Debate continues on potential USAID 'RED teams'

The Global Development Lab at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) explored the possibility of establishing 'rapid expeditionary development' or 'RED' teams.

The RED team concept was developed in an effort to expand USAID’s ability to work in fragile and conflict environments. Members of the RED teams would be specially recruited and trained, then embedded with nontraditional partners including special forces, with the goal of allowing USAID to pursue development objectives in insecure environments.

The proposal generated significant controversy, and in a follow-up interview, Alexa Courtney (who authored an assessment of the program for USAID) addressed some of the main questions and issues around the ensconcement of international development programs within broader US foreign policy and national security initiatives.

News article - Devex

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PEPFAR proposes significant cuts to HIV funding in Sub-Saharan Africa

The United States' President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has proposed significant cuts to certain country programs in Sub-Saharan Africa, including countries which had been designated as “priority” countries. These designations were part of PEPFAR’s effort to achieve “epidemic control” by focusing on 13 high-burden countries with the goal of reducing the number of new infections each year to less than the number of deaths among people living with HIV.

In the latest funding decisions, however, countries that have not met certain goals now face significant cuts. Kenya's and Tanzania's are among the programs slated for funding reductions. PEPFAR's decisions brought swift expressions of concern about the impact on HIV populations, particularly marginalized groups. PEPFAR also has outlined steps that countries can take to regain some of the funding.

News article - Devex

US development contractor Chemonics opens office in UK

The largest US development contractor, Chemonics, has opened its first office in London with the aim of winning more contracts from the UK Government's Department for International Development (DFID) and Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

The move is likely to have an impact on British development contractors, who are still adjusting to recent new reforms by DFID aimed at preventing unethical behavior and cronyism in its contractors.

Web Article – DEVEX

US Center for Disease Control and Prevention says Democratic Republic of the Congo will run out of Ebola vaccine

Robert Redfield, director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), testified at a hearing before the US House of Representatives that the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) will exhaust the current supply of the Ebola vaccine before the manufacturing of new vaccines can be completed.

Merck, the vaccine producer, closed the US facility that had produced the first vaccine lot and has moved its production to Germany, where plans for producing the vaccine are awaiting approval. Approval for additional resources from the US are also being held up by the Trump Administration's strict interpretation of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. Redfield predicts that the delay in vaccine production may result in a waiting period of six to twelve months before there is an adequate supply. 

News report - Devex

New study finds the impact of US "global gag rule" cuts access to crucial health care services

A new report from the International Women's Health Coalition on the Trump administration's "global gag rule" shows that the impact of the policy is affecting access to crucial health services, primarily for marginalized women and girls. The global gag rule, otherwise known as the Mexico City policy, prohibits any foreign NGO that receives US global health assistance from providing abortion-related services, including education and counseling services.

The report, released June 5, 2019 at the Women Deliver conference, found that the imposition of the rule two years ago had an immediate chilling effect on foreign health organizations, which have had to choose between providing services or receiving US global health funding. The study confirms that the global gag rule has had highly damaging ramifications, hindering access not only to abortion services, but also to health services that address crucial issues such as malnutrition, maternal health, and gender-based violence. 

News report - Devex

Coalition of pharmaceutical organizations give joint statement to Japan's Abe supporting universal health coverage

Japanese, American, and European pharmaceutical organizations, together with the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Organizations, announced that the pharmaceutical industry will support the realization of universal health coverage in a joint statement to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. 

Abe will host the G20 Osaka Summit in 2019: a chance for Japan to cement its status as a standard-bearer in the fields of health, medical care, prevention and preemptive medicine. There is a particular focus on in the field of universal health coverage, innovation, and health data.

Press release – Statement to the prime minister

News article- MIX online (in Japanese)

US Trump administration unveils "Prosper Africa" plan- still a work in progress

In a one-page fact sheet by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Trump administration outlined its new Africa policy, "Prosper Africa". The initiative will be modeled after President Obama's "Power Africa" program, which brought together technical and legal expertise as well as private sector and government agencies, all working to increase access to power in Africa. Critics, however, have noted that the plan is rather short on details.

Prosper Africa is a designed to double bilateral trade between the US and Africa. The program will be formally launched in Mozambique on June 18, 2019, and will have a permanent coordinator in the White House. The president's budget provides US$50 million for the initiative for Fiscal Year 2020.

News article - The Hill

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G20 finance and health ministers to collaborate to promote UHC

With the goal of achieving universal health coverage (UHC) in all countries and establishing a sustainable health finance system, the government of Japan will host a group of 20 (G20) Finance Ministers and Health Ministers' Joint Meeting as an official side event to the G20 Osaka Summit, to held on June 28-29, 2019.

Press release - Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare (in Japanese)

News article - Japan Times

2019 U20 Tokyo communique focuses on climate action, social inclusion, and sustainable growth

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government hosted the Urban 20 (U20) Tokyo Meyers Summit. The communique from the summit focuses on three policy areas:

  1. Climate Action
  2. Social Inclusion and Integration
  3. Sustainable Economic Growth

The U20 group meets in the sidelines of the group of 20 (G20) events to discuss common problems and solutions relating to cities and the goal of achieving a sustainable and inclusive world. U20 participating cities are: Berlin, Buenos Aires, Chicago, Durban, Hamburg, Houston, Jakarta, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Mexico City, Milan, Montreal, New York City, Osaka City, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Rome, São Paulo City, Seoul, Sydney, Tokyo, Tshwane.

Communiqué - 2019 Urban 20 Tokyo Mayors Summit

Website - U20 The Tokyo Metropolitan Government (in Japanese)  

US OMB report on foreign assistance transparency contains questionable findings

The US White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released a report assessing the implementation of the new US foreign assistance data requirements, as mandated by the 2016 Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act (FATAA).

Following the release of the report, the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network and Publish What You Fund issued a joint analysis pointing to significant flaws in the assessment. Their analysis emphasized problems with the lack of consolidation of the two main US foreign assistance data websites. Both sites purport to separately publish the same data, but billions of dollars in disparities have been identified, leading to questions about the reliability of US government reporting on assistance spending.

Report - OMB

Analysis and blog - MFAN 

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