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Early 60s, in between various messy love affairs, JFK delivered his famous Moonshot speech which got the Americans to the moon by the end of the decade, as you probably noticed in commemorations in the media this week. You can’t help but wonder what the equivalent of such a Moonshot speech/initiative would be in our times. These days, we seem to prefer entrepreneurs and billionaires’ lunatic dreams (see Musk, Bezos, Branson, … and their various space & other hyperloop/ mindreading/… dreams; if our “leaders” (say, Trump or Johnson) project big – positive – dreams for their country, everybody actually starts to giggle – for good reason); or else moonshot research projects that mostly seem to focus on boosting the competitiveness of our economies in a globalized world.
True, in a way, of course, the SDG agenda is a global moonshot initiative, and the ‘decade of delivery’ that the UN SG and many of us are hoping for, is a global dream more than worthwhile pursuing. Even if Roberto Bissio pointed out, accurately, “…the “complete disassociation” between UN resolutions and trade and investment agreements—many governments are shouting rhetoric in support of the SDGs while also engaging in trade agreements that work counter to the 2030 Agenda. “ And it’s not just governments, our international organisations also know a thing or two about cognitive dissonance between global rhetoric and action on the ground. We won’t go here into big business and their fondness of SDG washing. Still, we hope the 75th anniversary of Bretton Woods inspired the G-7 finance ministers to some good discussions on (substantial) international corporate taxation in Chantilly, France, this week.
A real moonshot speech for our age would probably call for a post-capitalist future and sufficiency economy, by 2030, even if few see a realistic pathway towards such a future global economy yet. A Belgian cartoonist pointed out last week, wryly but spot on, that from an evolutionary perspective, the human species is not ready for climate breakdown; we’re still more up for the challenges of the world of 10.000 years ago, as all of you who have experienced babies on a bad day will acknowledge (I happily skipped that stage, as a parent at least :) ). The human species and sufficiency don’t rhyme well (which is probably why we have the leaders we have). But that’s what a Moonshot speech and initiative are all about. To pull together, and give it the best we can, along the likes of Greta Thunberg, Extinction Rebellion, and many brave others. I’ve reached the conclusion that a sustainable and fair(er) world will be a post-capitalist world, or will not be. With odds of 1 % vs 99 % (given that this also happens to be the age of the “cynical voter” and the Age of Impunity ). But you never know, now that we in Europe are finally governed by a German Ursula, great things could happen 😊!
Flagging already some global health highlights of the week then: a new Lancet series on Oral Health, and also a Lancet Psychiatry Commission which calls for mental & physical health services integration as people with mental illness face poorer physical health & early death in the world; the annual UNAIDS report (with a fall in funding for the first time, which makes the Global Fund replenishment in October even more important), Ebola DRC (at last declared a PHEIC – with the one billion dollar question, of course, will it make a difference ?); the annual The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (or ‘Global Hunger’) report; the iHEA conference in Basel, the rest of the HLPF in New York, a report on global immunization coverage, … You name it.
As you notice week after week, we don’t do “sufficiency” in IHP either. But I happily blame all of you, the ‘global health community’, for that ! 😊.
Enjoy your reading.