“The United States has suspended planned food aid to North Korea as Pyongyang vows to push ahead with a plan to launch a long-range missile in defiance of international warnings, U.S. military officials said on Wednesday,” Reuters reports (Eckert, 3/29). “Under a deal reached last month, North Korea agreed to a partial nuclear freeze and a moratorium on missile testing in return for U.S. food aid,” but “Pyongyang then announced it would use a long-range rocket to launch a satellite,” VOA’s “Breaking News” blog writes (3/28). Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense Peter Lavoy on Wednesday “told lawmakers North Korea had violated [the] moratorium agreement and could not be trusted to deliver the aid properly,” BBC News writes (3/28). The aid package, containing 240,000 tons of food and nutritional products, “was expected to target the most needy in North Korea — including malnourished young children and pregnant women,” VOA News notes (Ide, 3/28).
US Global Health Policy
“Spurred by a 2009 directive from President Obama and subsequent guidance from the White House,” USAID on Wednesday “issued a new Scientific Integrity Policy [.pdf] to safeguard the quality and integrity of the Agency’s scientific and scholarly activities,” according to a USAID press release. The policy “articulates the principles regarding how scientific and scholarly activities are supported and carried out, and how research findings are used and disseminated,” the press release states, adding, “The intention of this policy is to capture and employ … best practices throughout the Agency and introduce new ways that USAID can enhance the use of science for development” (3/28).
The Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog reports on a panel discussion hosted on Wednesday by the Consensus for Development Reform and the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network in Washington, D.C. “Foreign assistance experts discuss[ed] the George W. Bush administration’s legacy on global development, focusing on lessons learned and applying them to the next decade and beyond,” and a central theme was the engagement of the private sector, the blog writes. Panelists highlighted the Millennium Challenge Corporation and PEPFAR, according to the blog (Mazzotta, 3/29).
“The United States Government has played a major role in ensuring that patients with certain [neglected tropical diseases (NTDs)] receive urgently needed treatments through the [USAID] NTD Program, while simultaneously being the largest funder of basic research for NTDs through the National Institutes of Health,” Rachel Cohen, regional executive director of the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) of North America, writes in this post in the Global Health Technologies Coalition’s “Breakthroughs” blog. “However, today U.S. Government funding for NTDs is under threat,” as the “recently announced U.S. fiscal year (FY) 2013 budget request from the Obama Administration has slashed the USAID NTD Program budget, which was already miniscule at $89 million, by nearly 25 percent to $67 million. … This isn’t trimming the fat — it’s cutting into muscle,” she adds (Lufkin, 3/28).
Several news outlets published articles recapping comments made Wednesday by the three nominees for the World Bank presidency. “In a written commentary released by the U.S. Treasury as he embarked on a global tour to sell his candidacy, … Jim Yong Kim, the Korean-American physician nominated by Washington to lead the World Bank, said Wednesday his science training will help him make the Bank more responsive to the needs of developing countries,” and that “the Bank needs to be ‘more inclusive’ and listen more to poor countries’ own ideas about how to solve their problems,” Agence France-Presse reports (3/28). On the two-week tour, Kim will visit “cities including Addis Ababa, New Delhi and Brasilia to seek advice about priorities for the bank, which lent $57 billion last fiscal year,” Bloomberg News notes.
“As researchers from both sides of the debate over two controversial H5N1 studies weighed in [Tuesday] on full publication versus a more cautionary approach, two U.S. journals” — the Journal of Infectious Diseases (JID) and its sister publication, Clinical Infectious Diseases — “said they are developing policies to address any future such instances,” CIDRAP News writes. “We are developing policies that address these issues on a case-by-case basis, so that freedom of scientific expression can be maintained without sacrificing individual safety or national security,” JID Editor Martin Hirsch wrote in an editorial, the news service notes, adding, “He also introduced three new JID perspective pieces that discuss the difficult issues” (Schnirring, 3/28).
In this post in the Global Health Governance Blog, contributing blogger David Fidler, a professor of law at Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law, examines the potential implications of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on global health law, writing, “In the midst of this constitutional and political moment, I find myself wondering what this seminal American case means, if anything, beyond the United States in the realm of global health.” He concludes, “The lack of clear and immediate connections between the ACA litigation and global health concerns should not blind us … to deeper, more tectonic implications of the ACA’s fate for global health. As in an increasing number of policy contexts, global health practitioners and advocates have much at stake in the outcome of the ACA controversies but no way to influence what happens” (3/28).
Retired Top Military Leaders Advocate For ‘Strong And Effective’ International Affairs Budget In Letter To Congress
“More than 80 retired top military leaders are calling on Congress to support a strong and effective International Affairs Budget and reiterating how critical this funding is to our national security in a letter [.pdf] released by the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition’s (USGLC) National Security Advisory Council (NSAC),” according to a USGLC press release. “The FY 2013 House Budget Resolution being debated this week represents a 11 percent cut to the International Affairs Budget from current year funding, and Members of Congress should heed the advice of our most respected men and women in uniform on why this funding is so important to our national security,” the press release states (Parker, 3/27).
On Friday, March 23, President Obama nominated Jim Yong Kim, a global health expert and president of Dartmouth College, to be the next president of the World Bank. The following is a summary of several opinion pieces, blog posts, and an editorial published in response to his nomination.
The White House nominee for president of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, on Tuesday begins a seven-country “listening tour” in order “to promote his candidacy with stops in Africa, Asia and Latin America, the Treasury Department announced Monday,” Bloomberg Businessweek reports (Crutsinger, 3/26). According to Reuters, “The Treasury Department said Kim will visit Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, as well as Beijing, Tokyo, Seoul, New Delhi, Brasilia and Mexico City between March 27 and April 9 to meet heads of state, finance ministers and others to talk about priorities for the World Bank.”