By Sung Lee
USAID administrator Rajiv Shah delivered the keynote address at the Global Philanthropy Forum in Washington, D.C. To meet the future challenges of feeding additional 2.5 billion people and increasingly erratic climate conditions, Dr. Shah identified three critical opportunities that will help developing countries lift themselves out of poverty. “We need to help communities build real resilience to disasters-so that droughts don't shatter development gains or give rise to instability. We need to strengthen food security and drive economic growth. And we need to help countries reap a demographic dividend-focusing on efforts that ensure all children can enjoy healthy, productive lives,” said Administrator Shah. The transcript of his remarks is available here.
Governments Must Stop Short-Term Outlook, Warns UN Development Head, Guardian, April 18
Speaking two months before Rio+20, the former New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark said sustainable development had not been made mainstream in policy because governments considered the short-term outcomes too politically risky. But the urgency of the problem means people will have to act soon. The future must be based on equity and justice, with people at its center, she said, where the focus is not just on the environment but also economic and social development.
The First Opium Win, New York Times, April 18
According to the UN’s 2011 Afghanistan Opium Survey, Afghanistan’s farmers earned $1.4 billion from opium in 2011, an increase of 133 percent over the year before. That’s about 9 percent of the country’s G.D.P. The U.S. government spent roughly $4.7 billion on poppy-eradication and antidrug programs in Afghanistan between 2001 and 2010. These efforts were largely futile.
Nigeria Tested by Rapid Rise in Population, New York Times, April 14
Across sub-Saharan Africa, alarmed governments have begun to act, often reversing longstanding policies that encouraged or accepted large families. Nigeria, already the world’s sixth most populous nation with 167 million people, is a crucial test case, since its success or failure at bringing down birthrates will have outsize influence on the world’s population. If this large nation rich with oil cannot control its growth, what hope is there for the many smaller, poorer countries?
G8 Foreign Ministers Meeting Chair’s Statement, U.S. Department of State, April 12
Ministers welcomed the productive partnership with African and other governments globally under the historic L’Aquila Food Security Initiative, which supports country-led efforts to assure sustainable food security and improved nutrition. Donor and partner government investments in agricultural development have proven to be one of the most effective means to promote broad-based economic growth, especially when they are nutrition-sensitive and target smallholder farmers and women.