Obama, Cameron team up for development

    U.S. President Barack Obama and U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron. Photo by: Medill DC / CC BY

    As the old saying goes, two heads are better than one — including in development.

    On Wednesday (March 14), U.S. President Barack Obama and U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron presented their strategies to beat food insecurity in Africa, the effects of climate change on poor people, ineffective aid, and maternal and neonatal mortality.

    The two heads of state announced their key areas of play under the U.S.-U.K. Partnership for Global Development. These include: 

    • Boosting the economic growth of poor countries.

    • Building the resilience of countries against humanitarian crises.

    • Improving maternal and child health.

    • Strengthening government transparency and accountability.

    Following the establishment of an informal group of political champions for disaster resilience in September last year, the United States and the United Kingdom will be co-sponsoring a donor event this March to improve resilience in the Horn of Africa.

    In addition, the U.S. Agency for International Development, with support from the U.K. Department for International Development, are working to bring East African ministers to meet and agree on a common program framework to end drought emergencies later this month.

    Meanwhile, as proof of the two countries’ commitment to averting preventable deaths among women and children, both heads of state said they are maintaining their commitments to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The United Kingdom will also be hosting a major international event in July to boost support for increasing women’s access to family planning.

    In addition, The United Kingdom will host an international conference on the use of new technologies and social media to promote the Open Government Partnership, established in 2011, late this year.

    And as for Syria, Cameron, at a joint press conference with Obama at The White House, pledged another 2 million pounds ($3 million) in food and medical care for Syrians affected by the political turmoil in the country. At a U.K.-France summit in February, Cameron also pledged 2 million pounds in aid for people in Syria.

    Both heads of state said their governments, together with the international community, are after a peaceful and political solution in Syria. This includes supporting Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan’s talks with Russia and China, which oppose the U.N. Security Council’s proposed move to pass a resolution imposing more sanctions on Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime. Obama said it is the “most important work” the international community can do “right now.”

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    About the author

    • Jenny Lei Ravelo

      Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.