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Agencies Mark World Food Day, Call For Increased Transparency In Commodity Markets

At a ceremony marking World Food Day on Monday, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) “called for more transparency on commodity markets to prevent sharp spikes in global food prices and deplored the scale of world hunger,” Agence France-Presse reports (Le Roux, 10/16). “FAO chose the theme of ‘Food Prices — From Crisis to Stability’ for this year’s day to shed light on the trend and what can be done to mitigate its impact on the most vulnerable,” the U.N. News Centre writes.

Preserve Millennium Challenge Corp. By Transforming It Into A Multilateral Agency

In this Washington Post opinion piece, Raj Kumar, president of Devex and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and John Hewko, the general secretary and chief executive of Rotary International, report on the Millennium Challenge Corp. (MCC), a government “corporation” established in 2004 under the George W. Bush administration “on the premise that U.S. foreign assistance would have the greatest impact if offered on a non-political basis to developing countries that adopt sound economic and social policies.” They write, “Congress has appropriated about $10 billion to the MCC over the past seven years, but the prudent agency has disbursed just a few billion,” and “the agency is now a takeover target.”

U.S. NGOs Call For Obama Administration To Explain Delays In U.S. Food Aid To North Korea

“As South Korean President Lee Myung-bak continued his state visit to the United States on Friday, a group of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) wants the Obama administration to explain what they call unconscionable delays in deciding whether to resume U.S. food assistance to North Korea,” Reuters reports. “Rising global commodities prices coupled with summer floods and typhoons have compounded the emergency this year, and the United Nations estimated in March that more than six million North Koreans urgently need food help,” the news agency writes.

Clinton Opposes GOP Bill To Cut U.S. Funding To U.N., Poll Finds Majority Of Americans Also Against Legislation

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in a letter to lawmakers on Wednesday “warned House Republicans about pushing ahead with a bill to cut funds for the United Nations, saying she would recommend that President Barack Obama veto the legislation” that is expected to be considered by the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday, the Associated Press/Washington Post reports. “Clinton said the bill would severely limit U.S. participation in the world body, undercut U.S. interests and damage the security of Americans at home and abroad,” AP writes (10/12).

U.S. Ambassador Advises Kenya To Seek Additional Sources Of Funding For Health Programs

“U.S. Ambassador Jonathan Gration has advised Kenya to seek new sources of money to finance health programs,” Kenya’s the Star reports, adding, “Gration said projects initiated by donors will only be sustainable if the Kenyan government takes over.” According to the newspaper, Gration made the comments after launching a campaign called “Let’s Live,” which will focus on maternal and infant mortality, HIV/AIDS, non-communicable diseases and child health “to reduce preventable deaths in Kenya by 50 percent by December 2012.”

WHO Says Global TB Cases Decline For First Time Ever But Warns Funding Gap, Resistant Strains Put Progress At Risk

New data published in the WHO’s 2011 Global Tuberculosis Control Report on Tuesday, “shows that the number of people who fell ill with [tuberculosis (TB)] dropped to 8.8 million in 2010, after peaking at 9 million in 2005,” the U.N. News Centre reports. “The report shows that the TB death rate dropped 40 percent between 1990 and 2010, and all regions, except Africa, are on track to achieve a 50 percent decline in mortality by 2015,” the news service writes (10/11). “The countries the WHO especially noted for progress in the fight against the disease were Kenya, [Tanzania], Brazil and China,” Reuters reports (Selyukh/Ulmer-Nebehay, 10/11).

Momentum Builds For Reform In U.S. Foreign Aid, One Of Our 'Most Effective' Investments

In this Global Health Magazine opinion piece, Aaron Emmel, senior policy advisor at PATH, examines a momentum for reform in foreign aid that “has been mounting in both Congress and the Administration,” writing, “Now we face one of the most austere budget environments in our nation’s history, making the need for an efficient, accountable, transparent, effective, and strategic foreign assistance policy all the more important. Clearly, foreign aid needs to be reformed so that it can do the job it was originally intended for: assisting the people who need it most in the most efficient and effective way possible.”

96% Campaign Asks Obama To 'Pay Attention To Science' And Scale Up Global Access To ARVs

In this RH Reality Check opinion piece, Matthew Kavanagh, director of U.S. advocacy at Health GAP (Global Access Project), and Dazon Dixon Diallo, founder and president of SisterLove, Incorporated, write, “With proof that treatment is prevention, and with this basket of broader prevention options, scientists and economists have finally been able to show what few could before: models of how we end the AIDS crisis.”

Effects Of U.S. Cuts To Foreign Aid Would Be 'Hugely Damaging' To American Foreign Policy

In this New York Times editorial, Carol Giacomo, journalist and member of the newspaper’s editorial board, reports on a decline in U.S. foreign aid, writing, “There is a lot of public misunderstanding about foreign aid,” adding, “For the sake of national security, this country cannot afford to retreat from the world. Its investment in the State Department and foreign aid helps advance peace and stability by feeding starving people, providing access to doctors and medicines, opening new markets, promoting democracy, curbing nuclear arms and strengthening allies with military and economic assistance.”

Foreign Affairs Committee Votes To Prohibit U.S. Funding To U.N. Population Fund

The Republican-led House Committee on Foreign Affairs voted Wednesday to approve a bill that would prohibit the U.S. government from providing funding to the U.N. Population Fund, an organization “that helps women and children in developing countries with reproductive health and family planning,” Agence France-Presse reports (Cassata, 10/5). “House Republicans say they are pushing the legislation because the fund, known as the UNFPA, is complicit in China’s controversial one-child policy, which enforces abortion and sterilization,” the Huffington Post writes (10/5).