February 28
Hundreds of millions of children in cities across the world are growing up in poverty and enduring deprivation, according to a report unveiled today by the UN, spotlighting social exclusion and calling for measures to give the youngsters access to basic services and opportunities for a better future. ‘The State of the World’s Children 2012’ report highlights the hardship that many children living in urban areas go through, which are in many cases concealed by statistical averages in which the poverty of some is obscured by the relative wealth of others.
The Future of the World Bank – Nancy Birdsall, Center for Global Development, February 28
The top challenge facing a new president is how the bank can become more effective in addressing problems of global public goods– issues such as climate change, natural resource scarcity, fisheries collapse, and drug resistance, which no one country can sort out on its own. The bank currently tackles these issues in an ad hoc manner; it lacks a clear mandate and an appropriate financial instrument, says CGD President Nancy Birdsall.
Strengthening Conservation Through the 2012 Farm Bill, Senate Agriculture Committee, February 28
This hearing will explore the Conservation Title’s important investment in America through policies that help farmers maintain soil health, keep our water clean and available, our food abundant and safe, and our wildlife plentiful – so as to protect the basic principles of farming and our way of life for future generations.