Top of the Morning: Security Council Syria Action Vetoed; Shah in the Horn; UK Slashes HIV/AIDS Funds

As promised, here is our new daily feature which we are calling Top of the Morning. The items are are taken from the “Top Stories” section of the EST Edition of the Development and Aid Workers News Service–DAWNS Digest. Sign up to receive the full Digest via email.

Russia and China Block Security Council Condemnation of Syria Violence

A Security Council resolution on Syria that diplomats have spent months finessing died an inglorious death in New York on Tuesday night. “Months of wrangling at the Security Council over a resolution condemning Syria failed on Tuesday after Russia and China vetoed a resolution that contained a weak reference to the possibility of sanctions against Damascus.Nine nations, including the United States and its Western allies, voted for the measure, while Brazil, India, South Africa and Lebanon abstained. Russia, whose main ally in the Middle East is Syria, had said previously that it would not accept a resolution that included even a hint of sanctions. The wording had been heavily watered down in hopes of avoiding the veto.” (NYT

USAID Chief Leads Delegation to Ethiopia and Kenya

Raj Shah visits the Horn of Africa on October 4-5 with a bevy of top American officials. They come bearing gifts. “USAID administrator Shah met Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi Tuesday to discuss ways of breaking the cycle of drought and malnutrition that regularly claims uncounted thousands of lives in East Africa. He came with three new aid grants, including $110 million for a food security program aimed at reaching 1.5 million Ethiopians suffering from chronic hunger conditions…Ethiopia is credited with taking preventive measures since the last horrific drought in 2008, which claimed tens of thousands of lives.  A network of new health centers has been constructed, providing a first line of defense to identify severe malnutrition cases that would have been fatal three years ago. With those measures in place, Shah said his talks with Prime Minister Meles focused on further steps Ethiopia could take to increase drought resiliency…The USAID chief said the other aid programs for Ethiopia include a new $7.3 million loan facility that will allow more private investment by farmers and agriculture-related businesses.”  (VOA

UK Slashing Funding for Bi-Lateral HIV/AIDS Programs.  

If you ask DfID, It’s not so much a cut as a shift. “Britain is cutting back bilateral aid for HIV and Aids projects in developing countries by almost a third over the next four years, according to data from the Department for International Development. Overall spending by DfID on HIV/Aids between now and 2015 will decrease by 32% by 2015 – from £59.9m to £41m. The funding will drop by nearly 85% in Asia (from £13m to £2m) and 17% in Africa (from £46.9m to £39m). The drop in support comes despite a 92% rise in Britain’s bilateral aid for global health, from £376m to £723m by 2015, when reproductive, maternal and newborn health will absorb 64% of DfID’s global health funding…DfID said the figures cited were only part of the picture, and that overall spending, which included support for multilateral organisations, was not finalised. Overall, Britain contributes much more through multilateral channels on HIV/Aids and other diseases. In 2010 the UK donated £579.3m towards fighting HIV/Aids bilaterally and multilaterally through bodies such UNAids and the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria.” (The Guardian