Achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals

This blog's purpose is to connect in an every widening and deepening manner with others across the globe in support of the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals.

Let's be the first generation to end poverty by 2015 with the United Nations' Eight Goal Millennium Campaign.
1. End Hunger 2. Universal Education 3. Gender Equity 4. Child Health 5. Maternal Health 6. Combat HIV/AIDS and other diseases 7. Environmental Sustainability 8. Global Partnership.

Learn more about what this weblog is trying to accomplish at the new PBworks Wiki.

What If - Millennium Development Goals Ending Poverty 2015

Friday, August 12, 2011

New Direction - Keeping it more local with an eye on the global

Sphere: Related Content Because of work and other commitments, I have left off doing this blog for some time now. I am now going in another direction and have redefined my other blog from one with a focus on pathways to personal paradigm shifts to one on helping to define Pathways to New Community Paradigms. I will return here to post occasionally but my time here from before helped to convince me that people in America do not see the importance of the Millennium Development Goals. In part because they often do not see themselves as being empowered in their own communities, so it is hard to see how to empower others with even less. Many of the lessons learned in this endeavor will be applied to my new one and I will continue to interject more than occasionally a voice in support of the 8 Millennium Development Goals and what they hope to achieve.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

US Global Development Strategy Put Forward; A First Long Time Coming

Sphere: Related Content Raymond C. Offenheiser, Board of Directors, Oxfam America Advocacy Fund tells us that President Obama announced a sweeping new effort called the US Global Development Strategy - at a big poverty summit in New York [one presumes they mean the UN MDGs Summit which goes to my previous point of too little and too much] delivering the message in person - a first for any president!
The White House's New Approach to Advancing Development goes beyond giving aid only in times of crisis, becoming proactive rather than reactive. It adopts a multifaceted approach to ending poverty - utilizing diplomacy, revamping trade and investment policies, reforming our foreign aid policies and partnering with governments, NGOs and the private sector.
Oxfam wants us to join in pushing Congress to make sure President Obama's new strategy on foreign aid stands for administrations to come - by emailing your House representative now!
The existing bill in the US House, H.R. 2139, the Initiating Foreign Assistance Reform Act of 2009, would reform US aid to other countries and make sure key parts of Obama's plan are safe for years to come. That's why more representatives are needed to co-sponsor this reform bill and show the White House, Congress and the world that they're serious about real solutions for global poverty.
So, officially speaking, what is its purpose?
  • Official: To direct the President to develop and implement a comprehensive national strategy to further the United States foreign policy objective of promoting global development, and for other purposes. as introduced.
Why do we need this? This video from 2009, featuring Sabina Dewan, Associate Director of International Economic Policy at American Progress, provides some insights.

We need a National Strategy for Global Development which outline the goals of our development programs and the methods to reach those goals. A recent GAO report identified the lack of such a strategy as a major challenge for our global development efforts.
The current law on US foreign aid has been on the books for 50 years. It's grossly out of date and doesn't address the needs of modern poverty. The bill now being considered by the House will reform the way the US handles foreign aid, turning a key element of the Global Development Strategy into law and preventing it from being changed with each new administration.
A more thorough examination of the issue is provided by Farha Tahir in the article Interagency Coordination, Aid Effectiveness, and Corruption: A Roadmap found in the blog Random Musings.
Susan B. Epstein, Specialist in Foreign Policy also provides an in depth look at the issue through her article on Foreign Aid Reform, National Strategy, and the Quadrennial Review at International Humanitarian Policy CRS Reports relating to International Humanitarian Crisis and Emergency Aid Efforts
I recently became convinced to stop focusing on the United Nations as the primary means of implementing the Millennium Development Goals and focus instead closer to home on the policies of the United States. This is one policy that will help to implement the MDGs in a pragmatic and work in the political realities of this world type of way.
We need to make sure that these new policies on global poverty stand the test of time - we need to email Congress today and urge our House representative to co-sponsor this crucial piece of legislation before the end of the year.

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Let No Family Go Hungry But on What Terms

Sphere: Related Content The Stand Up Take Action and the UN MDG Summit are now both over and in my view it was all too little and too much at the same time, but more on that later.The events of the past week have induced me to change the focus with this blog to trying to go a bit deeper and include more relevant information on particular issues,with each post, especially those before Congress.
So while, I will still be responding when someone like Emily V. of Care2 and ThePetitionSite Team urges us to tell Congress to enact a global strategy to reduce world hunger, I will also be examining the issue more closely and raising questions.
Food.- It's one of our most basic needs. But the number of people suffering from chronic hunger is increasing every year. Today, one-sixth of the world's population goes hungry.The Global Food Security Act now before Congress would make it faster and cheaper to feed the more than 1 billion people facing chronic hunger. If passed, this bill would give more flexibility in food emergencies, like buying food locally and regionally, as well as providing social safety net programs for the world's poor. Plus, by developing long-term agricultural projects, it will help women farmers to increase their income and pull their families out of poverty. Tell Congress to pass the Global Food Security Act »
The overall sentiment behind the Care2 request is great but the details, as often is the case with these calls for action, are sparse. This involves a controversial bill S. 384: Global Food Security Act of 2009, which at least in its earlier form, was opposed by a number of organizations, some of which have been supported in this blog.
The Global Food Security Act has recently had a hearing before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. A video of the hearing is provided below.xx
[Some technical information first part starts at 19:38 and second Part starts at 122:20]
Committee on Foreign Relations: concluded a hearing to examine promoting global food security, focusing on the next steps for Congress and the Administration, after receiving testimony from Jacob Lew, Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources; Rajiv Shah, Administrator, United States Agency for International Development (USAID); and Global Agricultural Development Initiative Cochairs, Dan Glickman, Washington, DC, and Catherine Bertini, Cortland, New York, both of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

This blog has looked at the issue of Global Food Security before with the post Commitment to Global Food Security Sadly Lacking. All of the Millennium Development Goals, including Millennium Development Goal 1. End Hunger not only need to be attained by 2015, they also need to be sustained after that and that will not happen without a viable global food security program.
The level of disagreement, among those who would be assumed to be on the same side of an issue having to do with feeding the developing world, has a fairly wide range. The specific organizations opposing S.384 back in 2009 and perhaps still so today are a more numerous as well as a more varied crowd. One of the important concepts raised in this argument is balancing Food Security with Food Sovereignty. This is the sticking point with S. 384 from me. It seemingly places Millennium Development Goal 1. End Hunger in opposition with Millennium Development Goal 8. Global Partnership.

Some are opposed because they see the legislation as being in contrast with the principles of their organization. Whether this remains true for the final version of the bill remains to be seen.Many progressive organizations accuse the bill of being written in favor of large industrial agricultural firms, specifically in this case Monsanto.
Some organizations are basically opposed to genetic modification in any form as a means of feeding the world. At this point, I am not, but I will be studying this and the supposed negative effects of the so-called Green Revolution more closely.

Others see the failure of the Green Revolution being a result of political neglect not bad science.
Timothy Geithner and Bill Gates: A New Initiative to Feed the World
We should not be facing this challenge today. In the 1960s and '70s the world understood that agricultural development was an indispensable tool in alleviating hunger, reducing poverty, and driving economic growth. A combination of new, high-yielding crops developed by scientists such as Norman Borlaug and sustained investments from the U.S. and other countries helped save hundreds of millions of people from starvation in India, Mexico and elsewhere. Yet during the past three decades the world's interest in agriculture waned. Donor nations moved on to focus on other issues. The result is that there has been a sharp drop in aid for agriculture. In 1979, nearly 18% of all official development assistance world-wide went to agriculture. In 2008, about 5% did. Timothy Geithner and Bill Gates: A New Initiative to Feed the World -
The truth is that I am very likely relatively more conservative than many of those in the organizations opposing this bill. I do see technology as being an essential tool for meeting the Millennium Development Goals. I also remain an advocate of free enterprise and social enterprise as a means of facing these challenges. This can make for some strange political bedfellows on various issues (in this case Geithner), which means more thinking on my part on the subject.
Even though I may have some issues with Mr. Geithner, I still come down at this point with favoring the bill. My rationale is that CARE Urges Passage of Global Food Security Act; Commends Bipartisan Support in Both Senate and House. Besides the fact that they are making the request for support, their reasons for doing so seems not to be tied to the question of genetic engineering, rather they seem to have more on-the-ground pragmatic concerns related to their own efforts to get food to those most in need.
"Transporting food from the United States to hungry people in developing countries is expensive, slow and unpredictable -- it does not make sense to spend 65 cents of every dollar in food aid on processing and transportation," said Dr. Gayle.
CARE places special emphasis on investing in women and girls' empowerment. Passage of the Global Food Security Act could benefit families and move entire communities out of poverty by providing women farmers access to the necessary tools, skills and financial resources to feed their families and get their crops to local markets. ONE also seems to be supporting the bill as some of the articles cited below indicate.
I have been going back and forth on this issue. Here is some information on the Lugar­Casey
 that lists organizations for and against the bill from 2009.
Below is some more information on the organizations that were opposing S.384 in 2009, though some of the links are old it appears until the language in the bill is changed most still do.

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