ISIS Captures Palestinian Refugee Camp

Yarmouk is a long suffering settlement. Things are poised to get much worse. “Islamic State (IS) militants have entered the Palestinian refugee camp Yarmouk in Damascus, activists and Palestinian officials say. Clashes erupted between the militants and groups inside the camp, with IS seizing control of large parts of the camp, reports said.The UN says about 18,000 Palestinian refugees are inside the camp. IS militants have seized large swathes of territory in eastern Syria and across northern and western Iraq. But this is the group’s first major attack near the heart of the Syrian capital.” (BBC http://bbc.in/1yCjhqp)

A Horrid  Week for Aid Workers…”The International Red Cross has issued a warning about the safety of humanitarian workers in modern conflict zones after three of its staff were killed in three separate countries on the same day. The three volunteers with the Red Cross and Red Crescent were all killed on Monday, in apparently targeted attacks as they were working in Syria, Yemen, and Mali.” (Telegraph http://bit.ly/1COYBAK

Welcome to the ICC’s newest member…The Palestinian Authority became a member of the International Criminal Court on Wednesday, with a low-key ceremony at the court’s headquarters marking the high-stakes move. (VOA http://bit.ly/1BNqjsH)

Human Achievement of the day: 117. That was the age of the world’s oldest person, Japan’s Misao Okawa. She passed away one month after turning 117. “Her birth on March 5, 1898 predated the Wright brothers’ first powered human flight by five years, she was already a teenager when World War I broke out and in her 70s by the time of the first moon landing.” (AFP http://yhoo.it/1xYC4l0)

Africa

A day after becoming the first politician in Nigerian history to succeed a sitting leader by ballot, president-elect Muhammadu Buhari promised on Wednesday to “spare no effort” to defeat Islamist militant group Boko Haram. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1C9CVKq)

Sierra Leone found 10 new Ebola cases during a three-day countrywide shutdown, an official said Wednesday, declaring that the West African country is now at the “tail end” of the epidemic. (AP http://yhoo.it/1Ghg0D2)

Unknown attackers fired shells at a United Nations base on the outskirts of a town in northern Mali early on Wednesday, residents said. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1xzNfAb)

The U.N.’s human rights chief said Wednesday his office has received reports that Boko Haram fighters retreating from advancing military forces in Nigeria murdered women and girls they had taken as “wives,” along with other captives. (AP http://yhoo.it/1DpTkBF)

Africa’s envoy to the European Union warned Wednesday that EU plans to process migrants in the countries they leave or transit on their way to Europe are “a dangerous approach.” (AP http://yhoo.it/1Ghg85D)

The International Monetary Fund said Wednesday that it would lend Burundi $6.9 million to shore up the aid-dependent central African nation, months before a presidential election in June. (VOA http://bit.ly/1BNqSCT)

MENA

Saudi-led coalition warplanes bombed Shiite rebel positions Wednesday across Yemen as a missile strike on a dairy factory killed 35 workers, authorities said, as both sides disputed who fired on it. (AP http://yhoo.it/1HjxxJz)

Egypt and Nigeria accounted for an “alarming rise” in the number of death sentences handed out around the world in 2014, often on the back of security concerns, Amnesty International said Wednesday. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1Ghg7yu)

Jordan on Wednesday closed its main border crossing with Syria amid fierce clashes between rebels and pro-regime forces for control of the post. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1HjxzB8)

Asia

Thailand’s junta lifted martial law in most of the nation, but 10 months after staging a coup, it remains firmly in control — with new laws invoked Wednesday that essentially give it absolute power. (AP http://yhoo.it/1HjxCwS)

A rockslide at a jade mine in northern Myanmar killed at least nine miners, and rescuers were searching for around 20 others, state media reported on Wednesday, two days after the accident. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1HjxIVh)

Thousands of doctors in Nepal stayed away from work at clinics and hospitals Wednesday to support a colleague who has been on a hunger strike for 10 days demanding reforms in medical education and services. (AP http://yhoo.it/1HjxwW2)

Residents of the Micronesian State of Chuuk were struggling to clear the roads of huge pieces of debris and return to damaged homes Wednesday as Super Typhoon Maysak cut a destructive path across the central Pacific leaving at least five dead. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1HjxFc3)

Female genital mutilation, banned by the WHO, seems to be common in the three Muslim-majority southern provinces of Thailand, but officials are taking no action. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1I5BtkM)

The United Nation Children’s Fund on Tuesday denied a media report that measles has broken out in North Korea. (VOA http://bit.ly/1OZXcfD)

The Americas

Mexican police have arrested a man in connection with the 2010 massacre of 72 migrants, officials said Tuesday. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1HjxCNr)

The death toll from heavy rains and flooding that battered Chile last week has risen to 23, with another 57 still missing, and President Michelle Bachelet said on Wednesday she would cancel upcoming trips to lead ongoing reconstruction efforts. (VOA http://bit.ly/1BNqQe7)

The once-popular presidents of Brazil and Chile have both seen their approval ratings plunge amid corruption scandals that have battered their center-left governments, according to polls released Wednesday. (AP http://yhoo.it/1Hjxu0m)

The Brazilian army began to pull out of one of Rio de Janeiro’s most violent slums on Wednesday, with police assuming responsibility for security in the area. (AP http://yhoo.it/1HjxDkn)

In addition to other forms of discrimination, lesbian and bisexual women in Cuba face unequal treatment from public health services. Their specific sexual and reproductive health needs are ignored, and they are invisible in prevention and treatment campaigns for women. (IPS http://bit.ly/1GhlZI3)

…and the rest

Turkish security forces on Wednesday shot dead a female assailant after she and an accomplice sought to attack the Istanbul police headquarters, as the city reeled from its second deadly shoot-out in two days. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1Hjxy03)

A record number of migrants will drown in the Mediterranean this year if the current death rate remains unchecked, after 10 times as many migrants lost their lives during the first three months of 2015 as during the equivalent period in 2014. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1I5BvJt)

Trevor Noah, the South African comedian chosen to replace Jon Stewart as the new host of the late-night comedy parody, “The Daily Show” was feeling the heat on Twitter on Tuesday for past comments he made about Jews and women. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1GhmaTY)

Opinion/Blog

A Human Rights Catastrophe is Unfolding in Yemen. (UN Dispatch http://bit.ly/1MzY9gb)

The way we give disaster aid to poor countries makes no sense (Vox http://bit.ly/1Ca4bsk)

Trevor Noah is funny but he’s no Jon Stewart, South Africans say (Fusion http://fus.in/1Ca4jYN)

Where Do the World’s Hungriest People Live? Not Where You Think (Huffington Post http://huff.to/1InqNuv)

Nepal’s failed development (Al Jazeera English http://bit.ly/19KV7U8)

Will Nigeria’s New President Live Up to His Country’s Promise? (CGD http://bit.ly/1DpYE86)

SDGs: The 169 commandments (The Economist http://econ.st/19KUtpE)

Key points in Buhari’s Nigerian election win (AFP http://yhoo.it/1GhfmFJ)

#Nigeriadecides: how Buhari’s election played out on Twitter (Guardian http://bit.ly/1I5B2Xu)

Syria pledging conference: Three key trends (IRIN http://bit.ly/1xzKgHP)

World Leaders Lack Ambition to Tackle Climate Crisis (IPS http://bit.ly/1GhlyxA)

Nigeria: Analyst Predicts Security Revamp After Buhari Victory (Deutsche Welle http://bit.ly/1xzO0Jo)

A Key Climate Deadline Passes. (UN Dispatch http://bit.ly/1yCkduR)

Discussion

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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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USA is Pulling Military from the Ebola Fight

At one point nearly 3,000 troops were deployed to the region. “President Barack Obama is set to announce on Wednesday that he will bring back nearly all of the 1,300 U.S. troops deployed in West Africa to fight the Ebola epidemic by April 30, the White House said late on Tuesday. Obama, who was excoriated last fall for a slow start to his Ebola outbreak response, will hold a White House event to showcase how U.S. leadership helped stem the epidemic, which has killed almost 9,000 people, mainly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The number of new cases each week has dropped to about 150 in recent reports, down from more than 1,000 new cases per week in October, the White House said.” (Reuters http://reut.rs/1E66qjc)

Just in time for the new season of House of Cards…Netflix began selling its Internet video service in Cuba in what appears to be a largely symbolic move driven by the recent loosening of U.S. restrictions on doing business with the communist-run island. (AP http://yhoo.it/1ATjvig)

Bend it like…David Beckham has marked his 10th year as a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF by setting up a new personal fund, saying he wants to “raise millions” to help protect the world’s most vulnerable children. (AP http://yhoo.it/1vgC3lq)

Humanity Affirming Missive of the Day: Slain aid worker Kyla Mueller wrote an extraordinarily beautiful letter while being held captive by ISIS. She was confirmed to have been killed today. (Vox http://bit.ly/1E65yv9)

Stat of the Day: The number of deaths from Ebola has risen to 9,152, a sharp increase following weeks in which the outbreak appeared to be weakening. (VOA http://bit.ly/1E3nzdp)

Nigeria/Boko Haram

The UN food agency on Tuesday voiced concern for the 125,000 Nigerian refugees who have fled to southeast Niger, where Boko Haram militants have launched attacks in recent days. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1DfPwAC)

Nigeria’s Boko Haram Islamic extremists have abducted about 30 people including eight Cameroonian girls and killed seven hostages in two bus hijackings in Cameroon and Nigeria, Cameroon residents and a Nigerian intelligence officer said Tuesday. (AP http://yhoo.it/1y7wt4Y)

The decision to postpone Nigeria’s elections by six weeks has met with criticism at home and abroad. Voters in Nigeria say they are disappointed. (VOA http://bit.ly/1vgC5tH)

Niger’s parliament unanimously authorized sending troops to battle Boko Haram militants as part of a regional force, lawmakers said after a vote late Monday. (VOA http://bit.ly/1y7wupH)

Africa

International troops clashed with ex-Seleka rebels in Central African Republic Tuesday, just a day after at least 10 villagers were killed in a new flare up of violence. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1ztxvsx)

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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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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“Regional integration and global developments – a view from the European Union”

European Commission

[Check Against Delivery]

José Manuel Durão Barroso

President of the European Commission

“Regional integration and global developments – a view from the European Union”

World Economic Forum

Istanbul, 29 September 2014

Dear Prime Minister, Mr Ahmet Davutoğlu,

Dear President,

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is my pleasure to get this opportunity to address you all and to give you a view from the European Union on the issue of regional development and global developments, after the meeting of minds you’ve had over the last two days. Indeed I believe that regional development can also come from further developing such bonds between regional leaders and stakeholders.

When we discuss the challenges facing the European Union and the wider region today, it is important to bear in mind the starting point: that the European Union as such is precisely a project meant to overcome the divisions of the past and deal with those challenges. That European integration was always meant to be, and will always need to be, a tool to help its member countries face the issues they cannot successfully face alone. That bringing Europe as a region together is the only way to protect our interests and defend our values in a rapidly evolving world. And that the same logic of regional integration and increasing cooperation is at the heart of what the European Union does both internally and internationally, especially with its immediate neighbours.

That is as true today as it was when European integration took off after the Second World War.

That is where our lasting commitment to regional integration comes from.

Because then, and now, when times change, institutions need to change as well. So let me briefly recall what the current pace of change we are facing means for our governance at global and regional level. I will then try and highlight how I see the need for the world order to adapt itself to these new challenges. To conclude, I will say a few words on EU-Turkey relations.

Ladies and gentlemen,

As we speak, times are changing drastically, in some cases even dramatically. The rate of technological progress is unprecedented, global economic integration is rapidly expanding, issues like climate change and international migration are affecting all of us.

Trade flows and supply chains cross borders with increasing ease, information travels globally and decision-making centres are spread across the globe as well. So political decision-making and cooperation must rise above national borders too. The political mind-set needs to evolve as well.

One of the main questions of our times is whether or not we succeed in adapting our governance institutions to such a changing, complex and challenging global environment, and how. Governing structures need to evolve to support more dynamic societies, empower them get the most out of the opportunities that globalisation offers in terms of jobs, travel, knowledge and innovation, education and exposure to new ideas. They also need to shield them from some of the harmful effects of globalization like the growing threat of increasing international terrorist networks. Institutions are there to support us, and they need a certain flexibility to be able to do so.

This is particularly true in times of change and crisis, when hard questions are asked of governments everywhere. Around the world, we now see a triple gap of confidence widening: a gap between markets and states; between states amongst one another; and last but not least between governments and the governed. As a result, political institutions and economic systems across the world are under pressure.

This is, let’s be clear, not a “European” or “Western” issue.

True, in democracies such gaps show easily. But this is not – as some would have it until a few years ago – a problem aggravated by democratic openness. The legitimacy question is a fundamental one everywhere, and indeed democracies are better suited to deal with such issues than the ‘pressure cooker’ model of undemocratic or less-democratic systems. Our openness, the accountability of our political structures and the diversity inherent in our model of society, is what allows us to be more flexible and to adapt better to changing environments.

But for that to happen, we need leadership and we need cooperation.

That is why events such as this one organised by the World Economic Forum can really make a difference.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Let’s be honest: today, our governance systems are in many cases sub-optimal.

Few would deny that we struggled to deal with the global financial crisis. In many ways we had to improvise and the creation of the G20 – I will come back to it in a moment – was a clear illustration that our governance models needed to adapt to a totally new situation. Indeed, a lot of what we have done since the financial crisis, most obviously in the European Union but beyond as well, was trying to remedy the defects of our financial and economic governance systems.

Even fewer would deny that the ongoing war in Syria or the emergence of a totally new form of terrorism in the region, to take only these examples in the current international turmoil in the Middle East, are showing the inadequacy of some governance systems. And the actions taken by the United Nations, as well as the support given by countries around the world including in Europe, are a necessary effort to deal with the situation collectively.

As a result of systemic defects or delay, we must also admit that there is some popular scepticism about both regional and global governance systems. This could, in the longer term, undermine them. Sometimes, they are seen as over-powering and interfering – as you can note from emotional protests against the World Trade Organisation, for instance. At other times, they are damned as ineffective – as if often claimed of the United Nations. And indeed, they may even be criticised for being both – which is sometimes the case of criticism of the European Union, that some criticise because it is too intrusive in Member States’ competences; others because it does not rely on sufficient coherence of Member States’ action. Such criticism may or may not be true, but it undoubtedly underlines an increasing need for greater legitimacy in our institutions, as well as enhanced effectiveness.

The regional dimension is part of that effort.

There is frequently a gap also between regional and global decision-making. Global bodies such as the UN and the WTO explicitly recognise the desirability of regional input and support – but the truth is that we have no established model or mechanism for how this should take place. In some cases the gap between global and regional decision-making is widening. A clear example is the relative stasis of the WTO agenda compared to the proliferation of regional or bilateral trade deals.

Besides, interdependence and interconnectedness are evolving fast, but the dynamic propelling us towards a “global village” and shared decision-making is confronted by that of a world which seems to be drifting apart. The renewed claim for identity at subnational or local level can sometimes be seen as a threat to the Nation State model, potentially leading to greater fragmentation. Globalisation has shortened the distances but has not erased differences in political and social models and has sometimes even exacerbated them. Today, we live not just in economic, scientific and technological competition with each other, but also in a broader geo-political competition of models of governance. Differences seem harder to bridge – at a time when the need to bridge them is much greater.

On top of that, the dynamic of divergence between East and West, North and South, seems set to continue. It is no exaggeration to say that power and influence are shifting, but I do not necessarily consider this as a “loss of power” of the West – I see it as part and parcel of truly global integration, which, if implemented according to some values and principles, can be a true win-win situation for the different players in our world.

In concrete terms we have seen challenges to the post-war bodies, on which global governance was based, such as the UN, the IMF and World Bank. A certain amount of complexity may be part of the new reality, but new competing institutions could further complicate regional and global governance. So the real question in my view is: do we want to focus on cooperation and collaboration or on competition?

Ladies and gentlemen,

Against this backdrop, how do we see the world order shifting and adapting itself?

A first, major development which I already mentioned is the emergence of the G20 in response to problems of global economic governance.

The economic liberalisation, and therefore also: the economic interdependence that has been so spectacular and successful over the last two decades came under threat as soon as the financial crisis erupted. The need for openness and for a global response was more obvious than ever before, namely by collectively resisting pressures of naked and ugly protectionism. But that in itself was not enough to bring it about, because the temptation to go it alone and try to survive the crisis by ‘beggar-thy-neighbour’ policies was very strong. We simply had to step up our common engagement.

I vividly remember when French President Sarkozy, then holding the rotating Presidency of the European Council, and myself went to Camp David in October 2008 in order to try to convince President George W. Bush to join our call to act against the crisis in a concerted and convincing way. This led to the G20 in its current format, at Heads of State or government level, and the hugely important effort to globalise the response to the crisis at that stage. Since then, the G20 has become the only truly global forum for coordination of economic policies between its members, giving concrete shape and form to a lot of the concepts that the European Union has brought to the table, for instance on a framework for balanced and sustainable growth, on financial regulation and supervision or on action against tax evasion and fraud.

The development of the G20, from which Turkey is a member and will hold its next presidency, is a constructive and an institutional response to the problems we face together. As such, it is one of the most significant transformations of the global system – in the short term probably the most important one – and its creation certainly helped to avoid much more negative scenarios that might well have happened without it.

A second, major test for global governance is climate change, on which we had an important UN Summit in New York last week where I had the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.

Climate change is one of the defining challenges of our times. It ignores borders, disrupts societies, undermines development and destroys our global commons. It is by its very nature a problem we can only face together. At the same time, climate change also presents an opportunity to reinvent our economies in a cleaner, leaner, greener and more efficient way. But we, the international community, can only grasp this opportunity and defend our shared planet if we show courage, vision, determination – and unity.

The European Union has been and remains at the forefront of efforts to address climate change. In 2005, we created the world’s first and largest carbon market with the European Emissions Trading System (ETS). In 2008, we set the most ambitious targets for domestic emissions’ reductions, renewable energy and energy savings under our 2020 framework. This ambition is paying off. The European Union is on track to meet our targets.

And we try to lead by example in the future as well. The European Commission has proposed an ambitious reduction target of 40% of domestic emissions by 2030, compared to 1990 levels, plus a renewables target of at least 27% and energy savings of 30%.

So, the European Union will be ready to agree a comprehensive, global and binding climate treaty at the end of next year in the Paris Summit. And we urge those countries with the greatest responsibilities and capabilities to get ready as well. Climate change is probably the most obvious example of the need for stronger global governance.

At the same time, we must also assist the most vulnerable countries, many of which are less able to take action on climate change, but who nevertheless suffer the consequences. For that reason, over the next 7 years, the European Union aims to allocate more than €3 billion in grants to support sustainable energy in developing countries. This will leverage between €15 and €30 billion in loans and equity investment, to plug gaps in energy infrastructure and businesses, to power schools, homes and hospitals in a sustainable manner. In total, Europe will provide €14 billion of public climate finance to partners beyond its borders over the next seven years.

We need to keep up the momentum on climate action, and foster a true coalition of all stakeholders, not just governments and international organisations but business leaders, financial institutions, and civil society. This concerns us all.

A third, major evolution in global governance is the increasingly dense web of trade agreements that spans the globe – not least around the European Union’s free trade agreements.

This too is a case of rules and institutions following economic reality, while shaping it at the same time. Open trade needs to go hand in hand with a rules-based system and a level playing field for all nations, citizens and companies, otherwise its effectiveness and legitimacy will suffer gravely.

Over the last five years, Europe was able to conclude a new generation of deals with South Korea, Singapore, Colombia, Peru, Central America, and Canada; we finalised economic partnership agreements in Africa, with West Africa and the Southern African Development Community (SADC); we resumed negotiations with the Southern Cone Common Market (Mercosur); we launched important negotiations on free trade agreements (FTAs) with Japan, India, Vietnam and Thailand, and on an investment agreement with China. And we took the unprecedented step to start negotiations with the United States of America on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). All this shows clearly: the European Union as the world’s largest trading block remains open for business. The crisis has not prompted us to pull up the drawbridges – on the contrary.

Now, we have always made it clear that this system of deeper bilateral ties, for us, is a second-best option. Indeed, we have only resumed bilateral and regional negotiations once it was regrettably but unmistakably clear that a multilateral trade deal encompassing the whole of the WTO membership was not forthcoming because some of the most important players were not ready for a global agreement. And in the EU we have made sure that our bilateral agreements, all of which go much beyond what would be possible multilaterally, are building blocks and not stumbling blocks for the multilateral trading system. It is a good example of pragmatic policies of bilateral and regional integration adding up to a race to the top, instead of a race to the bottom.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Since we are here in this historical and great city of Istanbul, let me conclude with some words about Turkey – a country that I respect and admire so much – and also about Turkey-EU relations.

EU-Turkey relations are almost as old as the EU itself! We are close partners – and it is absolutely critical that we sustain and deepen this partnership. I think both Europeans and Turks understand this shared interest very well.

The EU is Turkey’s central trade and investment partner. In 2013, 41.5% of Turkish goods exports went to the EU and 36.7% of all imports of goods came from the EU. The great majority of all foreign direct investment in Turkey comes from the EU. With the customs union, Turkey has access to the biggest internal market in the world. Also, I believe that adopting the EU acquis – as required by the agreement – encourages and facilitates investment in Turkey.

Turkey has gone through tremendous changes over the past ten years. The most spectacular change obviously concerns the economy: thanks to a series of difficult but smart reforms after the big crisis of 2001. Turkey has become a much wealthier country, with a 5% annual growth on average, entered the G-20 club and qualified as a functioning market economy, one of the economic criteria for EU accession.

Turkey has also made progress in its alignment with the EU legislation even if we consider that the picture is mixed as regards the political criteria.

Let me stress that the EU stands by Turkey’s reforms. I have to say that Turkey is the biggest recipient of pre-accession assistance from the EU – it benefited from €4.8 billion in the period 2007-2013. For the next programming period 2014-2020 Turkey will benefit from around €4.5 billion. Strategic priorities include support to political reform and democratisation, including rule of law and human rights, social development and social inclusion, development towards a resource-efficient low carbon economy, increased inter-connectivity, and progress towards alignment with the EU.

We welcome the fact that the new Government has tabled its EU Strategy, which is intended to reinvigorate Turkey’s work on its European path. We would like to see this clear European commitment on the Turkish side. On the European side, I would like very much to see new chapters open as soon as possible, in particular chapters 23 and 24.

So, Turkey is and remains a key partner for the EU. This has been repeated many times by the Council of the EU and by the Commission, and I’m sure this will again be one of the central messages of the upcoming Progress Report.

Take any major challenge we are faced with – from the economic crisis and energy security to migration policy or terrorism – Turkey appears as a strategic partner for the European Union and as part of the solution. Not to mention of course Turkey’s crucial role in its neighbourhood – which is also the EU’s neighbourhood. The way Turkey has so far offered shelter to a million of Syrian refugees and recently to Kurdish refugees is very impressive. But to be able to tackle all these challenges, Turkey strongly needs the EU, too! We are bound to succeed together. There is also a large, untapped potential for cooperation between us. This ranges from foreign policy to counter-terrorism, the economy, trade, energy, migration policy and the visa dialogue.

I know there are some, both in the EU and in Turkey, who have doubts about EU enlargement. But let me tell you I am convinced EU enlargement will continue because a bigger Europe is a stronger Europe.

In 2012, EU GDP was 23% of world GDP, amounting to €13 trillion while our share on the global population is just 7%. Accession benefited both those countries joining the EU and the established member states.

Enlargement extended the internal market, opened trade and financial flows and created new opportunities for businesses and companies to firms in the EU and in the incoming countries. Trade between old and new member states grew almost threefold in less than 10 years preceding the 2004 and 2007 enlargements and fivefold among the new members themselves. Central and Eastern Europe grew on average by 4% annually in the period 1994-2008. It is estimated that the accession process itself contributed almost half to this growth over the period 2000-2008.

The economic dynamism of these countries generated three million new jobs in just six years from 2002 to 2008. Growth in the acceding countries contributed to growth in the old member states through increased investment opportunities and demand for their products. It contributed 0.5 percentage point to cumulative growth of EU-15 in 2000-2008. German exports to the 12 countries that joined in 2004 have almost doubled since then, totalling €124.5 billion last year.

These figures speak for themselves. EU enlargement was and is a good thing for Europe.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Government structures are stubborn things.

But facts, as we know, are even more stubborn.

So we need to be ready to change the way we work when faced with new realities, in order to better serve and protect our citizens.

In a world where threats and opportunities are ever more global, I am confident we will find solutions that transcend the traditional boundaries of politics as well.

Pragmatism and conviction will overcome all pessimism. After ten years at the helm of the European Commission, I can say that this is not wishful thinking. This is simply the lesson I draw from all what was achieved to overcome the worst part of the financial and economic crisis, as well as to face new global challenges.

Thank you very much.

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IAEA and FAO Honour Achievements in Radiation-Supported Plant Breeding

Press Release 2014/22

24 September 2014 | Awards honouring teams of scientists who have helped increase food security by using radiation to breed better crop varieties were presented today by IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano.

Mutation breeding, which uses radiation to mimic natural plant mutation events, is a well-established method that enables plant breeders to work with farmers to develop variations of rice, barley, sesame and other crops that are higher-yielding and more resistant to disease.

The awards were initiated by the Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture to celebrate successes achieved so far and promote the development of further sustainable crop varieties. The Joint Division – a strategic partnership between the IAEA and the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization that is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year – supports countries in their use of the method.

“Through the use of plant mutation breeding, nuclear techniques help to create new strains of plants with characteristics that allow them to resist disease and thrive under harsh conditions, such as high altitudes and saline soils,” Director General Amano said at an award ceremony at the IAEA headquarters, where he handed certificates to representatives of the countries of award recipients.

“The development of new varieties of food crops will be increasingly important in the future as the world tries to adapt to the potential impacts of climate change.”

The following scientists and teams were selected for Outstanding Achievement Awards:

  • Peru: Cereal and Native Grains Research Program (Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina)

    Mutant breeding helped Peru tackle the harsh conditions its farmers face at high altitudes. The improved mutant barley and amaranth varieties produced, thriving at altitudes of up to 5 000 metres, provide seven million farmers in the Andean region with more food and income.

  • China: Team of Radiation Mutant Breeding (Jiangsu Academy of Agricultural Sciences)

    The team has released 17 mutant varieties, including eight rice, five wheat and four barely cultivars. Three of the mutant wheat varieties have been planted on more than 30 million hectares and generated more than 30 billion Yuan RMB (about US$ 4.9 billion) of socio-economic benefit.

  • Bangladesh: Dr. Mirza Mofazzal Islam (Bangladesh Institute of Nuclear Agriculture)

    Nine mutant varieties of fibre jute, vegetable jute, mungbean and chickpea with improved yield and quality traits were released and widely accepted by farmers for cultivation. The mutant varieties have increased yield from 20 to 45 per cent compared to other existing crop varieties. The area where these mutant varieties are cultivated is increasing.

  • Indonesia: Plant Breeding Group (National Nuclear Energy Agency)

    Mutant breeding has benefited hundreds of thousands of farmers and millions of consumers in Indonesia. The Group’s research led to the release 20 mutant rice varieties, one of which has produced an estimated total income of USD 2 billion. The mutant rice varieties make up 10 per cent of the total rice varieties registered.

  • Viet Nam: Agricultural Genetics Institute (Viet Nam Academy of Agricultural Sciences)

    Rice and soybean mutant varieties have vastly improved farmers’ livelihoods: One top mutant rice variety created almost US $540 million in additional value compared to older varieties. Soybean mutant varieties increased income by a third for almost 3.5 million farmers.

The following were selected for Achievement Awards:

  • China: XYW Rice Team (Institute of Nuclear Agricultural Sciences, Zhejiang University)
  • India: Plant Mutation Breeding Team (Bhabha Atomic Research Institute)
  • China: Wheat Mutation Breeding Team (Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences)
  • Pakistan: Nuclear Institute for Agriculture and Biology (Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission)
  • China: Genetics Breeding Team of SIAE (Sichuan Institute of Atomic Energy)
  • Viet Nam: Institute of Agricultural Sciences for Southern Viet Nam (Viet Nam Academy of Agricultural Sciences) and Centre for Nuclear Techniques (Viet Nam Atomic Energy Institute)
  • Afghanistan: Mr. Sekander Hussaini (Academy of Sciences of Afghanistan)
  • Thailand: Rice Department, Bureau of Rice Research Development (Department of Agriculture)
  • Brazil: Research Group: Use of in vivo and in vitro induced mutation in plant breeding (CENA, IAC, IAPAR, EPAGRI, ESALQ, UNESP, Centro de Melhoramento Genético do Fumo)
  • Republic of Korea: Radiation Breeding Team, (Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute)
  • Egypt: Mr. Abdel Shafy Ibrahim Ragab (Nuclear Research Centre, Atomic Energy Authority)
  • Sweden: Ms. Udda Lundqvist (Nordic Genetic Resource Centre)
  • Viet Nam: Phuong Tan Tran and Cua Quang Ho (Department of Agricultural and Rural Development)
  • Cuba: Ms. Maria Caridad González Cepero (National Institute of Agricultural Science)
  • Yemen: Mr. Abdulwahid A Saif (Agricultural Research and Extension Authority)
  • Malaysia: Malaysian Nuclear Agency
  • Republic of Korea: Rice Research Division (National Institute of Crop Science, Rural Development Administration)
  • Sri Lanka: Department of Agriculture

The Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture has successfully tackled a range of agricultural problems since its establishment in 1964, including global freedom from rinderpest, the eradication of the tsetse fly on Zanzibar Island, Tanzania, and water-saving agriculture in seven African countries.

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FACT SHEET: The Equal Futures Partnership – Commitments and Progress to Expand Women’s Economic and Political Participation

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

September 22, 2014

THE PROMISE OF EQUAL FUTURES

In response to President Obama’s challenge to other heads of state to break down barriers to women’s economic and political participation, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Valerie Jarrett launched the Equal Futures Partnership on behalf of the United States in September 2012. 

The Equal Futures Partnership is an innovative multilateral initiative that encourages member countries to empower women politically and economically.  Equal Futures partner countries commit to taking actions including legal, regulatory, and policy reforms to ensure women lead and benefit from inclusive economic growth, and that they fully participate in public life.

Equal Futures partners include Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Benin, Chile, Croatia, Denmark, the European Union, Finland, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Latvia, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Switzerland, Thailand, Timor Leste, Tunisia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.  Multilateral stakeholders including UN Women and the World Bank and leading businesses and non-profit institutions also support the Partnership.

Commitments to Action

Each country participating in the Equal Futures Partnership works closely with key stakeholders in their countries, including civil society, to identify policy and program priorities.  They then set achievable goals as commitments within the Partnership, exchange best practices and lessons learned, and report on progress.

This year, Chile, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom have joined the Partnership.  Highlights from new member commitments include the United Kingdom’s efforts to accelerate its work to tackle the gender pay gap, address the problem of workplace discrimination, promote female entrepreneurship, and increase the number of women in leadership positions both in the corporate world and in other important decision making positions.  They will also work to give women the opportunity to talk directly to policymakers to make their concerns heard.

Partners continue to advance in the implementation of their commitments – for more information on progress visit here.

Support from Multilateral Partners

To advance the goals of the Equal Futures Partnership, we collaborate with multilateral partners to help countries strengthen and implement their efforts.  The World Bank Group, host of the second high-level Equal Futures meeting, will continue to work with Equal Futures partners to identify opportunities for collaboration in the advancement of women’s rights in each country and to support implementation of country commitments, through technical assistance, advisory services, and financing, where appropriate.  The Bank will disseminate lessons learned on effective programs and initiatives, drawn from impact evaluations, the gender innovation labs, and other bank led partnerships, which can inform the efforts of Equal Futures partners.  UN Women will work with the Equal Futures Partnership in the areas of economic and political empowerment and ending violence against women through technical advice, knowledge and capacity development, facilitating and sharing of best practices, and supporting implementation of commitments at the country level.  UN Women will use its Knowledge Gateway to disseminate experience coming from the Partnership.

JOINING THE PARTNERSHIP

Countries committed to promoting women’s political and economic participation are welcome to join the Equal Futures Partnership.  Government representatives and other interested stakeholders may email EqualFutures@state.gov for more information.

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