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Mark Lowcock, Emergency Relief Coordinator and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, United Nations
Masood Ahmed, President, Center for Global Development
With more than 145 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, more than 65 million people forcibly displaced, growing risks of climate-driven natural hazards, food insecurity on the rise and four countries struggling to stave off famine, the global humanitarian system faces exceptional challenges. As needs outstrip funding, it is clear that traditional ways of doing business will not suffice. These global crises cannot be addressed without rethinking the link between humanitarian response and development assistance.
CGD is delighted to welcome Mark Lowcock, less than two months into his new position as the Emergency Relief Coordinator and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs. As the UN system’s lead for global relief activities, he is charged with coordinating how humanitarian agencies respond and work together to address global emergencies. After delivering remarks, he will join CGD president Masood Ahmed to discuss successes, challenges, priorities, and reforms for the global humanitarian system in a time of urgent and growing need.
In outlining his vision for U.S. development assistance, US Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Mark Green has emphasized fidelity to an overarching purpose—ending its need to exist. Consistent with this objective, USAID has been developing a new strategic approach that seeks to more systematically orient its programming toward building countries’ capacity to plan, finance, and manage their own development. A key component of this “journey to self-reliance” framework is a set of metrics that will help assess each country’s progress along their journey. The metrics will help inform strategic planning around the nature of USAID’s partnership with the country, shape development dialogue, and help inform thinking about strategic transitions.
Five members of the Zimbabwe Working Group traveled to Harare May 20-25 to meet with the government, opposition leaders, and a wide range of business, religious, and civil society organizations to assess prospects for free and fair elections and for meaningful political and economic reform. Please join us to hear from the delegation as they share their findings and recommendations for US policy.
For over a decade, Boko Haram has waged a campaign of terror across northeastern Nigeria. In 2014, the kidnapping of 276 girls in Chibok shocked the world, giving rise to the #BringBackOurGirls movement. Yet Boko Haram’s campaign of violence against women and girls goes far beyond the Chibok abductions. From its inception, the group has systematically exploited women to advance its aims. Perhaps more disturbing still, some Nigerian women have chosen to become active supporters of the group, even sacrificing their lives as suicide bombers. These events cannot be understood without first acknowledging the long-running marginalization of women in Nigerian society. Having conducted extensive fieldwork throughout the region, Matfess provides a vivid and thought-provoking account of Boko Haram’s impact on the lives of Nigerian women, as well as the wider social and political context that fuels the group’s violence.
In Navigation by Judgment, Dan Honig argues that high-quality implementation of foreign aid programs often requires contextual information that cannot be seen by those in distant headquarters. Tight controls and a focus on reaching pre-set measurable targets often prevent front-line workers from using skill, local knowledge, and creativity to solve problems in ways that maximize the impact of foreign aid.