Syrian Peace Conference Hits Roadblocks

Geneva Conference Hits Bumps In The Road
The path toward a political solution in Syria hit a roadblock when opposition forces said they were unwilling to participate in a peace conference as long as Assad continued to attack rebel forces.

In addition, opposition forces said removal of Assad from power had to be a stated goal of the conference or they would not attend.

A coalition of rebels adopted a declaration calling for “the removal of the head of the regime and the security and military command,” reports The Christian Science Monitor.

Lifting Of Arms Embargo In Syria Met With Doubts In Middle East
Embraced in Europe and the US, the decision by the European Union to lift the arms embargo on rebel forces in Syria has met with mixed reaction in the Middle East.

The BBC reported that many editorials weighed in against intervention because they believed the goal of the West was to remove Bashar al-Assad from power, rather than to find a political solution.

A Revolution In How International Aid Is Delivered
For decades aid was handed to developing countries with little thought as to how it would be used. In fact, the aid recipients had little say in how the money would be distributed. But that is changing.

In 2005 many nations signed onto the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, but it was not until Tuesday that the US officially signed onto the initiative.

“The reform, which now includes close to 60 signatories, is driven by coordination. Donors, be they contributing governments or non-state actors, don’t just go into developing countries and start implementing their own programs. Instead, they’re asked to contribute to a single health plan, which is managed and implemented by the government receiving the aid,” reports The Atlantic.

A new report by the Center for Strategic & International Studies recommends the US take a stronger role in reforming development aid, particularly in setting development goals for 2015.

With the process to further develop the Millennium Development Goals, it will be critical for the US be involved “to ensure UN goals continue to reflect U.S. strategies, to generate U.S. input into the future development agenda, and to foster political buy-in into growing development needs that are likely to go beyond traditional U.S. priorities,” the report notes.

Progress Achieved Through Development Goals
The value of the MDGs, as well as the success of the program in Africa, is reflected in a new report published by the One organization.

While growth has slowed in many top-tier nations, the emerging economies have led a global recovery, including many sub-Saharan African countries the report found.

Demonstrating a particular resilience, sub-Saharan nations have witnessed growth rates averaging 5% over the past seven years and “coupled with increased development assistance over the past decade from donor countries, has delivered dramatic progress on a number of fronts. Overall, the number of people living in extreme poverty declined from 43% of the world’s population in 1990 to 21% in 2010.”

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