USAID

We interrupt this diatribe for a brief kindly announcement

There’s been a lot to get outraged about on Aid Watch this week. World Bank leader calls for democratizing research while censoring research. USAID and NGOs urge transparency while egregiously non-transparent. Critics criticize our criticism of FAO hunger numbers that turn out to be even worse than we first suggested.
Our strongest supporters correctly point out that excessively bland and polite statements have little effect on the debate compared to outrage, and outrage is often justified.

“Proofiness:” trashing back on FAO hunger numbers

Just before the big UN meetings here in New York around the Millennium Development Goals, the FAO released new world hunger numbers, and Aid Watch listed reasons to worry that these numbers were “made up.”
A blog post from Oxfam GB’s Duncan Green called our post “lazy and supercilious,” with the amusing headline “Easterly trashed.”  The accusation that I am “lazy” struck a raw nerve, and so I have responded forcefully by asking Laura to do more work.

World Bank President starts brawl about development economics research

UPDATE 4:30 PM, Sept 30 — debating Ravallion about World Bank censorship (see end of post)
World Bank President Robert Zoellick gave a speech at Georgetown University today calling for the “democratizing” of development research.  Bob Davis at The Wall Street Journal reports some reactions:

Brain circulation not brain drain

Courtesy/WorldFocus.org (from video)

NYU economist Yaw Nyarko discusses his work on the so-called African brain drain with World Vision Report. Click here to listen to the interview (12 minutes).

InterAction’s statement on NGO accountability

Editor’s note: Aid Watch asked InterAction for a contribution to the debate originally sparked by Till Bruckner’s post The accidental NGO and USAID transparency test. See below for a list of all related posts.
Statement from Barbara J. Wallace, InterAction’s Vice President of Membership and Standards, on NGO Accountability

Return to TransparencyGate: Humanitarian Accountability Partnership weighs in

Editor’s note: Aid Watch asked HAP for a contribution to the debate originally sparked by Till Bruckner’s post The accidental NGO and USAID transparency test. See below for a list of all related posts.
The HAP (Humanitarian Accountability Partnership) Secretariat is encouraged that issues of NGO accountability are being discussed in fora such as this, and in particular that the debate is now going beyond the sector.

Lant Pritchett on What Obama Got Right About Development

by Lant Pritchett, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
Obama’s speech at the MDG conference and the announced US Global Development Policy are the result of long preparation and internal discussions within the administration as part of the Presidential Study Directive, lead out of the NSC, announced a year ago, and the QDDR, prepared by State, both processes having been watched over by the Washington think tanks and advocacy groups.

Lessons after the Meles speech at Columbia: Let Ethiopians debate Ethiopia

It’s sure was nice to see mainly Ethiopians vigorously participating in a debate about Ethiopia, in contrast to the usual Old White Men debating Africa. The Meles visit to Columbia had the unintentional effect of promoting this debate.  We were very happy at Aid Watch to have had the privilege of turning over our  little corner of the web to host some of this debate, and then just get out of the way.
Here’s more in the aftermath of the Meles speech:
Africa Didn’t Ask You (honestly):

New School Thoughts on Africa:

David, Ban, Bill, and Alice

The always wonderful David Rieff takes on the MDG summit:
With the fatuousness that has marked his administration from the outset, the U.N. secretary general, Ban Ki Moon, has now issued a document called “Keeping the Promise,” timed to coincide with the 2010 meeting of the U.N. General Assembly and the summit on the organization’s so-called Millennium Development Goals that is taking place simultaneously.

Diary of a serial summit attendee

One week. Two development summits. Hundreds of heads of state, development luminaries, CEOs, and social entrepreneurs. Celebrity star power. No poor people. Aid Watch spent three days trying to make sense of the greatest show on earth to help the world’s lowest.
TUESDAY

Allow me to introduce the world’s latest aid skeptic: Barack Obama

if the international community just keeps doing the same things the same way, we will miss many development goals.
For too long, we’ve measured our efforts by the dollars we spent … But aid alone is not development.

 Our focus on assistance has saved lives in the short term, but it hasn’t always improved those societies over the long term. Consider the millions of people who have relied on food assistance for decades. That’s not development, that’s dependence….

let’s move beyond the old, narrow debate over how much money we’re spending and let’s instead focus on results-whether we’re actually making improvements in people’s lives

What Hillary’s cookstoves need to succeed

This post was written by Alanna Shaikh. Alanna is a global health professional who blogs at UN Dispatch and Blood and Milk.
Yesterday, Hillary Clinton announced a new $60 million initiative to help 100 million households adopt clean and efficient cookstoves and fuels by 2020. The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves is a public-private partnership that includes the US State Department, the UN Foundation, the World Food Program, Royal Dutch Shell, the World Health Organization, and the US Environmental Protection Agency, among others.

Positives are popular, skeptics are digital

My print copy of today’s Financial Times had this at the bottom of the oped page.

The Millennium Development What?

This is a joint post written with Claudia Williamson, a post-doctoral fellow at DRI.
If you’re reading this blog, and especially if you’re in New York City right now, you’re probably familiar with the Millennium Development Goals. Besides being the focus of this week’s United Nations summit, they are just (according to the UN) “the most broadly supported, comprehensive, and specific development goals” in human history. Should we fail to meet them by 2015, (according to Oxfam) “we are likely to witness the greatest collective failure in history.”

Heated debate with John McArthur on MDGs and accountability

In 2000, nearly every country in the world made a promise to achieve a set of eight goals, including poverty reduction, women’s empowerment and universal primary education by 2015. How far have we gotten? Host Michel Martin speaks with two opposing voices about the progress made this far: John McArthur, CEO of Millennium Promise, and William Easterly, professor of economics at New York University.
Listen to the interview on NPR’s Tell Me More. Once in the media player, the segment is called “UN Convenes to Assess Global Progress”- it’s 12 minutes long.

The Millennium Development Goal that really does work has been forgotten

UPDATE 12 noon: this  is a dueling oped with Sachs on ft.com, debate has moved on and even some agreement (see end of post) from a column in the on-line Financial Times today ; for ungated access and a picture of the handsome author go here.

Speaking at 12:15pm today at Stand Up NYC for MDGs

at Lincoln Center outdoors. Please come and join the other 5 people listening.

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