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CGD Policy Blogs


Haitian Death Toll Reveals Vulnerability of Poor Countries to Natural Disasters

In February 2010, we wrote about how the relative magnitude of the death toll from the Haiti earthquake, then reckoned at approximately 230,000, compared to other recent natural disasters. On the one year anniversary of the earthquake, Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive announced that a year’s worth of recovery efforts had provided a revised death toll of 316,000, representing nearly 3.5% of Haiti’s total population (a comparable disaster in the United States would kill 10.5 million people). Death tolls from such extensive natural disasters are subject to uncertainty, but it appears the last event that definitively exceeds the toll from the Haiti earthquake was Cyclone Bhola, which struck East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) in 1970, killing as many as 500,000. Considering these numbers, the 2010 Haiti earthquake was the most deadly natural disaster of the last forty years.

Ten Zero-Cost Ideas for Development Progress in 2011

A new year calls for a development policy wish list.  My wish list is about what the rich and powerful global actors– mostly but not solely in the United States – can do to improve lives among the poor and vulnerable around the world in the coming year.

USAID Enables Results-Based Programming by Reforming (Ho Hum) Procurement Processes

The eyes of even the most passionate foreign aid advocate are likely to glaze if you raise the subject of “procurement reform.” But in the just-released transcript of remarks made November 12 to an audience of USAID contractors, Maura O'Neill, Chief Innovation Officer to USAID Administrator Shah, and Ari Alexander, a member of USAID’s procurement reform team, admit that USAID procurement practices have been so dysfunctional as to have caused “great difficulty” for in-country local partners.  According to Mr. Alexander:

What Bush Got Wrong on AIDS

On the occasion of World AIDS Day, President Bush’s has written an op-ed in today’s Washington Post vaunting his President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), telling Congress that AIDS patients supported by PEPFAR “cannot be abandoned” and pleading for continued expansion of treatment access.  Astonishingly, except for a reference to hypothetical future vaccines, the Op-Ed has not one word about HIV prevention.

How Plausible Are the Predictions of AIDS Models?

UNAIDS, WHO, PEPFAR and the Global Fund for AIDS TB and Malaria (GFATM) all depend on long-run projections in order to make the case for increased attention and financing for AIDS.  This dependency is a response to the reality that HIV is a slow epidemic with extraordinary “momentum”.  Even small changes in the course of new infections require years to implement and have health and fiscal consequences for decades thereafter.  According to the UNAIDS web site, “[s]ince 2001, the UNAIDS Secretariat have le

Report on the Long-Term Burden of HIV/AIDS in Africa to be Launched Monday, November 29

About a year ago the Institute of Medicine assembled a committee of 12 to advise the US on the implications for its policy towards Africa of the long-term burden of AIDS there.  The two co-chairs of the committee, Tom Quinn and David Serwadda, will release the report findings to the press on Monday, November 27 here in DC, and I will help them respond to questions from the press and public.  A formal description of the committee’s mandate and a complete list of the committee members can be found here.  If you would