While US negotiators continue to hammer on the European Union to improve its offer on agricultural market access in the Doha trade talks, US intransigience is holding up progress on agricultural subsidy cuts. One of the few achievements thus far in the negotiations is agreement that there should be caps on the amount of subsidy for specific commodities, such as cotton. US negotiators are insisting on using 1999-2001 as the base period for setting these caps, while other negotiators want to use a longer period average, for 1995-2000.
CGD Policy Blogs
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf addressed a Joint Session of Congress on March 15th. This is only the second time in the last decade that an African Head of State has addressed Congress – the first being South Africa’s Nelson Mandela. She was superb. The combination of humility, resolve, courage, strength of purpose, and vision, along with great communication skills, made it one of the best speeches I have seen on any topic in a long time.
The White House’s updated National Security Strategy, released yesterday, offers an unapologetic if rose-tinted defense of Bush administration policies since September 2002, when the previous NSS appeared. Although most of the chapter headings are the same (“Champion Aspirations for Human Dignity,” “Expand the Circle of Development,” etc.), the new version goes well beyond broad declarations of unassailable principles: it seeks to marshal evidence of administration success in achieving these goals.
The Meningitis Vaccine Project has completed the Phase I clinical trial of a new vaccine against serogroup A meningococcus. Meningitis, an infection of the the thin lining that surrounds the brain and spinal cord, is fatal in 10% of its victims and permanently disables another 20% - even if they have received antibiotic treatment.
Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute of Columbia University, spoke yesterday at CGD (video clip available) to describe his Millennium Villages Project. Sachs’s argument is generally that countries like India developed not by ineffectual, small amounts of foreign aid – as he argues the US delivers today – but by creating a Green Revolution. Communities learned to work together, and with fertilizers donated in part by the United States, they became able to feed themselves and eventually to begin developing.
Robert F Kennedy writes about the Thimerosal controversy, and says that the WHO has pushed the CDC to disguise the dangers.
The US Postal Service announced yesterday the issue of stamps to honor heroes of the vaccine world:
Two of the most esteemed scientists in the world, Dr. Jonas Salk and
Dr. Albert Sabin, were honored today with postage stamps as part of the
Distinguished Americans series. For their dedication to fighting polio
and other infectious diseases, Salk and Sabin received numerous awards,
including the Presidential Medal of Freedom (Salk in 1977, Sabin in
In the last two days we've had the announcement of a program to buy commercial insurance against drought in Ethiopia, and the launch of the new UN emergency fund.
New York Times: Aid Group Takes Out Insurance on Drought in Ethiopia