MCC's tough love, IFC immunity, and Ebola's death rattle: This week in development

By Michael Igoe 31 March 2016

A nurse checks body temperatures at the entrance to the Ebola isolation unit at Connaught Hospital in Sierra Leone. Ebola is no longer an international health emergency, Margaret Chan, director general of the World Health Organization, announced this week. Photo by: Simon Davis / DFID / CC BY

One international health emergency ends while experts huddle to counter another. The United Nations wakes up to more sexual assault allegations, and rich countries get bad marks on refugee resettlement action. This week in development news:

The Millennium Challenge Corp. suspended its partnership with Tanzania this week over concerns about democratic freedom in the East African country and long-time U.S. development partner. As Devex reported, Tanzania’s government must take the lead in outlining steps it will take to ameliorate concerns about unfree elections and rights crackdowns if the partnership is to be rekindled. The suspension means that a planned $472 million MCC compact has been frozen. The compact was expected to support rural electrification plans.

Ebola is no longer an international health emergency, Margaret Chan, director general of the World Health Organization, announced this week. That means the “temporary recommendations” — curtailing international travel, for example — in effect during the emergency will come to an end. The WHO’s determination stems from a period of disease surveillance, which determined that the original transmission chains for the virus have been “interrupted” and that Ebola-affected West African countries are capable of containing the small number of new cases that do arise. No rest for the weary though. This week the Centers for Disease Control will host a Zika Action Plan Summit in Atlanta to prepare for and respond to the mosquito-borne disease.

The World Bank’s International Finance Corporation, which makes loans to private companies for development projects, has immunity from lawsuits in the United States, according to a U.S. District Court Judge who dismissed a lawsuit filed against the IFC last week. U.S. nonprofit EarthRights International — which filed the suit on behalf of Indian farmers and fishermen — sought damages for an IFC-supported power plant they say has caused extensive environmental damage.

Oxfam International is taking rich countries to task for not accepting and resettling more Syrian refugees. The NGO’s analysis concludes that rich countries have resettled only 1.39 percent of the nearly 5 million Syrian refugees. Only three countries — Canada, Germany and Norway — have made resettlement pledges that exceed their “fair share,” which Oxfam calculates according to the size of the country’s economy. France, the Netherlands and the United States have each resettled less than 10 percent of their fair share of refugees, according to Oxfam.

More sexual abuse allegations against U.N. peacekeepers in the Central African Republic prompted the U.N. head of mission in CAR to respond in an op-ed in Newsweek. “Under my direct leadership, Regional Sexual Exploitation and Abuse Joint Prevention Teams are being established in our three regional headquarters and in other field offices with a significant presence of our troops,” Parfait Onanga-Anyanga wrote. On March 11 the U.N. Security Council adopted resolution 2272, which expands the secretary-general’s authority to hold missions and peacekeepers accountable for sexual abuse violations.

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About the author

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Michael Igoe@AlterIgoe

Michael Igoe is a senior correspondent for Devex. Based in Washington, D.C., he covers U.S. foreign aid and emerging trends in international development and humanitarian policy. Michael draws on his experience as both a journalist and international development practitioner in Central Asia to develop stories from an insider's perspective.

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