In his Foreign Policy column, “The Optimist,” Charles Kenny, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development and a Schwartz fellow at the New America Foundation, responds to a speech to G20 leaders last week by Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in which he “suggested that a financial transactions tax, alongside additional taxes on tobacco and carbon, could be used to help rich countries meet a global target of committing 0.7 percent of GDP to development aid.” Kenny writes, “The outlook is particularly grim in the United States, where traditional aid is on the congressional chopping block,” but “[t]he good news is that the United States (and, for that matter, everyone else) could be doing a lot more for development without spending more money — and in some cases even saving it.”
Programs, Funding & Financing
A Minnesota Daily editorial writes that a proposed nine percent cut in U.S. global health program funding “would drastically slow … progress and hurt development and advancement in other countries,” adding that “investing in the development of poor countries is good for everyone involved. When there are more highly educated, healthy countries, there is more prosperity for all.”
The GAVI Alliance has “announced a major new initiative aimed at engaging private sector leaders: the GAVI Matching Fund,” through which “the British Government’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will provide a 100 percent match of contributions to GAVI from corporations and foundations as well as their customers, members and employees,” Bill Roedy, former CEO of MTV Networks and a GAVI Alliance envoy, writes in a post on the Huffington Post’s “Impact” blog. “Together, DFID and the Gates Foundation have pledged $130 million to support this effort, which means there’s the potential to generate $260 million for global childhood immunization efforts,” he notes.
The November 21 cover story of Forbes magazine profiles Bill Gates, Microsoft founder and co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has focused its global health efforts on vaccine development and distribution, according to the article (11/21). Forbes also features an audio interview with article author Matt Herper, conducted by Managing Editor Tom Post, about Herper’s interview of Gates (11/4).
GlobalPost’s “Global Pulse” blog reports on the addition of 21 countries to the original group of eight Global Health Initiative (GHI) countries in a second round of selections. The Obama administration has “review[ed] detailed plans from each on main strategies and goals,” according to U.S. officials, the blog reports. The blog writes, “Unlike the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), GHI’s plan from the start was to spread its principles of better integration of programs and expanding into new health areas as quickly as possible.”
“In a report about financing for development delivered [Thursday] at the G20 Summit, Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, urged leaders to commit to increasing the pool of resources dedicated to development, or risk causing irreparable damage to the livelihoods of millions of the poorest people,” a Gates Foundation press release states (11/3). “Gates’ report to G20 leaders, whose countries account for 85 percent of the global economy, suggests they can raise over $250 billion (180 billion euros), a modest part of which could accelerate the development of poor countries,” Agence France-Presse reports (11/3).
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria on Tuesday posted the results of several internal audits, showing “that 12 more probes had turned up an additional $20 million of mismanagement, alleged fraud and misspending,” the Associated Press/CBSNews.com reports.
“The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria announced on Monday that it will withhold $95 million from the $270 million in grants it had planned to give China” after “months of discussion between the charity and Chinese officials,” China Daily reports (Shan, 10/31). Global Fund spokesperson Jon Liden “said … that during recent discussions, China moved to take over most training expenses and other costs that allowed the saving of about $95 million from unpaid grants,” the Associated Press writes (10/31).
In this Hill opinion piece, John Castellani, CEO and president of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, writes, “Over the past three decades, more than 30 treatments have been approved to treat HIV/AIDS,” but he adds, “While this is remarkable progress, it’s not enough.” He continues, “In order for scientific progress in these areas to continue, the substantial financial investments in medicines created in America’s biopharmaceutical labs — medicines that take years and billions of dollars to develop — must be protected by international patent laws.”
In this Politico opinion piece, Brian Atwood and colleagues, all former USAID administrators in previous Democratic or Republican administrations and current advisers to the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, write, “Over [the last] half-century, USAID has had an extraordinary record of accomplishment. Using less than one percent of the U.S. budget annually, the American people have demonstrated their deepest values through USAID programs, saving tens of millions of lives worldwide with immunization programs, oral rehydration therapy, treatment for HIV/AIDS and work on other diseases.” They add, “Because of the efforts of the American people, more than one billion people now have safe drinking water, smallpox has been eradicated and tens of millions have been saved through USAID’s famine relief efforts.”