Blogging has been a little difficult as we’ve been in meetings all day, heavily guarded ones where a Blackberry under the table is likely set off an alarm. Secret Service agents are tripping over each others’ earpieces.
A quick update.
First, I can see a duck with a golden beak opposite. The UN is full of surprises.
Second. Due to gridlock in Manhattan and the markets yesterday, our ONE campaign meeting with Senator John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin morphed into a phone call. Amongst other things, we discussed malaria, that preventable treatable disease that means 2,200 kids in Africa die each day because of a mosquito bite. There’s a lot of excitement at the UN today because it looks like we are finally going to squash those bugs, metaphorically speaking. Senators Obama and McCain both spoke at CGI earlier to commit to this if they get elected. I went to the Malaria No More event where Bill Gates and Gordon Brown, Bob Zoellick, Global Fund chair Rajat Gupta and a host of developing world presidents lead by President Kikwete of Tanzania (who also leads the African Union) declared war on the bloodsucking anopheles mosquitoes in countries like Ethiopia and Rwanda, where dramatic scale up of bed nets has cut deaths by more than half. WOW, seriously WOW. The room committed an extra $3bn to the drive of “no more malarial deaths by 2015.” Hosting the event are Ray Chambers and Peter Chernin who have pulled the private sector in – their money and their know-how. It’s a new model.
I enjoyed an exchange with three great African presidents, President Kikwete of Tanzania, President Kagame of Rwanda and President Kufour of Ghana. All speak eloquently on behalf of their people and want to be accountable to their people. Inspiring modernists with great dignity.
Three. The Irish Hunger Taskforce announced its findings first thing this morning. I was a little bleary eyed and so was co-blogger Jeff Sachs. The Irish Prime Minister, An Taoiseach, is rightly praised by Jeff, and Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon who even pronounces Taoiseach perfectly, ie, “tee shock” (elsewhere in the UN he is known as the great Buddhist leader TAO shock). Anyway, Brian Cowen has really come behind all this stuff, and is supporting reallocating the unspent CAP money to help with the food crisis in Africa. We may not have been the most sightly of panels but I hope our argument and passion made up for it. (Note to self: don’t stay out past midnight or you turn into a potato). By the way, the Secretary General is the quietest storm in town. A very special man.
Four. Met with Gordon Brown, who gives of his heart, soul and head to this stuff. His leadership on behalf of the poorest of the poor has been extraordinary. Aussie PM Kevin Rudd described him today as “the continuing conscience of the G8.”
Talked to him about the need for Europe to show it can move fast in a crisis, i.e., let’s make sure the billion euro emergency relief does not get incapacitated by the Brussels euro bubble and babble.
Me and Bob, Mutt n Jeff, as Bob now refers to us, then had a meeting with President Zapatero of Spain. A really striking and modest man who has led his country toward the top of the charts on our issues. Spain has shot up from giving 0.24 per cent of GDP to aid in 2004 to giving 0.41 percent. His maxim is simple: Europe needs a moral compass and values to gather round.
Now off to meet the new premier of Japan, Prime Minister Aso, and late… very bad, I’ll blame the FT… then off to a private sector dinner with Bloomberg and PM Brown.
Five. The French budget tomorrow. On my mind.
Six. Full MDG report, will do tomorrow.
P.S. Seven. Heard Bill Gates, Mike Bloomberg and Rupert Murdoch discussing the state of play in the economy last night. If only I could blog on that. It was off the record. I have let you down…