CFR Report Card for the World

polar_bear_grade_d.jpgAs final report cards are coming out in public school systems across the nation, The Center for Foreign Relations’ International Institutions and Global Governance (IIGG) program published its own report card for arguably the most unsuspecting student: the world in 2013. On the transcript are the core subjects of climate change, nuclear nonproliferation, public health, global finance, armed conflict, and terrorism. As we might suspect, the world, is a slightly below average student, gaining the highest mark of a B- and the lowest grade of a D. Though, there are some promising gains and improvements globally and at home worth mentioning.

Some good news came in the arena of public health with the global score moving from a C in 2012 to a C+. The IIGG found positive movement forward in work to combat HIV/AIDs as well as other infectious diseases like tuberculosis and malaria. The U.S. was identified as a leader earning a B overall and praise for fighting counterfeit drugs, preventing pandemics and initiatives such as The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), and the Affordable Care Act. It wasn’t all praise though as the IIGG flagged in the areas of preventing non-communicable diseases and climate change. According to the report:

First, noncommunicable diseases remained the leading cause of death and disability in most low- and middle-income countries but were not mentioned in the president’s FY2014 budget request [PDF] (released in April 2013), which sought more than $10 billion for global health related accounts. The United States also failed to take domestic legislative action to arrest climate change, which is exacerbating public health challenges around the world, such as dengue fever and malaria.”

Globally the score for climate change was a D. Somewhat ironically, the IIGG proclaimed that the world has done an “excellent” understand the threats and a “poor” job of most everything else. The report:

In 2013, international cooperation to mitigate the threat of climate change was insufficient and, at times, verged on complete disarray. Overall, the success of the regime hinges upon curbing emissions and promoting low carbon development, and in these areas progress stalled. As a result, despite positive developments on the margins, international action to arrest climate change earned poor marks.

The U.S., identified as a “Laggard,” gained a C in this arena  with a 2% increase in carbon emissions. There were some positive gains for individual states, but the report states:

Ultimately, however, independent actions by some U.S. states and government agencies were no substitute for a comprehensive national approach, much less a binding multilateral agreement, to mitigate carbon emissions. On the international scene, the United States continued to resist ambitious targets for emissions reductions and extensive funding for developing countries as they endeavor to do so."

Though we’ve got a few things to be proud of on this report card, we’ve got a lot of homework to do! Read more about the global scores for public health and climate change and check up on some of  IIGG’s other categories at the link below.


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