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Dear Colleagues,

A few weeks ago, the conference on social determinants took place in Rio. As David Sanders from the University of the Western Cape (South Africa) played a prominent role there, we invited him to write down what he said on the stage. He referred us to  the following website, which provides a good verbatim account of his opening remarks in a panel. Here we offer them again in full, as they only seem to become more relevant over time. You can also find a YouTube video on the session here.

Read the rest of this editorial

Enjoy your reading.

David Hercot, Kristof Decoster, Josefien Van Olmen, Basile Keugoung & Wim Van Damme

Global Health Policy and Financing

1.   CGD – Priority Setting at WHO

Amanda Glassman,

For the next round of WHO thinking on priority-setting, Amanda Glassman has three suggestions that focus on establishing the parameters within which priority-setting should occur.

After a three-day special session with member states, the Executive Board of the WHO expressed strong support for WHO’s work and reached agreement on broad proposals for reform.

2.   CGD – Ranking Health Aid Quality: Worthwhile or Waste?

Amanda Glassman and Denizhan Duran;

Glassman and Duran are preparing a working paper on health aid effectiveness. They welcome your inputs. Is it worth the effort? Which indicators to tackle? …

3.   Foreign Affairs – How Private Companies are Transforming the Global Public Health Agenda

Sonia Shah;

Over the last three decades, public funding for global health organizations has dried up (the WHO is a case in point). Private companies are writing checks to fill the gap, and, accordingly, they are bending the agenda toward their interests. Realigning priorities, however, will mean getting more private firms involved, not less, claims Shah.

4.   GAVI – GAVI Matching Fund

The GAVI Matching Fund is a major new private sector programme designed to raise US$ 260 million for immunisation by the end of 2015. Under the initiative, DFID and the Gates Foundation have pledged about US$ 130 million combined to match contributions from corporations, foundations and other organisations, as well as from their customers, members, employees and business partners.

5.   Global pulse – GHI expands focus countries to 29

John Donnelly;

The Obama administration quietly conducted a second round of selections, naming 21 countries and reviewing detailed plans from each on main strategies and goals. By the end of this year, that list is expected to grow again to include a third round of an additional 13 countries

You find an executive summary of the round 2 GHI strategies here.

6.   Harvard College (global health review) – Where is Mental Health?

Adam Joseph;

This first segment of a two-part series focuses on the absence of mental health as a significant priority on the global health stage. Stigmatization is the main culprit.


7.   Science Speaks – Sec. Clinton: “Creating an AIDS-free generation has never been a priority of the U.S. government until today…”

Meredith Mazzotta;

In a speech at the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton made a bold announcement Tuesday – that an AIDS free generation is possible and the U.S. will be working toward that goal. Aiming to reinvigorate the fight against global AIDS, she emphasized the leadership role the U.S. must play (although she also stressed the US can’t do it alone).

CGD’s Mead Over liked Clinton’s focus on prevention as the way forward, but regretted the fact that the intermediate goal of an AIDS transition seemed to be lacking in the Secretary’s vision of an AIDS free generation.

The Guardian’s Sarah Boseley wonders where the money will be found to make this vision come true.

8.   BMJ (editorial) – Antiretroviral therapy programmes in resource limited settings

Carlos del Rio;

Incorporating limited laboratory monitoring may lead to better outcomes in resource limited settings and also be cost effective.

9.   Irin Plus – HIV/AIDS: Delayed Global Fund money a sign of economic times

The Global Fund has delayed the closing date for applications for its next round of funding, reduced the estimated amount of money that will be available in that round, and potentially delayed the disbursement of the funds until 2013. PlusNews also examines potential reasons for the reduction in estimated funding.

10.   Global Public Health – special issue on Social Drivers of HIV and AIDS

This Special Supplement synthesises findings of the group concerned with understanding the key political, social and economic ‘drivers’ – or determinants – of HIV and AIDS. The aim of the Social Drivers Group was to illustrate how HIV epidemics interact with social (cultural, political and economic) factors, and to advise policy-makers and planners on how to address these factors to achieve their HIV prevention, care and treatment objectives. A key message emerging from these activities is that a successful shift in emphasis from individualised approaches to prevention, care and treatment to approaches that take key structural determinants of vulnerability (and resilience) into account will be the critical ‘game changer’ that the AIDS response has been seeking.

One of the articles takes as its point of departure comparative analyses of the population control movement and the global AIDS response. The authors argue that the responses to both rapid population growth and AIDS reflect a particular model for approaching development issues: the global crisis model

Development and Aid

11.   Social protection floor report – Social Protection Floor for a Fair and Inclusive Globalization–en/index.htm

This report, prepared under the guidance of Ms Michelle Bachelet and members of the Social Protection Floor Advisory Group, shows that the extension of social protection, drawing on social protection floors, can play a pivotal role in relieving people of poverty and deprivation.

12.   Maastricht principles on extraterritorial obligations of states in the area of economic, social and cultural rights (PDF 11p, 150 Kb)

On 28 September 2011, at a gathering convened by Maastricht University and the

International Commission of Jurists, a group of experts in international law and human rights adopted the Maastricht Principles on Extraterritorial Obligations of States in the area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. These international legal principles clarify the human rights obligations of States beyond their own borders.


On Owen’s blog, you find a nice graphic from the International Aid Transparency Initiative about which donors are implementing the aid transparency agreement, and when.

14.   ODI (Background note) – Key Busan challenges and contributions to the emerging development effectiveness agenda

As the Busan High Level Forum on aid effectiveness draws nearer, this Background Note outlines the changing global development context and discusses results to date in implementing the aid effectiveness (AE) agenda. The paper then moves on to identify major remaining challenges in implementing the aid effectiveness agenda and details six suggested action areas.

ODI also published a background note on ‘catalytic’ development aid and its limits.

A number of posts and articles assessed the outcomes of the G20 summit:

* on the Poverty Matters blog, you find the reaction of many NGOs.

* the CGD blog features an assessment by Mac Donald & Barder

* in Foreign Policy, Charles Kenny responds to the speech of Gates, and assesses what is probably more likely to happen in the current US environment.

Finally, we also would like to recommend this excellent piece in the Indian magazine Outlook, by Jean Dreze and Amartya Sen: “Putting growth in its place”.

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