The Daily Summit caught up with Jeff Sachs, now of Columbia, in Johannesburg. Jeff tells a depressing tale about Malawi’s plans to treat 100,000 people for Aids. Development agencies talked them down to treating 25,000 because the plan was “too big”. “I want accountability from the rich world,” Jeff says. “I want it to match action with its promises, its spin and its rhetoric. There’s one thing I understand as an economist — real change will need money.”
According to today’s Financial Times, the World Bank is to launch a consultative process to break the deadlock over genetically modified foods.
It’s hard to see where common ground will be found between proponents — largely in the US — and those opposed — most vocally in Europe. But with Robert Watson as the chair of the new project, it may actually get somewhere. Watson, chief scientist of the World Bank, chaired the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which through an open and transparent process arrived at a widely accepted scientific consensus on global warming (pace Bjorn Lomborg). It was the IPCC’s work, more than any other single factor, that led to the Kyoto Protocol on climate change. In fact, Watson was so successful that the Bush administration ensured he was replaced as chair.
The World Bank has the right man for the job, unquestionably, but Watson faces a hugely daunting task in constructing something beyond a dialogue of the deaf on GM foods.