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Netroots Nation panel video

For those unable to attend Netroots Nation in Pittsburgh earlier this month, here is the video of the UN Dispatch panel: Global Solutions for Global Poverty. I moderated, with commentary from OXFAM's Ray Offenheiser, Anita Sharma of the UN Millennium Campaign, Ginny Simmons from ONE and Matthew Yglesias.  Let us know what you think. 

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Malaria, Refugees and Life Saving Nets–Ken Bacon Remembered

Ken Bacon passed away this week.  We honor his memory by reposting this item he originally wrote for us in May 2009.  Please visit his memorial page on the website of Refugees International

When Refugees International visited the Nyabiheke camp for Congolese refugees in Rwanda, we asked a doctor there to describe the camp's biggest health problem and her most urgent need. Without hesitation, Dr. Ann Kao said the biggest problem in the camp was malaria, and her biggest need was bed nets to protect families from mosquito bites in their sleep.

We would have gotten the same answer in almost any refugee camp in Africa. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, 90% of all malaria infections occur in sub-Saharan Africa, where malaria is the leading killer of children. Refugees are particularly vulnerable because they often live in hastily constructed camps which can have poor drainage and sanitary facilities and few medical resources.

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Progress on the MDGs?

The 2009 MDG Report (pdf), leading into the 2010 MDG review conference that represents the last major recommitment before 2015, is both promising and disturbing.  Actual progress has been made, but the economic crisis is cutting severely into those gains, and, at this pace, the world will fall far short of achieving the Goals.

Overall, the number of people living in poverty (under $1.25 a day) had dropped by 400 million from 1990 to 2005 (1.4 billion) despite the growth in world population, an astounding number that, on its own, is proof that the Goals are achievable. However, the economic crisis chiseled away at that progress, and 90 million more people are expected to be added back to those rolls this year.  Success in reducing hunger worldwide is likewise being reversed.

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UN Plaza: Coup in Honduras

In this edition of UN Plaza, I interview Peter Hakim of the Inter-American Dialogue.  Peter discusses the origins of the coup in Honduras, the status of the negotiations to return the deposed President and what the United States and international community can do to keep the peace.  In the segment below, Peter offers his thoughts on what the coup in Honduras may say about the stability of other countries in Latin America.  

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On the eve of Hillary Clinton’s trip, an insider’s look at the Indian political scene

Eriposte is a regular contributor to The Left Coaster, where he frequently writes on issues pertaining to the Indian sub-continent. In his previous contribution to UN Dispatch, eriposte wrote about the link betweem rural poverty and extremism in Pakistan. 

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be in India from July 17 through July 21, visiting both Mumbai and New Delhi. This is a trip aimed at laying a foundation for a deeper and more strategic engagement with India. Interestingly, one of the leading Indian newspapers The Hindu reports that in Mumbai, "she will be staying at the Taj Mahal Hotel in an act of solidarity with the 26/11 victims" - a reference to one of the major sites targeted in the coordinated terrorist attacks last year (26/11).

Clinton will not visit Pakistan during this trip, implicitly sending a message that the United States no longer views India merely "through the Pakistan lens" - a message that was also indirectly conveyed earlier by eliminating India from the charter of Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke. In a recent speech, Secretary Clinton said "We see India as one of a few key partners worldwide who will help us shape the 21st century" and characterized this period as "a third era...U.S.-India 3.0". Some of topics that are expected to be discussed during her trip include global security, nuclear energy, climate change, trade and human development. Given the significance of this trip to US-India relations, this might be an appropriate moment to highlight some of the key players in India when it comes to foreign policy.

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Pakistan’s Malaria Emergency

On top of dealing with drones, a Taliban insurgency, and a government crackdown on that insurgency, the more than 2 million recently displaced persons in Pakistan will be forced to face a new and equally daunting challenge coming in three weeks, the rainy season and the malaria-bearing mosquitoes that soon follow.

This threat is particularly dire because the 18,000-plus families arriving every day, a migration that the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has called one the worst since the genocide in Rwanda, have been displaced from regions, the Swat, Lower Dir, and Buner districts of the Northwest Frontier Province, where malaria is not endemic. Refugees are ill-prepared to deal with the disease both because the refugee population has no pre-existing immunity to malaria and because the flow of internally displaced people (IDPs) is quickly overwhelming available resources, including access to life-saving bednets.

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Summit of the Americas – Let’s hope for a good lime

The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago has never been confused for a hotbed of international diplomacy -- the weather is hot, yes, but the diplomacy, not so much. As I prepared to head down to T&T to take up a diplomatic assignment a few years ago, a colleague with a full 15 years in the State Department looked at my name tag, which indicated my upcoming assignment, and said, "Port of Spain, now that's one I've never heard of, where is that?"

So, as President Obama, Secretary of State Clinton, UN Secretary General Ban and the rest of the hemisphere's leaders get ready for this year's Summit of the Americas, more than a few staffers, diplomats and journalists will be pulling out their atlases. One thing I'm sure they'll find in Trinidad is warm hospitality and, if they step away from the formal events, a good lime (more on that later). But, they will also find a small country facing many of the difficult issues that the Obama administration is currently trying to tackle.

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Tackling Global Health on the Last Mile: Reflections on World Health Day

In places where there are few cars, where roads remain unpaved, where basic infrastructure services such as clean water and electricity are scant, mobile phone technology has become an enabling power for millions of people. As many readers of UN Dispatch already know, this is particularly the case in the field of global health, where mobile technology is revolutionizing healthcare delivery in the developing world (see some examples here).

Today is World Health Day, a day set aside to highlight a priority area of concern for the World Health Organization. This year’s focus is on the safety of health facilities, and the readiness of health workers who treat those affected by emergencies – a challenge, particularly in remote and resource-poor environments where health workers may have infrequent contact with home offices.