Today’s headlines

June 2, 2011 By Melissa Silverman

Must Reads
Who’s In the News

A New Approach to Food and Ag Policy (Dan Glickman – Agri-Pulse)

What could a former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, a fourth-generation farmer, an organic food advocate and an international development expert possibly have in common on food and agriculture policy?  The answer is we all agree that food and agriculture policy is in a stalemate and will be unable to meet the world’s long-term needs of production, nutrition, environment and rural communities.

Smart Power

US foreign aid efforts get a corporate boost (Jim Gold – MSNBC Today)

On Tuesday, the U.S. Agency for International Development unveiled a program to make it easier for more companies of all sizes to send professionals abroad to help local governments, small businesses and civic groups in developing nations. The new Center of Excellence for International Corporate Volunteerism was developed with IBM and CDC Development Solutions (CDS), a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that manages companies’ international volunteer initiatives.

Politics/Foreign Policy
Beyond Bullets and Bombs: Fixing the US Approach to Development in Pakistan (Nancy Birdsall, Wren Elhai, and Molly Kinder – Center for Global Development)

In a new CGD report, U.S. and Pakistani development experts urge a substantial revamp of the U.S. approach to Pakistan, saying that U.S. efforts to build prosperity in the nuclear-armed nation with a fledgling democratic government, burgeoning youth population, and shadowy intelligence services are not yet on course.

The G8 must deliver on past promises for women and children (Betsy McCallon – Poverty Matters blog)

At the G8 summit in Deauville, France last week, G8 leaders reaffirmed their commitment to improve the health of mothers and children in developing countries. This promise follows the launch of the Muskoka Initiative at last year’s Canadian-led G8 summit – a group of financial pledges totalling $5bn from G8 nations to improve maternal and child health to 2015. The 2011 G8 Deauville accountability report, released prior to last week’s summit, reported back on the state of the Muskoka Initiative but with critical gaps on expenditure information.

Will foreign aid dollars help or hurt democracy in the Middle East? (Janine R. Wedel – Huffington Post)

The goal of handing out foreign aid to foster “civil society” always sounds noble and well-intentioned. But you’ll forgive someone like me for being skeptical about the results. I saw up close how those dollars were deployed in Central and Eastern Europe some 20 years ago, and wrote about it in my book Collision and Collusion: The Strange Case of Western Aid to Eastern Europe. Useful contacts and exchanges were sometimes forged. But the result, more often than not, was that aid served to enrich a few favored cliques, in direct contradiction with stated aims of building democracy and engendering pluralism. Those in the West hoping to further cultivate the nascent “Arab Spring” would do well to heed the lessons of the post-Communist era.