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Britain To Cut Foreign Aid For 16 Countries, Focus More On Family Planning, Safe Water, Maternal Mortality

British Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell on Tuesday announced major changes to the nation’s international aid program based on a nine-month review of the agency’s policies, Reuters reports. “This government is taking a radically different approach to aid. We want to be judged on our results, not on how much money we are spending,” Mitchell said of the changes to the aid program.

Nations Meet To Negotiate International Food Aid Terms

A group of nations are meeting in London this week to negotiate the Food Aid Convention (FAC), an “international agreement that governs food-aid commitments to hungry countries,” the Globe and Mail reports. Argentina, Australia, Canada, the European Union and its member states, Japan, Norway, Switzerland and the U.S. currently are included in the convention, which was last updated in 1999. Brazil, China, India, Russia and South Africa also would like FAC membership, according to the Globe and Mail.

Researchers Report ‘Surprisingly Little’ Evidence That Economic Downturns Are Associated With Deep Development Aid Cuts

Despite concerns expressed by the World Bank and the WHO that the current economic climate would lead donor countries to scale back development assistance, a study (.pdf) published online Friday in the WHO Bulletin finds what the authors “described as ‘surprisingly little’ evidence that economic downturns are associated with deep cuts in aid, at least in the first few years of a financial crisis,” Reuters reports (Kelland, 2/25).

Event Marks Ceremonial Launch Of U.N. Women

“After years of planning, fundraising and consultations, U.N. Women was officially launched Thursday,” Inter Press Service reports, describing the expectations for the agency voiced by leaders gathered at the event (D’Almeida, 2/24). The ceremonial launch took place during a meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York, U.N. News Centre writes.

Recent Releases In Global Health

New Resources On Federal Global Health, HIV/AIDS Budgets: The Kaiser Family Foundation has released a collection of new resources examining global health and HIV/AIDS funding in the Obama administration’s FY12 budget proposal. A new fact sheet breaks down the $9.8 billion budget request for the Global Health Initiative (GHI), a six-year,…

Also In Global Health News: Integrating HIV, Maternal/Child Health; Food Shortages In N. Korea; Climate ‘Vulnerability Index'; Premature Infants In Bangladesh; Sanitation In Niger; Cholera In Ghana

IRIN/PlusNews Examines Efforts To Integrate HIV/AIDS Treatment And Maternal, Child Health Care IRIN/PlusNews examines Kenya’s efforts to integrate maternal and child health care and HIV/AIDS services as a way to ensure more pregnant women and mothers living with HIV/AIDS receive the treatment they need. The article describes the success of…

Advocates Say Ending Violence Against Women Must Be Top Priority For U.N. Women

Nearly three quarters (72 percent) of women’s rights advocates say ending violence against women must be a top priority for U.N. Women, according to a report released Wednesday at the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York, Inter Press Service reports. Released a day ahead of the official launch of the new agency, the “Blueprint for U.N. Women” survey, commissioned by the groups Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) and Oxfam, outlines “the views and efforts, documented in the report, of some 100 civil society organisations working in over 75 countries on human rights, gender equality and social justice,” according to the news service (D’Almeida, 2/24).

New Strategies To Improve Developing Countries’ Access To Low-Cost Generic Drugs Needed, Experts Say

New strategies that ensure developing countries have access to low-cost generic medicines and encourage innovation are needed, according to experts who attended a recent meeting sponsored by the WHO, World Intellectual Property Organization, and World Trade Organization (WTO) that addressed growing concern that strict intellectual property protections are limiting access to low-cost generic medicines, BMJ News reports.

U.N. Commission On The Status Of Women Opens In New York

Kicking off the two-week 55th Annual Session of the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women in New York on Tuesday, Michelle Bachelet, the first under-secretary-general and executive director of U.N. Women, highlighted the role of gender equality in country development, peace and security, Angola Press reports (2/23). The commission draws together government officials, U.N. representatives, and members of the private sector and civil society groups, according to a U.N. press release (2/22).