The World Bank on Monday selected U.S.-nominated Jim Yong Kim, a Korean-American physician and anthropologist, as its new president. The following is a summary of blog posts and commentary published in response to his election.
US Global Health Policy
U.S. Should Separate Diplomatic Pressures On N. Korea From Humanitarian Assistance, Provide Food Aid
A Seattle Times editorial says a “radical response” to North Korea’s rocket launch would be to “[k]eep diplomatic channels open with the 240,000 tons of food aid planned before” the launch. “Providing food aid is wholly apart from maintaining political and economic pressure on the country,” the editorial says, adding, “Sending food does not preclude international sanctions to deny North Korea access to electronic technology and military hardware.” The editorial suggests “[s]end[ing] the food aid with an insurance policy of sorts. Use the connections and credibility of nongovernmental organizations, including Mercy Corps and World Vision, to track the deliveries. … Get the United Nations involved as well.” The editorial concludes, “Keep diplomatic channels open. Move beyond the provocations and deliver basic food relief” to the more than one-quarter of North Koreans in need (4/15).
The following is a summary of several recent pieces published in response to the U.S. nomination of Jim Yong Kim to be the next president of the World Bank.
“Jim Yong Kim, the U.S. nominee, seems certain to become the next president of the World Bank after developing countries failed in an effort to unite behind a single candidate,” the Financial Times reports, noting, “Jose Antonio Ocampo, the former Colombian finance minister, withdrew from contention and endorsed Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Nigerian finance minister, after she won wider support among a group of developing countries on Friday.” According to the newspaper, “The World Bank’s executive board met on Friday to discuss interviews given by the three candidates,” and “Kim, a health expert and president of Dartmouth College, is likely to emerge as the new president as early as Monday after the board takes a straw poll” (Harding/Fontanella-Khan/Leahy, 4/13).
Politico Pro examines the reaction to a speech delivered by Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, at a TEDxChange conference in Berlin on April 5. “Gates’s speech was primarily focused on explaining why family planning is important in the developing world,” according to the news service. Gates said lack of access to modern contraceptives is “a life and death crisis” because with family planning, the lives of hundreds of thousands of women and children could be saved annually, the news service notes. “But multiple global health experts heard her comments as an intentional effort to push back on the politicization of birth control in the United States following the Obama administration’s new contraception coverage policy, which they fear could spill over into global health policy,” the news service writes. However, “Gates Foundation spokesman Chris Williams said Gates was simply reiterating her long-standing support for family planning and that viewing these remarks in light of domestic politics would be ‘using the wrong lens,'” the article notes.
“The U.S. will halt planned shipments of thousands of tons in food aid to North Korea after the reclusive Asian nation’s launch of a long-range rocket, two Obama administration officials said,” Bloomberg News reports (Talev, 4/13). “Under a recent food deal with the United States, North Korea agreed to refrain from long range missile launches and nuclear tests,” CNN’s “1600 Report” writes (Yellin, 4/12). “North Korea’s rocket launch was a failed effort that nonetheless violated international law and jeopardized regional security, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said,” according to Bloomberg (4/13).
In this post in USAID’s “IMPACTblog,” Kirsten Gagnaire, global partnership director of the Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA), discusses the program’s operations in Bangladesh. The program, “[o]ne of the most prominent mHealth initiatives, launched by Secretary Hillary Clinton on Mother’s Day last year,” is supported by IDEA/Mobile Solutions, “an office at USAID that champions the use of mobile technology for development issues,” the blog notes. Gagnaire writes, “In March, MAMA board representatives visited Bangladesh to meet with MAMA country partners and conduct field visits to meet pregnant women, new mothers and family members who have subscribed to the MAMA mobile phone service, which is called ‘Aponjon’ in Bangladesh” (4/11).
“[A]nti-poverty advocates [are] urg[ing] President Obama to ‘find political will to end global hunger’ during the upcoming G8 Summit at Camp David,” Inter Press Service reports. Members of ActionAid last week held signs in front of the White House “that read ‘Obama: Find the Will to be a Hunger Hero at the G8,’ next to a cutout of the president in a superhero suit,” the news service writes (Panagoda, 4/7). And “[a] new report by ONE Campaign said increased donor support for agricultural investment plans in 30 countries in Africa, Asia and Central America could lift about 50 million people out of extreme poverty,” Reuters notes. “ONE said it would launch its ‘Thrive’ campaign in France, Germany, Britain and the United States to highlight the need to tackle the causes of hunger,” the news service notes.
In this post on the State Department’s “DipNote” blog, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby provides an update on the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, stating, “I am buoyed by the reform that is happening at the Fund under the leadership of new General Manager Gabriel Jaramillo.” He adds, “When PEPFAR and the Fund coordinate, our investments against AIDS are expanded both geographically and programmatically. Simply put, a strong PEPFAR requires a strong Global Fund.” Goosby concludes, “I am proud of the U.S. commitment to the Global Fund, in part because it is a commitment to the work of PEPFAR. We have a unique opportunity in a tight fiscal environment to support the Fund at this critical juncture” (4/9).
The State Department on Monday published a fact sheet detailing bilateral health cooperation between the U.S. and Brazil. “For several decades the United States and Brazil have participated in a bilateral dialogue that provides a formal venue for discussing our mutual interests in medical research, disease surveillance, and improving public health,” the fact sheet states, adding, “President Obama and President Rousseff have further advanced our bilateral health cooperation through the U.S.-Brazil Working Group on Public Health, under the U.S.-Brazil Joint Commission on Science and Technology.” The fact sheet details several key collaborations (4/9).