Weekly Round-up

This week in development…

  • With the first-of-its-kind Africa Leaders’ Summit fast approaching, CSIS released Africa in the Wider World, a collection of essays by CSIS experts on the issues and trends central to the Summit, including trade, security, and governance.
  • Following its 13th review session, the UN’s Open Working Group (OWG) released the final version of its proposed Post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on July 19, which are expected to be presented to UN Member States in September 2014.
    • The 17 SDGs include 169 specific statistical benchmarks, with emphasis on agriculture, health, education, gender equality, improved access to water and “modern” energy sources, economic opportunity, and sustainable development practices.
  • On July 22, the United Kingdom’s DFID hosted the inaugural Girls Summit in London in cooperation with UNICEF. The summit hoped bring greater attention to issues of child, early, and forced marriage (CEFM) and female genital mutilation (FMG).
    • Advocates and survivors, as well as representatives from the public and private sector, discussed ways to put an end to these practices.

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Laos, US Legacy, and Unexploded Ordnance

By Elena Rosenblum

For decades, Laos’ economic development and relationship with the United States has been strained by unexploded ordnance (UXO), a legacy of the Vietnam War.

Roughly 30 percent of the two million tons of bombs that the United States dropped in Laos during the Vietnam War failed to detonate on impact. To date, only about one percent of affected land has been cleared and over twenty-thousand people have been killed or injured by UXO since 1975.

However, in January 2014, Congress allocated $12 million in funding towards UXO assistance programs in Laos as part of the omnibus spending bill, four times the average annual UXO budget from 1995-2013. This creates an opportunity for the United States to address a key flashpoint in U.S.-Lao relations while making strategic development inroads with the largest single benefactor of Chinese investment in the region.

Since the end of the bombing in 1975, the United States has provided $74 million in UXO assistance in Laos, with forty-percent allocated in the last five years.

Laos receives an annual $4 billion from China in mining, hydropower, and agricultural investments.

UXO has hampered transportation infrastructure development in Laos

UXO has hampered transportation infrastructure development in Laos

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Amina Mohammed, Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on Post-2015 Development Planning

“For this ambitious development framework to take shape and unfold there is general agreement among the international community that a business-as-usual approach is neither desirable nor feasible. A paradigm shift must take place to bring about a radical change of course and action.” –Amina J. Mohammed, speech at the 19th General Assembly of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Sydney, Australia on November 15, 2013

Who is she?

Dr. Amina J. Mohammed is a key player in the post-2015 development process, serving as the Special Adviser to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on post-2015 development planning. In this role, she acts as the link between the Secretary-General, his High Level Panel of Eminent Persons (HLP), and the General Assembly’s Open Working Group (OWG), among other stakeholders.


Prior to this position, Ms. Mohammed served as Founder and CEO of the Center for Development Policy Solutions and as an Adjunct Professor for the Master’s in Development Practice program at Columbia University. Previously, she acted as the Senior Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria on the Millennium Development Goals after serving three presidents over a period of six years. In 2005, she was charged with the coordination of Nigeria’s debt relief funds toward the achievement of the MDGs. From 2002-2005, Ms. Mohammed coordinated the Task Force on Gender and Education for the UN Millennium Project.

Earlier in her career, Amina Mohammed was Founder and Executive Director of Afri-Projects Consortium, a multidisciplinary firm of engineers and quantity surveyors. She also worked with the architectural engineering firm Archcon Nigeria in association with Norman and Dawbarn, UK. Continue reading

New Public Private Partnerships in Education

By Sarah Carson

Public-private partnerships (PPPs) in education are often categorized based solely on funding and management—i.e., private funding and public management and vice versa.  However, these categories oversimplify the complex partnership structures developed in recent years to meet one of today’s most pressing development challenges – youth education and workforce training.

Education PPPs 1 (1) Continue reading

Youth, Soccer, and Skills: Beyond the World Cup

By Katherine Perry

The 2014 World Cup came to a close this weekend, having inspired feelings of anticipation, excitement, and pride among more than 3 billion global viewers.  This was a youthful Cup, with an average player age of 26.8 years, and Ghana with the youngest team of all, with an average team player age of 24.9 years.  Among the most ardent of local and international fans were undoubtedly global youth; FIFA estimates over 13,000,000 youth participated in the world’s top ten largest soccer federations alone by 2007.

With its impressive global reach, soccer is increasingly recognized as a unique and flexible tool for promoting development, and particularly, youth-specific development.  Recognizing the importance of the sport for peace and development (SPD) approach, global cross-sectoral programs are incorporating skills-based curriculum in soccer programs to foster healthy life choices, life skills development, and sustainable lifelong success among youthful participants.

Maracanã Stadium

Brazil’s iconic Maracanã Stadium

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