As donors cut back on aid spending, international health experts are expressing concern over funding shortfall for life-saving vaccines. Even as the U.S. Agency for International Development pledges USD1.2 million in support of national polio vaccination campaigns across Central Asia, a USD1.3 billion financing gap for polio vaccines in the next three years still looms. The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, for its part, has appealed for USD4.3 billion to continue programs to eradicate pneumonia and diarrhea.
Food security was high on the U.S. aid agenda this week. USAID awarded a USD5 million grant to Mercy Corps that will provide 130,000 people in Niger with food vouchers – the first grant that is part of a new U.S. emergency food security program. It is also beefing up its agricultural research capabilities through the establishment of the Norman Borlaug Commemorative Research Initiative. Funding for the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, however, continues to spark protests – last week, by African activists in the streets of Johannesburg.
The U.S. named eight countries that would receive funds under the Global Health Initiative, and USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah unveiled more details on his plans for agency reform. The Millennium Challenge Corp. board met and announced prospective compact recipients in 2010-2011.
In Europe, the United Kingdom is streamlining its funding activities and will stop giving aid to China and Russia. Britain is cutting funds intended for multilateral organizations and will instead be redirecting aid to the world’s poorest countries.
Germany is focusing on aid effectiveness, but figured in a diplomatic row with Israel. The German aid minister was refused entry into the Gaza Strip and disallowed to visit a German-funded water purification plant.
The French Development Agency, or AFD, along with the Japan International Cooperation Agency and the World Bank, has signed a USD300 million agreement with Indonesia to support the third installment of the Climate Change Program loan. The French aid agency, in cooperation with Bank Mandiri, has also committed USD100 million for environmentally friendly energy initiatives for the Southeast Asian country.
The European Council vows to report on its progress toward the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. The council said it will prioritize countries most off-course in meeting the MDGs and draft a list of countries in most need of “special attention.” U.N. Development Program Administrator Helen Clark said the deadline for the MDGs can be met and outlined the agency’s eight-point agenda to accelerate the pace of the world’s progress in achieving them ahead of the MDG summit in September.
- Jorge Familiar Calderon, vice president and corporate secretary, World Bank. - Joan Elise Dubinsky, director, U.N. Ethics Office. - Sihasak Phuangketkeow, president, U.N. Human Rights Council. - Michaelle Jean, special envoy to Haiti, UNESCO. - Michael F. Walsh, managing director for Center of Development Excellence, DAI.