East Asia and the Pacific: FY 2015 Notice of Funding Opportunity for NGO Programs Benefiting Burmese and Other Urban Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Malaysia and Thailand

Funding Opportunity Number: PRM-PRMOAPEA-15-003-051158 / PRM-PRMOAPEA-15-003

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) number: 19.511- Overseas Refugee Assistance Programs for East Asia

Announcement issuance date: Monday, March 9, 2015

Proposal submission deadline: Monday, April 13, 2015 at 12:00 p.m. noon (EDT). Proposals submitted after this deadline will not be considered.

**ADVISORY: All applicants must submit proposals through the website Grants.gov NOT through GrantsSolutions.gov. Please note that if you apply on the GrantSolutions.gov site, your application will be disqualified. PRM strongly recommends submitting your proposal early to allow time to address any difficulties that may arise.**

If you are new to PRM funding, the Grants.gov registration process can be complicated. We urge you to refer to PRM’s General NGO Guidelines “New to PRM Funding” section for information and resources to help ensure that the application process runs smoothly. PRM also strongly encourages organizations that have received funding from PRM in the past to read this section as a refresher.

Full Text of Notice of Funding Opportunity

A. Program Description

This announcement references PRM’s General NGO Guidelines which contain additional information on PRM’s priorities and NGO funding strategy with which selected organizations must comply. Please use both the General NGO Guidelines and this announcement to ensure that your submission is in full compliance with PRM requirements and that the proposed activities are in line with PRM’s priorities. Submissions that do not reflect the requirements outlined in these guidelines will not be considered.

Current Funding Priorities:

(a) Proposed activities should primarily support Burmese and other refugees and asylum seekers, including Rohingya, in Malaysia and Thailand. Because of PRM’s mandate to provide protection, assistance, and sustainable solutions for refugees and victims of conflict, PRM will consider funding only those projects that include a target beneficiary base of at least 50 percent refugees/asylum-seekers.

(b) Proposals must focus on one or more of the following sectors (see PRM’s General NGO Guidelines for sector descriptions):

(i) Protection, including child protection and/or gender-based violence prevention and response as applicable

(ii) Education (primary only)

(iii) Healthcare (primary only)

(iv) Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH)

(v) Livelihoods

(vi) Emergency shelter

Country-specific Provisions:

(a) MALAYSIA (Proposals must focus on one or more of the following activities):

(1) Healthcare:

a. Improve access to primary healthcare, including reproductive health, medical services, mental health, and/or psychosocial support to the urban refugee and asylum seeker populations in Kuala Lumpur, Klang Valley, and Penang, including the implementation of mobile health clinics;

b. Provision of nursing facilities and caretakers for refugee patients requiring recuperation and post-hospitalization nursing care; and/or

c. Health-based training and education focusing on general health care, communicable disease prevention, treatment adherence, reproductive health, and/or nutrition.

(2) Gender-Based Violence (GBV):

a. Improve knowledge of and changes in attitudes toward GBV within refugee and host communities through increasing the capacity of target communities to identify and effectively respond to GBV; and/or

b. Improve the capacity of service providers to implement GBV prevention and response activities, through healthcare, including reproductive health, psychosocial, safety, justice, and/or other services, as well as multi-sectoral referral services. Activities should aim to actively involve refugee and host community members in their design and implementation.

(b) THAILAND (Proposals must focus on one or more of the following activities):

Burmese Refugees in Camps along the Thailand-Burma Border

(1) Healthcare:

a. Improve access to comprehensive and integrated quality health care services, including reproductive healthcare, with a particular emphasis on the health and nutritional needs of children under five and pregnant and lactating women; and improved access to services for persons with disabilities (PwDs) and their families. Increased and improved services on preventative health, including on growth monitoring, supplemental feeding, and/or postnatal care. Strengthened physical and functional rehabilitation services and responsive networking with preventive health care services that are broadened and made disability-inclusive.

(2) GBV:

b. Improve knowledge of and changes in attitudes toward GBV within refugee and host communities through increasing the capacity of target communities to identify and effectively respond to GBV; and/or

c. Improve the capacity of service providers to implement GBV prevention and response activities, through healthcare, including reproductive health, psychosocial, safety, justice, and/or other services, as well as multi-sectoral referral services. Activities should aim to actively involve refugee and host community members in their design and implementation.

(3) WASH:

d. Improve access to water, sanitation and hygiene in the camps, including protection and development of the water resources in host villages in Tak Province.

(4) Livelihoods:

e. Promote income-generating activities and address psychosocial needs, with an emphasis on the development of skills, vocational training, micro-enterprise development and capacity building activities. These activities should aim to achieve a measure of self-sufficiency and a reasonable livelihood and to prepare refugees for a future outside of the camps, including sustainable voluntary returns in safety and dignity when conditions are safe in Burma.

(5) Mine Risk Education and Awareness-Raising:

f. Conduct mine-risk education, where possible, on both sides of the Thailand-Burma border. Activities should include coordinating and conducting mass information campaigns among refugee target populations, developing tools, such as training packages for use by local staff. Trainings should be led by and include women leaders as appropriate. Proposed activities should demonstrate direct or indirect link to and/or coordination with other Mine Risk Education activities underway in Burma.

Urban Refugees and Asylum Seekers

(1) Healthcare:

a. Improve access to primary healthcare, including reproductive health, medical services, mental health, and/or psychosocial support to vulnerable urban refugee and asylum seeker populations in Bangkok, including facilitating access to public clinics and hospitals.

(2) Education:

a. Facilitate access to schools, including working with local school administrators to overcome barriers for refugee children and promote student enrollment;

b. Teach Thai language courses to facilitate refugees’ and asylum seekers’ ability to pursue formal education in Thai schools; and/or

c. Promote official certification of refugee schooling applicable to where refugees/asylum seekers go (either country of origin or country of resettlement).

(3) Protection: Proposals should be designed to support and strengthen existing protection mechanisms, including informal community-based protection efforts, rather than developing parallel systems that may not be sustainable over time. Key components of protection programs may include:

a. legal assistance and counseling,

b. prevention and response to GBV,

c. child protection, and/or

d. dissemination of information to promote enhanced refugee access to protection mechanisms and programs.

B. Federal Award Information

Proposed program start dates: May 1 – September 15, 2015

Duration of Activity: Program plans from 12 to 36 months will be considered. Applicants may submit multi-year proposals with activities and budgets that do not exceed 36 months from the proposed start date. Actual awards will not exceed 12 months in duration and activities and budgets submitted in year one can be revised/updated each year. Continued funding after the initial 12-month award requires the submission of a noncompeting continuation application and will be contingent upon available funding, strong performance, and continuing need. In funding a project one year, PRM makes no representations that it will continue to fund the project in successive years and encourages applicants to seek a wide array of donors to ensure long-term funding possibilities. Please see Multi-Year Funding section below for additional information.

Funding Limits: Project proposals must not be more than $2,000,000 (per year) or they will be disqualified.

C. Eligibility Information

1. Eligible Applicants: (1) Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with IRS, other than institutions of higher education; (2) Nonprofits without 501(c)(3) status with IRS, other than institutions of higher education; and (3) International Organizations. International multilateral organizations, such as United Nations agencies, should not submit proposals through Grants.gov in response to this Funding Opportunity Announcement. Multilateral organizations that are seeking funding for programs relevant to this announcement should contact the PRM Program Officer (as listed below) on or before the closing date of the funding announcement.

2. Cost Sharing or Matching: Cost sharing, matching, or cost participation is not a requirement of an application in response to this funding announcement.

(a) Proposals must have a concrete implementation plan with well-conceived objectives and indicators that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and reliable, time-bound, and trackable (SMART), have established baselines, and include at least one outcome or impact indicator per objective; objectives should be clearly linked to the sectors.

(b) Proposals must adhere to relevant international standards for humanitarian assistance. See PRM’s General NGO Guidelines for a complete list of sector-specific standards including new guidance on proposals for projects in urban areas.

(c) PRM strongly encourages programs that target the needs of potentially vulnerable and underserved groups among the beneficiary population (women; children; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or intersex (LGBTI) individuals; older persons; the sick; persons with disabilities; and other minorities) and can demonstrate what steps have been taken to meet the specific and unique protection and assistance needs of these vulnerable groups effectively. NOTE: PRM partners must complete a gender analysis (see PRM proposal template, section 3a) that briefly analyzes (1) gender dynamics within the target population (i.e., roles, power dynamics, and different needs of men and women, girls and boys); (2) associated risks and implementation challenges for the project posed by those dynamics; and (3) how program activities will mitigate these protection risks and be made accessible to vulnerable groups (particularly women and girls). A gender analysis is a requirement prior to PRM making a final funding award.

(d) PRM will accept proposals from any NGO working in the above mentioned sectors although, given budgetary constraints, priority will be given to proposals from organizations that can demonstrate:

• a working relationship with UNHCR, current UNHCR funding, and/or a letter of support from UNHCR for the proposed activities and/or overall country program (this letter should highlight the gap in services the proposed program is designed to address);

• a proven track record in providing proposed assistance both in the sector and specified location;

• evidence of coordination with international organizations (IOs) and other NGOs working in the same area or sector as well as – where possible – local authorities;

• a strong transition plan, where feasible, involving local capacity-building;

• where applicable, adherence to PRM’s Principles for Refugee Protection in Urban Areas;

• an understanding of and sensitivity to conflict dynamics in the project location.

D. Application and Submission Instructions

1. Address to Request Application Package:

(a) Application packages may be downloaded from the website www.Grants.gov.

2. Content and Form of Application:

(a) PRM Standardized Indicators:

Health: Proposals focusing on health in camp based/returnee settings must include a minimum of one of the four following indicators and should try to include as many of the other indicators as are relevant:

• Number of consultations/clinician/day (Target: Fewer than 50 patients per clinician per day).

• Measles vaccination rate for children under five (Target: 95% coverage).

• Percentage of deliveries attended by a skilled birth attendant in a health care facility (Target: 100%).

• Percentage of reporting rape survivors given post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) with 72 hours (Target: 100%).

Proposals focusing on health in urban settings must include a minimum of one of the six following indicators and should try to include as many of the other indicators as are relevant:

• Capacity-building: # of health care professionals/administrators trained on providing health services to beneficiary populations.

• Referrals: # of beneficiaries referred to appropriate services, and % of those referred who were able to get needed services.

• Community Outreach: # of beneficiaries who received targeted messages on their rights and health-related services available to them.

• Health Staffing: # of total consultations per health care provider, disaggregated by refugee/national, sex, and age.

• Patient Satisfaction: % of beneficiary patients receiving primary and emergency care who express satisfaction with services received.

• Post Exposure Prophylaxis: % of reporting beneficiary rape survivors given PEP within 72 hours (Target: 100%).

NGO proposals seeking to fund service provision may include the following indicators as appropriate:

• Primary Care: # and % of beneficiary patients, by sex and age, receiving primary health care assistance.

• Emergency Care: # and % of beneficiary patients, by sex and age, receiving care for trauma or sudden illness.

Proposals should include custom health indicators in addition to the relevant standardized indicator(s).

Key Resources – Health

• Sphere Handbook: http://www.sphereproject.org/handbook/

• UNHCR Health Guidelines, Policies, and Strategies: http://www.unhcr.org/pages/49c3646cdd.html

• OFDA NGO Guidance (pages 96-110): http://www.usaid.gov/sites/default/files/documents/1866/guidelines_for_proposals_2012.pdf

Livelihoods: Proposals focusing on livelihoods in camp based/returnee settings must include a minimum of one of the three following indicators and should try to include as many of the other indicators as are relevant:

Camp-Based/Returnee Settings:

• Number of project beneficiaries, disaggregated by gender and population (refugee, national) receiving training on appropriate skills as determined by market and livelihood assessments. This may include language and skills training, entrepreneurship building, financial literacy, business support services, job placement and apprenticeship schemes, and/or legal aid.

• Number and percentage of program participants, disaggregated by gender and population (refugee, national) reporting higher household income level by end of project period as compared to the pre-project baseline assessment.

• (Temporary Employment) Number of beneficiaries, disaggregated by gender and population (refugee, national) participating in cash or food for work programs.

Key Resources – Livelihoods

USAID/OFDA Guidelines for Proposals, October 2012 (pgs. 82-96)

• Women’s Refugee Commission, Preventing Gender Based Violence, Building Livelihoods: Guidance and Tools for Improved Programming

• Minimum Economic Recovery Standards, 2nd ed. Washington, DC, USA: The SEEP Network, 2010. http://communities.seepnetwork.org/econrecovery

• Emergency Market Mapping and Analysis Toolkit. (EMMA) Practical Action Publishing. 2010. www.emmatoolkit.info (In French as of 2011.)

• Local Economic Recovery in Post-Conflict: Guidelines. Geneva: ILO, 2010.
http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/—ed_emp/documents/instructionalmaterial/wcms_141270.pdf

(b) Proposals must be submitted via Grants.gov (not via GrantSolutions.gov). If you are new to PRM funding, the Grants.gov registration process can be complicated. We urge you to refer to PRM’s General NGO Guidelines “New to PRM Funding” section for information and resources to help ensure that the application process runs smoothly. PRM also strongly encourages organizations that have received funding from PRM in the past to read this section as a refresher. Applicants may also refer to the “Applicant Resources” page on Grants.gov for complete details on requirements (http://test.grants.gov/web/grants/applicants/applicant-resources.html).

(c) Do not wait until the last minute to submit your application on Grants.gov. Organizations not registered with Grants.gov should register well in advance of the deadline as it can take up to two weeks to finalize registration (sometimes longer for non-U.S. based NGOs to get the required registration numbers). To register with Grants.gov, organizations must first receive a DUNS number and register with the System for Award Management (SAM) at www.sam.gov which can take weeks and sometimes months. We recommend that organizations, particularly first-time applicants, submit applications via Grants.gov no later than one week before the deadline to avoid last-minute technical difficulties that could result in an application not being considered. PRM partners must maintain an active SAM registration with current information at all times during which they have an active federal award or an application under consideration by PRM or any federal agency.

(d) To register with Grants.gov, organizations must 1) receive a DUNS number; 2) register with the System for Award Management (SAM); 3) register with Grants.gov; and 4) designate points of contact and authorized organization representatives in Grants.gov. Organizations based outside the United States must also request and receive an NCAGE code prior to registering with SAM.gov.

(e) Applications must be submitted under the authority of the Authorized Organization Representative (AOR) at the applicant organization. Having proposals submitted by agency headquarters helps to avoid possible technical problems.

(f) If you encounter technical difficulties with Grants.gov please contact the Grants.gov Help Desk at support@grants.gov or by calling 1-800-518-4726. Applicants who are unable to submit applications via Grants.gov due to Grants.gov technical difficulties and who have reported the problem to the Grants.gov help desk, received a case number, and had a service request opened to research the problem, should contact the relevant PRM Program Officer to determine whether an alternative method of submission is appropriate.

(g) It is the responsibility of each applicant to ensure the appropriate registrations are in place and active. Failure to have the appropriate organizational registrations in place is not considered a technical difficulty and is not justification for an alternate means of submission.

(h) Pursuant to U.S. Code, Title 218, Section 1001, stated on OMB Standard Form 424 (SF-424), the Department of State is authorized to consolidate the certifications and assurances required by Federal law or regulations for its federal assistance programs. The list of certifications and assurances can be found at: https://www.statebuy.state.gov/fa/Documents/Listofoverseascertsandassurances.pdf.

3. Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number and System for Award Management (SAM)

Each applicant is required to: (i) be registered in SAM before submitting its application; (ii) provide a valid DUNS number in its application; and (iii) continue to maintain an active SAM registration with current information at all times during which it has an active PRM award or an application or plan under consideration by PRM. No federal award may be made to an applicant until the applicant has complied with all applicable DUNS and SAM requirements and, if an applicant has not fully complied with the requirements by the time the PRM award is ready to be made, PRM may determine that the applicant is not qualified to receive a PRM award and use that determination as a basis for making a PRM award to another applicant.

4. Submission Dates and Times

Announcement issuance date: Monday, March 9, 2015

Proposal submission deadline: Monday, April 13, 2015 at 12:00 p.m. noon (EDT).

5. Intergovernmental Review – Not Applicable.

6. Funding Restrictions. Federal awards will not allow reimbursement of Federal Award costs without prior authorization by PRM.

7. Other Submission Requirements

Content and Formatting

(a) This announcement is designed to accompany PRM’s General NGO Guidelines which contain additional administrative information on proposal content and formatting, and explain in detail PRM’s NGO funding strategy and priorities. Please use both the General NGO Guidelines and this announcement to ensure that your proposal submission is in full compliance with PRM requirements and that the proposed activities are in line with PRM’s priorities. Proposal submissions that do not meet all of the requirements outlined in these guidelines will not be considered.

(b) PRM strongly recommends using the proposal and budget templates that are available upon email request from PRM’s NGO Coordinator. Please send an email, with the phrase “PRM NGO Templates” in the subject line, to PRM’s NGO Coordinator to receive an automated reply with the templates. Single-year proposals using PRM’s templates must be no more than 20 pages in length (Times New Roman 12 point font, one inch margins on all sides). If the applicant does not use PRM’s recommended templates, proposals must not exceed 15 pages in length. Organizations may choose to attach work plans, activity calendars, and/or logical frameworks as addendums/appendices to the proposal. These attachments do not count toward the page limit total however annexes cannot be relied upon as a key source of program information. The proposal narrative must be able to stand on its own in the application process. For multi-year funding application instructions, see section (e) below.

(c) To be considered for PRM funding, organizations must submit a complete application package including:

• Proposal reflecting objectives and indicators for each year of the program period.

• Budget and budget narrative for each year of the program period.

• Signed completed SF-424.

(d) In addition, proposal submissions to PRM should include the following information:

• Focus on outcome or impact indicators as much as possible. At a minimum, each objective should have one outcome or impact indicator. Wherever possible, baselines should be established before the start of the project.

• To increase PRM’s ability to track the impact of PRM funding, include specific information on locations of projects and beneficiaries (GPS coordinates if possible).

• Proposals should outline how the NGO will acknowledge PRM funding. If an organization believes that publicly acknowledging the receipt of USG funding for a particular PRM-funded project could potentially endanger the lives of the beneficiaries and/or the organization staff, invite suspicion about the organization’s motives, or alienate the organization from the population it is trying to help, it must provide a brief explanation in its proposal as to why it should be exempted from this requirement.

• The budget should include a specific breakdown of funds being provided by UNHCR, other USG agencies, other donors, and your own organization.

• Applicants whose proposals address gender-based violence (GBV) through their projects must estimate the total cost of these activities as a separate line item in their proposed budgets. PRM’s budget template document has been updated to reflect this requirement.

• Gender analysis (See above. Required before an award can be made).

• Copy of the organization’s Code of Conduct (required before an award can be made).

• Copy of the organization’s Security Plan (required before an award can be made).

• Proposals and budgets should include details of any sub-agreements associated with the program.

• Most recent Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement (NICRA), if applicable.

• NGOs that have not received PRM funding since the U.S. government fiscal year ending September 30, 2004 must be prepared to demonstrate that they meet the financial and accounting requirements of the U.S. government by submitting copies of 1) the most recent external financial audit, 2) proof of non-profit tax status including under IRS 501 (c)(3), as applicable, 3) a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number, and 4) an Employer ID (EIN)/Federal Tax Identification number.

• Organizations that received PRM funding in FY 2014 for activities that are being proposed for funding under this announcement must include the most recent quarterly progress report against indicators outlined in the cooperative agreement. If an organization’s last quarterly report was submitted more than six weeks prior to the submission of a proposal in response to this funding announcement, the organization must include, with its most recent quarterly report, updates that show any significant progress made on objectives since the last report.

(e) Multi-Year Funding: Applicants proposing multi-year programs should adhere to the following guidance:

Applicants may submit proposals that include multi-year strategies presented in 12-month cycles for a period not to exceed 36 months from the proposed start date. Fully developed programs with detailed budgets, objectives and indicators are required for each year of activities. These can be updated yearly upon submission of continuation applications. Applicants should note that they may use PRM’s recommended multi-year proposal template for this application, which is different from the single year template. Multi-year funding applicants may also use PRM’s standard budget template and should submit a separate budget sheet for each project year. Multi-year proposals using PRM’s templates must be no more than 30 pages in length (Times New Roman 12 point font, one inch margins on all sides). If the applicant does not use PRM’s recommended templates, proposals must not exceed 25 pages in length. Organizations may choose to attach work plans, activity calendars, and/or logical frameworks as addendums/appendices to the proposal. These attachments do not count toward the page limit total.

Multi-year applications selected for funding by PRM will be funded in 12- month increments based on the proposal submitted in the initial application as approved by PRM. Continued funding after the initial 12- month award requires the submission of a noncompeting continuation application and will be contingent upon available funding, strong performance, and continuing need. Continuation applications must be submitted by the organization no later than 90 days before the proposed start date of the new award (e.g., if the next project period is to begin on September 1, submit your application by June 1). Continuation applications are submitted in lieu of responding to PRM’s published call for proposals for those activities. Late continuation applications will jeopardize continued funding.

Organizations can request multi-year funding and continuation application templates by emailing PRM’s NGO Coordinator with the phrase “PRM NGO Templates” in the subject line.

(f) Branding and Marking Strategy: Unless exceptions have been approved by the designated bureau Authorizing Official as described in the proposal templates that are available upon email request from PRM’s NGO Coordinator, at a minimum, the following provision will be included whenever assistance is awarded:

• As a condition of receipt of this assistance award, all materials produced pursuant to the award, including training materials, materials for recipients or materials to communicate or promote with foreign audiences a program, event, project, or some other activity under this agreement, including but not limited to invitations to events, press materials, event backdrops, podium signs, etc. must be marked appropriately with the standard U.S. flag in a size and prominence equal to (or greater than) any other logo or identity.

o Subrecipients and subsequent tier sub-award agreements are subject to the marking requirements and the recipient shall include a provision in the subrecipient agreement indicating that the standard, rectangular U.S. flag is a requirement. In the event the recipient does not comply with the marking requirements as established in the approved assistance agreement, the Grants Officer Representative and the Grants Officer must initiate corrective action.

E. Application Review Information

1. Criteria: Eligible submissions will be those that comply with the criteria and requirements included in this announcement. In addition, the review panel will evaluate the proposals based on the following criteria:

(i) Problem Analysis

(ii) Program Description

(iii) Objectives and Indicators

(iv) Monitoring and Evaluation Plan

(v) Beneficiary Interaction and Capacity Building

(vi) Coordination with other Stakeholders

(vii) Transition Plan

(viii) Management Capacity

(ix) Budget

2. PRM will conduct a formal competitive review of all proposals submitted in response to this funding announcement. A review panel of at least three people will evaluate submissions based on the above-referenced programmatic criteria and PRM priorities in the context of available funding.

F. Federal Award Administration Information

1. Federal Award Administration. A successful applicant can expect to receive a separate notice from PRM stating that an application has been selected before PRM actually makes the federal award. That notice is not an authorization to begin performance. Only the notice of award signed by the grants officer is the authorizing document. Unsuccessful applicants will be notified following completion of the selection and award process.

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements. PRM awards are made consistent with the following provisions in the following order of precedence: (a) applicable laws and statutes of the United States, including any specific legislative provisions mandated in the statutory authority for the award; (b) Code of Federal Regulations (CFR); (c) Department of State Standard Terms and Conditions of the award; (d) the award’s specific requirements; and (e) other documents and attachments to the award.

3. Reporting

(a) Program Reports: PRM requires program reports describing and analyzing the results of activities undertaken during the validity period of the agreement. A program report is required within thirty (30) days following the end of each three month period of performance during the validity period of the agreement. The final program report is due ninety (90) days following the end of the agreement. The submission dates for program reports will be written into the cooperative agreement. Partners receiving multi-year awards should follow this same reporting schedule and should still submit a final program report at the end of each year that summarizes the NGO’s performance during the previous year.

The Performance Progress Report (SF-PPR) is a standard, government-wide performance reporting format available at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/OMB/grants/approved_forms/sf-ppr.pdf. Recipients of PRM funding must submit the signed SF-PPR cover page with each program report. In addition, the Bureau suggests that NGOs receiving PRM funding use the PRM recommended program report template and reference this template as being attached in block 10 of the SF-PPR. This template is designed to ease the reporting requirements while ensuring that all required elements are addressed. The Program Report Template can be requested by sending an email with only the phrase “PRM NGO Templates” (without the quotation marks) in the subject line to PRMNGOCoordinator@state.gov.

Successful applicants will be required to submit:

(a) Financial Reports: Financial reports are required within thirty (30) days following the end of each calendar year quarter during the validity period of the agreement (January 30th, April 30th, July 30th, October 30th). The final financial report covering the entire period of the agreement is required within ninety (90) days after the expiration date of the agreement. For agreements containing indirect costs, final financial reports are due within sixty (60) days of the finalization of the applicable negotiated indirect cost rate agreement (NICRA).

Reports reflecting expenditures for the recipient’s overseas and United States offices should be completed in accordance with the Federal Financial Report (FFR SF-425) and submitted electronically in the Department of Health and Human Services’ Payment Management System (HHS/PMS) and in accordance with other award specific requirements. Detailed information pertaining to the Federal Financial Report including due dates, instruction manuals and access forms, is provided on the HHS/PMS website at http://www.dpm.psc.gov/grant_recipient/ffr_info/ffr_info.aspx.

For more details regarding reporting requirements please see PRM’s General NGO Guidelines.

G. PRM Contacts

Applicants with technical questions related to this announcement should contact the PRM staff listed below prior to proposal submission. Please note that responses to technical questions from PRM do not indicate a commitment to fund the program discussed.

For Thailand proposals, contact PRM Asia Team Lead Hoa Tran, TranHT3@state.gov, 202-453-9289, Washington, D.C.

For Malaysia proposals, contact PRM Program Officer Jennifer Handog, HandogJG@state.gov, 202-453-9286, Washington, D.C.

For field-based questions, contact Regional Refugee Coordinator Anny Ho, HoAC@state.gov, U.S. Embassy Bangkok, Refugee and Migration Affairs, Bangkok, Thailand.

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Rebels in South Sudan stormed towns in two states on Tuesday and were repulsed, the army said, barely a week after signing another ceasefire deal with the government that was meant to end 15 months of conflict. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1DfPxo3)

International donors at a conference in Nairobi have pledged an additional $529 million toward humanitarian relief in war-torn South Sudan. But despite the outpouring of goodwill at the conference, there was an undercurrent of frustration with the country’s leadership for prolonging the civil conflict. (VOA http://bit.ly/1vgBV5x)

Around a dozen Guineans were wounded Monday in clashes with police after the arrest of an imam who led funeral prayers for a suspected victim of Ebola. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1ATk5N0)

Rights activists have demanded the release of a former government minister and a top army officer they say are being held without charge by Gambian secret police. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1vgBYhJ)

Rebel fighters in South Sudan bombarded government positions Tuesday in the oil town of Bentiu, a day after the UN launched a $1.8 billion aid appeal to stave off famine in the war-wracked country. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1y7vdPk)

Nearly a quarter of a million people have been affected by the devastating floods that ripped through Malawi a month ago, and with rains still falling, many of the 230,000 who were forced to flee their homes have been unable to return and rebuild their lives, the UN said. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1Df09ne)

In Guinea, where West Africa’s Ebola outbreak began, hostility towards aid workers – fuelled by ever more far-fetched rumours – is undermining efforts to contain the deadly virus. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1y7wLZH)

Some 16,600 children are registered as having lost one or both parents, or their primary caregivers to Ebola in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, but less than 3 per cent have had to be placed outside family or community care. (UNICEF http://bit.ly/1CdSELK)

More than 300 people, including opposition leaders, remain in detention in Democratic Republic of Congo after protests last month, reinforcing concerns that President Joseph Kabila plans to cling to power beyond his legal mandate. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1y7wG8s)

A British gold mining firm whose hired police officers​ were involved in an incident that saw ​Tanzanian villagers killed and injured has settled claims brought against it in the London high court. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1DB7nSV)

MENA

The Islamic State group’s affiliate in Egypt has released video purporting to show the beheading of eight Bedouin men it accused of working for the Egyptian and Israeli armies. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1Df0bve)

Saudi Arabia’s state news agency says authorities have executed a Syrian man convicted of smuggling a large quantity of amphetamine pills. (AP http://yhoo.it/1DeZMcg)

Human Rights Watch urged the Louvre and Guggenheim museums Tuesday to pressure the United Arab Emirates to end worker abuse on a project that will host branches of the institutions. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1E3nuX7)

The offensive by Islamic State militants in northern Iraq has displaced an estimated 2 million people, and psychiatrists say as many as half of them may be suffering psychological effects from their ordeal. (VOA http://bit.ly/1DfPU1L)

Asia

An upstart anti-establishment party crushed India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in a Delhi state election on Tuesday, smashing an aura of invincibility built around Prime Minister Narendra Modi since he swept to power last year. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1CdSIes)

Malaysia’s highest court has upheld a sodomy conviction against Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, rejecting a final appeal in a case dating back almost seven years. (VOA http://bit.ly/1M9IyB5)

Nepal formed two commissions Tuesday that would probe crimes committed during a decade-long communist insurgency and investigate the cases of hundreds of people who disappeared during the period, a government minister said. (AP http://yhoo.it/1y7v6Do)

Thailand and Myanmar are working on big plans to boost trade and entice businesses to locate along their long land border. The influx of money is reshaping a region that has suffered from long-running ethnic conflicts. (VOA http://bit.ly/1DeTOIl)

Ten infants and young children died in a single night in an overcrowded state-run hospital in northeastern Bangladesh, prompting authorities to investigate whether staff negligence was involved, officials said Tuesday. (AP http://yhoo.it/1DeZFxe)

The U.N. Human Rights office said on Tuesday it was “disappointed” by the Malaysian Federal Court ruling upholding the conviction on sodomy charges of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1y7viCD)

East Timor’s president chose former health minister Rui Araujo to be the new prime minister of the poverty-stricken country, the government said on Tuesday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1y7wAO8)

Myanmar troops fought Kokang ethnic rebels in clashes near the Chinese border that the government says the guerrillas provoked, state media reported Tuesday. (AP http://yhoo.it/1E3niqU)

The Americas

Mexican officials have been approached by more than 100 people who fear their relatives are among 60 bodies found rotting in an abandoned crematorium in Acapulco, authorities said. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1M9IjWK)

Police in Haiti have clashed with anti-government protesters angry about the high cost of fuel. Several people were injured as police moved in to clear roadblocks set up in the capital, Port-au-Prince. (BBC http://bbc.in/1CdSBj0)

An Argentine prosecutor’s mysterious death days after he made criminal charges against President Cristina Fernandez is part of an attempt to unseat her and bring neoliberals back to power, a senior government official said”. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1M9Ivp5)

Condoms are the latest item to become scarce — and costly — in Venezuela. Once easy to find, condoms disappeared from pharmacy shelves as the year started, along with many food and cleaning products. (AP http://yhoo.it/1vgC5d7)

The HIV pandemic in the Caribbean is fueled by a range of social and economic inequalities and is sustained by high levels of stigma, discrimination against the most at-risk and marginalized populations and persistent gender inequality, violence and homophobia. (IPS http://bit.ly/1ztxiFL)

A plan to reduce climate-changing emissions from Brazil’s steel industry has failed, causing the amount of carbon pollution produced by the sector to double in less than a decade, researchers said. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1DfPlVZ)

Opinion/Blogs

Why democracy may have to wait in the Central African Republic (IRIN http://bit.ly/1y7fIa7)

People Power, the Solution to Climate Inaction (Inter Press Service http://bit.ly/1Df05DZ)

Can Somalia Pull Out of Perpetual Crisis? (VOA http://bit.ly/1ztxPaA)

When did extreme poverty end in today’s “rich world”? (Chris Blattman http://bit.ly/1vhtQh1)

Economics has an Africa problem (Africa is a Country http://bit.ly/1zTUccY)

Key Economic Debates in Nigeria’s Election (Sahel Blog http://bit.ly/1zTUhgT)

Things You Can’t Say in Burma (Wronging Rights http://bit.ly/1MaD214)

Making Sense of the Decision to Postpone Nigeria’s February 14 Elections (An Africanist Perspective http://bit.ly/1zTUrVr)

Debunking 4 arguments in favour of voluntourism (WhyDev http://bit.ly/1MaD6xX)

Research/Reports

Safety Nets in Africa: Effective Mechanisms to Reach the Poor and Most Vulnerable (World Bank http://bit.ly/1E3pdLZ)

Discussion

comments…

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Press Releases: Briefing on President Obama's FY 2016 Budget Request

DEPUTY SECRETARY HIGGINBOTTOM: Good afternoon, everyone. As you know, earlier today, President Obama released his Fiscal Year 2016 Budget, and I’m pleased to be joined here today by Administrator Raj Shah to discuss the 2016 budget request for USAID and the State Department and to take a few of your questions.

I just want to note that this is actually Raj’s last budget rollout. As I’m sure you know, in just a couple of weeks he’ll be moving on. And I just wanted to briefly take this opportunity to thank Raj for his service. He has been a really effective and dynamic leader at USAID. He has pushed forward innovative efforts like Feed the Future and Power Africa. He’s galvanized our response to unexpected crises like the Haiti earthquake and the Ebola outbreak, and we’re really going to miss you.

Two weeks ago, in his State of the Union Address, President Obama said, “If there’s one thing this new century has taught us, it’s that we cannot separate our work at home from the challenges beyond our shores.” That fact is deeply understood by Senator – Secretary Kerry and the men and women of State and USAID. We see it in action every day. And our FY ‘16 budget request makes critical investments in diplomacy and development that will secure peace and stability for the American people, strengthen the U.S. economy and global markets, and support U.S. citizens and our diplomatic and development presence overseas.

So first, the top lines. The State and USAID budget request totals $50.3 billion, which is roughly 1 percent of the federal budget. Our base budget request is $43.2 billion. This will allow us to address ongoing and emerging national security challenges, carry out our global diplomatic and development mission, advance the President’s signature policy and development initiatives, honor our security commitments to allies and partners, and carry out conflict prevention, nonproliferation, and peacekeeping activities around the world. We’ve also requested $7 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations funds to respond to immediate and extraordinary national security requirements. OCO funds will support critical programs and operations in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq, as well as exceptional costs related to our efforts to fight ISIL, respond to the conflict in Syria, and support Ukraine.

So let me just highlight a few of the key investments that we’re making or propose to make in the next year. As Vice President Biden penned in an op-ed last week, our budget invests $1 billion in Central America. These funds will address the underlying social, governance, and economic factors in Central America that drove last year’s crisis in unaccompanied migration – child migration, while helping Mexico secure its southern border. Our goal is to partner with our neighbors in Central America to mitigate these underlying factors before their youth risk the dangerous journey north and arrive at our border.

For Afghanistan, our request includes $1.5 billion in assistance, which will support the Afghan unity government as it strives to implement key reforms, improve its economy, and work with us on shared security issues. Our budget request also provides $963 million to secure and support embassy operations, including $125 million to harden Embassy Kabul, all of which will enable a significant reduction in our military presence. With a new, reform-minded Afghan Government in place, we have the opportunity to solidify the progress we have made in Afghanistan over the last decade. Our request continues the security, economic, and civilian programs necessary to do so.

As part of the Administration’s collaboration with coalition partners to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL, our request includes $3.5 billion to strengthen regional partners, provide humanitarian assistance, and strengthen Syria’s moderate opposition to advance the conditions for a negotiated political transition. The request also includes an additional $1.1 billion to support diplomatic engagement with Iraq to sustain our strategic partnership.

Last year at West Point, President Obama announced the creation of a Counterterrorism Partnerships Fund that will enable us to train, build capacity, and help facilitate partner countries on the front lines against terrorism. Our request includes $390 million to support the CTPF through security and stabilization assistance and through efforts to counter violent extremism and terrorist ideology.

Our budget also includes vital support for Ukraine to counter Russian pressure and aggressive actions. This includes $275 million to support an additional loan guarantee of up to $1 billion if Ukraine continues to make progress on its IMF program and if other conditions warrant. Our request also provides support for democracy and anti-corruption measures, European integration, energy security, and public diplomacy strategies to counter Russian propaganda throughout Europe and Central Asia.

The request also provides over $5 billion for international organizations and peacekeeping efforts. These funds strengthen our strategic relationships across the globe and enable us to advance global security while sharing the burden with other nations. Our assessed contribution supports 17 UN peacekeeping missions in Africa and the Middle East and satisfy U.S. obligations to the UN and 44 other organizations.

At the same time, our request will address urgent and growing humanitarian needs around the world. We are now facing four large-scale crises in Syria, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, and Iraq. To address this unprecedented challenge, we are seeking a total of $5.6 billion in humanitarian funding.

Shifting gears a bit, we’re investing over $800 million in clean energy, sustainable landscapes, and adaptation through the Global Climate Change Initiative. This includes $350 million of a State Department contribution to the Green Climate Fund, a new multilateral fund that will help developing countries gain access to public and private finance to invest in reducing carbon pollution and strengthening resilience to climate change.

Secretary Kerry firmly believes that our people, the State Department and USAID personnel, are our greatest resource, and this budget makes significant investments in the people and platforms who make all of this work possible. The budget includes $6.9 billion to support State and USAID personnel and operations around the world. These funds sustain our relations with foreign governments and international organizations, the work of our development experts here in Washington and abroad, and vital overseas services to U.S. citizens and businesses.

In order for our diplomats and development professionals to do their work, they must be safe and secure. Secretary Kerry is committed to doing whatever it takes to ensure that they are. Our request includes $4.8 billion for worldwide security protection to support key security requirements such as protection of diplomatic personnel and new infrastructure such as the Foreign Affairs Security Training Center.

Within the Embassy Security, Construction and Maintenance Account, the budget includes $1.4 billion for worldwide security upgrades which include support for the Capital Security and Maintenance Cost-Sharing Programs and construction, maintenance, and security upgrades for diplomatic facilities as recommended by the Benghazi Accountability Review Board.

The fact remains that American leadership is needed now more than ever, but our global leadership and our leverage depends on our resources. Our budget request reflects what is needed to ensure that the United States remains powerfully engaged on the myriad issues that directly impact the security, prosperity, and values of the American people. We look forward to working with Congress to secure funding for these important priorities in the coming months.

And with that, I will turn it over to Raj to talk about our development assistance request.

ADMINISTRATOR SHAH: Thank you. Good afternoon, and thank you, Heather. I appreciate your kind comments and your incredible leadership on behalf of ensuring that State and AID have the resources required to carry forth President Obama and Secretary Kerry’s strong commitment to American leadership around the world.

Heather likes to point out – and she’s right – that most Americans think our collective budget is greater than 20 percent of the federal budget, and in fact it’s somewhat smaller than that, clocking in at just under 1 percent.

I’d also like to thank the leadership of President Obama and Secretary Kerry and bipartisan members, Democrats and Republicans, in both houses in Congress that have relatively strongly supported USAID and our country’s development and humanitarian missions around the world. In fact, 2015 is an important year for our collective partnership to address extreme poverty and promote resilient democratic societies, often in the most difficult parts of our world. But no matter where we work across the globe, the men and women of the State Department and USAID work on behalf of the American people. And the modest yet critical investments we make in improving the quality of life for the world’s most fortunate, in fact, contribute directly to American strength, security, trade, and prosperity.

And above all, over the last years we have refocused our investments to make sure that we’re doing our work in a way where, over time, our aid and assistance is no longer necessary, where self-sufficiency can replace the need for outside assistance. The President’s budget request this year includes $22.3 billion that USAID will manage or partly manage. These critical resources allow us to advance our country’s interests in a far-ranging set of contexts. By leveraging public-private partnerships and harnessing the power of technology, science, and innovation, we’re now able to deliver clear, focused, and measurable results with these resources.

Since 2010, USAID missions have reduced the number of programs and program areas in which we’ve worked from nearly 800 in total around the world to just over 500 today, or a reduction of greater than 35 percent. This has meant that our Global Health Program, for example, has been phased out of 23 countries. Our agriculture support programs have been phased out 25 countries. And as a result, we’re able to deliver better resources where we concentrate our investments and our efforts.

Today, all of our major programs are independently evaluated by third-party evaluators, and the results of those evaluations – which are often important but not the most exciting documents to read – are available on an iPhone app, an unprecedented level of transparency.

When I started five years ago, just 8 percent of USAID’s global investment focused on public-private partnerships. Today, it’s about 40 percent and the 2016 budget request will take that number to 46 percent. Nowhere has this focus on delivering real, measurable results been more significant than in our work in global health. The foreign assistance budget includes $8.2 billion for funding for global health, including HIV/AIDS, malaria, child and maternal survival, and a broad range of programs that tackle neglected tropical diseases, including Ebola.

These resources underscore our commitment to helping to realize the goal of ensuring that every child survives until the age of five and thrives beyond that timeframe. To achieve this goal, we’ve already narrowed our focus of investment in our Child Survival program to 24 countries that account for 70 percent of under-five child deaths and maternal deaths. As a result, in the past two years alone in those countries, we’ve delivered an 8 percent reduction in child mortality, more than doubling the baseline rate of reduction in child deaths.

We saw the power of this approach at work last week as the United States committed more than $1 billion over four years to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization in order to immunize 300 million children and save at least 5 million child lives by 2020.

Another notable example of this new model is President Obama’s commitment to Africa, and specifically Power Africa. This year’s budget includes $134 million in resources to take that initiative forward. And as President Obama reset the goal for that initiative this past summer in this building at the African Leadership Summit, those resources will help us bring tens of billions of dollars of private investment to the African power sector in the hopes of connecting 60 million homes and businesses to clean, renewable, affordable power.

This budget request includes $1.02 billion devoted to the Feed the Future Initiative, President Obama’s signature global food security effort. The State/AID-managed portion of that will be $978 million. In 2013 alone, these investments, in addition to bringing more than 70 companies to co-invest with us in countries around the world, has directly helped more than 7 million farm households move out of poverty and improved nutrition for more than 12 million children who otherwise would go hungry – not by giving out food, but by helping their families stand on their own two feet.

Since 2014, the President’s budget has included attempts to ensure that we reach more hungry people, particularly at their greatest hour of need, by restructuring America’s 60-year-old food assistance program, Food for Peace. We look forward to working with Congress to get that done on a bipartisan basis this year. In doing so, we hope to renew the unique policy partnership between America’s food producers, shippers, humanitarians, and the world’s children who suffer through crisis. And this is important this year because smart, results-oriented humanitarian assistance is needed now more than ever.

Last year was the first time in our agency’s 53-year history that we were called to respond simultaneously to four large-scale emergencies around the world, not including the Ebola epidemic. In Syria, we’ve supported more than 300 field hospitals, clinics, and medical points that have saved countless lives. In the Philippines, we’ve reached nearly 3 million people with emergency assistance in the wake of typhoons. And in West Africa, we’ve cut down dramatically on the number of new cases of Ebola from more than 100 a day in Liberia when our efforts started to less than 1 per day over the course of the last week in Liberia.

Using the $2.5 billion appropriated to State and AID for the FY 15 Ebola Response and Preparedness Fund, the budget presented today requests – includes resources for USAID’s Global Health Security Program to work alongside a range of countries to make sure that threats like Ebola do not emerge again.

But even as we respond to these crises, we know it’s critical to support civil society and human rights around the world. That’s why this budget will provide $2.4 billion for democracy, human rights, and governance programs, some of which Heather has already spoken about. And in addition, this budget will include nearly $200 million in central funding for science, technology, and innovation through the U.S. Global Development Lab. The lab has already delivered extraordinary results, most notably redesigning the personal protective equipment that Ebola responders use in West Africa to keep themselves safe, building data systems to help us tackle Ebola cheaper, faster, and more effectively than anyone thought possible. And those types of results can be replicated across the broad range of what we do if Congress continues to provide strong bipartisan support for the United States Global Development Lab.

Finally, and echoing Heather’s comments, with $1.7 billion in USAID administrative expenses, this budget allows us to invest in our most important resource: our staff. This request represents just 7 percent of our total programmatic responsibilities, and we urge Congress to fully fund our operating expenses.

Thank you for your time and attention. I look forward to taking questions.

MR. RATHKE: Okay. We have time for a few questions. Matt, do you want to lead off?

QUESTION: Yeah, because I – every year I have the same question, because these figures that you guys provide don’t match up with the figures that are put out by the CBO, at least in the historical page. And I’m wondering – if you can’t answer these questions right now, maybe someone can get back to me on them. According to the CBO, the historical page, in 2015 the budget authority – total budget authority for Function 150 was $62.12 billion. And this year it’s 46.476 billion, which would be a reduction of 25 percent. And I’m wondering what’s getting cut in this budget.

DEPUTY SECRETARY HIGGINBOTTOM: So we’ll let our budget experts go through the tables with you, but our request overall for State and AID and the 150 account includes other agencies, such as Treasury and some others that have international affairs activities, is a 6 percent increase over our FY 15 request.

I can’t speak to the specifics on your table, but we’ll make sure you get an answer right after this.

QUESTION: Okay. Well, can you – off the top of your head in terms of highlights of things that are being cut, what are they?

DEPUTY SECRETARY HIGGINBOTTOM: Overall, our budget request is increasing.

QUESTION: Well – so nothing’s being cut?

DEPUTY SECRETARY HIGGINBOTTOM: No, there are some cuts here and there in the budget, but overall the numbers are going up because there are more and vast crises that we’re dealing with. For example, even though we maintain a robust investment in our Pakistan assistance, that’s come down by a small amount – about 10 percent – over last year based on what we think the needs are and what we think – what we assess the capabilities are. We have a level funding for Iraq at this point. We have level funding levels in many, many programs and increases where we think we need them.

So we can get into the specifics of where there are cuts and walk through the table with you if you’d like.

QUESTION: Okay, thanks.

QUESTION: I’m —

MR. RATHKE: Okay, Arshad.

QUESTION: Two similar ones, if I may. One is that the CBJ summary tables have blanks for just about all the FY 2015 estimates.

DEPUTY SECRETARY HIGGINBOTTOM: Mm-hmm, yes.

QUESTION: I’m guessing that that’s because of the cromnibus and you haven’t had time to crunch the numbers?

DEPUTY SECRETARY HIGGINBOTTOM: The issue with specific allocations for programs and at the country level – there’s a process that after we get an appropriation, we work through regular order every year with our appropriators to decide on the allocations in that level of detail. So that process is happening at the moment.

QUESTION: Sure. And will we not get that breakdown until – when do you expect to have that breakdown available? Or because it depends on Congress, you don’t really know?

DEPUTY SECRETARY HIGGINBOTTOM: I would say in the spring.

QUESTION: Yeah.

DEPUTY SECRETARY HIGGINBOTTOM: That’s when the process kind of – it takes quite a while to go back and forth on the programming in country level.

QUESTION: And then I have two kind of granular questions you may not be able to answer.

DEPUTY SECRETARY HIGGINBOTTOM: More granular than that? (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Yes. Yeah, much. So I noticed that the economic support funds for Egypt are budgeted at 150 million for FY 2016; it’s a blank for FY 2015 because you don’t have that yet; and it was 200 million in FY 2014, the actual. And as you know, for many, many years it was like 250 or 255 million, I think. What explains the decision to ask for less for FY 2016 than you had in 2014? Do you believe that the Egyptian Government is just not making progress and you don’t want to support them, or —

DEPUTY SECRETARY HIGGINBOTTOM: No, it’s a good question. We do know, from our engagement with Congress and over the ’15 appropriation and our discussions with them, that they intend the FY15 level for ESF to be about 150 million, and so in working with them with this request and thinking about where we can go moving forward on Egypt assistance, we’ve settled at that level.

QUESTION: Okay. And then last one – and again, somewhat obscure – but I see that you have IMET funding for Thailand, but of course Thailand had a coup. And I wonder why you’re programming IMET funding for Thailand for FY16, given the coup.

DEPUTY SECRETARY HIGGINBOTTOM: We’ll have to get back to you on that one.

QUESTION: Okay.

DEPUTY SECRETARY HIGGINBOTTOM: Thank you.

MR. RATHKE: Do you have – yes.

QUESTION: Yes, I’m Mounzer Onsur with (inaudible). I would like to ask highlights on Western Hemisphere. I heard that the 1 billion for Central America. But I would like more details. For instance, Merida Initiative, 1 billion – that 1 billion includes part of Merida Initiative, or is only for —

DEPUTY SECRETARY HIGGINBOTTOM: No, the $1 billion for Central America is just for —

QUESTION: Only, none for Mexico?

DEPUTY SECRETARY HIGGINBOTTOM: Yeah, that’s correct. The – in the Central America response to the migration – child migration crisis, we have included $120 million specifically for Mexico, for the southern border, but that’s separate from the billion. Our funding levels are pretty consistent with last year’s request for the Western Hemisphere with the exception of the Central American region.

QUESTION: Could you please talk about Merida Initiative, Plan Colombia?

DEPUTY SECRETARY HIGGINBOTTOM: Colombia’s about the same level. It’s a slight decrease based on our assessment of the increased capacity of the Colombian Government to take on some of those activities. And I don’t have the Merida number with me, I’m sorry. We’ll follow up with you right after this.

QUESTION: How about the human rights program for Cuba? Any change?

DEPUTY SECRETARY HIGGINBOTTOM: The Cuba funding is very similar to last year. It is $20 million in democracy planning for Cuba. I don’t know, Raj, you can jump in. The only difference in our funding request vis-a-vis Cuba is that we ask for $6.6 million to do some operational upgrades at our facilities there.

QUESTION: On Venezuela, the democracy program for Venezuela?

ADMINISTRATOR SHAH: I don’t have the numbers, but we can follow up with you.

DEPUTY SECRETARY HIGGINBOTTOM: We’ll get them for you.

QUESTION: Please, yes. Thanks.

QUESTION: Just the – a clarification on the Western Hemisphere and Colombia. I thought you had asked for more money for Colombia. In the first time in this Administration, there’s a slight increase, not a decrease.

DEPUTY SECRETARY HIGGINBOTTOM: I think that there’s – I’m pretty sure there’s a slight decrease in Colombia, but we’ll make sure you have the right numbers.

QUESTION: Okay.

MR. RATHKE: VOA?

QUESTION: Could you focus a little bit more on the priorities for Asia, please? I didn’t see any mention on Asia.

DEPUTY SECRETARY HIGGINBOTTOM: Sorry. I’m glad you raised that question. We have an increase in – of 8 percent for the Asian region vis-a-vis our FY – vis-a-vis FY14 appropriations. The same issue regarding ’15 is still relevant in that we can’t compare to ’15 without the allocations that we’re going through with Congress. But over the FY14 appropriation, there’s – we propose an 8 percent increase.

MR. RATHKE: Okay. Yes, (inaudible).

QUESTION: Just to follow up on that, could you talk about why, as the pivot is a priority of this Administration, why Asia Pacific is not mentioned in your fact sheet and highlights?

DEPUTY SECRETARY HIGGINBOTTOM: Well, it is – when you look at the budget overall and what we’ve prioritized increases for and where we’ve had to keep things level, and even some of the places we’ve had to cut, it’s clear that the Asia Pacific remains a key priority for us because of the level of increase. There’s – we can speak to the specifics of a fact sheet, but the numbers really tell the story, and that’s a trajectory that has increased in our budgets consistently over the past few years.

QUESTION: Specifically, where does the 8 percent goes to?

DEPUTY SECRETARY HIGGINBOTTOM: All the details of that are in the congressional justification on our website, and in the call that you’ll have afterwards with folks. They can get into that level of detail with you.

MR. RATHKE: (Inaudible.)

QUESTION: Can you get into a bit more detail about the 3.5 billion for anti-ISIS/ISIL operations?

DEPUTY SECRETARY HIGGINBOTTOM: Sure. So the number includes the work that we’re doing to counter ISIL with Iraq and our partners in the region, to deal with the Syria humanitarian crisis, and to stabilize that region and ensure that there is the ability to work against that. So there’s security assistance training, et cetera, the humanitarian costs, the – Lebanon, Jordan, other partners in the region that are taking a lot of the responsibility for the crisis there.

MR. RATHKE: Okay. We have time for just a couple more. Go ahead in the back.

QUESTION: Hi. Can you tell us what is the budget request for Afghanistan and Pakistan individually, and how much of that will go to security and economic assistance?

DEPUTY SECRETARY HIGGINBOTTOM: Good question. So – I’m flipping here, sorry – the Afghanistan request is $1.5 billion for assistance, as I said in the opening. And I have the breakdown here. $1.2 million[1] is in security and the rest is in – excuse me, $1.2 billion[2] is in security and the rest is in civilian assistance. Although is this —

ADMINISTRATOR SHAH: Yeah, the —

PARTICIPANT: So the total amount of the request for Afghanistan is $2.5 billion and that includes —

DEPUTY SECRETARY HIGGINBOTTOM: But that includes our operations, our platform.

PARTICIPANT: Correct.

DEPUTY SECRETARY HIGGINBOTTOM: You asked about assistance, right? Yeah. So 1.5 is the number for assistance.

For Pakistan, the assistance number is 804 million. There’s 534 million in civilian and 270 million in security.

MR. RATHKE: Okay. Thanks very much, everyone.


[1] $1.2 million in security assistance to complement Department of Defense efforts.

[2] $1.2 billion is a misspeak. The speaker is referencing $1.2 million in security assistance to complement Department of Defense efforts.

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Ebola: UN envoy says intense response needed for western Sierra Leone and Guinea-Mali border

9 December 2014 – The United Nations, working with its national and international partners to halt the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, is currently focusing attention on bringing down the high levels of transmission in western Sierra Leone and ensuring that cases do not cross the border from Guinea into neighbouring Mali, the UN Special Envoy on Ebola Dr. David Nabarro said today.

Dr. Nabarro also told a press conference in Geneva that the national response, with support from the international community “is right, is working, and real progress is being made.”

He later briefed by video link the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, D.C. and told members debating the response to the Ebola outbreak that he believed the needed capacity should be in place in the three most affected countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone by the end of January next year.

Meanwhile, in a message to a special meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Ebola preparedness in Bangkok, Thailand, the head of the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), Anthony Banbury, drew attention to the need for more international responders as part of the district-by-district strategy.

“We need logisticians, information management people, we need epidemiologists,” Mr. Banbury said. “In this war that we are fighting now, our most valuable soldiers are epidemiologists, people who can understand this disease, who can help us hunt it down, who can work in the villages and identify any new outbreak so that we can quickly respond and bring it under control.”

Back in Geneva, Dr. Nabarro, specified two areas of particular concern in the current battle to eradicate the Ebola in West Africa.

The first area of concern, Dr. Nabarro said, was western Sierra Leone, in particular, the capital Freetown, and Port Loko, where there are high levels of transmission and “a much more intense response” is needed.

He did say that some of the most experienced Ebola responders in the world were working in that area, together with UNMEER’s “Western Area Surge team,” the Government, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) and partners to ensure there were enough beds and burial teams.

The UN envoy explained the logistical difficulty of staffing the Ebola treatment units with 300 beds that require some 300 people. The staff needed to change shifts every three to four hours because of the heat of the protective clothing, and each changeover was a dangerous moment, as was each interaction with patients, particularly with needles.

The second concerning area, Dr. Nabarro said, is the northern part of the interior of Guinea, known as Guinea Forestiere. “UNMEER is also working very closely with Mali to ensure cases do not cross the border and if they do, that they could be dealt with very quickly,” he said, noting that he had been working closely on that with the President of Mali, as well as with the UN peacekeepers stationed there.

On a positive note, Dr. Nabarro drew attention to a the N’Zerekore Treatment Centre in Guinea headed by a doctor from Niger, which he described as “a truly extraordinary” example of international, African and local cooperation, built with money from the European Union and constructed in 25 days of 24 hour shifts by the UN World Food Programme (WFP) with Red Cross volunteers and others there.

Stressing that “communities are at the heart of the response,” he said “You couldn’t do this without local community involvement.”

Dr. Nabarro said he is very pleased with the response from the UN family, as well as the global response. Regarding Africa’s response, he said African countries, small and large, have rallied their resources to fight the epidemic that has affected 17,800 people and left 6,331 dead.

About the kinds of people being sought in the response, he said that they are those with clinical skills to treat patients; with epidemiological skills to follow the disease and its progression; with anthropological skills to understand community challenges; and with managerial skills to ensure proper management of different parts of the response.

“All the people needed to be skilful teachers because increasingly the whole effort was to teach national personnel, medical and non-medical,” he said. “People who had worked on infectious diseases, particularly in developing countries, and people who could stay for three months or more, were particularly wanted.”

In his message to the ASEAN ministers meeting on Ebola preparedness in that part of the world, UNMEER’s Mr. Banbury referred to the experience of Southeast Asia with SARS and noted how “preparedness is absolutely essential to protect the citizens of those countries, to protect the economies and to protect the regions and the world as a whole.”

He also said what is lacking in the response are trained epidemiologists to work in the field, and he urged ASEAN countries to send health care works to fight Ebola in West Africa, saying that would not only help to quickly bring the outbreak to an end, “but it also helps spread critical experience and expertise that can be part of preparedness measures for the future.”

In Liberia today, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia launched the “Ebola Must Go” awareness campaign in the capital Monrovia, UNMEER reported.v

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And the Most Corrupt Countries Are…

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North Korea and Somalia, says the latest corruption perceptions index from Transparency International. “More than two thirds of the 175 countries in the 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index score below 50, on a scale from 0 (perceived to be highly corrupt) to 100 (perceived to be very clean). Denmark comes out on top in 2014 with a score of 92 while North Korea and Somalia share last place, scoring just eight. The scores of several countries rose or fell by four points or more. The biggest falls were in Turkey (-5), Angola, China, Malawi and Rwanda (all -4). The biggest improvers were Côte d´Ivoire, Egypt, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (+5), Afghanistan, Jordan, Mali and Swaziland (+4). (TI http://bit.ly/1pUDLeX)

Desperate times….The World Food Program is resorting to crowd funding to feed 1.7 million Syrian refugees because our humanitarian system is broken (UN Dispatch http://bit.ly/12ngoPX)

Ebola

A health official says another Sierra Leonean doctor has tested positive for Ebola, the 11th from that country to become infected. (AP http://yhoo.it/1yPNhSc)

British actor Idris Elba and a host of international football stars launched a public awareness campaign on Wednesday to help halt West Africa’s Ebola epidemic and recognise the health workers fighting the deadly disease. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1vNOKGp)

To understand how Ebola came to Taylortown, how it spread in the village and how it eventually ended in the village is to understand how the epidemic might end in Liberia, and what will be left behind. (NPR http://n.pr/1pUEtZE)

Africa

Four Somalis were killed when a car bomb hit a United Nations convoy near the capital’s international airport on Wednesday, showing the threat still posed by insurgents despite their recent loss of territory. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1yPAvmB)

Kenyan trade unions have urged non-Muslim public sector workers including teachers and doctors to leave the country’s lawless northern region, site of two deadly attacks by militants in the past two weeks, because of the security risks. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1yPuW7U)

Lawmakers in Cameroon, which is battling to stop the advance of Nigerian Boko Haram militants on its territory, will vote in the coming days on whether to impose the death penalty on those found guilty of involvement in acts of terrorism. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1vNMCi4)

Judges at the International Criminal Court on Wednesday rejected prosecutors’ attempts to have the trial against Kenya’s president adjourned until they had enough evidence and set a week deadline to proceed or withdraw the charges. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1vNMUFH)

The UN-sanctioned military mission to Somalia, known as AMISOM, is taking on a new role after freeing much of the country from al-Shabab control. (VOA http://bit.ly/1vNRaos)

A multilingual mobile phone-based resource operated by Ethiopia’s Ministry of Agriculture, the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research, and Ethio Telecom, and created by the Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA), has proved a huge hit. (IRIN http://bit.ly/1yPIkZw)

Presidential polls in Namibia have incumbent prime minister Hage Geigob of the ruling SWAPO party leading with 84 percent of the roughly 10 percent of votes officially released so far but the new electronic polling gizmos are leaving some Namibians skeptical. (IPS http://bit.ly/1vNRXGc)

MENA

An Egyptian judge sentenced 185 Muslim Brotherhood supporters to death on Tuesday over an attack on a police station near Cairo last year in which 12 policemen were killed. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1yPBgvW)

Syrian refugees across the Middle East, some in exile for a fourth winter, face freezing temperatures, hunger and increasing hostility from locals as governments struggle to cope with the humanitarian crisis. (VOA http://bit.ly/1yPGrMu)

The United Nations has begun investigating Israeli attacks that hit UN facilities during last summer’s Gaza war and how Palestinian militants came to store weapons at several UN schools, officials said on Wednesday. (VOA http://bit.ly/1vNRfc3)

HRW urged Turkey on Wednesday to remove from its border with Syria landmines which have killed three people and wounded nine among more than 2,000 Syrian refugees camped in a minefield. (TRF http://yhoo.it/1pUAcFE)

Belgian legislators from the ruling coalition are working on a non-binding resolution to recognize a Palestinian state, adding to the groundswell of support within the European Union. (AP http://yhoo.it/1yNnvx3)

Asia

Research on a male birth control pill from Indonesia shows that it is 99% effective. (GlobalPost http://bit.ly/1yPBLGz)

Hundreds of people marched through the central Indian city of Bhopal Tuesday, waving flaming torches to commemorate the thousands who perished in the world’s deadliest industrial disaster 30 years ago. (VOA http://bit.ly/1vNPYSd)

India is forcing women and girls with disabilities into mental institutions where they are “treated worse than animals,” said Human Rights Watch in a new report. (VOA http://bit.ly/1yPFbZP)

The two top generals of the junta running Thailand on Wednesday defended the May 22 coup that ousted the civilian government but told international audiences in Bangkok they are committed to a return to democracy. (VOA http://bit.ly/1yPH6h8)

It looks like Tajikistan is following a regional trend by drafting legislation that may sharply restrict the activities of foreign-funded non-governmental organisations. Activists say the bill threatens to hinder the operations of hundreds of organisations working on everything from human rights to public health. (IPS http://bit.ly/1vNStnC)

Afghanistan will send a delegation to Iran to ask the government to extend temporary visas to allow 760,000 Afghan refugees who have no documents and risk deportation to stay on for at least a year, an Afghan government spokesman said on Wednesday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1pUzB6H)

Afghanistan’s foreign donors should press the Afghan government to prevent a further deterioration in the country’s human rights situation and support services crucial to rights, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said. (AI and HRW http://bit.ly/1yNA7nQ)

The Americas

Venezuelan opposition leader faced questions from prosecutors Wednesday over her alleged involvement in what the government says was a plot to kill President Nicolas Maduro. (AP http://yhoo.it/1yNpzFd)

Mayor of the Honduran municipality of Victoria, Sandro Martínez, assumed the commitment of turning it into a model of food and nutritional security and environmental protection by means of municipal public policies based on broad social and community participation and international development aid. (IPS http://bit.ly/1vNS9VT)

Destruction of the Peruvian Amazon is rising after expanding over more than 145,000 hectares (560 square miles) last year – an 80 percent jump from the start of the century, the government said. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1vNT2xx)

Afghanistan has the world’s highest number of children killed or wounded by landmines and other explosive remnants of war, followed by Colombia, according to a leading anti-landmine group. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1pUzM21)

In the past 15 years, studies in Africa have found that circumcision lowers men’s risk of being infected with HIV during heterosexual intercourse by 50 to 60 percent. Being circumcised also reduces men’s risk of infection with the herpes virus and human papillomavirus. Those health benefits prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s proposed recommendation that doctors counsel parents of baby boys and teenagers, as well as men, on the benefits and risks of circumcision. (NPR http://n.pr/1yNt7XY)

Opinion/Blogs

Did the movement to reform development start above a Chipotle? (Humanosphere http://bit.ly/1vOyvZW)

The World Food Program is Crowdfunding to feed Syrian Refugees Because our Humanitarian System is Broken (UN Dispatch http://bit.ly/12ngoPX)

One Village’s Story: How Ebola Began And How It Ends (Goats and Soda http://n.pr/1vOywgl)

#ISurvivedEbola Campaign Releases First Video (Global Voices http://bit.ly/1yPCUxH)

Why are people with disabilities being denied their right to food? (The Guardian http://bit.ly/1vNRnrT)

‘Why we need to end drug war’ (CNN http://cnn.it/1vNPziz)

How to make the developing world’s cities better … and it’s not just about money (Guardian http://bit.ly/1vNPHia)

Stand in Solidarity with Courageous Women’s Human Rights Defenders (IPS http://bit.ly/1vNRKm9)

Bob Geldof’s Band Aid – Thank You but Africa’s Image Is Sagging (The Independent http://bit.ly/1yNyEOp)

The ADB Says Poverty Is Rising in Asia: I Have My Doubts (CGD http://bit.ly/1pUGvJd)

Research/Reports 

Marleen Temmerman, director of the WHO Department of Reproductive Health and Research, said that a safe, effective vaccine exists to stop cervical cancer and that it’s advisable for girls age 9 to 13 to get vaccinated before they become sexually active. (VOA http://bit.ly/1yPEAHF)

This year is on track to be the hottest on record, or at least among the very warmest, the United Nations said on Wednesday in new evidence of long-term warming that adds urgency to 190-nation talks under way in Lima on slowing climate change. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1pUzJmJ)

Thousands of men, women and children fleeing war-ravaged countries face dreadful holding conditions and a dysfunctional reception system after risking their lives in smuggling boats to reach Greece’s Aegean Sea islands, an international medical aid organization warned on Wednesday. (AP http://yhoo.it/1pUAXP4)

Developing nations called on the rich to do more to lead the fight against climate change in line with scientific findings that global greenhouse gas emissions should fall to net zero by 2100 to avert the worst impacts. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1yNsbmy)

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Developing a global workforce to tackle emerging pandemic threats

Emerging diseaseDeveloping a global workforce to tackle emerging pandemic threats

Published 27 November 2014

When a new pandemic threat like this year’s Ebola outbreak emerges, the importance of preventing and limiting disease spread becomes apparent. Well-trained global health professionals play a key role in preventing and responding to emerging zoonotic disease. Under a new 5-year award of up to $50 million, the University of Minnesota and Tufts University will be part of an international partnership of universities to strengthen global workforce development against emerging pandemic threats.

When a new pandemic threat like this year’s Ebola outbreak emerges, the importance of preventing and limiting disease spread becomes apparent. Well-trained global health professionals play a key role in preventing and responding to emerging zoonotic disease.

A University of Minnesota release reports that under a new 5-year award of up to $50 million, the University of Minnesota and Tufts University will be part of an international partnership of universities to strengthen global workforce development against emerging pandemic threats. Called One Health Workforce (OHW), the work is part of a new United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Emerging Pandemic Threats 2 program, focusing on disease surveillance, training and outbreak response.

The global workforce development program will focus on the One Health Central and Eastern Africa Network and South East Asia One Health University Network. Their networks are supported by a partnership with the University of Minnesota and Tufts University in Massachusetts.

Primary leads of the partners are William Bazeyo of Makerere University in Uganda, Noor Hassim of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Saul Tzipori, D.Sc., Ph.D., DVM, of the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, and David Chapman, Ph.D., of the University of Minnesota.

The interdisciplinary Tufts University team, including faculty from the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and Tufts School of Medicine, will be led by Tzipori as well as Felicia Nutter, D.V.M, Ph.D, and Hellen Amuguni, D.V.M, Ph.D., both from the Cummings school. They will bring expertise in global infectious disease of humans and animals, environmental health, training in higher health education and research methodologies, and internet technology.

Faculty from the University of Minnesota’s programs in medicine, nursing, public health, education, and development, environmental health and veterinary medicine will collaborate in the work, under the leadership of Katey Pelican, D.V.M., Ph.D.; John Deen, D.V.M., Ph.D.; and David Chapman, Ph.D.

The combined expertise from both universities will reflect “one health” — the intertwined health of animals, humans, and the environment.

“These global partnerships will create a new generation of skilled health workers needed to battle infectious disease threats like Ebola in the world’s most vulnerable communities,” said Katey Pelican, D.V.M., Ph.D., of the University of Minnesota. “We’re helping our colleagues be ready to respond with sustainable models that maintain change long into the future.”

The release notes that in central and eastern Africa, fourteen public health and veterinary medicine institutions from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Uganda form the One Health Central and Eastern Africa Network. The South East Asia One Health University Network includes fourteen faculty members from 10 universities in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam.

These university networks, alongside the University of Minnesota and Tufts University, will in turn partner with in-country government ministries to define the one health workforce and determine the competencies, knowledge, and skills required in practice, and in undergraduate and graduate education. From there, curricula, training modules, field experiences, and other teaching and learning opportunities will be established to ensure that future graduates are prepared to address disease detection, response, prevention, and control challenges. These capacity building activities will be anchored in local institutions including universities to support long-term sustainability.

“The team at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University is thrilled to continue to be a partner in this program which began in 2009 and is now more important than ever,” said Saul Tzipori, chair of infectious disease and global health at the school.

Working with colleagues across Tufts, we have a long history of combating serious global infectious diseases affecting humans and animals. The OHW team expects to continue this very important work in Africa and in Southeast Asia well into the future.”

The One Health Workforce program builds on the partnership of University of Minnesota and Tufts University expertise, and global university networks established during the RESPOND project, administered by DAI, an international development company, which recently concluded after five years of work. The RESPOND program successfully built capacity to respond to emerging pandemic threats.

“Together we will create a positive impact on the community and, indeed, on the profession. Now is an especially critical time as we face off against emerging potential epidemics, and we will need to work together to quickly get policy makers on our side, to be able to excel at creating the needed one health workforce,” said William Bazeyo, dean of the Makerere University School of Public Health in Kampala, Uganda and One Health Central and Eastern Africa Network lead.

USAID manages the Emerging Pandemic Threats 2 program with technical collaboration from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and the Food and Agricultural Organization. Find the USAID news release here.

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U.S. Engagement in the Asia Pacific

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

November 15, 2014

University of Queensland

Brisbane, Australia

1:11 P.M. AEST

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Thank you so much!  (Applause.)  Thank you!  Thank you, everybody.  Everybody, please have a seat.  Hello, Brisbane!  It’s good to be back in Australia.  I love Australia — I really do.  The only problem with Australia is every time I come here I’ve got to sit in conference rooms and talk to politicians instead of go to the beach.  (Laughter.) 

To Chancellor Story, Professor Høj, faculty and staff, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, and most of all, the students of the University of Queensland — it is great to be here at UQ.  I know that we are joined by students from universities across this city, and some high school students, as well.  And so I want to thank all of the young people especially for welcoming me here today.   

On my last visit to this magnificent country three years ago, I had the privilege to meet some of the First Australians; we’re joined by some today.  So I want to begin by acknowledging the Traditional Owners of this land and by paying my respects to your elders, past and present.

This university is recognized as one of the world’s great institutions of science and teaching.  Your research led to the vaccine that protects women and girls around the world from cervical cancer.  Your innovations have transformed how we treat disease and how we unlock new discoveries.  Your studies have warned the world about the urgent threat of climate change.  In fact, last year I even tweeted one of your studies to my 31 million followers on Twitter.  (Laughter.)  Just bragging a little bit.  (Applause.)  I don’t think that’s quite as much as Lady Gaga, but it’s pretty good.  (Laughter.)  That’s still not bad.

I thank Prime Minister Abbott and the people of Brisbane and Queensland for hosting us at the G-20 Summit.  This city, this part of Australia, is just stunning — “beautiful one day, and then perfect the next.”  (Laughter.)  That’s what I understand.  (Applause.)  We travel a lot around the world.  My staff was very excited for “Bris Vegas.”  (Laughter.)  When I arrived they advised I needed some XXXX.  (Laughter.)  You have some?  (Laughter.) 

Part of the reason I have fond memories of Australia is I spent some time here as a boy when I was traveling between Hawaii and Indonesia, where I lived for several years.  And when I returned three years ago as President, I had the same feelings that I remembered as a child — the warmth of the people of Australia, the sense of humor.  I learned to speak a little “strine.”  (Laughter.)  I’m tempted to “give it a burl.”  That’s about as far as I can go actually.       

But I do want to take this opportunity to express once again the gratitude of the American people for the extraordinary alliance with Australia.  I tell my friends and family and people that I meet that there is an incredible commonality between Australia and the United States.  And whether that’s because so many of us traveled here as immigrants — some voluntary and some not; whether it’s because of wide open spaces and the sense of a frontier culture — there’s a bond between our two countries. 

And Australia really is everything that you would want in a friend and in an ally.  We’re cut from the same cloth — immigrants from an old world who built a new nation.  We’re inspired by the same ideals of equality and opportunity — the belief everybody deserves a fair go, a fair shot.  And we share that same spirit — that confidence and optimism — that the future is ours to make; that we don’t have to carry with us all the baggage from the past, that we can leave this world a better, safer, more just place for future generations.  And that’s what brings me here today — the future that we can build together, here in the Asia Pacific region.

Now, this week, I’ve traveled more than 15,000 miles — from America to China to Burma to Australia.  I have no idea what time it is right now.  (Laughter.)  I’m completely upside down.  But despite that distance, we know that our world is getting smaller.  One of Australia’s great writers spoke of this — a son of Brisbane and a graduate of this university, David Malouf.  And he said, “In that shrinking of distance that is characteristic of our contemporary world, even the Pacific, largest of oceans, has become a lake.”  Even the Pacific has become a lake.

And you see it here on this campus, where you welcome students from all across Asia and around the world, including a number of Americans.  You go on exchanges, and we’re proud to welcome so many of you to the United States.  You walk the streets of this city and you hear Chinese, Vietnamese, Bahasa Indonesia, Korean, Hindi.  And in many neighborhoods more than half the people you meet were born somewhere else.  This is a global city in a globalized world. 

And I often tell young people in America that, even with today’s challenges, this is the best time in history to be alive.  Never in the history of humanity have people lived longer, are they more likely to be healthy, more likely to be enjoying basic security.  The world is actually much less violent today.  You wouldn’t know it from watching television that it once was.

And that’s true here in the Asia Pacific as well.  Countries once ravaged by war, like South Korea and Japan, are among the world’s most advanced economies.  From the Philippines to Indonesia, dictatorships have given way to genuine democracies.  In China and across the region, hundreds of millions of people have been lifted from poverty in the span of one generation, joining a global middle class.  Empowered by technology, you — the young people in particular of this region — are connecting and collaborating across borders and cultures like never before as you seek to build a new future.

So the opportunities today are limitless.  And I don’t watch a lot of Australian television, so — as you might imagine, because I’m really far away.  (Laughter.)  So I don’t know whether some of the same tendencies that we see in the United States — a focus on conflict and disasters and problem — dominate what’s fed to us visually every single day.  But when you look at the facts, opportunities are limitless for this generation.  You’re living in an extraordinary time. 

But what is also true, is that alongside this dynamism, there are genuine dangers that can undermine progress.  And we can’t look at those problems through rose-tinted glasses.  North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs — that’s a problem.  Disputes over territory, remote islands and rocky shoals that threaten to spiral into confrontation. 

The failure to uphold universal human rights, denying justice to citizens and denying countries their full potential.  Economic inequality and extreme poverty that are a recipe for instability.  And energy demands in growing cities that also hasten trends towards a changing climate.  Indeed, the same technologies that empower citizens like you also give oppressive regimes new tools to stifle dissent.

So the question that we face is, which of these futures will define the Asia Pacific in the century to come?  Do we move towards further integration, more justice, more peace?  Or do we move towards disorder and conflict?  Those are our choices — conflict or cooperation?  Oppression or liberty?

Here in Australia three years ago, in your parliament, I made it clear where the United States stands.  We believe that nations and peoples have the right to live in security and peace; that an effective security order for Asia must be based — not on spheres of influence, or coercion, or intimidation where big nations bully the small — but on alliances of mutual security, international law and international norms that are upheld, and the peaceful resolution of disputes.

We believe in open markets and trade that is fair and free — a level playing field where economies play by the same rules; where the purpose of trade is not simply to extract resources from the ground, but to build true partnerships that raise capacity and living standards in poor countries; where small business owners and entrepreneurs and innovators have the freedom to dream and create and flourish; and how well a country does is based on how well they empower their individual citizens.

And we believe in democracy — that the only real source of legitimacy is the consent of the people; that every individual is born equal with fundamental rights, inalienable rights, and that it is the responsibility of governments to uphold these rights.  This is what we stand for.  That is our vision — the future America is working toward in the Asia Pacific, with allies and friends.

Now as a Pacific power, the United States has invested our blood and treasure to advance this vision.  We don’t just talk about it; we invest in this vision.  Generations of Americans have served and died in the Asia Pacific so that the people of the region might live free.  So no one should ever question our resolve or our commitment to our allies. 

When I assumed office, leaders and people across the region were expressing their desire for greater American engagement.  And so as President, I decided that — given the importance of this region to American security, to American prosperity — the United States would rebalance our foreign policy and play a larger and lasting role in this region.  That’s exactly what we’ve done.  

Today, our alliances, including with Australia, are stronger than they have ever been.  American exports to this region have reached record levels.  We’ve deepened our cooperation with emerging powers and regional organizations, especially in Southeast Asia.  We expanded our partnerships with citizens as they’ve worked to bolster their democracies.  And we’ve shown that — whether it’s a tsunami or an earthquake or a typhoon — when our friends are in need, America shows up.  We’re there to help.  In good times and bad, you can count on the United States of America.

Now, there have been times when people have been skeptical of this rebalancing.  They’re wondering whether America has the staying power to sustain it.  And it’s true that in recent years pressing events around the world demand our attention.  As the world’s only superpower, the United States has unique responsibilities that we gladly embrace.  We’re leading the international community in the fight to destroy the terrorist group ISIL.  We’re leading in dealing with Ebola in West Africa and in opposing Russia’s aggression against Ukraine — which is a threat to the world, as we saw in the appalling shoot-down of MH17, a tragedy that took so many innocent lives, among them your fellow citizens.  As your ally and friend, America shares the grief of these Australian families, and we share the determination of your nation for justice and accountability.  So, yes, we have a range of responsibilities.  That’s the deal.  It’s a burden we gladly shoulder.

But even in each of these international efforts, some of our strongest partners are our allies and friends in this region, including Australia.  So meeting these other challenges in the world is not a distraction from our engagement in this region, it reinforces our engagement in this region.  Our rebalance is not only about the United States doing more in Asia, it’s also about the Asia Pacific region doing more with us around the world.

So I’m here today to say that American leadership in the Asia Pacific will always be a fundamental focus of my foreign policy.  It won’t always make the headlines.  It won’t always be measured in the number of trips I make — although I do keep coming back.  (Laughter.) But day in, and day out, steadily, deliberately, we will continue to deepen our engagement using every element of American power — diplomacy, military, economic, development, the power of our values and our ideals.  And so in the time I have left, I want to describe, specifically, what America intends to do in the coming years.

First, the United States will continue strengthening our alliances.  With Japan, we’ll finalize new defense guidelines and keep realigning our forces for the future.  With the Republic of Korea, we’ll deepen our collaboration, including on missile defense, to deter and defend against North Korean threats.  With the Philippines, we’ll train and exercise more to prepare for challenges from counterterrorism and piracy to humanitarian crises and disaster relief.  And here in Australia, more U.S. Marines will rotate through to promote regional stability, alongside your “diggers.”

Although I will say when I went out to Darwin to inaugurate the new rotation of our U.S. Marines there, that the mayor, I think it was, took out crocodile insurance, which disturbed me.  (Laughter.)  I mean I was flattered that he took out insurance on my behalf.  (Laughter.)  But I did ask my ambassador what this was all about.  (Laughter.)  And he described to me how crocodiles kill more people than sharks, and there are just a lot of things in Australia that can kill you.  (Laughter.)  But that’s an aside.  (Laughter.)

We have an ironclad commitment to the sovereignty, independence, and security of every ally.  And we’ll expand cooperation between allies, because we believe we’re stronger when we stand together.

The United States will continue to modernize our defense posture across the region.  We’ll deploy more of our most advanced military capabilities to keep the peace and deter aggression.  Our presence will be more distributed, including in Southeast Asia with partners like Singapore.  And we’ll increase military training and education, including working with the military partners we have in this region around the respect for human rights by military and police.  And by the end of this decade, a majority of our Navy and Air Force fleets will be based out of the Pacific, because the United States is, and will always be, a Pacific power.

And keep in mind we do this without any territorial claims.  We do this based on our belief that a region that is peaceful and prosperous is good for us and is good for the world.

The United States will continue broadening our cooperation with emerging powers and emerging economies.  We intend to help Vietnam pursue economic reforms and new maritime capabilities.  We will continue to move ahead with our comprehensive partnership with Indonesia, which is a strong example of diversity and pluralism.  We’ll continue to expand ties with Malaysia, a growing center of entrepreneurship and innovation.  And we support a greater role in the Asia Pacific for India, which is the world’s largest democracy.

The United States will continue expanding our engagement with regional institutions, because together we can meet shared challenges — from preventing the horror of human trafficking to countering violent extremism, to stemming the flow of foreign terrorist fighters.  Together, we can improve maritime security, upholding freedom of navigation and encouraging territorial disputes are resolved peacefully.  We’ll work with partners to develop the East Asia Summit into the region’s leading forum for addressing political and security challenges.  And we’ll support ASEAN’s effort to reach a code of conduct with China that reinforces international law in the South China Sea.

And speaking of China, the United States will continue to pursue a constructive relationship with China.  By virtue of its size and its remarkable growth, China will inevitably play a critical role in the future of this region.  And the question is, what kind of role will it play?  I just came from Beijing, and I said there, the United States welcomes the continuing rise of a China that is peaceful and prosperous and stable and that plays a responsible role in world affairs.  It is a remarkable achievement that millions of people have been lifted out of poverty in China because of the extraordinary growth rates that they’ve experienced.  That is a good thing.  We should want and welcome that kind of development. 

And if, in fact, China is playing the role of a responsible actor that is peaceful and prosperous and stable, that is good for this region, it’s good for the world, it’s good for the United States.  So we’ll pursue cooperation with China where our interests overlap or align.  And there are significant areas of overlap:  More trade and investment; more communications between our militaries to prevent misunderstandings or possible conflict; more travel and exchanges between our people; and more cooperation on global challenges, from Ebola to climate change. 

But in this engagement we are also encouraging China to adhere to the same rules as other nations — whether in trade or on the seas.  And in this engagement we will continue to be frank about where there are differences, because America will continue to stand up for our interests and principles, including our unwavering support for the fundamental human rights of all people. 

We do not benefit from a relationship with China or any other country in which we put our values and our ideals aside.  And for the young people, practicality is a good thing.  There are times where compromise is necessary.  That’s part of wisdom.  But it’s also important to hang on to what you believe — to know what you believe and then be willing to stand up for it.  And what’s true for individuals is also true for countries.

The United States will continue to promote economic growth that is sustainable and shared.  So we’re going to work with APEC to tear down barriers to trade and investment and combat the corruption that steals from so many citizens.  We’ll keep opposing special preferences for state-owned companies.  We’ll oppose cyber-theft of trade secrets.  We’ll work with partners to invest in the region’s infrastructure in a way that’s open and transparent.  We’ll support reforms that help economies transition to models that boost domestic demand and invest in people and their education and their skills.

We’ll keep leading the effort to realize the Trans-Pacific Partnership to lower barriers, open markets, export goods, and create good jobs for our people.  But with the 12 countries of the TPP making up nearly 40 percent of the global economy, this is also about something bigger.  It is our chance to put in place new, high standards for trade in the 21st century that uphold our values.  So, for example, we are pushing new standards in this trade agreement, requiring countries that participate to protect their workers better and to protect the environment better, and protect intellectual property that unleashes innovation, and baseline standards to ensure transparency and rule of law. 

It’s about a future where instead of being dependent on a single market, countries integrate their economies so they’re innovating and growing together.  That’s what TPP does.  That’s why it would be a historic achievement.  That’s why I believe so strongly that we need to get it done — not just for our countries, but for the world.

But that’s also why it’s hard — because we’re asking all these countries at various stages of development to up their game.  And it requires big transitions for a lot of these countries, including for the United States.  And TPP is just one part of our overall focus on growing the global economy.  That’s what the G-20 meetings are all about. 

Over the last few years, the United States has put more people back to work than all other advanced economies combined.  But America can’t be expected to just carry the world economy on our back.  So here in Brisbane, the G-20 has a responsibility to act — to boost demand, and invest more in infrastructure, and create good jobs for the people of all our nations.

As we develop, as we focus on our econ, we cannot forget the need to lead on the global fight against climate change.  Now, I know that’s — (applause) — I know there’s been a healthy debate in this country about it.  (Laughter.)  Here in the Asia Pacific, nobody has more at stake when it comes to thinking about and then acting on climate change.

Here, a climate that increases in temperature will mean more extreme and frequent storms, more flooding, rising seas that submerge Pacific islands.  Here in Australia, it means longer droughts, more wildfires.  The incredible natural glory of the Great Barrier Reef is threated.  Worldwide, this past summer was the hottest on record.  No nation is immune, and every nation has a responsibility to do its part.

And you’ll recall at the beginning I said the United States and Australia has a lot in common.  Well, one of the things we have in common is we produce a lot of carbon.  Part of it’s this legacy of wide-open spaces and the frontier mentality, and this incredible abundance of resources.  And so, historically, we have not been the most energy-efficient of nations, which means we’ve got to step up. 

In the United States, our carbon pollution is near its lowest levels in almost two decades — and I’m very proud of that.  Under my Climate Action Plan, we intend to do more.  In Beijing, I announced our ambitious new goal — reducing our net greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by the year 2025, which will double the pace at which we’re reducing carbon pollution in the United States.  Now, in a historic step, China made its own commitment, for the first time, agreeing to slow, peak and then reverse the course of China’s carbon emissions.  And the reason that’s so important is because if China, as it develops, adapts the same per capita carbon emissions as advanced economies like the United States or Australia, this planet doesn’t stand a chance, because they’ve got a lot more people.

So them setting up a target sends a powerful message to the world that all countries — whether you are a developed country, a developing country, or somewhere in between — you’ve got to be able to overcome old divides, look squarely at the science, and reach a strong global climate agreement next year.  And if China and the United States can agree on this, then the world can agree on this.  We can get this done.  And it is necessary for us to get it done.  (Applause.)  Because I have not had to go to the Great Barrier Reef — (laughter) — and I want to come back, and I want my daughters to be able to come back, and I want them to be able to bring their daughters or sons to visit.  (Applause.)  And I want that there 50 years from now.

Now, today, I’m announcing that the United States will take another important step.  We are going to contribute $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund so we can help developing nations deal with climate change.  (Applause.)  So along with the other nations that have pledged support, this gives us the opportunity to help vulnerable communities with an early-warning system, with stronger defenses against storm surges, climate-resilient infrastructure.  It allows us to help farmers plant more durable crops.  And it allows us to help developing countries break out of this false choice between development and pollution; let them leap-frog some of the dirty industries that powered our development; go straight to a clean-energy economy that allows them to grow, create jobs, and at the same time reduce their carbon pollution.

So we’ve very proud of the work that we have already done.  We are mindful of the great work that still has to be done on this issue.  But let me say, particularly again to the young people here:  Combating climate change cannot be the work of governments alone.  Citizens, especially the next generation, you have to keep raising your voices, because you deserve to live your lives in a world that is cleaner and that is healthier and that is sustainable.  But that is not going to happen unless you are heard. 

It is in the nature of things, it is in the nature of the world that those of us who start getting gray hair are a little set in our ways, that interests are entrenched — not because people are bad people, it’s just that’s how we’ve been doing things.  And we make investments, and companies start depending on certain energy sources, and change is uncomfortable and difficult.  And that’s why it’s so important for the next generation to be able to step and say, no, it doesn’t have to be this way.  You have the power to imagine a new future in a way that some of the older folks don’t always have.   

And the same is true when it comes to issues of democracy and human rights.  There are times where when we speak out on these issues we are told that democracy is just a Western value.  I fundamentally disagree with that.  (Applause.)  Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, they have built thriving democracies.  Filipinos showed us the strength of People Power.  Indonesians just voted in a historic election.  I just came from Burma; this is a place that for 40 years was under the grip of a military junta, one of the most closed and oppressive nations on Earth.  And there, I was inspired by citizens and civil society and parliamentarians who are now working to sustain a transition to a democratic future.  I had a town hall meeting with young people like you, in which they were asking, what does it mean to create rule of law?  And how should we deal with ethnic diversity in our city?  You could feel the excitement.  What does a free press look like, and how does it operate?  And how do we make sure that journalism is responsible?  Incredible ferment and debate that’s taking place. 

Those young people, they want the same things that you do.  The notion that somehow they’re less interested in opportunity or less interested in avoiding arbitrary arrest, or less interested in being censored is fundamentally untrue.  Today, people in Hong Kong are speaking out for their universal rights. 

And so here in Asia and around the world, America supports free and fair elections, because citizens must be free to choose their own leaders — as in Thailand where we are urging a quick return to inclusive, civilian rule.  We support freedom of assembly, and freedom of speech, and freedom of the press, a free and open Internet, strong civil societies, because the voices of the people must be heard and leaders must be held accountable — even though it’s uncomfortable sometimes.  I promise you, if you lead a country, there are times where you are aggravated with people voicing opinions that seem to think you’re doing something wrong.  You prefer everybody just praise you.  I understand.  (Laughter.)  But that’s not how societies move forward.

We support strong institutions and independent judiciaries and open government, because the rule of force must give way to the rule of law.

And in that same fashion, the United States will continue to stand up for the inherent dignity of every human being.  Now, dignity begins with the most basic of needs — a life free of hunger and disease and want.  So, yes, we’ll speak out on behalf of human rights, but we are also going to invest in the agriculture that allows farmers to feed their families and boost their incomes.  We’ll invest in the development that promotes growth and helps end the injustice of extreme poverty in places like the Lower Mekong Delta.  We intend to partner with all the countries in the region to create stronger public health systems and new treatments that save lives and realize our goals of being the first AIDS-free generation.

And what we’ve learned from the Ebola outbreak is that in this globalized world, where the Pacific is like a lake, if countries are so poor that they can’t afford basic public health infrastructure, that threatens our health.  We cannot built a moat around our countries, and we shouldn’t try.  What we should be doing is making sure everybody has some basic public health systems that allow for early warning when outbreaks of infectious disease may occur.  That’s not just out of charity.  It is in our self-interest. 

And again, I want to speak to young people about this.  When we talk about these issues of development, when we invest in the wellbeing of people on the other side of the globe, when we stand up for freedom, including occasionally having to engage in military actions, we don’t do that just because we are charitable.  We do that because we recognize that we are linked, and that if somebody, some child is stricken with a curable disease on the other side of the world, at same point that could have an impact on our child.

We’ll advance human dignity by standing up for the rights of minorities, because no one’s equality should ever be denied.  We will stand up for freedom of religion — the right of every person to practice their faith as they choose — because we are all children of God, and we are all fallible.  And the notion that we, as a majority, or the state should tell somebody else what to believe with respect to their faith, is against our basic values. 

We will stand up for our gay and lesbian fellow citizens, because they need to be treated equally under the law.  (Applause.)  We will stand up for the rights and futures of our wives and daughters and partners, because I believe that the best measure of whether a nation is going to be successful is whether they are tapping the talents of their women and treating them as full participants in politics and society and the econ.  (Applause.)

And we’re going to continue to invest in the future of this region, and that means you, this region’s youth — all of you — your optimism, your idealism, your hopes.  I see it everywhere I go.  I spend a lot of time with young people.  I spend a lot of time with old people, too.  But I prefer spending time with young people.  (Laughter.)  I meet them in Tokyo and Seoul, and Manila and Jakarta.  It’s the spirit of young men and women in Kuala Lumpur and Rangoon, who are participating in our Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative.  And like you, they’re ready to lead. 

To the young woman with an idea who dreams of starting her own business — if she just had the network, if she just had the capital, America wants to be her partner, because we believe in the entrepreneur that you can be, the innovations you can spark and the jobs you can create.  And when you succeed, we’ll all be more prosperous. 

To the young man who’s working late in a clinic, tending to a patient, who dreams not just of treating diseases, but preventing them — if I just had the resources, if I just had the support — we want to be your partner, because we believe in the advocate that you can be, and in the families you can reach and the lives you can save.  And when you succeed, our world will be better.

To the young woman tired of the tensions in her community, who dreams of helping her neighbors see beyond differences — if she could just start a dialogue, if she knew how others had walked the same path — well, America wants to be your partner, because we believe in the activist that you can be, and the empathy that you can build, and the understanding you can foster between people.  And when you succeed, our world will be a little more peaceful. 

And to the young man who believes his voice isn’t being heard, who dreams of bringing people like him together across his country — if he just knew how to organize and mobilize them — we want to be your partner, because we believe in the leaders that you can be, in the difference you can make to ignite positive change.  And when you succeed, the world will be a little more free. 

So that’s the future we can build together.  That’s the commitment America is making in the Asia Pacific.  It’s a partnership not just with nations, but with people, with you, for decades to come.  Bound by the values we share, guided by the vision we seek, I am absolutely confident we can advance the security and the prosperity and the dignity of people across this region.  And in pursuit of that future, you will have no greater friend than the United States of America. 

So thank you very much.  God bless Australia.  (Applause.)  God bless America.  God bless our great alliance.  Thank you.

                        END                1:51 P.M. AEST

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Helen Clark: Lecture on The Future We Want– Can We Make it a Reality? at the Dag Hammarskjold Foundation

04 Nov 2014

Uppsala, Sweden

It is an honor to deliver this lecture in memory of the life and work of Dag Hammarskjold, the second Secretary General of the United Nations, and a man who was so memorably described by United States President John F. Kennedy as “the greatest statesman of our century”.

Fifty years after Dag Hammarskjold lost his life in a plane tragedy near Ndola in what is today Zambia, his contribution to international solidarity and co-operation continues to be highly and widely regarded, and deservedly so. All of us at the UN today stand on the shoulders of Dag Hammarskjold and all others who played such a significant role in establishing the mission and values of the organization.
    
Dag Hammarskjold’s contribution was made when the UN was still in its formative years. He was among the architects of its peacekeeping efforts, and he was committed to small states getting a fair hearing at the UN. Against the backdrop of the Cold War, the decolonization of Africa has been described as the defining issue of his term. All up, his reputation at the time of his death was consolidated as an independent-minded man with great integrity and intellect. He is indeed one of Sweden’s greatest sons.

The world which Dag Hammarskjold and the United Nations of his era were confronted with is different in countless ways from that of today. The nature of conflict, for example, has changed considerably – these days, armed conflicts are far more likely to occur within states than between them, and to involve disparate non-state actors.

Yet it is a tribute to the foresight of those who drafted the UN Charter in 1945 that its three pillars of peace and security, development, and human rights remain as relevant today as they did almost seventy years ago. Yes, progress has been made on all three fronts, but there is also serious unfinished business. The debate around the post-2015 development agenda is one entry point for addressing that. I know that the Dag Hammarskjold Foundation with its broad vision for a fair and peaceful world has itself been focused on what this new agenda might look like, and how the UN development system might equip itself to support its implementation.

The Millennium Development Goals experience

The beginning of the new millennium was a good opportunity for the UN to launch a big new initiative for development. Hopes were high at the Millennium Summit, which I attended as New Zealand Prime Minister, that we might collectively do better in the new century than in the bloody one which preceded it. The Millennium Declaration painted a broad canvas, setting out hopes for more progress on all three pillars of the UN Charter. On development, the Declaration was specific, and its elements formed the basis of what were to become the MDGs.

Around the world, the MDGs were widely embraced as global development priorities. They set out to tackle extreme poverty and hunger; protect the environment; expand education; advance health, gender equality, and women’s empowerment; and foster global partnerships for development.

At the global level, there has been significant progress towards a number of the MDG targets:

•    There are hundreds of millions fewer people living in extreme poverty today than there were in 1990 – the baseline date against which progress is measured.

•    The target of halving the proportion of people without access to an improved drinking water source was achieved in 2010, five years ahead of schedule. Over 2.3 billion people gained such access between 1990 and 2012.

•    On average around the world, gender parity in primary education has been achieved, and most children now enrol in a primary school.

•    The lives of many urban slum dwellers are said to have improved.

•    Levels of infant and child mortality have decreased significantly, and there is a downward trend in maternal, tuberculosis, and global malaria deaths. The tide is turning on HIV. The evidence is that the health areas targeted by the MDGs have seen faster progress than would have been expected from the trends existing before 2000.

Bleak as the news can be on environmental degradation, some priority areas for action which were reinforced by MDG targets are showing results. It is now reported, for example, that most of the ozone layer will recover to the relatively healthy levels of the 1980s by 2050.

This is the glass more than half full view of the MDGs. The downside we all know – for example, that progress has been uneven within and between countries, and that the targets set for 2015 did not aim to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, but only to halve the levels. By any standards, there is work to do to realize the vision of the Millennium Declaration.

The obstacles in the way are a mix of new and old problems. For example:

•    Our old enemies, war and conflict, continue to deny development and human rights to significant numbers of people. It is hard to think of a time when more crises were jostling for space in the headline news than there are right now. From Afghanistan to the Arab States region, to a number of countries from the Sahel reaching across to the Horn of Africa, and to Ukraine and elsewhere, conflict continues to take a heavy toll on communities with the impacts spilling across national borders.

•    As extreme poverty has been declining, income inequality has been rising in many countries. We estimate that more than 75 per cent of the population in developing countries are living in societies where income distribution is less equal now than it was in the 1990s. High levels of inequality make poverty reduction even harder to achieve. Both inequality and poverty reduction need to be specifically targeted.

•    The threats from environmental degradation, including of our climate, have gathered speed. More extreme weather events endanger lives, livelihoods, and whole nations. Health-damaging air pollution is a price which many are paying for fast development underpinned by fossil fuels.

•    Gender inequality is persistent and pervasive – along with the sexual and gender-based violence which blights the lives of women and girls in societies at war and allegedly at peace.

•    The rights of LGBTI people have scarcely registered on the Richter scale in many societies. Members of these communities often live in fear of violence, and even of imprisonment in those countries which have harsh and discriminatory laws.

•    Infectious disease is another old enemy. Just as we note the progress in fighting the diseases specified by the MDGs – HIV, malaria, and TB, Ebola arrives in three of the world’s poorest countries with the least capacity to fight a disease outbreak like this one. If there is ever a case for international solidarity, it is the need right now to contain the spread of this disease, and through early diagnosis to give those who are infected the best possible chance of survival.

So where now on the global development agenda?

The good news is that the emerging post-2015 agenda looks like being bolder and more transformational than what preceded it. There is also broad agreement that it should be a universal agenda – applying to all countries. This recognizes that development is not just something which happens somewhere else to other people. Developed countries have substantial development challenges too, as I know well from leading one for nine years.

Sweden has for many years promoted a vision of a world which aims for human development within the context of environmental sustainability. The very first major UN conference on the environment was held in Stockholm over four decades ago. It is telling that it was called a conference on the human environment – and that it connected the problem of poverty with that of environmental degradation. Now in 2015, we have a good chance of getting a global development agenda which recognizes that continued human development requires us to stop the unsustainable use of the ecosystems on which human life and progress depend.

Two years ago the UN Secretary-General called for “an open, inclusive and transparent consultation process with contributions from a wide range of stakeholders” for shaping the post-2015 development agenda.

Responding to this call, our UN development system has facilitated an unprecedented consultation. This has enabled people from all walks of life around the world to share their priorities for the new agenda – both face to face and online.

National consultations were held in almost 100 countries. Every effort was made to reach out to the poorest and most marginalized communities, which are not usually asked for their perspectives on global agendas. There were eleven consultations around major themes, involving civil society, academia, and officialdom. They discussed in depth governance, food security, conflict, inequalities, health, education, the environment, and other areas. The global on-line MY World survey has enabled more than five million people to rank their priorities for the future they want for our world. It will come as no surprise that health, education, and jobs came out as top priorities, but next in line was honest and responsive governance – which is so necessary for getting sustained and inclusive development results.

We greatly value Sweden’s support for these public consultations. SIDA and the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosted a national consultation in December 2012, and also co-convened the global thematic consultation on health in Botswana in March last year.  

The findings from the global consultations informed the deliberations of the Open Working Group on SDGs which was appointed by the UN General Assembly. The seventeen goals and 169 targets which it has proposed do reflect much of what people have said they want in the new agenda, including some of the most transformative elements. It is important that the new agenda does reflect the hopes and aspirations of the world’s people. That will increase both its legitimacy and the level of confidence people have in global processes.

A major concern in the public consultations was to finish the unfinished business of the MDGs and to “leave no one behind”. Without doubt the new agenda will seek the eradication of poverty, along with hunger and more equitable outcomes from development.

For UNDP, it is very significant that the OWG proposal contains a goal on promoting peaceful and inclusive societies, providing access to justice for all, and building effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions. The targets recommended include promoting the rule of law and participatory and representative decision-making, tackling corruption, and promoting and enforcing laws against discrimination.

Increasingly we are seeing high levels of extreme poverty and development setbacks concentrated where there is conflict and/or poor governance, a weak state, low social cohesion and political and economic exclusion, and/or high exposure to natural disasters. There are development interventions which can address all these factors – and thereby endeavor to avert the deadly and complex humanitarian emergencies which are currently draining official development assistance budgets.

What will make achievement of an ambitious agenda a reality?

As the old saying goes, money isn’t everything, but it helps. Next July, the Third International Conference on Financing for Development will take place in Addis Ababa. Its outcome will be critical in enabling agreement to be reached on the SDGs. Funding is considered a central component of what UN Member States refer to as “means of implementation”.

Compared to the MDGs, the new sustainable development agenda will also be much more about making good policy choices. Nonetheless, the availability of official development assistance is still very important for low-income countries in particular, and commitment to ODA at adequate levels is important for building trust in the post-2015 negotiations.

The discussions on financing for development should take into account the wide range of contributions and partnerships.  ODA these days is dwarfed by the funding flows from trade, investment, and remittances, and by the domestic resource mobilization made possible by more rapid growth in developing and emerging economies. In this sense the partnerships for development are far bigger than ever before, involving significant levels of interaction across the South, as well as between North and South, and involving major private sector contributions too.

But money aside, there are also “softer” means of implementation which can help the SDGs to be a success. The UN Development Group is currently supporting a second round of consultations on a number of these, and I will comment on each in turn:

1)    The role of local government is vital. By definition this is the layer of government closest to the people, and it often has significant decision-making and spending power.

By 2030, almost sixty per cent of the world’s population will be urbanized. That puts a premium on the quality of urban governance, and that is even more essential in the world’s mega-cities which far outstrip in size many of the UN’s Member States.

“Localizing the Post-2015 agenda” was one of the themes at the 9th annual meeting of the Development Partners’ Working Group on Decentralization and Local Governance (DeLoG), which took place in Sweden. Sweden and UNDP are both members of this group. In its work the empowerment of local government has repeatedly been cited as critical for development success.

2.    Effective institutions are also vital for implementing development agendas. They have critical roles in designing and implementing the policies needed to advance sustainable development. Strengthening institutional capacities was not mentioned in the MDGs, but as a “means of implementation” it must not be neglected in the SDGs.

This strengthening ideally needs to go beyond improving the effectiveness and efficiency of institutions and into making them more open and responsive to stakeholders in policy design, implementation, and monitoring. If inclusion of all stakeholders, especially the most vulnerable and marginalized, is made a cornerstone of institutional strengthening, UNDP believes that the implementation of the post-2015 agenda will be more successful.

Strengthening the capacity of institutions is a key area of UNDP’s work around the world. In many countries we enjoy Sweden’s direct support for this, not least in fragile states from Liberia to Afghanistan and South Sudan.

3.    To elaborate further, the importance of broad participatory monitoring and accountability in implementing the new agenda is widely recognized. What has come through in the global consultations is that people want to be engaged, not just in debating what the global agenda should be, but also in driving it through. They want to hold their leaders to account, and they want access to the information and open data which will enable them to monitor what is happening.  

A number of best practices aimed at broadening participation and strengthening participatory monitoring of development processes have been highlighted in the consultations. They include the Citizen’s Evaluation for Good Governance in Albania which uses a scorecard for social auditing and gender budgeting; Zambia’s use of M-WASH, a mobile and web-based monitoring, evaluation, and reporting system which reaches 1.7 million people focusing on water and sanitation services; and Thailand’s iMonitor application which tracks and evaluates the delivery of HIV services, allowing people to log ‘alerts” if ARV medicines and condoms are not available in health centers, and to report discrimination against HIV positive people in the workplace.  

4.    The full, active, and meaningful engagement of civil society is required to support participatory monitoring and accountability. An enabling environment for that needs to be created, including through legislation, so that civil society can contribute systematically.
 
There are a number of models of effective civil society engagement in advancing development. For example, the Zambia national dialogue noted that the Citizen Voice and Action model, which facilitates dialogue between communities and government with the goal of improving services (such as health care and education), has been highly effective.

5.    The role of the private sector in implementation is also essential, as a source of investment, employment, and innovation, and as a partner in pooling resources and sharing risks. Overall, how businesses do business has a significant bearing on whether poverty is eradicated and sustainability is achieved.

The private sector has shown considerable interest in the post-2015 development agenda, including through the work of the UN Global Compact. Here in Sweden, Leadership for Sustainable Development – a group of some twenty leading companies – has committed to take action on sustainable business and poverty reduction, and in finding long term solutions to today’s major development challenges.

6.    In implementing the new development agenda, culture and heritage needs to be recognized as a source of values and a driver of economic opportunity.

Culturally sensitive approaches are important in getting development results, including in education and in the promotion of gender equality. Around the world such approaches have enabled girls, for example, to stay at school and ward off pressures for early marriage and childbirth, thereby expanding their choices throughout their lifetimes.

In addition to taking part in the consultations on the “softer” means of implementation, UNDP is also working with a number of partners to trial how indicators for new areas of goals might be designed and measured.

The main focus of this exercise has been on proposed Goal 16 on the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies, access to justice, and the importance of effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions. We think success on such a goal would help drive progress on all the others. Yet it is considered one of the more controversial goals and many countries are unfamiliar with how such a goal could be measured, and how broadly-defined universal targets and indicators could be translated at the national level. Our pilots, therefore, seek primarily to address these practical measurement questions, as well as the processes which countries would need to go through to set, implement, and monitor appropriate national targets and indicators.

Pilots are currently underway in Indonesia, Rwanda, Tunisia, and Albania, and others are planned. These are at an early stage and concrete results are not yet available. The exercise is confirming, however, that while the topic of “governance” is often politically charged in intergovernmental processes in New York, at the national and sub-national levels it can be operationalized in non-controversial ways. Usually these efforts are led by planning divisions or departments which are focused on the nuts and bolts of how to design, implement, and measure progress on the agenda.

Across all the consultations on post-2015, a persistent call has come for a “data revolution” to ensure that the information and analysis needed to monitor progress are available. This requires strengthening capacity at the national level and UNDP is backing initiatives addressing this; for example, by supporting a community of African statisticians working on how to address the gap in availability of high-quality, nationally-produced peace and governance data in its Strategy for the Harmonization of Statistics in Africa (SHaSA).

The central role of the United Nations in driving the post-2015 agenda

The UN’s universality, legitimacy, strong normative foundation, and unparalleled global operational presence gives it a unique platform from which to facilitate the global partnerships needed to implement the post-2015 agenda.

UNDP itself has also unique strengths. We have a proven ability to influence policy and build capacity, and a long-standing role as a trusted partner working across sectors and with multiple stakeholders, often on sensitive issues. Our large country network and our core co-ordination function for the UN development system reinforce UNDP’s strengths. We are able to contribute to the design and implementation of the kinds of integrated solutions so urgently needed for sustainable development. Our new Strategic Plan for 2014 to 2017 is both more strategic and more focused, and we are adjusting our structures, systems, and processes to enable us to deliver consistently better advice and support for development results.

A broader reflection is also occurring in the UN Development Group to ensure that as a collective we are “fit for purpose” for post-2015. The aim is to build on the strengths and added value of the UN system and to make it more agile. We need all agencies working collaboratively in support of national and global priorities and to be able to demonstrate the value of what they do.

Conclusion
So: can we make “the Future We Want” a reality? Yes, we can, if Member States commit to playing their part, and also open up the space for citizens, civil society, the private sector, and other voices.

The hard issues can’t be dodged. We can’t eradicate poverty in countries at war or where human rights are systematically violated.  We can’t avoid development setbacks unless there is more investment in disaster risk reduction, conflict prevention, and resilience to other shocks.

Strong global partnerships and national ownership of the post-2015 agenda could move mountains. We count on Sweden, a strong multilateralist and one of the world’s most committed development partners, to be a voice for the things which matter in driving the post-2015 agenda.

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An Ebola Vaccine is on its Way

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But it will take some time. Still, this is encouraging news. “Both GlaxoSmithKline and NewLink Genetics are working to boost their capacity to make Ebola vaccines, with a goal of a “very significant increase in scale during the first half of 2015″, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday. Even under the best conditions, if the experimental vaccines are proven to be safe and confer protection in clinical trials, a significant number of doses will not be available until late in the first quarter of 2015, the WHO said. GSK and NewLink are conducting phase 1 trials in healthy volunteers currently or soon in more than 10 sites in Africa, Europe and North America, the WHO said in a statement after hosting a two-day meeting of 70 experts. Initial safety data was expected by year-end, with phase II trials early next year to generate more data.” (Reuters http://bit.ly/1rAk5wP)

USA Waives Sanctions on Countries that Use Child Soldiers…This happens every year. And every year it’s an embarrassment.  Washington is releasing some $26 million to Yemen in military aid and boosting funds to armies in five other nations, waiving sanctions imposed for recruiting child soldiers, a US official said Thursday. President Barack Obama on Tuesday fully waived sanctions and lifted bans on international military, education and training assistance to Yemen, Rwanda and Somalia applied under the Child Soldier Prevention Act, said deputy assistant secretary Michael Kozak. Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan were also given partial waivers for specific military purposes, while sanctions were maintained on Myanmar, Sudan and Syria, found guilty of the widespread recruitment of children into their armies.” (New Vision http://bit.ly/1vg6t7M)

Sanitation in india is Getting a Boost…”IndianPM Narendra Modi launched the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan to modernize sanitation within five years. He starting by trying to change attitudes and he set an example by taking a broom and sweeping up rubbish in a Delhi neighborhood occupied by members of the Valmiki caste, whose lot in life is traditionally “manual scavenging”, a euphemism for clearing other people’s feces. “(Reuters http://yhoo.it/YTQ0fe)

Africa

Five people are being infected with Ebola every hour in Sierra Leone and demand for treatment beds is far outstripping supply, Save the Children warned. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1vAI2UX)

Britain and Sierra Leone are appealing for more help to slow the biggest ever Ebola outbreak — and are proposing a new type of clinic to do that. (AP http://yhoo.it/YTPX2U)

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau dismissed Nigerian military claims of his death in a new video obtained by AFP on Thursday and said the militants had implemented strict Islamic law in captured towns. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1vAIkLA)

French peacekeepers killed up to seven people as they tried to control clashes between armed groups in the Central African town of Bambari that have left at least 16 dead, officials said. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1vAKSJx)

Lesotho’s feuding political parties have agreed to hold early elections by February, in a bid to exit a crisis that has seen a coup attempt and running battles among the security forces. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1vALf6X)

Women’s anger is mounting in Sudan as a result of surging food prices and worsening repression in the name of Islam, rights activists said at the launch of a report. (TRF http://bit.ly/1vdWX52)

Airlines and airports handling travel to countries worst hit by the Ebola epidemic are trying to prove that flying to West Africa is safe, following concerns that the first case diagnosed in the United States could curtail worldwide services. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1ve0YWY)

MENA

Turkish lawmakers voted Thursday to authorize military force against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, joining a growing international coalition against the Islamist militants as they continued to capture territory just south of Turkey’s border. (CNN http://cnn.it/1uhzwd1)

Islamic State militants pushed on with its assault on a Syrian border town on Thursday despite coalition airstrikes meant to weaken them. (TRF http://bit.ly/1vAMcfu)

At least 10 migrants from sub-Saharan Africa drowned Thursday and dozens more were missing after their boat sank in the Mediterranean offshore Libya, the coast guard said. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1vAKx9R)

The Obama administration has approved a $1.75 billion sale of Patriot missiles and associated items to Saudi Arabia to bolster the air defenses of the key U.S. ally in the Arab world. (AP http://yhoo.it/YTFmF8)

Asia

Thailand will revive talks with Japan and Myanmar aimed at kick-starting the floundering multi-billion dollar Dawei Special Economic Zone in Myanmar, a junta spokesman said. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/YTIKQp)

Crowds of protesters in Hong Kong swelled Thursday after police were seen unloading boxes of tear gas and rubber bullets, sending tensions soaring as authorities urged pro-democracy demonstrators to disperse “as soon as possible.” (AFP http://yhoo.it/YTL7mg)

A Malaysian low-cost housing project could lift some of the world’s 860 million slum dwellers from poverty by helping to secure jobs and food as well as shelter, Malaysia’s IRIS Corp. Bhd said on Thursday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/YTPTQS)

A Swiss Red Cross worker died when shells burst through the heart of Ukraine’s main pro-Russian stronghold for the first time since the foes struck a September 5 truce aimed at ending Europe’s worst crisis in decades. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1rAkMGg)

The Americas

Prosecutors in Colombia say they have detained 33 soldiers suspected of killing a farm worker. (AP http://yhoo.it/1vAKdaX)

Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff widened her lead ahead of Sunday’s presidential election and would defeat environmentalist Marina Silva in an expected runoff vote, pollster Ibope showed late on Tuesday. (GlobalPost http://bit.ly/YTPJcg)

Police say violence has erupted in several slums around Rio de Janeiro. At least two people are reported dead. (AP http://yhoo.it/1vALf6M)

For more than two months, Mexico did little to explain how a Mexican army patrol escaped practically unharmed from a gunfight that left 22 suspected criminals dead in a grain warehouse. This week, officials changed their story to say soldiers may have committed murder, but questions about the lopsided confrontation remain. (AP http://yhoo.it/YTFBjx)

Opinion/Blogs

Somaly Mam, in her own words (Global Dispatches Podcast http://bit.ly/YTxvYh)

Accepting flaws & doing good: Cognitive dissonance (WhyDev http://bit.ly/1E5ncRy)

The Return of America’s Favorite Anti-Trafficker (The Baffler http://bit.ly/YTxrb1)

Lessons from FDR can help regain public trust during Ebola crisis (GlobalPost http://bit.ly/1vAManM)

Advice for the #UmbrellaRevolution, from Tiananmen protest veterans (GlobalPost http://bit.ly/YTQVw0)

With camps limiting many refugees, the UNHCRs policy change is welcome (Guardian http://bit.ly/YTRgij)

Analysis: South Sudan at a crossroads (IRIN http://bit.ly/YTRpT4)

A Double-Edged Sword: Livelihoods In Emergencies (Women’s Refugee Commission http://bit.ly/1rAmIPf)

The New Hunger Figures: What Do They Tell Us? (Development Horizons http://bit.ly/1E5nasN)

Seven Million Lives Saved: Under-5 Mortality Since the Launch of the Millennium Development Goals (Brookings Institution http://bit.ly/1E5noQH)

Obama’s Law: When Western advocacy misses the mark (Pambazuka http://bit.ly/1ve78qm)

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Ransom Payments to Al Qaeda Masked as Development Aid

How do al Qaeda affiliates in Africa fund their operations? Through ransom paid my European governments, it turns out. A rather explosive scoop. “While European governments deny paying ransoms, an investigation by The New York Times found that Al Qaeda and its direct affiliates have earned at least $125 million in revenue from kidnappings since 2008, of which $66 million was paid just in the past year…These payments were made almost exclusively by European governments, who funnel the money through a network of proxies, sometimes masking it as development aid.” (NYT http://nyti.ms/1ppbDwO)

Liberia has run out of hospital beds for its Ebola patients…”in Monrovia, the capital city, there isn’t enough space in the specialized isolation unit to hold all of the city’s symptomatic cases. The Ministry of Health wanted to expand the unit at Elwa Hospital, on the outskirts of Monrovia, but the local community fought back, physically, making it impossible to secure health staff, a Health Ministry official told BuzzFeed by telephone. “The Elwa facility is overwhelmed right now as I speak to you,” said Tolbert Nyenswah, the country’s assistant minister of health.“It was built as a transit point for 18 persons, but as I speak to you we have 25 in the unit and 20 who need to be in the unit but there’s no room to put them there.” Instead most are back in their communities, and a few are waiting in ambulances, Nyenswah said.” (BuzzFeed http://bzfd.it/1rYGNNq)

Africa

A CAR mine owned by Canada’s Axmin was overrun by the mainly Muslim Seleka rebels more than year ago. It now forms part of an illicit economy driving sectarian conflict in one of Africa’s most unstable countries, despite the presence of thousands of French and African peacekeepers. (Reuters http://bit.ly/WLv5ul)

Health authorities are trying to determine who on a series of flights across West Africa last week came into contact with a man who days later died of the Ebola virus. (VOA http://bit.ly/1qgtghk)

The military spokesman for the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo says a joint military offensive with the national army in Walikale and Masisi territories has freed over 20 villages from rebels from the Mai Cheka and the Alliance for the Sovereign and Patriotic Congo groups. (VOA http://bit.ly/WLvOvH)

Through word of mouth and family ties, Somali refugees seek a temporary home in a nook of Istanbul, in order to find some respite from the political and natural disasters that have devastated Somalia for decades. (IPS http://bit.ly/1qgnwE6)

Burundi’s ruling party is carrying out a “relentless campaign of intimidation” against opposition and critics, ahead of presidential elections next year, Amnesty International said. (Yahoo http://yhoo.it/1qgw1Pr)

South African metal workers started returning to work on Tuesday after accepting a wage deal from employers, ending a four-week strike that dealt a blow to growth in Africa’s most advanced economy. (Reuters http://bit.ly/WLuQzl)

Barack Obama gave a preview of a summit he will hold with African leaders next week, saying African nations should look inward for solutions to economic woes and not make “excuses” based on a history of dependence and colonization. (Reuters http://bit.ly/WLvb5l)

The West African airline that transported a passenger sick with Ebola last week says it’s now suspending flights to the two cities hardest hit by the disease. (AP http://yhoo.it/1qgzopE)

MENA

More destruction in Gaza as Israel intensifies its military operations, including destroying Gaza’s only power plant.  Meanwhile, the Israeli government seems to be alienating the White House. The latest. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1ppchKL)

“Families [in Iraq], including those with children, are stuck in the middle of an increasingly violent war and they are paying the price,” says Human Rights Watch. (IPS http://bit.ly/WLuFnP)

A new US government report says the military has not effectively kept track of the light weapons it supplied to Afghanistan’s army and police. According to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, an independent watchdog group, the failure creates a danger that small arms such as machine guns will fall into the hands of insurgents. (VOA http://bit.ly/1qgsT6d)

Migrant workers building the first stadium for Qatar’s 2022 World Cup have been earning as little as 45p an hour, the Guardian can reveal.The pay rate appears to be in breach of the tournament organisers’ own worker welfare rules and comes despite the Gulf kingdom spending £134bn on infrastructure ahead of the competition. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1qgCl9F)

Asia

Human rights groups in and outside Pakistan are condemning as “brutalization and barbarism stooping to new lows” a mob assault on a minority Muslim community that left at least three people dead and burned many of their houses. (VOA http://bit.ly/1qgqSam)

Amnesty International says a team of four from its headquarters in London traveled to Thailand to research the human rights situation in the kingdom following the May 22 coup. (VOA http://bit.ly/WLwnWg)

A US company that supplies meat to fast-food chains in China has pulled all its products made by a subsidiary. An expose revealed some of the products were mishandled and had expired. (NPR http://n.pr/1qgm44P)

The Americas

Latin America and the Caribbean should push to achieve universal access to social services and policies to boost formal employment in order to make faster progress towards human development, the UNDP and experts recommend, while pointing to the improvement in human development indicators made in recent years. (IPS http://bit.ly/1qgCJ8m)

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. (VOA http://bit.ly/1qgs11q)

Hundreds of Africa’s emerging leaders are gathered in Washington for a three-day summit that includes a meeting with President Barack Obama. The summit is a highlight of a six-week U.S. fellowship that has given about 500 young Africans a chance to sharpen their skills through coursework and professional development. (VOA http://bit.ly/WLvJIi)

Genetically modified corn seeds are no longer protecting Brazilian farmers from voracious tropical bugs, increasing costs as producers turn to pesticides, a farm group said. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1qgvqNR)

Opinion/Blogs

Is the UN peacekeeper selection process flawed? (IRIN http://bit.ly/WLyaur)

Trade Facilitation Will Support African Industrialisation (IPS http://bit.ly/WLuJDT)

The Brics have a chance to succeed where the World Bank has failed (Guardian http://bit.ly/1qgq84V)

US-Africa Leaders’ Summit Watch List (CGD http://bit.ly/1qgqmsI)

South Sudan: Is There Hope for a Durable Solution? (ISS http://bit.ly/1qgAiCH)

Research/Reports

Inaccessible health services for people with disabilities, combined with social stigma and violence, contribute to high HIV risk – a gap that must be filled if the disabled are not to remain disproportionately vulnerable to HIV/AIDS, say health experts and activists. (IRIN http://bit.ly/1qgpPqH)

Designs for flying cars are being targeted at humanitarian organisations for use in a variety of missions, from delivering vaccines to transporting medics and patients. (SciDevNet http://bit.ly/1qgD1vR)

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