Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Ambassador Brings a New Perspective to Economic Aid

Today, the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) elected Slovakian Ambassador Miloš Koterec as President of ECOSOC.  The new President has emphasized that given the current economic climate, ideas surrounding development must change. Furthermore, Mr.Koterec stressed that new methods have to be implemented to increase cooperation between donor and aid-recepient nations. 
Mr.Koterec has said that, "Gone is the old binary division where rich nations dispense aid and poor ones receive it.” Traditional donors are no longer considered the most generous. New donors, as well as the private sector, have become increasingly involved in international aid and economic development. In an effort to create and support effective economic relationships between donor and aid-recepient nations, Mr.Koterec has called for greater discussion in the next Development Cooperation Forum (DFC).
Sustainable development is a high priority for the new ECOSOC President. This past September, Mr.Koterec presented numerous sustainable development initiatives, as well as five global mandates to ECOSOC. These initiatives emphasized the empowerment of the youth, the prevention of natural disasters, and supporting transitioning countries. Mr.Koterec has stated that, “I strongly believe that ECOSOC is well placed and well equipped to become the central place for follow-up to Rio+20. We must deepen our efforts to achieve the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals, our main framework for development to 2015."The slovakian Ambassador Miloš Koterec is ushering a new age of international aid and development.
-Akshika Patel 

SOURCE: UN News Centre

UN Helps Rural Farmers Climb Out of Poverty

In an effort to alleviate poverty among farmers in Liberia, the UN International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) has agreed to loan $24.9 million. The Liberian government will utilize the funding for the "tree crop revitalization support project". By improving cocoa and coffee production, this program will effect more than 15,000 smallholder cocoa and coffee famers in the region.

The funds will mainly be distributed in Northern Liberia, where most of the cocoa and coffee farmers live. By reviving 50% of the existing plantations, this program will increase the income of cocoa and coffee producers. IFAD has already invested up to $38.3million throughout five different Liberia targeted programs. It is because of UN aid given towards alleviating poverty in Liberia, that 30,000 households have benefitted.

-Akshika Patel
                                                                                                                    SOURCE: UN News Centre

Thursday, January 05, 2012

South Sudan Declares State of Disaster, Opportunity for Change

Photo Courtesy of Reuters Blog

South Sudan has recently declared a state of disaster due to increasing violent clashes between rival ethnic groups in Jonglei.  By declaring a state of disaster, aid agencies and humanitarian organizations would be allowed to move in quickly in order to deliver much needed food, medicine and shelter.

Since becoming an independent nation last July, ethnic clashes in South Sudan have caused somewhere around 100,000 people to flee.  Though some reports show that more than 150 people have been killed in these clashes, the country’s Information Minister, Mariel Benjamin Barnaba, can only confirm between 20 to 30 deaths.  He also insists that the area is now completely under government control and he “could guarantee the security of any aid workers who went to the area.”

It is reported that these clashes began as cattle raids, but have spiraled out of control.  Conflicts such as these "cattle vendettas," as well as other clashes between rival groups, are common in South Sudan.  The United Nations says that about 350,000 people were displaced as a result of this kind of violence last year. 

Intercommunal violence like this poses a major challenge for the fledgling government in South Sudan.  Being a newly independent state, the country is faced with the task of establishing an effective system of governance. Furthermore, South Sudan is one of the world's poorest regions.  It has hardly any roads, schools, medical clinics, or other vital infrastructure.  The lack of economic development within the country only fuels instability and leads to a higher rate of clashes like these recent ones in Jonglei.  

Our hope here at The Borgen Project is that by declaring a state of disaster in South Sudan, aid agencies and humanitarian organizations will be allowed to affect the political and economic development in this country.  Not only do these organizations have the opportunity to affect the immediate basic needs of the people of South Sudan, but they also have the unique opportunity to help establish a bit of stability in the region by providing humanitarian aid.

-Ashley Hofferber 


Borgen Interns Test New Red Carpet

On a sunny Thursday morning, three interns make their way to catch the eyes of many passerbys of Pioneer Square while testing out the new, but very classic, red carpet with a photo op.  The Borgen Project's back drop isn't too shabby either.  It was a great way to display who we are and possibly intrigue onlookers with what we do.  Most certainly a great bonding experience for the lucky three individuals.            

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Obama's New Tattoo... Doubtful

We've heard the rumors and seen the Obama tattoo photo...

Official response: We dig it, but we're highly skeptical that President Obama decided to get a Borgen Project tattoo on his trip to Hawaii. Altered photo no doubt. Enough said.

Economic Crisis to Stump Latin American Growth

UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) has released a report warning that growth in regions of Latin America will see a further dip going from 4.3 percent in 2011 to 3.7 percent in 2012.  Of course, not all nations are facing the same economic and political plight.  The significantly complicated state of the global economic environment, in particular the deep crisis of the Eurozone, most certainly impacts this region on "the real channel - exports, prices, foreign investment, remittances, and tourism - and the financial channel".  It is essential to look at the economic performance of developed nations, for a fall in activities could lead to a fall in demand for goods, thus negatively affecting regional exports and price of principal export products.

ECLAC presented some economic policy challenges that include:
  • preparing for eventual deterioration of the international situation as a whole
  • considering possible sudden changes and delay of the impact of macroeconomic policies
  • designing a fiscal policy package for the protection of jobs
With these predictions in play, what will become of these Latin American nations?

-Georisa Chang

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Financial Consortium To Alleviate Global Poverty

So improving financial services and financial systems in part can help alleviate global poverty?  Certainly!  Microfinance allows for more businesses to run,  which leads to more job creation, increasing economic growth, and thus reducing the number of people living in severe poverty.  The concept is fairly simple.  Check out this video!

-Georisa Chang
SOURCE: Consortium on Financial Systems and Poverty

Monday, December 19, 2011

Children Tell It Like It Is

These young advocates connect the dots between our investments in US global leadership and job creation at home providing compelling explanations of the benefits of investing in development and diplomacy programs.  It's their futures, why shouldn't they care? 

-Georisa Chang

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

State of Silent Crisis

Urgent action needs to take place now for mortality rates in Central African Republic (CAR) are skyrocketing through the roof.  Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), medical aid group, has come forth and called on donor governments and development agencies to come through with their commitments of foreign assistance, whether it be through funds or humanitarian acts.  As one of world's poorest countries, ranking 179 out of 187 countries in the 2011 UN Human Development Index, life expectancy in CAR is 48 (second lowest in the world).  Cause of most deaths?  Malnutrition and diseases, like malaria, HIV and Aids, that could have been prevented or treated if necessary resources were at their disposal.  Also, with the notorious workings of Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), violence, rape, and abduction are contributing factors to the high death rates.  

Sure, health funding is allocated, but it appears that international donors are becoming less involved dropping from $39m in 2005 to $9.9m in 2009.  So, the issue at hand, accountability.  People need to start stepping up to the plate and be good on their commitments for their lives are ultimately in your hands.    

Sean Healey, MSF humanitarian affairs officer, said "The Central African Republican falls into the category of forgotten crises.  It is not receiving the humanitarian commitment that it should."

-Georisa Chang

SOURCE: The Guardian

Monday, December 05, 2011

Congolese Women Will Rise

Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues, talks about her involvement with The City of Joy, global feminism movement, and why gender equality should be on the minds of more men.  Watch this, it is very inspiring!

Women of Democratic Republic of Congo

-Georisa Chang
SOURCE: The Guardian