NYT – The Climate Crisis? It’s Capitalism, Stupid
Food for thought at the height of consumerism in the year, #BlackFriday: “The real culprit of the climate crisis is not any particular form of consumption, production or regulation but rather the very way in which we globally produce, which is for profit rather than for sustainability. So long as this order is in place, the crisis will continue and, given its progressive nature, worsen. This is a hard fact to confront. But averting our eyes from a seemingly intractable problem does not make it any less a problem. It should be stated plainly: It’s capitalism that is at fault.”
Having said that, we don’t blame you if you want to believe in the Santa “win-win” Clause for adults, Michael Bloomberg.
The Guardian – Too right it’s Black Friday: our relentless consumption is trashing the planet
A related read. Monbiot is always worth reading, and on Black Friday even more so.
What are the politics of our survival as a species? Introducing the Climate Change Trilemma
Duncan Green, Oxfam Blogs;
“So, a physicist, an anthropologist, and two political economists have lunch in the LSE canteen and start arguing about climate change… I was (very notionally) the physicist; my other lunchtime companions were Robert Wade, Teddy Brett and Jason Hickel (the anthropologist). Jason was arguing for degrowth and reminded me of the excellent debate on this blog a couple of years ago between Kate Raworth and Giorgos Kallis; I responded by asking him (as I do) ‘where’s your theory of change?’ It boils down to this: what future paths are feasible, when science appears to be incompatible with politics?”
Green discusses the trilemma formed by capitalism, environmental sustainability and democracy.
The illusion of degrowth: Part II
A blog in response to Jason Hickel’s critique Why Branko Milanovic is wrong about de-growth. See also Milanovik’s previous blog entry: “The illusion of “degrowth” in a poor and unequal world”.
Milanovic doesn’t believe in degrowth, certainly not in terms of the average human being’s inclination towards self-moderation (and thus the politics required to get there). He’s probably right. Still, if we don’t go for de-growth, we’re toast. (Unless if you believe in Michael “Santa Clause” Bloomberg et al’s green growth & win-win recipes.)
WHO Executive Board Meeting (EBSS4) : Special session on the draft thirteenth general programme of work (22-23 November, Geneva)
For an in-depth account of the meeting, see this week’s Featured article by Sana Contractor. As mentioned, this meeting was part of a consultative iteration, and the Secretariat (and Tedros himself) were still in a listening mode.
On the website, you (still) find the draft of the GPW, statements from non-state actors, and some statements (unfortunately, few and not very detailed) statements of member states. Recordings of the sessions are also available, see here. Definitely check out the final address by Dr. Tedros!
Make sure you check out the presentation by Peter Singer (at the end of day 1) – http://www.who.int/mediacentre/events/2017/executive-special-session/executive-board-slides.pdf?ua=1 & the draft impact framework. More probably to come on the website still.
An absolute must-read: Tedros’ opening address in Geneva, in which he provided 10 highlights of the work done so far by him & his team http://www.who.int/dg/speeches/2017/special-session-executive-board/en/ and set the stakes for the EB meeting.
Some analysis of the EB meeting:
(zooming in on the first session, on Wednesday morning) “World Health Organization member states’ first reactions to the secretariat-proposed draft work programme for the next five years were mixed this morning. Although many praised the effort and the vision of the programme of work, in particular its alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, a number of countries found the programme ambitious without the needed financial backing, and sometimes straying from the core function of the organisation.”
IP-Watch (also gated) – https://www.ip-watch.org/2017/11/24/not-board-new-director-pushes-make-agency-efficient/
(focusing on the final session) “World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (Tedros) admonished member states at the close of this week’s special session of the WHO Executive Board charged with examining the agency’s draft work programme for 2019-2023. A trust deficit among member states leads to the multiplication of national statements, impeding efficiency, he said. Meanwhile, a number of countries called for affordable and accessible medicines, and help to manufacture generic medicines locally, while the United States pushed the role of the private sector.”
And some reads published ahead of the EB meeting:
Devex – WHO pivots to the field, setting up potential clash with donors “ The World Health Organization’s pivot toward a more operational role is likely to be the topic of scrutiny and potential tension with donors in a meeting of the Executive Board this week in Geneva, a senior official tells Devex.”
Stat (Op-Ed by Jeremy Farrar ) – Focused projects can help Tedros restore confidence in the WHO.
UNAIDS (press release) – UNAIDS announces nearly 21 million people living with HIV now on treatment
“Remarkable progress is being made on HIV treatment. Ahead of World AIDS Day, UNAIDS has launched a new report showing that access to treatment has risen significantly. In 2000, just 685 000 people living with HIV had access to antiretroviral therapy. By June 2017, around 20.9 million people had access to the life-saving medicines. Such a dramatic scale-up could not have happened without the courage and determination of people living with HIV demanding and claiming their rights, backed up by steady, strong leadership and financial commitment….”
Coverage, for example, in Reuters – New ARV drugs, early diagnosis key to beating AIDS epidemic: UNAIDS “Developing new antiretroviral (ARV) drugs and using technology for early diagnosis are among steps needed to sustain momentum in fighting HIV/AIDS and ending the disease as a public health threat by 2030, UNAIDS said in a report on Monday.”
Lancet (Offline) – Who is Peter Sands?
As critical Horton was last week (related to WHO), as enthusiastic he seems about Peter Sands. Excerpts:
“The short answer is that he is an economist and banker. He was CEO of Standard Chartered, an international bank headquartered in London, from 2006 to 2015. But Sands is rather more interesting than his employment history suggests. For several years he has built a reputation as a thoughtful advocate for greater attention to the economic costs of infectious diseases….
“… As a former banker, he speaks directly—and with considerable credibility—to the business community about the economic impact of unexpected infectious disease shocks. He makes a convincing case that “countries should prioritise health security in budgets and increase domestic resource mobilisation”. International institutions must do more, Sands argues, to “incentivise national investment in preparedness”. Through this important work, his appointment is not only welcome, but also signifies an important strategic shift for the Fund. The centrality of infectious disease preparedness to economic security (and therefore to social development and political stability) has been widely neglected by the global health community. …
… Sands looks likely to re-engineer the Global Fund to take more seriously the economic aspects of infectious disease threats. …”
Lancet (World Report) – Peter Sands appointed head of the Global fund
(also a must-read) “The appointment of the new executive director of the Global Fund was announced on Nov 14; it was hailed by some as an important move for global health financing. John Zarocostas reports.”
“… Senior diplomatic sources familiar with the closed-door proceedings of the 20 voting members of the Board told The Lancet, in the end, everyone voted in favour of Sands except the USA. … The fact that in 2012, while Sands was chief executive of Standard Chartered, the bank paid a civil penalty of $340 million to New York State to settle a claim it had laundered money for Iran in violation of US sanctions “was an issue in Washington”, diplomats said. But the same sources said they hoped the USA, the biggest contributor to the Fund, “would continue” its strong bipartisan support….. “ … “Sands has the stature, and reputation, and high-level business experience to play the role that’s required”, an ambassador from a donor country, speaking on the condition of non-attribution, told The Lancet. …. …. By comparison with the selection fiasco in February, when the Board had to reopen the race for a new executive director, because of serious allegations of irregularities and insufficient due diligence, the process this time went smoothly, diplomats said.”
WHO Global Ministerial Conference: Ending TB in the SDG Era (Moscow, 16-17 November)
WHO – New global commitment to end tuberculosis
“… 75 ministers agreed to take urgent action to end tuberculosis (TB) by 2030…”Today marks a critical landmark in the fight to end TB,” said Dr Tedros. “It signals a long overdue global commitment to stop the death and suffering caused by this ancient killer.” The Moscow Declaration to End TB is a promise to increase multisectoral action as well as track progress, and build accountability. It will also inform the first UN General Assembly High-Level Meeting on TB in 2018, which will seek further commitments from heads of state.”
See also Putin, An Unlikely Ally, Supports The Global Effort To Stop Tuberculosis (The Huffington Post).
Tedros’ address in Moscow: http://www.who.int/dg/speeches/2017/tb-conference-address/en/ Among others, as mentioned, he noted that there is now, finally, high-level political commitment.
“…This policy paper was prepared together with various stakeholders from civil society groups, academia, and product development partnerships, for use in the context of the “WHO’s First Global Ministerial Conference on Tuberculosis in the Sustainable Development Era – A Multisectoral Response” in Moscow in November 2017. This document aims to articulate a coherent vision of the research needs to end TB and elaborates on the funding and structural requirements that are necessary to operationalize this vision. It describes how some of the research funded in the past has delivered benefits to patients and influenced policy- and decision-making, but also how little is being invested in TB R&D in comparison with other diseases, such as HIV and malaria, that also affect poor populations.”
Dublin Declaration unanimously adopted at the Fourth Global Forum on Human Resources for Health
A must-read!! (on the meeting in Dublin from last week) “ Concrete actions to address a projected shortfall of 18 million health workers were announced today at the Fourth Global Forum on Human Resources for Health, where representatives of over 70 countries also unanimously adopted the Dublin Declaration….”
One of the actions of the Dublin Forum was the setting up of the Working for Health Multi-partner Trust Fund (MPTF), to support countries to expand and transform their health workforce. Norway was the first to commit to the fund.
WHO Report – Women on the move: Migration, care work and health
“A global paradox is emerging in which care workers – who are largely migrant women, often working in informal home settings – make a considerable contribution to public health in many countries but are themselves exposed to health risks, face barriers to accessing care, and enjoy few labour and social protections. WHO has produced a new report on this population group, collating evidence across sectors. This report breaks new ground in casting a wide net across disciplines – health, labour, employment, social protection, social services, law, immigration, cross-border movement and citizenship – to shed light on a particular population group that both provides care as well as needs it to maintain their own health and well-being. It looks at the lives of these migrant women care workers as well as the situation for their households left behind. It takes a transnational perspective appropriate to our interconnected world.”
Read also this week’s Lancet Editorial – Caring for migrant health-care workers (on this report).
WHO – Agreement signed between WHO and UN Human Rights agency to advance work on health and human rights
“Today marked a significant milestone for health and human rights as WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein signed an agreement to deepen collaboration between their agencies. The agreement – formally called a Framework for Cooperation – responds to the recommendations of the High Level Working Group for the Health and Human Rights of Women, Children and Adolescents. ”
Plos Med –Human trafficking and exploitation: A global health concern
“Cathy Zimmerman and Ligia Kiss introduce the PLOS Medicine collection on Human Trafficking, Exploitation and Health, laying out the magnitude of the global trafficking problem and offering a public health policy framework to guide responses to trafficking.”
See also a Speaking of Medicine blog, introducing this new Plos Med Collection: – Human Trafficking, Exploitation, and Health: a new PLOS Collection.
A Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims (November 19)
For WHO’s factsheet, see Road traffic injuries.
On a more positive note, on Monday-Tuesday, WHO member states agreed on 12 global targets for road safety, after a 1-year consultation process. See WHO.
More analysis of the Bonn CoP 23
Carbon Brief – COP23: Key outcomes agreed at the UN climate talks in Bonn
The most exhaustive & best wrap-up we’ve come across.
You might also want to read:
- Devex – 3 takeaways from the COP23 negotiations .
- NYT – At Bonn Climate Talks, Stakes Get Higher in Gamble on Planet’s Future
A giant bet on the power of peer pressure, with the future of the planet at stake. (that doesn’t sound very reassuring…)
“… So, at Bonn, diplomats focused on ways to encourage countries to ratchet up their ambitions. Next year, world leaders will meet for a formal dialogue to assess how their efforts stack up against the goal of limiting global warming to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius. … Negotiators sought this year to write a “rule book” that will govern this process, laying out guidelines for how emissions from each country should be measured or how financial aid from rich countries to poor ones should be tracked. Most of the hard decisions about what this rule book should look like were put off until next year….”
UN News – UN urges global action so women and girls everywhere can live free from all forms of violence
“Achieving gender equality and the full empowerment of women is the answer to ending violence against women, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said Wednesday, calling for collective global action on this cause. “Violence against women is fundamentally about power,” Mr. Guterres said in his remarks alongside UN Women Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, at a special event held at UN Headquarters in New York to commemorate International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, which is annually observed on 25 November….”
“… Led by UN Women and partners, hundreds of events will be held worldwide, including marches, flashmobs, concerts, and football and rugby games. Iconic buildings will be lit up in orange to galvanize attention during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence from 25 November to 10 December, when the world marks Human Rights Day. The 16 Days campaign takes place under the umbrella of the Secretary-General’s campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women by 2030. Orange has been designated as the colour of the UNiTE campaign as it symbolizes hope and a violence-free world. This year’s theme for the campaign is ‘Leave No One Behind: End Violence against Women and Girls.”
WHO launches new manual to strengthen health systems to better respond to women survivors of violence
Was launched on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women 2017: Leave no one behind.
A few key publications of the week
HP&P – The silencing of political context in health research in Ethiopia: why it should be a concern
A “VIP” – a Very Important Paper. “In 2004, the Ethiopian government launched what has been called an innovative and groundbreaking solution to the country’s public health challenges; the Health Extension Programme (HEP). The positive public health outcomes that have been reported following the implementation of the HEP have led researchers and global health actors to propose it as a model for other countries to emulate. In this systematic review, we point to a potential weakness and methodological bias in the existing research. Despite being implemented within a context of an increasingly authoritarian regime, research conducted following the implementation of HEP reflects a limited discussion of the political context. Following a discussion of why political context is marginalized we provide arguments for why a focus on political context is important: first, political context has an impact on health systems and actualizes questions related to good governance and ethics. While some of the studies we reviewed acknowledge the importance of political factors we contend that the one-sided focus on the positive relationship between political will, political commitment and political leadership on the one hand, and key public health outcomes on the other, reflects a narrow engagement with health system governance frameworks. This leads to a silencing of issues actualized by the authoritarian nature of the Ethiopian regime. Secondly, the political context has methodological implications. More specifically, we contend that the current political situation increases the probability of social desirability bias. In order to balance the overarching positive literature on Ethiopia’s health system, research that takes the political context into account is much needed.”
WHO – Strategic purchasing for universal health coverage: key policy issues and questions – A summary from expert and practitioners’ discussions
Inke Mathauer, Elina Dale, Bruno Meessen; http://www.who.int/health_financing/documents/strategic-purchasing-discussion-summary/en/
“Strategic purchasing is one of the main principles guiding health financing reforms to accelerate progress towards universal health coverage. Seeking to align funding and incentives with promised health services, active or strategic purchasing involves linking the transfer of funds to providers, at least in part, to information on aspects of their performance or the health needs of the population they serve. The objectives of strategic purchasing are to enhance equity in the distribution of resources, increase efficiency, manage expenditure growth and promote quality in health service delivery. It also serves to enhance transparency and accountability of providers and purchasers to the population. The document outlines and frames five key policy issues that emerged from expert and practitioners’ discussions held at various meetings. These issues are considered critical for reforms to shift towards strategic purchasing and cover: 1) governance; 2) information management systems; 3) benefit design; 4) mixed provider payment systems; and 5) managing alignment and dynamics. The issues point to the need for capacity strengthening and future research as identified in discussions with country policy-makers and development partners. The discussions also emphasized the importance of information management systems as a critical backbone for strategic purchasing as well as on governance as an overarching and cross-cutting function in order to align strategic purchasing reforms with other health financing reforms.”
HSG (blog) – Pushing for engaging formats in global health conferences: Liverpool, are you ready?
Sana Contractor, Faraz Khalid, Laura Dean; http://healthsystemsresearch.org/hsr2018/news/pushing-engaging-formats-global-health-conferences-liverpool-ready/
A must-read blog by 3 EVs2016, in the run-up to the Liverpool symposium next year!
African Journal of AIDS Research (Supplement) – What the world can learn from Swaziland
Check out, for example, Mixed results: the protective role of schooling in the HIV epidemic in Swaziland (by Alan Whiteside et al).