Opinion: World Bank Health Lending, Africa Climate Change
Hold Off On Tripling Lending For International Health Efforts Until Quality of World Bank-Supported Work Improves
Before the World Bank moves forward with plans to triple its lending for international health efforts from $1 to $3 billion this year Richard Skolnik, who formerly led the World Bank's health efforts in the South Asia region, writes in a New York Daily News opinion piece that "it ought to consider a new report from its own Independent Evaluation Group," which recently revealed the failures of numerous World Bank-supported projects.
While highlighting parts of the report, Skolnik writes, "The bank cannot credibly seek to expand these efforts in response to the economic crisis if so many of its projects do not achieve their aims," even though "it ought to be relatively easy to establish linkages between bank investments and real benefits for the poor." The current economic crisis is not "a reason to act with haste," rather "it's more important than ever that every dollar of development assistance be used wisely." He concludes, "World Bank shareholders and stakeholders must ensure that the quality of the bank's health-related work improves" (Skolnik, New York Daily News, 5/19).
Africa Must Develop Consensus Position To Deal With Climate Change
Climate change "increases the risk of contracting vector-borne diseases like malaria," and a small rise in temperature could expose an additional 40 to 60 million Africans to these diseases, write former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and London School of Economics Professor Nicholas Stern in a Daily Nation opinion piece. "African governments need to decide how they will adapt their economies and protect their people, and to set out how the international community can support them," according to Annan and Stern.
In the piece, which focuses on development aspects related to climate change, the writers outline three ways to manage climate change in Africa because "recognition of Africa's moral case, as the region that is least responsible yet most vulnerable, is not enough." Although Africa is not homogenous, Annan and Stern conclude that "a strong common position for least developed countries is needed, championed by African Heads of State, and anchored with G77 and Chinese partners, as the cornerstone of an effective diplomatic and political campaign to secure a fair deal in Copenhagen" in December (Annan/Stern, Daily Nation, 5/19).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.