The Washington Weekly – April 10, 2013

April 10, 2013

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The Hunger Project’s Executive VP, John Coonrod, is in Washington, DC to strengthen THP’s seat at the table of international development. Each week, John sends us insight into issues of health, policy, human rights and more by way of the Washington Weekly.

Greetings from Rome! Today Jouwert and I are here for the next consultation to build a global community of practice on Participatory Local Democracy with some lifelong “Localistas” based in UN Agencies here.

Obama Calls for Food Aid Reforms

President Obama’s FY2014 budget calls for reforms in the US practice of shipping US food overseas and then selling it in developing countries to fund development programs. The budget proposal moves authority for this program from the agriculture department to USAID. USAID would have more flexibility to buy food locally when needed for emergencies, and fund development programs with cash. This is a reform long recommended by many NGOs including THP because of the enormous inefficiencies and local market disruption by the current practice. Reform was previously considered politically impossible, given the vested interests of farmers and shippers.

A group of NGOs including the main operators of food-aid funded programs has recommended principles to guide the reforms – including that it should result in helping more people, not less (a sort of “do no harm” principle.). The President’s budget proposal appears to meet this principles.

InterAction Global Health Briefing Book Released

The day after World Health Day, InterAction’s Health Working Group (on which I serve) released a policy-briefing book to the US Congress. Like the Foreign Assistance Briefing Book, it presents cogent two-pagers on key policy issues. Available for download.

IPS reported that the book warns that budget cuts in global health threatens gains against lethal diseases.

Plan International releases “State of the World’s Girls” Report

The new report focuses on girls’ access to junior secondary school. It points out that girls who complete primary and secondary education are likely to earn a greater income over their lifetimes, to have fewer unwanted pregnancies, to marry later, and to break cycles of poverty within families and communities. Plan’s Because I am a Girl campaign aims to eliminate barriers preventing girls from successfully moving beyond primary to secondary education.

Upcoming Events

April 11 – THP/UNDEF Participatory Local Democracy Consultation in Rome

April 23/24 – THP/UNDEF Participatory Local Democracy Consultation in Cape Town

April 29-May 1 – InterAction Forum, Arlington, Virginia

May 12-14 – Food Security and Nutrition Knowledge Sharing, Dhaka

May 20-28 – World Health Assembly, Geneva

May 28 – World Hunger Day, London

May 28-30 – Women Deliver Conference, Kuala Lumpur – Joly to attend

June 8 – London Hunger Summit before the G8.

June 10-11 – Scaling-up Nutrition/1000 Day Summit in Washington

June 13-14 – Civil20, Business20, Youth20 Summits in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

June 27-28 – International Conference on Population and Development, Paris

September 5-6 – Leaders G20 Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia

September 24-29 – Opening of the UN General Assembly

October 2 – Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday and the awarding of the Sarojini Naidu Prize.

October 5 – The Hunger Project Fall Event

October 11 – International Girl Child Day (which will subsume our National Girl Child Day.)

October 16 – World Food Day