World AIDS Day

December 1, 2011 By Melissa Silverman

To mark World AIDS Day today, the ONE campaign is hosting an event featuring President Obama, former Presidents Bush and Clinton, President Kikwete of Tanzania, Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Barbara Lee which will be live streamed beginning at 10:00 a.m. Bono also made an appearance on The Daily Show last night to talk about the beginning of the end of AIDS.

Must Reads

Who’s in the News

No Retreat in the Fight Against AIDS (George W. Bush, Wall Street Journal)

On this Dec. 1, World AIDS Day, the promise of progress against the disease has never been more vivid—or more fragile…Yet at the same time that a renewed commitment on AIDS is needed, there is a risk it could be weakened. America and Europe face fiscal constraints. During moments of economic hardship, there is a temptation for Americans to disengage from the world. But isolationism is always shortsighted and too often leads to greater hardship and despair in places that need our help.  In a world where distance no longer provides protection, America and Europe can feel the sudden impact of events far from home.

In defense of smart foreign assistance (Rajiv Shah, CNN)

From keeping the development pledges we made at the Gleneagles donor summit, to delivering major reforms to our aid through an effort called USAID Forward, to launching a global food security initiative called Feed the Future that will lift 18 million people out of hunger and poverty, the United States has shown its commitment to be a modern, global leader in international development.  But delivering effective aid is a two-way street – it also requires leadership from our partners. That’s why we will also strengthen our partnerships with foreign governments that show commitments to economic reform and democratic governance.

A Decade of Progress on AIDS (Bono, New York Times)

Yet today, here we are, talking seriously about the “end” of this global epidemic. There are now 6.6 million people on life-saving AIDS medicine…This is the tipping point we have been campaigning for. We’re nearly there.  How did we get here? America led. I mean really led.  The United States performed the greatest act of heroism since it jumped into World War II. When the history books are written, they will show that millions of people owe their lives to the Yankee tax dollar, to just a fraction of an aid budget that is itself less than 1 percent of the federal budget.

Smart Power

Clinton warning over aid from China (Ben Bland and Geoff Dyer, Financial Times)

Clinton has urged developing nations to be “smart shoppers” when accepting foreign aid from China and other new donors, as she became the first US secretary of state in more than 50 years to visit Burma on Wednesday.  Speaking at a development aid conference en route to Burma, Mrs. Clinton warned that powerful emerging economies may be more interested in exploiting natural resources than promoting real development… While Mrs. Clinton did not single out any particular donor countries, China is the largest economic backer of Burma.

Foreign Aid Is Not a Rathole (Ezekiel J. Emanuel, The New York Times)

Many Americans feel that foreign assistance is like money poured down a rathole. The United States contributes more money every year — spending nearly a third of all global health aid — while tangible results in developing countries can be hard to see.  But the “rathole” argument is dead wrong.

Hillary Clinton declares US support for aid initiative (Mark Tran, The Guardian)

Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, has given a strong boost to aid campaigners when she announced US backing for a transparency initiative to better track aid flows. The International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) will consist of a registry that assembles all relevant aid information from governments, NGOs and foundations that will make it easier to track the movement of aid money around the globe and monitor its impact.

Obama to announce new steps to combat AIDS (Julie Pace, Associated Press)

President Barack Obama is renewing the U.S. commitment to ending AIDS Thursday, setting new goals for getting more people access to life-saving drugs and boosting spending on treatment in the U.S. by $50 million dollars…Senior Obama administration officials said the president will set a goal of getting antiretroviral drugs to 2 million more people around the world by the end of 2013. In addition, the U.S. will aim to get the drugs to 1.5 million HIV-positive pregnant women to prevent them from passing the virus to their children.

Politics/Foreign Policy

Supercommittee failure shame? Not for its members (Seung Min Kim, Politico)

The supercommittee’s failure has been described as a colossal embarrassment and just another emblem of a dysfunctional Congress that can’t get anything right.  So what are the members of the imploded committee doing in the aftermath?  Promoting and spinning their work on the panel, of course — showing that it’s perhaps only in Washington that abject failure can be quickly translated into a political advantage.  In recent days, the panel members have hit the hustings hard to work the blame game on something that ended up a disaster.