Friday, June 27, 2008

"The Survival Project: One Child at a Time" on CNN 7/6

From UNICEF...
You won't want to miss a remarkable program airing on CNN on Sunday, July 6 at 8 and 11 pm (ET).

"The Survival Project: One Child at a Time" is an hour-long special that explores why, each day, more than 26,000 children die from preventable causes, and how we at UNICEF are doing whatever it takes to save young lives.

CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, will host the program and UNICEF Ambassador Lucy Liu will participate in a panel discussion on the issues. There will also be a special announcement of the newest celebrity Ambassador to join our ranks.

Tune in to this historic broadcast and then visit to reaffirm your commitment to the fight for child survival.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sachs discussion coming up, June 30!

How's your reading coming?

This is your reminder that there are 5 days left before our on-line discussion of Part One of Jeffery Sach's book "Common Wealth." I'll blog about some parts that grabbed my interest and then you get a chance to weigh in on the comment section. You can comment on other aspects of Part One, agree with my observations or tell me I'm way off base!
I hope to see you here!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

CALL CONGRESS on Mon, June 25 to support PEPFAR

Five years ago, Congress passed the United States Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria Act of 2003, which authorized PEPFAR, an historic effort to combat HIV/AIDS, and the largest commitment ever by a single country to a global health initiative. Today, Congress is poised to renew and expand that effort by passing the Tom Lantos and Henry J. Hyde Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Reauthorization Act of 2008 (H.R.5501, S.2731). The Lantos-Hyde Act authorizes $50 billion over five years for these three diseases of poverty, continuing our leadership against AIDS and malaria, and stepping up our response to tuberculosis by authorizing up to $4billion in funding. (For more background on the Lantos-Hyde Act, please read the June Action Sheet .)

Despite broad bipartisan support, Senate action was stalled for months by seven senators (lead by Sen. Coburn (R-OK)), who had policy and funding concerns with the bill. Growing media and civil society pressure finally spurred Senate leadership into action, and on June 19, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) set June 24 as the deadline for negotiations. On June 24, Senator Reid publicly stated his hope that the negotiations between Senators Biden (D-DE), Lugar (R-IN), Enzi (R-WY), Coburn (R-OK) and the White House would allow him to call a vote in the immediate future.

This week — as early as today — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid could schedule a floor time and a vote on the Lantos-Hyde Global HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria Act of 2008. While we are happy that passage of this bill before Congress adjourns for the July 4th recess is appearing more likely, we are very concerned that there may be harmful amendments offered during debate. We are also working with Senate allies to offer an amendment to restore critical TB policy language to the bill.


Please call your senators NOW and ask them to:

+support the Unanimous Consent vote
+Support the Lantos-Hyde bill on the floor of the Senate
+Oppose any amendments that reduce funding or put earmarks in for abstinence only.

Detailed information on what to say is below.


Hello. My name is ______________ __ and I’m calling from ________________.

I am calling to thank the Senator for XXX and to ask him/her to support a comprehensive and effective Lantos-Hyde bill when it comes to the floor.

I hope Senator ___________ _____ will vote against any amendment to cut funding from the bill below the current $50 billion authorization. That funding is badly needed to fight AIDS but also to scale up to a real response on the global crises of tuberculosis and malaria as well.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Senator Durbin on the Food Crisis

This is Durbin's response to my letter to him about the food crisis. My apologies for typos as I typed this in from a hard copy!
Thank you for contacting me about the importance of addressing the global food crisis. I appreciate haring from you and share your concerns.

More than 800 million people around the world do not have enough food to eat. Many of them have resorted to extreme measures in an attempt to combat their hunger. Many Haitians, for instance, are forced to eat cakes made of mud mixed with a little bit of oil and flour. The lack of access to food has already led to riots in more than 30 countries, including Bangladesh, Egypt and Haiti.

Over the last few years, prices for staples such as wheat, corn, and rice have doubled or tripled. The largest increases have taken place in the last few months. Rising food prices have cause the World Food Program to announce that without emergency funding it will be forced to reduce the amount of food it provides an also end some of its programs.

There is an urgent need for action. On April 15, 2008, I wrote a letter to President Bush which was cosigned by Senators Joe Biden of Delaware and John Kerry of Massachusetts urging the President to request additional funds to address the looming international food crisis. In May 2008, I supported a Senate measure to increase our nation's food assistance funding to a total of $1.245 billion, which is $500 million more than the President requested.

I will continue to work to address the dramatically escalating food prices that threaten to cause widespread hunger and social unrest around the world. I appreciate your support in this effort.

Thank you for contacting me. Please feel free to stay in touch.

Richard J. Durbin
United States Senator

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Ghana to be among 1st African countries to acheive MDG #1

Accra, June 20, GNA – Dr. Daouda Toure, UNDP Resident Representative in Ghana, on Friday noted that Ghana would be among the very first African countries that have achieved the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving poverty.
He, however, pointed out that there were other goals such as high infant mortality, high maternal mortality, among others, which were still high in the country and there was the need to take steps to achieve those targets by 2015. The MDGs were signed by 189 countries in September 2000.
The Millennium Development Goals are a set of objectives set by the United Nations to help all peoples in the world to live with minimum dignity.
Dr. Toure was speaking at the launch of the Global Monitoring Report, 2008 on the theme: “MDGs and the Environment – Agenda for Inclusive and Sustainable Development,” organized by the Christian Council of Ghana in collaboration with the International Monetary Fund, The United Nations Development Programme and the World Bank, Ghana Office.
The programme brought together policy makers, civil society groups and individuals to dialogue about development and its relation to the environment.
Dr. Toure said there was the need for policy makers and advocacy groups to relate the MDGs to the needs and priorities of the local communities, adding, “localize the goals” to suit the needs of the people.
He also noted that Ghana was one of the 10 pilot countries that the World Bank, IMF, African Development Bank (AfDB), the European Union and the UN used to test government structure and to look at areas where there was the need to seal loopholes.
Responding to questions that the level of awareness about the MDGs among the populace was low, Dr Toure said the MDGs was not supposed to be a slogan that people would recite but how they related to them.
He stressed that the MDGs were only a minimal package that the world owed to humanity.
Ms. Punam Chuhan-Pole, Economist at the World Bank, who launched the report, said Ghana was on track to achieve the goals of gender equality and access to water and there was the need for a good investment climate.
She said the world was on track to achieve the poverty reduction and gender parity goals but there were also serious shortfalls in the areas of nutrition, education, health and sanitation goals.
“Africa lags behind on all the MDGs; South Asia on most human development goals,” she said, and expressed hope that most MDGs were still achievable in most countries.
Ms Chuhan-Pole noted that, it was critical that developing countries managed their natural resources well since most of them depended such resources.
She suggested an increase in agricultural production in Africa as a way to achieve growth.
She further pointed out that one-third of the developing world’s population representing about 1.6 billion people did not have access to electricity and noted that even though aid to Africa had risen, it was mostly in the form of debt relief.
“The time to act is now,” she said, and reminded the people that it was only a few years to 2015.
Mrs Bernice Sam, National Programmes Coordinator for Women in Law and Development in Africa, a non-governmental organization of women lawyers, said achieving the MDGs was everybody’s business and called on individuals as well as government officials to make efforts to help achieve the goals by 2015.
Mr Arnold McIntyre, IMF Resident Representative, noted that it was important for countries to understand what international cooperation meant for them.
Professor Kwaku Appiah-Adu, Head of Policy Coordination, Monitoring and Evaluation and the Director of Governance Project at the Office of the President, said government was doing all it could to ensure that Ghana achieved the MDGs.
He mentioned energy, water and roads as the current government priority areas and urged developed partners to combine their poverty reduction programmes in Africa with growth-related activities where the country’s human resource base would grow.
Prof. Appiah-Adu called on stakeholders to join in the campaign to achieve the MDGs and said civil society groups could challenge the government of strategies to help facilitate the achievement of MDGs.

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