Tag: Sarah Palin

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…

Ah… the life of the single issue protagonist. Here’s a peep inside our brain, a scene setter.

The ONE campaign has two and half million members, who urge us to make the case for increased aid as a key plank in America’s new foreign policy. ONE T-shirts have been turning up in town hall meetings for 18 months now, haranguing, hassling, but ultimately endearing themselves to all the presidential campaigns. They want the world to see what America has to offer the billion people who live on less than a dollar a day – practically speaking: medicine, new seed varieties, technology, know-how; policy speaking: what should America do more of? what should America do less of?

They want the world to understand that America is not just a country but an idea, a contagious idea, committed to promoting the inalienable right that all men and women are created equal; that your street address should not be a death sentence in what Warren Buffet refers to as the “ovarian lotto”; that love thy neighbour is not advice, but a command.

ONE members are thrilled that Barack Obama and John McCain both have an open door policy with the our campaign. But I must admit, today, as I step through one of those doors to talk with Senator McCain and Governor Palin, the Irish rockstar in me is a little nervous about the circus rolling over the town rather than through it. We know the flash bulbs and hysteria around the presidential campaign make it hard to concentrate on the substance of the ideas we’ve got to discuss ie development as an essential third plank of foreign policy, along with diplomacy and defence.

It’s a tribute to the generosity of Americans that they let this Irishman get away with quoting back at them The Declaration of Independence like it’s the liner notes to my favourite Bob Dylan album (but it sort of is). Anyway we’ve now met with nearly a dozen of the presidential candidates in the course of their campaigns and of the four candidates left, three have declared their positions at onevote08.org/ontherecord, if you want to check them out.

On AIDS for example, Senators Obama and McCain both cosponsored the historic $48bn US AIDS initiative this year – an effort lead by Joe Biden – who I might add also fought in the trenches for debt cancellation for the poorest of the poor when I first started down this road. So it will be interesting to find out where Governor Palin stands.

Just a couple of years ago it would have been impossible for the issue of extreme poverty to play even a tiny role in the American political season. So far this year, all candidates have made positive noises, rooted in the most pragmatic of thinking about how America reintroduces itself to the world after the election. When even the defence minister pitches your roving rockstar the idea that an increase in aid is essential, you know something’s happening.

Anyway, I’ll let you know how I get on. Fingers crossed that the world’s poor do not become a pawn in any candidate’s game, but instead influence the players to make moves on their behalf.

The MDG blog is no longer updated but it remains open as an archive.

Bono and Jeffrey Sachs blog for FT.com from the Millennium Development Goals summit and surrounding meetings in New York

Bono is lead singer of U2 and co-founder of the One campaign


Jeffrey Sachs is a development economist and director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University

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