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UN Report Released Today on Maternal and Child Deaths

While over 10 million women and children in developing countries continue to die every year from preventable and treatable causes, a new report released today by UN agencies and partners calls for improved health care systems to reduce maternal and child deaths:

04-16-who-maternal.jpg

‘Tracking Progress in Maternal, Newborn and Child Survival’ finds that few of the 68 developing countries that account for 97 per cent of maternal and child deaths worldwide are providing the necessary health care to save lives.

The 2008 report was released today as leading global health experts, policy-makers and parliamentarians convene in Cape Town, South Africa, to address further efforts to slash maternal and child mortality by 2015, part of a set of internationally-agreed targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

And this is not to mention that donor funding for maternal, newborn and child health has actually increased over the past few years. So while there has been much improvement, the fact that health care needs are so high in these countries still result in health care programs being “grossly unfunded,” says the report.

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UN Report Released Today on Maternal and Child Deaths

While over 10 million women and children in developing countries continue to die every year from preventable and treatable causes, a new report released today by UN agencies and partners calls for improved health care systems to reduce maternal and child deaths:

04-16-who-maternal.jpg

‘Tracking Progress in Maternal, Newborn and Child Survival’ finds that few of the 68 developing countries that account for 97 per cent of maternal and child deaths worldwide are providing the necessary health care to save lives.

The 2008 report was released today as leading global health experts, policy-makers and parliamentarians convene in Cape Town, South Africa, to address further efforts to slash maternal and child mortality by 2015, part of a set of internationally-agreed targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

And this is not to mention that donor funding for maternal, newborn and child health has actually increased over the past few years. So while there has been much improvement, the fact that health care needs are so high in these countries still result in health care programs being “grossly unfunded,” says the report.

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McCain Touts Differences from Bush on Global Warming

More support from the Republican party for action on climate change, as John McCain responds to a question from Hardball’s Chris Matthews on MSNBC about where he differs with Bush. Here’s what McCain had to say:

So what’s an area of disagreement? Climate change. Climate change. I believe that climate change is real. I think we have to act…

(APPLAUSE)

Absolutely right Senator. He continued on to try to convince those who still deny the reality of the climate crisis to come on board anyway:

I would just like to put the question this way to my fellow Americans. Suppose that we are wrong and there’s no such thing as climate change but we go ahead and adopt green technologies and we reduce greenhouse gas emissions? All we’ve done is give our kids a cleaner planet, OK? But suppose…

(APPLAUSE)

Suppose we are right and do nothing. Suppose we just continue this endless debate and continue the increase of greenhouse gas emissions, and we hand these wonderful Americans a damaged planet? I think the answer to that is pretty obvious.

An interesting call to action from John McCain on climate, to be sure. Citing this as a departure from Bush’s policies however, may soon prove problematic as Bush has also indicated recently that the Administration will push for legislation regulating greenhouse gases.

Given that all three frontrunner candidates for the Presidency are on board for fighting global warming, the November election, no matter the outcome, will almost definitely spell progress for agreeing on a successor to the Kyoto Protocol.

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McCain Touts Differences from Bush on Global Warming

More support from the Republican party for action on climate change, as John McCain responds to a question from Hardball’s Chris Matthews on MSNBC about where he differs with Bush. Here’s what McCain had to say:

So what’s an area of disagreement? Climate change. Climate change. I believe that climate change is real. I think we have to act…

(APPLAUSE)

Absolutely right Senator. He continued on to try to convince those who still deny the reality of the climate crisis to come on board anyway:

I would just like to put the question this way to my fellow Americans. Suppose that we are wrong and there’s no such thing as climate change but we go ahead and adopt green technologies and we reduce greenhouse gas emissions? All we’ve done is give our kids a cleaner planet, OK? But suppose…

(APPLAUSE)

Suppose we are right and do nothing. Suppose we just continue this endless debate and continue the increase of greenhouse gas emissions, and we hand these wonderful Americans a damaged planet? I think the answer to that is pretty obvious.

An interesting call to action from John McCain on climate, to be sure. Citing this as a departure from Bush’s policies however, may soon prove problematic as Bush has also indicated recently that the Administration will push for legislation regulating greenhouse gases.

Given that all three frontrunner candidates for the Presidency are on board for fighting global warming, the November election, no matter the outcome, will almost definitely spell progress for agreeing on a successor to the Kyoto Protocol.

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Is Zimbabwe on the Security Council’s Agenda?

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says it is. South Africa, this month’s president of the Security Council, however, doesn’t think so. From the AP’s Edith Lederer:

[South Africa's] U.N. Ambassador, Dumisani Kumalo, insists that Zimbabwe is not on the agenda because the matter is being dealt with by the Southern African Development Community.

SADC leaders held a summit in Zambia that ended before dawn Sunday with a weak declaration that failed to criticize the absent Mugabe. The declaration called for the expeditious verification of election results in the presence of the candidates or their agents “within the rule of law,” and urged “all parties to accept the results when they are announced.”

South Africa has traditionally been criticized for not pushing Mugabe harder on reform, so punting the issue entirely to a regional organization seems a little suspicious. Kumalo, however, seems to recognize that such a pressing concern — the stalemate could possibly lead to the end of the Mugabe’s 28-year reign — likely can’t avoid mention at such a prominent Security Council meeting, particularly when the U.S., Britain, and France, have all indicated that they intend to discuss Zimbabwe.

‘Those are huge countries,’ Kumalo said. ‘They can raise whatever they want to raise and all I have said was that we don’t expect Zimbabwe to be discussed tomorrow (Wednesday). But they can raise anything.’

This is not just a power move by the “huge countries” of the West, of course. At a meeting dedicated to improving the UN’s cooperation with regional African organizations, it seems only appropriate to discuss how the UN, AU, and SADC can work together to ensure that Zimbabwe’s election results are determined freely, fairly, and transparently.

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Is Zimbabwe on the Security Council’s Agenda?

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says it is. South Africa, this month’s president of the Security Council, however, doesn’t think so. From the AP’s Edith Lederer:

[South Africa's] U.N. Ambassador, Dumisani Kumalo, insists that Zimbabwe is not on the agenda because the matter is being dealt with by the Southern African Development Community.

SADC leaders held a summit in Zambia that ended before dawn Sunday with a weak declaration that failed to criticize the absent Mugabe. The declaration called for the expeditious verification of election results in the presence of the candidates or their agents “within the rule of law,” and urged “all parties to accept the results when they are announced.”

South Africa has traditionally been criticized for not pushing Mugabe harder on reform, so punting the issue entirely to a regional organization seems a little suspicious. Kumalo, however, seems to recognize that such a pressing concern — the stalemate could possibly lead to the end of the Mugabe’s 28-year reign — likely can’t avoid mention at such a prominent Security Council meeting, particularly when the U.S., Britain, and France, have all indicated that they intend to discuss Zimbabwe.

‘Those are huge countries,’ Kumalo said. ‘They can raise whatever they want to raise and all I have said was that we don’t expect Zimbabwe to be discussed tomorrow (Wednesday). But they can raise anything.’

This is not just a power move by the “huge countries” of the West, of course. At a meeting dedicated to improving the UN’s cooperation with regional African organizations, it seems only appropriate to discuss how the UN, AU, and SADC can work together to ensure that Zimbabwe’s election results are determined freely, fairly, and transparently.

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