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CGD Policy Blogs



A Global Health Mystery: What’s Behind the US Government Position on AMFm?

As the Global Fund’s November board meeting approaches – where the future of the Affordable Medicines Facility for Malaria (AMFm) hangs in the balance – there is much anxiety that AMFm will be terminated in 2013. The reason for such anxiety is clear: no donors have pledged funding commitments for after December 2012. But there’s another elephant in the room: the US government’s apparent lack of support, particularly its legislated “opt-in” stance on AMFm: “the Global Fund should not support activities involving the ‘Affordable Medicines Facility-malaria’ or similar entities pending compelling evidence of success from pilot programs as evaluated by the Coordinator of United States Government Activities to Combat Malaria Globally.” (Conversely, an opt-out stance would be to support AMFm unless no compelling evidence is presented.) This very specific and strict provision makes the AMFm’s continued survival all but impossible without an explicit endorsement by US Global Malaria Coordinator (currently Rear Admiral Tim Ziemer) who leads the US President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) housed in the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

Party On? US Political Platforms and Development

With the US presidential election fast approaching we’ve heard almost nothing about US leadership on global development from the candidates or their surrogates. This is a striking difference from 2008 when development issues made the national agenda and were featured in roundtable discussions at both conventions. While development wasn’t entirely missing from this year’s conventions—check out U.S. Global Leadership Coalition’s recaps of its co-sponsored events on foreign policy and development—it seems to us that it’s been missing from the broader conversation on the campaign trail. Lacking such public pronouncements, we dug into the Democratic and Republican 2012 Party Platforms for indications of where the parties stand on policies that affect development. Admittedly, the platforms don’t provide a lot of detail and certainly aren’t blueprints for the next administration. But right now it’s about all we have to go on. And if past platforms are any indication, at least some of the parties’ stated positions will become future administrations’ policy.

This Beats Most Aid by Miles - And It’s a Migration Non-Profit

Yesterday I discovered a development organization so revolutionary, most people wouldn’t even call it a development organization. It’s a non-profit called the Independent Agricultural Worker Center (CITA).

CITA is a matchmaker between farms and seasonal agricultural workers. The farms are in the United States; almost all of the workers are in Mexico. CITA brings them together and unleashes the vast economic power of labor mobility for development.

Why Khartoum Needs an Ambassador, Not a USAID Mission

The tragic loss of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three of his staff in Benghazi last week brought back all too vivid memories of USAID/Sudan’s loss of two dedicated staff in a terrorist attack on New Year’s morning 2008. (I was the head of USAID's Africa bureau at the time.) In the wake of last Friday’s attack on the US embassy in Khartoum, I’m pondering anew the rationale behind the official American presence in Khartoum and the Government of Sudan’s commitment to its safety.

Doing Well While Doing Good?

Would you invest in a project that looks to reduce the incidence of ‘Rhodesian’ sleeping sickness in cattle in Uganda? What if you could make a return on that investment?

You can’t do it yet but if CGD and Social Finance’s Development Impact Bonds Working Group keeps charging ahead, you just might be able to someday.

Wanted: Global Health Diplomat

The Global Health Initiative was launched by the Obama Administration in 2009 as a new way for the United States to do business in global health. Three years later – suffering from a lack of mandate – the GHI was dissolved and in its place a new new way to do business in global health was announced: the Office of Global Health Diplomacy, led by an Ambassador responsible for “champion[ing] the priorities and policies of the GHI in the diplomatic arena.” The announcement sparked frustration in the global health community, and I questioned if it may be short-sighted to put so much control of US global health leadership into the hands of the State Department.

One Year Later: What Happened to Noncommunicable Diseases?

One year ago, the United Nations held a high-level meeting on non-communicable disease (NCD) prevention and control that culminated in a General Assembly Resolution 66/2 to adopt a 13-page “political declaration” to “address the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases worldwide.” The event presented a united front against NCDs and its flashiness garnered lots of media attention. But one year later, where has the attention and commitment to NCDs gone?

Put the UN General Assembly on The Daily Show! (Or Maybe Not?)

Last week I gave a speech at the UN General Assembly (UNGA).  I was the keynote speaker for a session on the global economy and the Millennium Development Goals. I came away with mixed feelings. On one hand, the inefficiency of the UN can be maddening—the place is badly overdue for a good skewering on The Daily Show.

Impact Evaluations Everywhere: What’s a Small NGO to Do?

I frequently get inquiries from organizations that recognize the importance of rigorous evaluation and yet aren’t quite sure how they can do it. They see the growing number of random assignment or quasi-experimental studies and are attracted to the apparent objectivity and relative certainty of quantitative studies, but they are often reticent to dive into those approaches. Sometimes organizations have reasonable concerns about costs, lack of expertise, or the applicability of such approaches to the questions they care about.