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Opinions: Pakistan’s Rebuilding; Kenya’s Constitution; Development Financing; Africa’s Black Market For Malaria Drugs

U.S., Other Countries Must Develop Strategy To Ensure Honest, Transparent Pakistani Rebuilding

A Washington Post editorial encouraging the U.S. to generously support Pakistan as it recovers from major flooding, states: the “humanitarian interest is heightened by Pakistan’s centrality to America’s national security interests. The Obama administration must seize this chance to deepen and broaden what is already a large commitment, lest Pakistan become even more of a breeding ground for terrorism.”

“To be sure, the government of Pakistan is a complicated partner,” according to the newspaper. “Corruption is rampant … Not surprisingly, Pakistan’s reputation for inefficiency and graft has deterred foreign donors in its hour of need,” the editorial states. “The challenge for the Obama administration and other governments is to develop new mechanisms – similar to those, perhaps, that the United Nations has devised for rebuilding Haiti after its earthquake in January – that would enable relief and reconstruction with maximum transparency and honesty,” the Washington Post writes.

“If this is done successfully, the Pakistani government and its international allies, the United States included, could gain prestige in the eyes of a skeptical people. The alternative is a vacuum that extreme Islamist groups are already attempting to fill,” according to the editorial (9/1).

Rep. Smith Says U.S. Involvement In Kenyan Constitution Is A ‘Violation’ Of Abortion Funding Provision

Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) discusses Kenya’s new constitution in a Washington Times opinion piece, reflecting on the language used to address abortion and reproductive rights. He writes that in addition to a standing provision that allows abortion to preserve the mother’s life in Kenya, “a ‘committee of experts’ created exceptions to allow abortion for other ’emergency treatment,’ for the “health’ of the mother or even if ‘permitted by any other written law.’ The committee also reinserted an undefined right to ‘reproductive health care’ after it had been removed by the parliamentary committee.”

Smith also examines “whether the constitution was then promoted with the assistance of U.S. taxpayer funds,” writing that one USAID grant list “includes eight grants totaling nearly $450,000 explicitly to obtain a total of more than 100,000 ‘yes’ votes in the referendum.” He concludes that though the USAID Inspector General “has not yet finished his investigation into these obvious violations of U.S. law, … enough evidence has been provided to conclude that the interference by the Obama administration in the Kenyan constitution reform process is a violation of the United States abortion funding restriction” (9/1).

To Meet Global Development Needs, Think Outside The Box On Development Financing

“A wide range of financial resources that are sustainable, predictable, and additional to the traditional Official Development Aid (ODA) need to be mobilized to meet the global development needs including the [U.N. Millennium Development Goals] MDGs” by 2015, France’s Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, Japan’s Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada and Belgium’s Development Cooperation Minister Charles Michel write in a Christian Science Monitor opinion piece that reflects on ongoing efforts to “finance development … alongside – and not in place of – public aid.”

The authors reflect on the success of innovative development financing, including “taxes on airline tickets to finance access to essential medicines through UNITAID, … and bonds secured by government pledges to finance for immunization (GAVI),” as well as efforts made to promote innovative development financing in their respective countries, before calling for the “[d]iscussion on innovative development financing” to be “further extended to the global political arena.”

The authors describe the findings of the Taskforce on International Financial Transaction for Development, a group tasked with examining options for development financing, before concluding, “For approaching [the MDGs], we should not be inward-looking. …We cannot just only rely on the traditional ODA. The real challenge today is designing an innovative mechanism based on strict governance and allocation criteria. It is time to act, and to do it in an exemplary fashion” (8/31).

Donors, Governments Must Address Malaria Drug Smuggling In Africa

In a Wall Street Journal opinion piece, Roger Bate, a Legatum Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, writes about Africa’s black market for malaria drugs. “In the short term, donated and subsidized products are not reaching the intended patients and their suffering continues; in the long term, black markets undermine legitimate suppliers and entrench illegal actors. Additionally traders, happy to deal in stolen goods, may search for more reliable supplies often leading to counterfeiting; over time, useless but well-packaged fakes replace stolen legitimate brands, endangering patients and increasing drug resistance,” according to Bate, who notes some of the findings from his research.

Though the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is aware of drug smuggling activity, “the Fund is slow to respond and denies a major problem exists. Meanwhile, it points to a lack of drug access to demand more financial support for the Fund,” Bate argues. The Global Fund and its donors must pay more attention to this situation and make improvements to address drug smuggling and the problems it creates, according to Bate.

“African governments should follow Uganda’s example in acknowledging there is a problem, and then introduce basic security measures to ensure that health officials always knows where drug shipments are within the distribution chain –something that is rarely done today,” he writes, before concluding: “If oversight doesn’t improve, donor largesse may actually worsen the health situation in parts of Africa, a truly unacceptable outcome” (8/31).

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