This past week, Asian Development Bank governors gathered in Uzbekistan, G-8 development ministers concluded a meeting, controversy erupted over Canada’s funding of maternal health services overseas, and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for a “clean energy revolution.”
ADB governors focused discussions on regional integration, climate change and poverty reduction. ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda said it is the ADB’s dream to see a “truly integrated yet globally connected Asia.”
Before the May 1-4 gathering in Tashkent, the bank signed trade deals with Azerbaijan banks and agreements to reduce trade risks and boost Uzbekistan’s energy and trade efficiency. ADB also announced support for Southeast Asian small and medium-sized enterprises.
G-8 development ministers agreed to create guiding principles towards the common goal of improving global child and maternal health. Canadian International Cooperation Minister Bev Oda said the principles will give countries the flexibility to “build their basket of initiatives,” but also stressed that Canada’s contribution to the G-8 child and maternal initiative “will not include funding abortion.” A CIDA official claimed later claimed that the aid agency would continue to fund organizations providing abortion-related services abroad. Meanwhile, Canada cut funding for 14 women’s groups by the federal government, prompting criticism of ideological warfare.
Prime Minister Harper, meanwhile, raised eyebrows when he appeared to question the worth of the upcoming G-20 Summit in Canada when he urged the group to leave aid talks to the G-8.
On climate change, Ban called for a clean energy revolution in the developing world. ADB launched a USD9 billion regional solar initiative that aims to create 3,000 megawatts of solar power in Asia by 2012. The African Development Bank, meanwhile, announced a USD37 million project to strengthen climate institutions in Africa.
Haiti received a bunch of grants and aid packages over the past week, including a budget support package and housing grant from the Inter-American Development Bank. The country also received new assistance from the U.S., Spain, Japan and the U.N.. Meanwhile, the American Red Cross was criticized for “anemic spending” on projects in the earthquake-ravaged island nation.
Some high-level appointments this week: Atul Khare was named the United Nations’ new assistant secretary-general for peacekeeping operations. Harold Shapiro was chosen to lead a team that will review the U.N. climate panel.
Lee Hamilton announced plans to step down as president of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars president in the coming months.
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