Opinions: G20 Development Approach; Defense Of DDT For Malaria Control; U.S. Foreign Aid; Human Trafficking

G20 Development Plans Must Expand Economic Growth Of World’s Poorest Countries

Leaders have been “debating how to ‘rebalance’ the global economy and reform financial institutions – all challenging subjects. But I also am reminding my colleagues that all these goals, however crucial, are insufficient,” Lee Myung-bak, the president of the Republic of Korea, writes in a Washington Post opinion piece. “We must not let the needs of the world’s poorest countries be obscured by preoccupation with the major economies. In fact, helping the poorest of the poor can contribute to the global rebalancing and growth we seek, instead of being seen as a subsidiary issue,” he argues.

“Even in times of crisis, there are success stories among some low-income countries. … Sub-Saharan African annual growth rates averaged more than 7 percent between 2002 and 2008. If these growth rates persist and overcome bottlenecks and shocks, they will bring sustained improvements in health, education and living standards, enhancing the prospects of achieving the U.N. Millennium Development Goals to cut in half the number of destitute people by 2015. Growth is therefore a means toward achieving these goals, rather than a G20 distraction,” according to Lee.

He describes how a new multi-year “development consensus,” created in collaboration with the U.N., World Bank and other groups, aims to promote economic growth by building infrastructure. “In addition, the new consensus emphasizes building capacity and access to trade, private investment, access to finance for small companies, food security, and improved collection of domestic tax revenue,” he writes. The consensus “will emphasize a partnership with low-income countries, understanding that there is more than one recipe for progress. For if we forget the challenge of achieving growth in the world’s poorest countries, we will fail on everything that really matters,” Lee concludes (11/10).

Failing To Utilize DDT Could Mean Placing ‘Sensibilities Of Anti-Insecticide Activists’ Ahead Of Those ‘Living In Malarial Countries’

As southern African countries commemorate Malaria Week this week, Richard Nchabi Kamwi, minister of Health and Social Services in Namibia and chairperson of the South African Development Community’s Malaria Elimination Eight (E8) group of countries, reflects in a Wall Street Journal Wall Street Journal opinion piece on a second meeting taking place in Geneva, where a group of experts will discuss the anti-malaria insecticide DDT. Though the expert panel, convened by the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, will take place “thousands of miles from any malaria-spreading mosquito, [it]could have important implications for disease control and development in poor countries,” Kamwi writes in a piece that describes the importance of DDT in malaria eradication efforts.

Kamwi writes of the increasing pressure to move away from DDT, as people working to eliminate malaria “face ongoing pressure from anti-insecticide activists, and in recent years the manufacturers of DDT have dwindled to only one, a state-owned factory in India. Regrettably the secretariat of the Stockholm Convention envisages halting all production of DDT in just seven years.” Instead, Kamwi argues “there are several reasons to defend DDT and ensure we have ongoing supplies,” such as evidence that suggests “DDT is safe for humans and the environment” and “is essential for managing insecticide resistance.

Additionally, he writes, “failing to protect DDT, secure supplies and defend our right to use it will mean that the global community puts the sensibilities of anti-insecticide activists and the agendas of the Stockholm Convention Secretariat ahead of the lives of poor people in malarial countries. This will set a worrying and damaging precedent and would be grossly unjust.” Kamwi concludes with an appeal to “the international community to act against those who seek to eliminate or restrict our freedom to use DDT. First and foremost, we must protect the health and welfare of those who are at risk of disease and death from malaria” (11/8).

Can U.S. Foreign Aid Win Hearts, Minds?

“Can U.S. foreign aid – food, education, roads, health care and training – win hearts and minds?,” writer Ben Barber asks in a McClatchy commentary piece that examines the “massive U.S. aid sent to Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen and other countries where America’s popularity may be below that of Osama Bin Laden.”

“The answer based on decades of U.S. assistance – is that aid has in some countries at some times changed hearts and minds. But it is mainly effective in places where there is no ongoing conflict or U.S. occupation,” Barber writes, before summarizing several examples of how U.S. aid has helped to positively shape opinions of the U.S. abroad. Barber also writes of situations where the U.S. has chosen to “simply provid[e] food and other aid in unmarked bags or with only credit given to the local government,” in “countries with insecure leaders and strong anti-American currents.”

“The battle for minds must be won with knowledge, logic and mutual respect for other cultures. The battle for hearts must be won with friendship and demonstrations that people from all religions and levels of development share the desire for partnership and progress on our shrinking planet,” Barber concludes (11/7).

World Must Do More To Eradicate ‘Modern Slavery’

“I have seen firsthand the suffering that human trafficking causes. Not only does it result in injury and abuse – it also takes away its victims’ power to control their own destinies. In Thailand I have met teenage girls who had been prostituted as young children and were dying of AIDS. In Eastern Europe I have met mothers who lost sons and daughters to trafficking and had nowhere to turn for help. This is a violation of our fundamental belief that all people everywhere deserve to live free, work with dignity, and pursue their dreams,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton writes in an opinion piece that appeared in New Vision and various other newspapers.

She describes the decade-old Trafficking Victims’ Protection Act, “which gave us more tools to bring traffickers to justice and to provide victims with legal services and other support,” noting, “we still have a long way to go.” Clinton highlights the State Department’s efforts to document human trafficking and writes that it is “especially important for governments to protect the most vulnerable – women and children – who are more likely to be victims of trafficking.”

“We need to redouble our efforts to fight modern slavery. I hope that the countries that have not yet acceded to the U.N. Trafficking Protocol will do so. Many other countries can still do more to strengthen their anti-trafficking laws. And all governments can devote more resources to finding victims and punishing human traffickers,” according to Clinton. “The problem of modern trafficking may be entrenched, but it is solvable. By using every tool at our disposal to put pressure on traffickers, we can set ourselves on a course to eradicate modern slavery,” she concludes (11/4).

The KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report summarized news and information on global health policy from hundreds of sources, from May 2009 through December 2020. All summaries are archived and available via search.

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