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In The News

U.S. Launches 'Beyond The Grid' Energy Investment Framework In Africa

Media sources report on the U.S. Department of Energy’s announcement of its “Beyond the Grid” investment framework to bring power to Africa.

Agence France-Presse: U.S. launches $1 billion push for off-grid Africa power
“U.S. companies have promised $1 billion for off-grid power projects in Africa, putting a growing focus on small-scale and renewable energy in the push to ease the continent’s chronic electricity shortages…” (6/4).

Devex: Power Africa goes off-grid in Addis Ababa
“The U.S. Department of Energy Tuesday announced a new framework for investment — ‘Beyond the Grid’ — a partnership with 27 ‘investors and practitioners’ who commit to direct $1 billion towards off-grid and small scale energy projects in sub-Saharan Africa, in support of President Barack Obama’s Power Africa initiative…” (Igoe, 6/4).

United Nations Foundation: United Nations Foundation Joins ‘Beyond the Grid’ Program to Help ‘Power Africa’ Reach Rural Communities
“The United Nations Foundation, along with 26 other founding partners, joins ‘Beyond the Grid,’ an innovative program for decentralized energy under President Barack Obama’s Power Africa initiative, launched today in Addis Ababa by U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz…” (6/3).

VOA News: U.S. Initiative Aims to Create 20 Million Power Connections in Africa
“The U.S. government is investing more than $1 billion to create about 20 million new electricity connections in sub-Saharan Africa as part of its ‘Beyond the Grid’ initiative…” (Powell, 6/4).

White House Blog: Power Africa: Beyond the Grid
“Congratulations to the 27 private-sector partners of ‘Beyond the Grid’ — a new Power Africa initiative to unlock investment and growth specifically for off-grid and small-scale energy solutions — announced today by Secretary Moniz at the U.S.-Africa Energy Ministerial in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia…” (Podesta, 6/3).

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U.N. Releases Draft Sustainable Development Goals

News outlets report on the U.N.’s release of draft (.pdf) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will take the place of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) when they expire in 2015.

Devex: Sustainable development goals revealed
“A long-awaited set of Sustainable Development Goals were released on Tuesday. They are meant to inform high-level negotiations for a post-2015 global development framework, which will kick into high gear this September during the United Nations General Assembly in New York…” (Ravelo, 6/4).

The Guardian: Sustainable Development Goals take shape as U.N. party narrows focus
“The U.N. working group devising the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has pared down its list of proposed target areas from 19 to 16, raising hopes of a more concise framework for challenges such as eradicating poverty, ensuring equality, and tackling climate change…” (Jones, 6/4).

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U.N. Women Forms Private Sector Advisory Council

News outlets report on U.N. Women’s work with the private sector to address women’s and girls’ issues.

Devex: U.N. Women launches private sector advisory council
“U.N. Women is tapping private sector leaders to advise the agency and provide expertise to better tackle challenges facing women and girls. This week U.N. Women, the United Nations organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women, announced that it has created a private sector leadership advisory council…” (Saldinger, 6/4).

U.N. News Centre: New U.N. initiative taps private sector leadership to advance women’s rights
“The United Nations has teamed up with leading businesses to advance women’s rights and empowerment through a new advisory council comprised of private sector chiefs with a strong commitment to supporting women and girls…” (6/3).

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Humanitarian Needs Rise In Syria; U.S. Pledges $290M In Assistance

News outlets report on the rising humanitarian needs in Syria and a U.S. pledge to commit $290 million in humanitarian assistance to the war-torn country.

The Hill: U.S. pledges $290M in humanitarian aid to Syrian victims
“Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday announced $290 million in humanitarian assistance to those affected by Syria’s civil war, bringing the total U.S. commitment to more than $2 billion…” (Shabad, 6/4).

U.N. News Centre: Rising levels of violence in Syria resulting in growing humanitarian needs — U.N. official
“The demand by the Security Council for aid access to war-torn Syria has not produced the intended result, the United Nations humanitarian chief said today, while warning that the needs of those affected are rising steadily as the conflict rages on…” (6/4).

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Devex Interviews PSI Head About 'Unconventional Financing' For Health Outcomes

Devex: How innovative finance can pay for global health ‘best buys’
“…Devex Editor Rolf Rosenkranz sat down with PSI President and CEO Karl Hofmann to learn how his organization is exploring ‘unconventional financing’ options to sustain funding for health outcomes in the developing world…” (Igoe, 6/4).

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South African Officials Hope To Prevent Unsafe Circumcision Rituals

Associated Press: In South Africa, old custom becomes health crisis
“This month, youths in some rural areas will head to secluded huts for circumcision rituals meant to usher them into manhood, an annual rite of passage during the current South African winter, and in the summer at year’s end. Officials hope to prevent another wave of injuries and deaths triggered by factors including infection and the tight binding of penis wounds, which cuts off blood supply, as well as sleep deprivation, exposure to winter cold, and other harsh conditions…” (Torchia, 6/4).

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Number Of Ebola Cases, Deaths Continue To Rise In Guinea, Sierra Leone

News outlets continue to report on the Ebola outbreak in Guinea and Sierra Leone.

Agence France-Presse: Guinea Ebola death toll rises above 200
“More than 200 people have died from the highly contagious Ebola virus in Guinea, making it one of the worst ever outbreaks of the disease, the World Health Organization said Wednesday…” (Larson, 6/5).

Reuters: Guinea, Sierra Leone see spike in Ebola cases: WHO
“At least 21 people died and 37 new cases of suspected Ebola were recorded in Guinea between May 29 and June 1, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday, undermining the government’s claims that the number of Ebola deaths was slowing…” (Lewis, 6/4).

SciDev.Net: Ongoing Ebola outbreak highlights research shortcomings
“As the deadly Ebola virus continues to strike West Africa, experts are calling for more research to help deal with future outbreaks and limit the chance of a pandemic. Identifying where the virus responsible for the latest cases came from will be crucial for prevention efforts, but effective drugs and vaccines remain some way away, experts say…” (Meštrović, 6/4).

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Study Identifies Camel As Source Of MERS Infection In Saudi Man

News outlets report on a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine supporting the theory that camels are a source of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus.

Associated Press: Study documents MERS spread from camel to person
“A new report offers the strongest evidence yet that a mysterious Middle East virus spreads from camels to people…” (Stobbe, 6/4).

HealthDay News: Camels Confirmed as Source of Human MERS Infection
“…The scientists report they matched genetic samples from the virus that killed a Saudi man last November to virus samples present in one of nine camels that he owned…” (Reinberg, 6/4).

Reuters: Saudi study strengthens case against camels in MERS outbreak
“…In a study which reinforces the case against camels as the prime suspects for transmitting the deadly virus from the animal world into people, researchers said that in this case it was highly likely the animal’s nasal secretions were to blame…” (Kelland, 6/4).

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Editorials and Opinions

Shipping Food Aid On Private U.S.-Flagged Vessels Is Inefficient

POLITICO Magazine: 2 Million Will Go Hungry If Congress Has Its Way
Dan Glickman, co-chair of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs Global Agricultural Development Initiative, and Peter McPherson, president of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities

“…[An] obscure provision [in the House-approved version of the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act] would raise the percentage of U.S. food aid that is required to be transported on privately owned, U.S.-flagged commercial vessels from 50 to 75 percent. This would effectively deny two million people in countries like Haiti, South Sudan and the Central African Republic access to lifesaving U.S. food assistance. … The truth is, it costs dramatically more to ship food on U.S.-flagged vessels than on vessels otherwise available…” (6/4).

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Development Challenges Could Be Reframed As Investment Opportunities

Huffington Post: International Development Is Changing and So Is What Makes Good Business
Gib Bulloch, founder and managing director of Accenture Development Partnerships

“…When Accenture and the U.N. Global Compact studied the views of 1,000 top CEOs last year, 78 percent of them told us that partnerships across sectors would be instrumental in the way their company delivers social and environmental outcomes over the next five years. It could be that the Davos-type delegates of the future look back with bemusement that we ever placed such important human development issues in hermetically sealed silos, for the attention of one particular group of people only. We shall see” (6/4).

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Canada's Maternal, Child Health Funding Must Be 'Appropriate And Accepted'

Huffington Post Canada: Giving Money Towards Maternal Health Is Only Part of a Solution
Blake Bromley, international charity lawyer

“…Summits which focus on money and star power make me skeptical that the media event is more important than the substance covered in the meetings. … However, reading Prime Minister Harper’s Toronto Statement makes it clear that the problems of Saving Every Woman, Every Child are comprehensively understood and the challenges are being undertaken with great consideration and collaboration. … The goal must be to ensure that the ultimate measurement of success is that our funding is appropriate and accepted by individual women and children in Africa so that we do indeed enhance maternal, newborn and child health” (6/4).

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Mobile Technology Targets Counterfeit Drugs

New York Times: The Fight Against Fake Drugs
Tina Rosenberg, author and former editorial writer for the New York Times

“…In many poor countries, counterfeit medicines are an enormous problem. … Nations with a serious counterfeiting problem can resolve it by acquiring effective regulation, strong institutions, working courts, and well-designed liability laws. … Another important factor is public awareness of counterfeiting as a problem, and of the possibility of mobile verification. … ‘We began in anti-counterfeiting,’ said [chief executive of PharmaSecure, Nathan] Sigworth. ‘Then we realized that once you have a unique ID on everything, it opens a world of possibilities’…” (6/4).

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Polio Eradication Faces Political, Diplomatic Challenges

New Yorker: The Political Fight Against Polio
Sarah Stillman, staff writer for the New Yorker

“…This month, we’re moving deeper into polio’s ‘high season,’ which, in much of the world, stretches from May until August. If the geography of polio mirrors that of conflict, then the challenge of eradication is, inevitably, as much political and diplomatic as it is epidemiological. And that’s where the plot gets messy…” (6/5).

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Absence Of Toilets In India Contributes To Child Malnutrition

LiveMint: Why India’s sanitation crisis is a public health emergency
Sunil Chandramouli

“…The absence of sanitation is not just a threat to the safety of women but also to the health of children. … Research suggests that an unhygienic environment combined with high population density creates a perfect storm for diseases to thrive, and malnutrition to flourish in India. The absence of sanitation exposes children to infectious diseases such as typhoid and diarrhea, which rob them of their ability to absorb nutrients…” (6/5).

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Recent Releases

Kofi Annan, Michel Sidibé Discuss Future Of U.N., Global Health

UNAIDS: A conversation with Kofi Annan and Michel Sidibé
“To mark the launch of his new book of speeches, ‘We the Peoples: A U.N. for the 21st Century,’ former United Nations Secretary-General and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Kofi Annan invited the Executive Director of UNAIDS Michel Sidibé to hold a public discussion with him on the future of the United Nations and global health…” (6/4).

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CGD Brief Discusses U.S. Food Aid Reform

Center for Global Development: Food Aid for the 21st Century: Saving More Money, Time, and Lives
In this CGD brief, Senior Fellow Kimberly Ann Elliot and William McKitterick, previously a research assistant with CGD, discuss the projected benefits of relaxing U.S. food aid shipping preferences (6/3).

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R&D Can Help Improve Maternal, Child Health

Global Health Technologies Coalition’s “Breakthroughs”: Why R&D matters for maternal and child health
“In this guest post, Sarah Alexander — director of external relations for the Global Alliance to Prevent Prematurity and Stillbirth (GAPPS) — writes about the groundswell of momentum surrounding maternal and child health and the role research and development (R&D) can play in helping more babies have a healthy start to life…” (6/4).

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Treatment Action Group Releases TB Drug Guide

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: TAG’s TB drug guide aims to equip activists
Rabita Aziz, policy research coordinator for the Center for Global Health Policy, discusses the Treatment Action Group’s newly released publication titled, “An Activists Guide to TB Drugs” (6/4).

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