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  • Author: Lorenza Errighi
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: If 2020 was the year of “mask diplomacy”, as countries raced to tackle the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and acquire the necessary protective gear and equipment, 2021 is likely to be remembered as the year of “vaccine diplomacy”. Growing competition between states to secure the necessary quantities of vaccines to inoculate their population has already become an established feature of the post-COVID international system and such trends are only likely to increase in the near future. It normally takes up to a decade to transition from the development and testing of a vaccine in a laboratory to its large-scale global distribution. Despite current challenges, the speed of COVID-19 vaccination campaigns is unprecedented. To put an end to the current pandemic – which in one year has led to the loss of 2.6 million lives and triggered the worst economic recession since the Second World War – the goal is to ensure the widest immunisation of the world population in a timeframe of 12 to 18 months. In this context, COVID vaccines emerge as instruments of soft power, as they symbolise, on the one hand, scientific and technological supremacy and, on the other, means to support existing and emerging foreign policy partnerships and alliances with relevant geopolitical implications. From their experimentation in laboratories, to their purchase and distribution, the vaccine has emerged as a significant tool for competition between powers, often associated with the promotion of competing developmental and governance models across third countries.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Health, Vaccine, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Martin Hellwig, Viola Priesemann, Guntram Wolff
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: Escape variants can cause new waves of COVID-19 and put vaccination strategies at risk. To prevent or delay the global spread of these waves, virus mobility needs to be minimised through screening and testing strategies, which should also cover vaccinated people. The costs of these strategies are minimal compared to the costs to health, society and economy from another wave.
  • Topic: Health, Governance, Global Political Economy, Vaccine, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Kateryna Markevych
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Razumkov Centre
  • Abstract: Today’s world is being shaped in new conditions, where digital technologies are gaining more and more weight. They can greatly increase the level of labour efficiency and well-being of people, meet the challenges of health, education and state management (these advantages are particularly evident now, during the COVID-19 pandemic), but also increase the level of innovation of the economy or reduce the carbon intensity.
  • Topic: Education, Health, Labor Issues, Economy, COVID-19, Digitalization
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Melinda K. Abrams, Reginald D. Williams II, Katharine Fields, Roosa Tikkanen
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Commonwealth Fund
  • Abstract: About one-quarter of U.S. adults report having a mental health diagnosis such as anxiety or depression or experiencing emotional distress. This is one of the highest rates among 11 high-income countries. While U.S. adults are among the most willing to seek professional help for emotional distress, they are among the most likely to report access or affordability issues. Emotional distress is associated with social and economic needs in all countries. Nearly half of U.S. adults who experience emotional distress report such worries, a higher share than seen in other countries. The United States has some of the worst mental health–related outcomes, including the highest suicide rate and second-highest drug-related death rate. The U.S. has a relatively low supply of mental health workers, particularly psychologists and psychiatrists. Just one-third of U.S. primary care practices have mental health professionals on their team, compared to more than 90 percent in the Netherlands and Sweden.
  • Topic: Health, Health Care Policy, Mental Health, Drugs, Substance Abuse
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Global Philanthropy Project (GPP)
  • Abstract: As COVID-19 spread across the globe in 2020, and its health and broader political and socioeconomic implications became evident, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI)2 communities organized. To meet new challenges, LGBTI organizations across the world stepped up, aware that legal and social discrimination and marginalization would make their communities particularly vulnerable to impacts of the pandemic. LGBTI community response included: delivering essential food to communities of unemployed trans men in rural Guatemala; providing housing for LGBTI communities escaping unsafe living environments in Macedonia; ensuring that lesbian, bisexual, and queer female sex workers have access to essential medicines in Uganda; and other examples in communities around the world. As governments, donors, and service providers have largely failed to acknowledge the specific needs of LGBTI people in responding to COVID-19, LGBTI organizations have filled the void to provide basic protection and support for their communities. Many of these organizations have traditionally focused on advocacy and community organizing to advance and protect the human rights of LGBTI people. Now, in the era of COVID-19, they have become direct service providers, out of necessity—albeit with limited resources and capacity. In April 2020, the Global Philanthropy Project launched a short survey to understand the initial response of global LGBTI philanthropy to the pandemic, soliciting data from all GPP member organizations as well as non-GPP members within the top 20 funders of global LGBTI issues. A key outcome from that report was an identified role for GPP to monitor shifts in resources flowing to LGBTI movements and communities, as well as the broader impact of COVID-19 on international development and humanitarian assistance funding.
  • Topic: Health, Discrimination, LGBT+, Advocacy, Community, Marginalization
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, Global South
  • Author: Johan Norberg
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE)
  • Abstract: During the Covid-19 pandemic, Europe has benefitted strongly from being an open economy that can access goods and services from other parts of the world. Paradoxically, some politicians in Europe think that dependence on foreign supplies reduced the resilience of our economy – and argue that Europe now should wean itself off its dependence on other economies. In this Policy Brief, it is argued that self-sufficiency or less economic openness is a dangerous direction of policy. It would make Europe less resilient and less capable of responding to the next emergency. It is key that people, firms and governments can get supplies from other parts of the world. It is diversification, not concentration of production, that will make Europe more resilient when the next emergency hit. We don’t know where the next crisis will come from. Nature will throw nasty surprises at us, and we will make stupid mistakes, some of which will have devastating consequences. What we do know, though, is that we stand a better chance to fight the next emergency if we get richer and improve our technology. The best policy for resilience is one that encourages specialisation and innovation – and, when the emergency hit, allow for people to improvise in search for solutions. For that to happen, we need openness to goods, services and technology from abroad.
  • Topic: Health, International Political Economy, Innovation, Economic Cooperation, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: Abigail Bellows, Nada Zohdy
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The pandemic is spurring elite and grassroots civic actors to cooperate more, but the gulf between them remains wide. Civic actors must seize the opportunity for reform on open government issues. From Africa to Latin America to Europe, the coronavirus pandemic has generated a surge in public demand for government transparency and accountability. To seize this window for reform, elite and grassroots civic actors concerned with open governance must overcome the cleavage that has long existed between them. Thus far, the pandemic has catalyzed some new civic collaborations, but not at the scale or depth needed to seize that window. In general, civil society groups report feeling more isolated during the pandemic. In some places, the urgency of tackling open government issues during the pandemic has helped overcome that isolation by deepening partnerships among existing networks. But in other places, those partnerships have yet to take shape, and new alliances are less likely to form without the benefit of face-to-face interactions. Even the partnerships that have crystallized or deepened do not appear to be changing the fundamental roles of elite and grassroots civic actors. It is possible that this shift may happen over time. Or it may be that the pandemic alone is not enough to dislodge structural barriers to deeper cooperation. The pandemic has dramatically changed the operations of elite and grassroots actors alike. The impact of those changes on collaboration between the two depends on preexisting levels of technological capacity. In places with limited connectivity, the pandemic has exacerbated the digital divide, adversely affecting grassroots actors. Meanwhile, in places with good connectivity, technology is enabling broader (though shallower) participation, laying the groundwork for more elite-grassroots collaboration. Although many civil society groups are struggling financially during the pandemic, those effects are mitigated to some degree by continuing donor interest in the open government sector. This is encouraging, as coalition building requires dedicated, flexible resources. Finally, it is a more dangerous time to be working on open government issues in general, and grassroots actors bear disproportionate risks in doing so. This underscores the need for more vertical alliances to mitigate civic space threats.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Government, Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Maurice Obstfeld, Adam S. Posen, Olivier Blanchard, Chad P. Bown, Cullen S. Hendrix, Ana González, Simeon Djankov, Anne-Laure Kiechel, Anna Gelpern, Sean Hagan, Adnan Mazarei, Christopher G. Collins, Simon Potter, Edwin M. Truman, Joseph E. Gagnon
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The world's leading economic powers must cooperate more to combat the health and economic shocks resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. In a new PIIE Briefing, Peterson Institute experts outline how collective action by the Group of Twenty (G20) nations can make a difference. The PIIE agenda includes removal of trade barriers impeding the flow of medical supplies and food, and more money for research, testing, and disease control, especially for debt-burdened low-income countries. The World Bank and the World Health Organization need more resources to relieve suffering, and the International Monetary Fund must step up to stabilize the world financial system.
  • Topic: Economics, Health, World Health Organization, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, G20, Coronavirus
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Julien Maire
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: In March 2020, most countries implemented stringent measures—closing schools and workplaces, limiting public gatherings, and curbing travel—to reduce the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19. Using the Oxford Stringency Index and smartphone data from Google, Maire examines the effects of the stringent measures implemented in March–May 2020 on individual mobility. The results suggest that stringent measures were more effective at reducing individual mobility in higher-income countries than in lower-income countries and that the differences reflect factors such as extreme poverty, perception of risk, the share of vulnerable employment, number of hospital beds, age distribution of the population, and population density. Understanding how the effects of lockdown measures on individual mobility differed across countries is important to determine the effectiveness of such measures on health outcomes and their impact on economic activity.
  • Topic: Health, Science and Technology, Governance, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Mehdi Khalaji
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The clergy’s ambitions for global Shia revolution made the city of Qom uniquely vulnerable to the disease, and their resistance to modern medical science weakened the state’s ability to combat its spread. On February 19, two days before the Iranian government officially announced the arrival of coronavirus, an infected businessman who had recently returned from China to Qom passed away. The location and timing of his death illustrate how the Shia holy city and the religious leaders and institutions who call it home have played an outsize role in the disease’s disproportionately rapid spread inside Iran compared to other countries. How did this situation come to pass, and what does it say about the current state of the clerical establishment, its relationship with the regime, and its alienation from large swaths of Iranian society? (Part 2 of this PolicyWatch discusses the regime's role in the outbreak and its resiliency to such crises.)
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Health, Religion, Shia, Coronavirus
  • Political Geography: China, Iran, Middle East, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: In June 2019, the Aspen Health Strategy Group met for three days to explore the topic of antimicrobial resistance. We are pleased to present the final report from our work, based upon the group’s rich discussion. In the tradition of the thought-provoking conversations and dialogue on how to address critical societal issues — the hallmark of the Aspen Institute — the report includes five big ideas to address antimicrobial resistance.
  • Topic: Health, Public Health, Resistance, Medicine
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Raffaello Pantucci, Abdul Basit, Kyler Ong, Nur Aziemah Azman, V. Arianti, Muh Taufiqurrohman
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Counter Terrorist Trends and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has redefined almost all spheres of modern life. While states around the world are redeploying their financial resources, energies and military capabilities to cope with the challenge of the coronavirus, terrorist groups across the ideological spectrum have positioned themselves to exploit the gaps created by these policy re-adjustments. Terrorist groups are milking people’s fears amid confusion and uncertainty to promote their extremist propagandas. The rearrangement of global imperatives will push counter-terrorism and extremism down the priority list of the international community. Anticipating these policy changes, existing counter-terrorism frameworks and alliances should be revisited to devise cost-effective and innovative strategies to ensure continuity of the fight against terrorist groups. With these considerations in mind, this special issue of the Counter Terrorist Trends and Analyses (CTTA) features four articles that identify and assess important security risks around COVID-19, given its far-reaching social, economic and geopolitical impact. In the first article, Raffaello Pantucci reasons that COVID-19 will have a deep-seated and prolonged impact across government activity, both in terms of the categorisation of risks, as well as the resources available to tackle other issues. Perceptions of risk around terrorist threats may shift, with states grappling with stark economic, social and political challenges. At the same time, security threats continue to evolve, and may even worsen. According to the author, some of the tools developed to deal with the pandemic can potentially be useful in tracking terrorist threats. However, resource constraints will require states, on a global scale, to think far more dynamically about how to adequately buffer much-needed security blankets both within and beyond their borders. In the second article, Abdul Basit outlines the opportunities and potential implications that COVID-19 has created for terrorist groups across the ideological divide. According to the author, terrorist groups have exploited the virus outbreak to spread racial hatred, doomsday and end-of-times narratives. Among jihadist groups, IS has taken a more totalitarian view of the coronavirus pandemic, while Al-Qaeda (AQ) and the Taliban have used it as a PR exercise to gain political legitimacy. Far-right groups in the West have spun it to promote native nationalism, border restoration and anti-immigration policies. Terrorist groups have increased their social media propaganda to radicalise and recruit vulnerable individuals. At the same time, these groups have urged their supporters to carry out lone-wolf attacks and use the coronavirus as a bioweapon. In the post-COVID-19 world, revisiting existing counter-terrorism frameworks to devise more adaptable and cost-effective strategies would be needed to continue the fight against terrorism. In the next article, V. Arianti and Muh Taufiqurrohman observe that the COVID-19 outbreak has had a varied impact on Indonesia’s security landscape. On the one hand, it has emboldened IS-affiliated Indonesian militant groups to step up calls for attacks, with the government seen as weakened amidst a worsening domestic health crisis. On the other, ongoing indoctrination and recruitment activities of militant groups have also faced disruptions. According to the authors, counter-terrorism strategies will need to be reoriented as circumstances evolve, particularly in dealing with the arrest of militants and the subsequent processes of their prosecution and incarceration. Finally, Kyler Ong and Nur Aziemah Azman examine the calls to action by far-right extremists and the Islamic State (IS), which reveals varying degrees of organisational coherence in the respective movements. According to the authors, such variations influence these two groups’ preferred techniques, tactics and procedures adopted in seeking to exploit the health crisis. For its part, IS has a more organised hierarchical structure, even if it has increasingly granted autonomy to its affiliates to plan and execute attacks. In comparison, the absence of a central authority, or command structure in the far-right, can lead to a fragmentation of interests. These factors invariably create uncertainties in how, when and where extremists of both ilk may seek to operationalise an attack.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Health, Terrorism, Counter-terrorism, Al Qaeda, Islamic State, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: South Asia, Indonesia, Southeast Asia, Global Focus
  • Author: Luis Montesclaros
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: While engaging in hoarding behaviour at the national level may seem like a strategic move in response to household hoarding amid disruptions in trade, doing so can potentially trigger a repeat of the 2007-08 food crisis.
  • Topic: Security, Health, Food, COVID-19, Health Crisis
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Angelo Paolo L. Trias
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Governments around the world are deploying their military forces to respond to COVID-19. Militaries can be helpful in responding to emergencies and disasters because of their organised and unique capabilities. But how can the military be useful in the fight against the coronavirus?
  • Topic: Health, United Nations, Military Affairs, COVID-19, Disaster Management
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: S. Nanthini
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Irregular migrants already struggling with poverty, displacement and discrimination, will be one of the hardest hit communities by the COVID-19 pandemic. Facing stigmatisation and a lack of resources, they are often overlooked in policy conversations despite their especially high vulnerability to the virus.
  • Topic: Health, Labor Issues, COVID-19, Migrant Workers
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jose M. L. Montesclaros, Mely Caballero-Anthony
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Many economies have already started to re-open in spite of growing COVID-19 active cases, but it may be for the wrong reasons, and some may be premature. Analysing the healthcare and fiscal capacity of countries provides insights on framing the logic of re-opening.
  • Topic: Health, Economy, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Mely Caballero-Anthony
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Averting the catastrophic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic requires no less than a coordinated and effective global response with the participation of all actors at multiple levels of governance. Asia must seize the opportunity to define its role in this endeavour.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Health, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University
  • Abstract: Developed by Brown University faculty with expertise in infectious diseases, emergency medicine, medical education, and instructional design, the training curriculum has been designed in accordance with World Health Organization standards, best practices, and guidelines. The training program, teaches and evaluates trainees on COVID-19 core competencies, including biology and transmission mechanisms; infection prevention and control; contact tracing; screening and triage; diagnosis and management; stabilization and resuscitation; health facility operations and surge capacity; and risk communication and public health messaging. Designed for ease of remote access, the training program is delivered virtually by Brown University trainers and is accompanied by real-time Q&A support. Tailored for each specific country setting in which it is delivered, the curriculum focuses on strengthening the capacity of health workers in resource-limited settings. The training utilizes a Training-of-Trainers model to engage master trainers and coach new trainers, allowing Project HOPE and CHRHS to quickly build a cadre of competent instructors who are able to train other health workers within their networks to respond efficiently to the threat of COVID-19 while also protecting their own health.
  • Topic: Health, Training, Data, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Sexual Violence Research Initiative
  • Abstract: This Knowledge Exchange seeks to expand our understanding of effective interventions for managing ongoing trauma resulting from child sexual abuse (CSA) and sexual violence through the lifespan, highlighting innovative and increasingly evidence-based body-mind approaches that are showing great promise in the treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other trauma induced symptoms, and exploring some basics about the neuro-biological underpinnings of body-focused interventions. We examine complex trauma and various aspects of recovery and healing, followed by an exploration of body-focused approaches. The Knowledge Exchange is not intended to be a systematic review of therapeutic options in cases of trauma and PTSD (for a recent meta-analysis of psychological and pharmacological interventions for PTSD and comorbid health problems, see Coventry et al., 2020), nor is it a review of cognitive-behavioral approaches or talk therapy more generally.
  • Topic: Health, Trauma, Mental Health, Sexual Violence, PTSD
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Gregory Claeys, Guntram B. Wolff
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: The euro never challenged the US dollar, and its international status declined with the euro crisis. Faced with a US administration willing to use its hegemonic currency to extend its domestic policies beyond its borders, Europe is reflecting on how to promote it currency on the global stage to ensure its autonomy. But promoting a more prominent role for the euro is difficult and involves far-reaching changes to the fabric of the monetary union.
  • Topic: Health, European Union, Currency, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: Hanan Shai
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Amid the debate on the coronavirus crisis, there is broad agreement on three issues: The nation-state has failed to check the spread of the virus, quickly and with few people being infected, by using its autonomous capabilities, which turned out to be meager. Trans-state bodies that derived their economic capabilities from the state have failed in their role of assisting it. The idea of globalism is fundamentally true, and the problems that have emerged in the crisis must be remedied by strengthening the states and, at the same time, as concluded by French President Emmanuel Macron, the trans-state bodies. This study contends that globalism in its current form has failed and collapsed, just as communism and other social frameworks failed and collapsed before it. The reason for their collapse was that all of them were based on delusory utopian ideas. These utopian ideas are grounded in a dominant European liberal discipline whose founders abandoned the scientific revolution at the beginning of its path, abjured rational thought, and continued, like the church, to adhere to faith-based thought, feelings of the heart, and delusions of the imagination. Another liberal discipline, less well-known, is the rational one. Committed to truth and to the absolute laws of nature, it was adopted by the Anglo-Saxon democracies, which, thanks to its values, experienced long periods of growth and prosperity. On three occasions this discipline could be mobilized to help rescue Europe from calamities that its utopian conceptions had caused.
  • Topic: Health, Global Focus, State, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: Basheer M. Nafi
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Al Jazeera Center for Studies
  • Abstract: There is no doubt that it is a terrible pandemic, but it seems that modern humans have yet to gain the level of wisdom necessary to see through to the catastrophic consequences of their way of life, organizations, and relationships.
  • Topic: Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Weronika Michalak, Dr hab. Zbigniew Karaczun
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Warsaw East European Review (WEER)
  • Institution: Centre for East European Studies, University of Warsaw
  • Abstract: The phenomenon of climate change, observed for years and constantly intensifying, has had a negative impact on health, significantly deteriorating the quality of life of people in many regions of the world, including Poland. Already now we are dealing with increasingly frequent extreme weather phenomena; hurricanes, storms and increasingly longer heat waves no longer surprise us. Unfortunately, this is merely the beginning of the negative effects of climate change. Others will come before long. In the coming years, many other new threats will be observed, such as flooding of ocean islands, desertification of areas exposed to water scarcity or serious loss of biodiversity, which will translate into food security. Unfortunately, it does not end there.1 The greenhouse effect is a process by which radiation from the Earth’s atmosphere warms the planet’s surface to a temperature above what it would be without this atmosphere. We can differentiate short-term solar radiation (0.15-4.0 nm) and long-term radiation. Thermal radiation escapes into the cosmic sphere and heat radiation returns to the ground, being stopped by a layer of GHG – greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4, N2O, SF6, water vapor etc.), which warm up Earth’s athmosphere to a dangerous level – even a 1°C degree increase (in comparison to pre-industrial level, when emissions stared to rise) in the average world temperature can be detrimental to human health and change the conditions of life on this planet (Figure 1). However, we currently face a risk of global warming even up to 3°C degrees, unless GHG emissions are significantly reduced. Any further rise of the global temperature will have deteriorating impact on people and whole humanity, as well as staying at the current level of emissions.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Health, Food, Food Security
  • Political Geography: Europe, Poland, Global Focus
  • Author: Özge Karadağ Çaman, Selma Karabey
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV)
  • Abstract: The relationship of human health with social and the environmental factors has long been among the issues that have been dwelled on especially since the beginning of the 19th century. The field of medicine springing from these studies is known as “Social Medicine”. Although developments in pathology and microbiology caused the importance of social factors in the etiology of diseases to be set aside at the end of the 19th century, social medicine has acquired its currency again in later years. Indeed today, we need to read and understand the principles of social medicine more than ever.
  • Topic: Health, Inequality, Pandemic, COVID-19, Health Crisis
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Dyan Mazurana, Anastasia Marshak
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Feinstein International Center, Tufts University
  • Abstract: The United Nations and its partner agencies have pledged to focus on the problem and eradication of early, child, and forced marriage. On November 12, 2018, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution on child, early, and forced marriage. As part of this resolution, the General Assembly highlighted the need for better data collection and disaggregation of that data for improved analysis and learning. This report is a comprehensive and user-friendly concept note for a database on child marriage in humanitarian settings, a first step in eradicating the problem. The report identifies the existing knowledge and data on child marriage in humanitarian settings, gaps in that evidence base, and provides recommendations for moving forward with the creation of a comprehensive database. The authors interviewed key stakeholders on child marriage across program, policy, and academia in combination with a comprehensive literature review. The report was commissioned and funded by Save the Children U.S.
  • Topic: Health, Human Rights, Humanitarian Aid, United Nations, Children, Basic Data, Humanitarian Intervention
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa, Global Focus
  • Author: David Steven, Alex Evans
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: World Politics Review
  • Abstract: Just months after reports emerged of a novel coronavirus spreading in central China, our world, and all of our individual worlds, have been transformed by what has become a terrifying pandemic. Governments around the globe are taking unprecedented steps to restrict movement and limit social contact among their populations to contain the virus’s spread. Growing numbers of the world’s inhabitants are now living in either voluntary or imposed isolation, or preparing to. The articles collected here look at what governments, other global actors and individuals must do to survive the crisis and navigate the new world beyond it.
  • Topic: Health, Public Health, Coronavirus, Pandemic, Resilience
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Peter Maurer
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Brown Journal of World Affairs
  • Abstract: Peter Maurer is the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). This interview was conducted at the beginning of March, before the COVID-19 outbreak had reached pandemic levels. Since that time, the ICRC has been adapt- ing its operations to respond to the disease’s impacts in conflict-affected countries. President Maurer wrote about his concerns for vulnerable populations in an opinion column in The Guardian, published 27 March 2020.
  • Topic: Health, Humanitarian Aid, Humanitarian Intervention, Violence, Civilians, Medicine , Red Cross, ICRC
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Daniel Rowe, Christopher McKenna
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Case Study
  • Institution: Oxford Centre for Global History
  • Abstract: In October 1945, Alexander Fleming, Howard Florey, and Ernest Chain each received an almost identical telegram from Stockholm, Sweden. The Nobel Prize Committee, these messages read, was pleased to inform the three British-based scientists that they had been awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine, for the ‘discovery of penicillin and its curative action in various diseases.’ This was not surprising news. In fact, a year earlier, two major newspapers had informed their readers that Fleming would receive the prestigious award in 1944. Although the reporters’ stories were a year ahead of their time, they were right that the global scientific community had generally agreed that the world’s first antibiotic was a landmark in medical history worthy of Nobel Prize recognition. It was simply a question of when, not if, the prize would be awarded.
  • Topic: Economics, Health, History, Medicine
  • Political Geography: Sweden, Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute for Economics & Peace
  • Abstract: The journey out of this global recession will be long and arduous. However two factors may assist countries along this path. The first is high levels of Positive Peace, guaranteeing effective institutions, social cohesion and transparent, representative governments. The second is favourable economic conditions before the onset of the pandemic.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Economics, Health, Global Recession, Violence, Economic Policy, Institutions, Peace, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Dominic Sachsenmaier
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Toynbee Prize Foundation
  • Abstract: Living through historically unprecedented times has strengthened the Toynbee Prize Foundation's commitment to thinking globally about history and to representing that perspective in the public sphere. In this multimedia series on the covid-19 pandemic, we will be bringing global history to bear in thinking through the raging coronavirus and the range of social, intellectual, economic, political, and scientific crises triggered and aggravated by it. Dominic Sachsenmaier, the President of the Toynbee Prize Foundation, is Chair Professor of Modern China with a Special Emphasis on Global Historical Perspectives in the Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Göttingen. His expertise centers on global and transnational Chinese history, with a focus on Chinese concepts of society and multiple modernities, among other topics. He is co-editor of the Columbia University Press book series “Columbia Studies in International and Global History“ and an elected member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts.
  • Topic: Health, International Affairs, Geopolitics, Global Focus, Coronavirus, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Global Focus
  • Author: Erez Manela
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Toynbee Prize Foundation
  • Abstract: Living through historically unprecedented times has strengthened the Toynbee Prize Foundation's commitment to thinking globally about history and to representing that perspective in the public sphere. In this multimedia series on the covid-19 pandemic, we will be bringing global history to bear in thinking through the raging coronavirus and the range of social, intellectual, economic, political, and scientific crises triggered and aggravated by it. Erez Manela researches international society and the modern international order. Recently he has written about smallpox and the globalization of development, illuminating the power structures and international infrastructure that underwrote the World Health Organization’s (WHO) smallpox eradication program from 1965 to 1980. Professor of History at Harvard University, Prof. Manela teaches the history of the United States in the world and modern international history, and is the Director of Graduate Programs at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard and co-chair of the Harvard International and Global History seminar. He co-edits the Cambridge University book series ‘Global and International History.’
  • Topic: Health, World Health Organization, Geopolitics, Public Health, Coronavirus, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Feminist Foreign Policy
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic knows no borders. It further knows no gender, class, or race. This virus does not discriminate, but our societies do. Around the world we have historically built systems and structures that privilege the few and disadvantage the many. When a crisis as unprecedented as the current pandemic hits, inequalities are exacerbated. This holds particularly true for gender equality which, despite encouraging steps forward, no country is on track to achieve by 2030. This not only fails politically marginalised groups, in particular women, girls, and gender nonconforming people, but also greatly hinders the international community’s commitment to foster peace and security. Research shows that the most significant factor in determining a country’s peacefulness (within its borders and towards other countries) is its level of gender equality. Already in early April, the UN warned in its policy brief, “The Impact of COPVID-19 on Women”, that the limited “gains made in the past decades [towards gender equality] are at risk of being rolled back.” Governments and foreign ministries must apply a feminist perspective to their COVID-19 response in order to to prevent a set-back, safeguard existing progress, and advance more quickly toward their goals: A ‘gender-blind’ approach would counteract all previous efforts not only in the area of gender equality, but also in conflict prevention and the pursuit of international peace.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Health, Feminism, Coronavirus, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Global Commission On Drug Policy
  • Abstract: In this first report of this decade, the Global Commission on Drug Policy outlines how the current international drug control regime works for the benefit of transnational organized crime. It highlights how years of repressive policies targeted at nonviolent drug offenders have resulted in mass incarceration and produced countless adverse impacts on public health, the rule of law, and social cohesion, whilst at the same time reinforcing criminal elites. The report argues that the top layers of criminal organizations must be disempowered, through policy responses and political will. It provides implementable recommendations for the replacement of the current policy of targeting non-violent drug offenders and resorting to mass incarceration. Law enforcement must focus on the most dangerous and protected actors and primary drivers of the corruption, violence, and chaos around illegal drug markets. The control of psychoactive substances in a rational and efficient way must be centered on people and their needs, and on a repressive approach against criminal elites who benefit from the illegal drug markets’ proceeds, and have access to high-level networks, financial and legal support as needed. Only responsible legal regulation of currently prohibited drugs, with careful implementation, has the potential to disrupt criminal organizations and deprive them of their most lucrative sources of income. The report contains research on the prerequisites for a successful transition towards the reform of the outdated ideology-based international drug control regime, and provides cutting-edge recommendations on how to ensure that international criminal organizations are effectively disempowered by the transition towards a legally regulated drug market under the control of governments.
  • Topic: Crime, Health, War on Drugs, Drugs, Public Health, Medicine
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Laurie Zephyrin, Molly FitzGerald, Munira Z. Gunja, Roosa Tikkanen
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Commonwealth Fund
  • Abstract: The U.S. has the highest maternal mortality rate among developed countries. Obstetrician-gynecologists (ob-gyns) are overrepresented in its maternity care workforce relative to midwives, and there is an overall shortage of maternity care providers (both ob-gyns and midwives) relative to births. In most other countries, midwives outnumber ob-gyns by severalfold, and primary care plays a central role in the health system. Although a large share of its maternal deaths occur postbirth, the U.S. is the only country not to guarantee access to provider home visits or paid parental leave in the postpartum period.
  • Topic: Health, Health Care Policy, Women, Reproductive Health
  • Political Geography: United States, Global Focus
  • Author: Michelle M. Doty, Eric C. Schneider, Roosa Tikkanen, Arnav Shah, Reginald D. Williams II
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Commonwealth Fund
  • Abstract: With more than 4 million confirmed cases and 150,000 deaths as of August, the United States is failing to control the COVID-19 pandemic. At a time when many nations are reopening their economies and societies, the U.S. is struggling in its attempts to do the same. To examine the early impact of the pandemic on the well-being of adults in the U.S. and abroad, the Commonwealth Fund joined the survey research firm SSRS to interview 8,259 adults age 18 and older between March and May 2020. It is the latest in the Commonwealth Fund’s series of cross-national comparisons featuring the United States and nine other high-income countries that participate in the Fund’s annual International Health Policy Survey. The following exhibits illustrate COVID-19’s effects on people’s mental health and economic security and compare levels of public trust in national leaders in responding to the pandemic.
  • Topic: Health, Health Care Policy, Mental Health, Public Health
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: Meredith B. Rosenthal, Paul F. van Gils, Caroline A. Baan, Eline F. de Vries, Jeroen Struijs
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Commonwealth Fund
  • Abstract: We identified 23 initiatives in eight countries that have implemented bundled-payment models, focusing on procedures such as total joint replacements and cardiac surgery, as well as chronic conditions like diabetes and breast cancer. Of the 35 studies retrieved, 32 reported effects on quality of care and 32 reported effects on medical spending. Twenty of 32 studies reported modest savings or a modest reduction in spending growth, while two studies (both based on the same initiative) demonstrated increased spending in the early years of the bundled-payment model’s implementation. Eighteen of 32 studies reported quality improvements for most evaluated measures, while other studies showed no difference in measured quality. Our study provides evidence that bundled-payment models have the potential to reduce medical spending growth while having either a positive impact or no impact on quality of care.
  • Topic: Economics, Health, Health Care Policy, Income Inequality, Macroeconomics, Coronavirus, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: United States, Global Focus
  • Author: Roosa Tikkanen, Melinda K. Abrams
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Commonwealth Fund
  • Abstract: A 2015 Commonwealth Fund brief showed that — before the major provisions of the Affordable Care Act were introduced — the United States had worse outcomes and spent more on health care, largely because of greater use of medical technology and higher prices, compared to other high-income countries. By benchmarking the performance of the U.S. health care system against other countries — and updating with new data as they become available — we can gain important insights into our strengths and weaknesses and help policymakers and delivery system leaders identify areas for improvement. This analysis is the latest in a series of Commonwealth Fund cross-national comparisons that uses health data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to assess U.S. health care system spending, outcomes, risk factors and prevention, utilization, and quality, relative to 10 other high-income countries: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. We also compare U.S. performance to that of the OECD average, comprising 36 high-income member countries.
  • Topic: Health, Health Care Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Global Philanthropy Project (GPP)
  • Abstract: In April 2020, GPP conducted a survey in order to understand emerging practices and principles for COVID-19 response among funders supporting global LGBTI issues, share common learnings and opportunities for collaboration, and inform how GPP can support the community of global LGBTI funders over the course of the pandemic and beyond. The survey focused on GPP member funds as well as non-GPP members in the top 20 funders of global LGBTI issues (based on the 2017-2018 Global Resources Report). The brief contains findings on: Common principles and innovative initiatives global LGBTI funders have commenced since the pandemic began; Key issues that LGBTI funders are hearing from grantee partners; Actions global LGBTI funders have taken to response to these issues; Initial planning or forecasting on implications for global LGBTI funders, including new resources; Recommendations for global LGBTI philanthropic community collaboration in response to COVID-19 impacts on LGBTI communities across the world. In response to the key recommendations from this survey, GPP will monitor shifts in resource flows to LGBTI movements and communities resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. We plan to undertake a follow up survey of these leading global LGBTI funders in July 2020 and will also publish those results here.
  • Topic: Health, LGBT+, Coronavirus, Pandemic, Community, COVID-19, Philanthropy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Helios Herrera, Maximilian Konradt, Guillermo Ordoñez, Christoph Trebesch
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW)
  • Abstract: The Covid-19 pandemic is a major test for governments around the world. We study the political consequences of (mis-)managing the Covid crisis by constructing a highfrequency dataset of government approval for 35 countries. In the first weeks after the outbreak, approval rates for incumbents increase strongly, consistent with a global “rally around the flag” effect. Approval, however, drops again in countries where Covid cases continue to grow. This is especially true for governments that do not implement stringent policies to control the number of infections. Overall, the evidence suggests that loose pandemic policies are politically costly. Governments that placed more weight on health rather than short-term economic outcomes obtained higher approval.
  • Topic: Government, Health, International Political Economy, Health Care Policy, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Katharina Lima de Miranda, Lena Detlefsen, Michael Stolpe
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW)
  • Abstract: Among measures to fight hospital acquired infections, an emerging epidemic in many countries around the world, adoption of appropriate hand hygiene practices by healthcare workers is considered a priority. Despite their simplicity and effectiveness, healthcare workers’ compliance is poor, with most empirical studies finding compliance rates well below 50% in many countries. Management strategies to increase compliance are often based on the notion that non-compliance is a moral hazard problem, characterized by asymmetric information between hospital management and healthcare workers. In this study, we provide empirical evidence that an individual behavioral characteristic, known as overconfidence, induces many healthcare workers to overestimate their hand hygiene compliance and hence to underperform unknowingly and unintentionally.
  • Topic: Health, International Political Economy, Health Care Policy, Hospitals
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Internationally set goals and guidelines directly influ­ence the setting of health care priorities at the national level, affecting how limited resources are generated and allocated across health care needs. The influence of global priority setting, such as through the formu­lation of overarching goals or normative guidelines for specific disease areas, is particularly significant in low- and middle-income countries that rely heavily on overseas development assistance. Because no sys­tematic approach exists for dealing with resource con­straints, however, which vary across countries, goals and guidance are often inappropriate for some country contexts; their implementation can, therefore, reduce the efficiency and equity of health care spending. The Working Group on Incorporating Economics and Modelling in Global Health Goals and Guidelines, co-convened by the Center for Global Development, Thanzi la Onse, and the HIV Modelling Consortium, has brought together disease specialists, policymakers, economists, and modelers from national governments, international organizations, and academic institutions across the globe to address these issues, to take stock of current approaches, and make recommendations for better practice. The Working Group deliberated on the roles and purposes of goals and guidelines and consid­ered how economic evidence might be formally incor­porated into policy recommendations and health care decision making. The target audiences for this report are international health institutions, large stakehold­ers in disease programs across the world, and national governments.
  • Topic: Development, Health, Health Care Policy, Public Health
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Janeen Madam Keller, William Savedoff
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The availability and affordability of health products—medicines, diagnostics, devices, and equipment—are critical to achieving universal health coverage and improving health outcomes. Yet low- and middle-income countries face multiple challenges in procuring health products related to institutional inefficiencies, market failure, and fragmented demand. At the same time, the world is evolving rapidly in ways that will affect health procurement, from changes in countries’ eligibility for foreign assistance to advances in information technologies. Looking forward, efforts to improve global health procurement must proactively address the sweeping changes on the horizon. Drawing on a range of political, economic, and social trends, this paper envisions how the global landscape might change between now and 2030, with a focus on the implications for global health, particularly the procurement of health products. The paper develops three possible but distinct futures—worlds characterized as atomistic, privately led, or multilateral.It concludes by describing the policy options and locus of action to improve global health procurement in light of these scenarios, emphasizing three areas of work: financing and modes of collaboration, procurement procedures and tools, and procurement capacity.
  • Topic: Health, Health Care Policy, Public Health, Health Crisis
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Rachel Silverman, Amanda Glassman, Kalipso Chalkidou, Janeen Madan Keller
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: There have been impressive gains in global health over the past 20 years, with millions of lives saved through expanded access to essential medicines and other health products. Major international initiatives backed by billions of dollars in development assistance have brought new drugs, diagnostics, and other innovations to the fight against HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, and other scourges. But behind these successes is an unacceptable reality: in many low- and middle-income countries, lifesaving health products are either unavailable or beyond the reach of the people who need them most. While each country’s context is unique, a reliable, affordable, and high-quality supply of health products is a vital necessity for any health system. In its absence, lasting health gains will remain elusive.
  • Topic: Health, Public Health, Pandemic, Procurement, Medicine
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Roxanne Oroxom, Amanda Glassman
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: With a vision of “creating equal access to new and underused vaccines,” Gavi set several coverage-specific targets for 2020 as part of its Phase IV strategy, including the immunization of an additional 300 million children, increased pentavalent 3 and measles-containing vaccine (MCV) 1 coverage, and greater equity in coverage across wealth quintiles.[1] The strategy also called for broadening protection through improved routine coverage and the introduction of new vaccines.[2]
  • Topic: Health, Children, Public Health, Vaccine
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Amanda Glassman, Cordelia Kenney, Janeen Madan Keller
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Child vaccination remains among the most cost-effective uses of public and aid monies.[1] In a highly contested funding environment where priorities must be set for the allocation of scarce concessional resources, investment in expanding the availability and coverage of cost-effective vaccination must come at the top of the list. Gavi’s mission—saving children’s lives and protecting people’s health by increasing equitable use of vaccines—remains highly relevant. Gavi and its partners have made enormous progress towards increasing equity in the introduction of vaccines; children living in the lowest-income countries now have access to the same set of vaccines as those living in high-income countries. Gavi and partners have also contributed to increased coverage; immunization rates are higher in Burundi and Rwanda, for example, than in many places in the United States and Europe. Yet the effects of under-immunization anywhere can have global implications everywhere, as recent outbreaks illustrate. New or dormant threats are also a new reality—newly vaccine-preventable diseases like Ebola or virulent flu strains can spread swiftly and lethally in an interconnected world.
  • Topic: Health, Public Health, Vaccine, Immunization
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Rachel Silverman, Janeen Madan Keller, Amanda Glassman, Kalipso Chalkidou
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: There have been impressive gains in global health over the past 20 years, with millions of lives saved through expanded access to essential medicines and other health products. Major international initiatives backed by billions of dollars in development assistance have brought new drugs, diagnostics, and other innovations to the fight against HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, and other scourges. But behind these successes is an unacceptable reality: in many low- and middle-income countries, lifesaving health products are either unavailable or beyond the reach of the people who need them most. While each country’s context is unique, a reliable, affordable, and high-quality supply of health products is a vital necessity for any health system. In its absence, lasting health gains will remain elusive. Access to medicines, diagnostics, devices, and equipment is driven in large part by the efficiency of their procurement. Procurement is, therefore, central to the efforts of low- and middle-income countries to improve health, meet the Sustainable Development Goals, and achieve universal health coverage. Health product purchasing in low- and lower-middle-income countries already makes up a sizeable share of overall health spending; in fact, in just a subset of these countries, spending on health products totals an estimated $50 billion per year.[1] Procurement is not only essential to the missions of global health entities like the Global Fund, Gavi, UNICEF, UNFPA, and PEPFAR, but it also represents big money. In the case of the Global Fund, health product procurement accounts for $2 billion per year,[2] or almost half of its 2017 disbursements.[3] Yet despite its importance, procurement is an underappreciated health system function. Today’s procurement systems are hobbled by inefficiencies that leave some of the poorest countries paying some of the highest drug prices in the world.
  • Topic: Health, Public Health, Transition, Procurement
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Filippa Lentzos
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: International treaties prohibit the development and use of biological weapons. Yet concerns about these weapons have endured and are now escalating. It is high time to take a hard look at technical and political developments and consider how the international security policy community should respond. ​ A major source of the growing concern about future bioweapons threats stem from scientific and technical advances. Innovations in biotechnology are expanding the toolbox to modify genes and organisms at a staggering pace, making it easier to produce increasingly dangerous pathogens. Disease-causing organisms can now be modified to increase their virulence, expand their host range, increase their transmissibility, or enhance their resistance to therapeutic interventions.[1] Scientific advances are also making it theoretically possible to create entirely novel biological weapons,[2] by synthetically creating known or extinct pathogens or entirely new pathogens.[3] Scientists could potentially enlarge the target of bioweapons from the immune system to the nervous system,[4] genome, or microbiome,[5] or they could weaponize ‘gene drives’ that would rapidly and cheaply spread harmful genes through animal and plant populations.[6] ​ Concurrent developments in other emerging technologies are also impacting potential future biological weapons threats. Developments in artificial intelligence and machine learning could speed up identification of harmful genes or DNA sequences. Artificial intelligence and machine learning could also potentially enable much more targeted biological weapons that would harm specific individuals or groups of individuals based on their genes, prior exposure to vaccines, or known vulnerabilities in their immune system.[7] Big Data and ‘cloud labs’ (completely robotized laboratories for hire) facilitate this process by enabling massively scaled-up experimentation and testing, significantly shortening ‘design-test-build’ timeframes and improving the likelihood of obtaining specificity or producing desired biological functionality.[8] Other developments provide new or easier ways to deliver pathogens or biological systems. Nanotechnology could potentially create aerosolized nanobots dispersing lethal synthetic microbes or chem-bio hybrids through the air,[9] or in vivo nanobots releasing damaging payloads inside human bodies.[10] Aerosol or spraying devices attached to swarms of small unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, could be another potential means to disperse biological agents. Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, could circumvent barriers imposed by national export control systems on controlled laboratory equipment or dispersal devices. ​
  • Topic: Security, Health, Science and Technology, Treaties and Agreements, Biosecurity, Weapons
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Brian Budd, Nicole Goodman, Sarah Shoker, Dominik Stecula, Sara Bannerman, Tony Porter, Netina Tan, Chelsea Gabel, Liam Midzain-Gobin, Devin Ouellette, Norwin Tabassum, Catherine Frost, Marcel Goguen, Brian Detlor, Amelia Joseph, Andrea Zeffiro, Angela Orasch
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute on Globalization and the Human Condition, McMaster University
  • Abstract: As we approach the third decade of the 21st century, there are numerous disturbing signs that two world-historical accomplishments that had seemed so promising are in serious trouble. The first of these is digital networks, which had promised to bring the world closer together, bringing broader popular participation and engagement and new ways of generating wealth and wellness. However, today anxieties about digital networking are proliferating, sparked by growing levels of digital surveillance, the effects of digital devices on our mental health and sociality, and the loss of jobs to artificial intelligence. The second troubled historical accomplishment is democracy, which at the end of the Cold War seemed to be expanding inexorably, but which now is challenged by growing authoritarianism and popular discontent with democratic governments. Freedom House’s 2019 report, entitled “Democracy in Retreat”, documents the 13th consecutive year of weakening democratic norms around the world (2019). These two global developments are related, due to the negative impact of “fake news” spread digitally on elections or the disruptive effects of digitization on the type of social cohesion that should be an important precondition for and effect of democracy. However, the relationships between digitization and democracy are multidimensional and complex, and much work remains to identify and analyze them. This working paper contributes to addressing this need by bringing together a set of interdisciplinary contributions, exploring different facets of the relationship between digitization and democracy in a variety of settings, from the local through to the global. This introduction to the working paper provides an overview of some key issues and literatures relevant to the relationship between digitization and democracy, including the historical shift in assessments of this relationship from optimism to concern; analysis of more specific ways that digitization and democracy interact; and the increasingly global aspects of the problem and the challenges this poses to governance. The final section of this introduction provides a summary of the individual contributions that follow. These short papers were presented at a workshop at McMaster University in September 2018 and then revised for this set of working papers to bring out their common themes more consistently. This final section of the introduction emphasizes the inter-relatedness of digitization and democracy in various settings. This type of global and multidimensional mapping of the problem is crucial if these problems, and the fears about our global futures that accompany them, can be diagnosed, treated, and overcome.
  • Topic: Health, Democracy, Media, Surveillance, Digitization
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Kelly M. McFarland
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University
  • Abstract: The growth and international clout of cities and sub-state actors has been unparalleled in recent decades. These players seek agency in the international arena, forming networks for cross-border cooperation on issues like climate change, health, transnational crime, and migration. ISD’s working group report, “The Rise of Metropolitanism: The International Order and Sub-national Actors,” explores how mayors, governors, and other sub-state actors both challenge and contribute to diplomacy at the national and international levels. How will these new networks find their voice in the international arena?
  • Topic: Climate Change, Crime, Diplomacy, Health, International Cooperation, Migration, Transnational Actors, Urban, Cities
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Catherine Bertini
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: An estimated 3 billion of the world’s 6.9 billion people live in rural areas of the developing world. More than 60 percent of them live in poverty. Poverty affects women and girls disproportionately; rural girls face the triple challenges to their empowerment and well-being by virtue of their youth, gender, and location. Investing in rural girls’ health and safety, as well as their personal and professional development, has the potential to transform rural economies. Girls Leading: From Rural Economies to Global Solutions—available as both a fully online digital experience and as a PDF—is a collection of diverse perspectives from 20 authors around the world. The authors share their research and stories of personal struggle and triumph to highlight the needs of rural girls and solutions to the challenges they face. The report also includes recommendations, arranged by age group, for critical moments in a girl’s life where both small and large actions can make a huge difference. Many of the most pressing global issues—climate change, economic development, health, and education—demand that we consider rural girls. The world changes as their lives change. Join the conversation at #GirlsLeading.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Education, Gender Issues, Health, Poverty, Children, Women, Economy, Youth, Rural
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Roger Thurow
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: This paper seeks to raise awareness of the growing global obesity epidemic and the need to address the economic, security, and humanitarian threats it poses for the United States and the world. While the development community—including global agriculture, health, and security practitioners—has been focused on combatting undernutrition, the number of people who are obese or overweight has been on the rise and is now on par with the 2 billion who are food insecure. In western countries where the epidemic started, obesity is not just an enormous health and economic burden, but a national security threat. Seventy percent of 17-to 24-year-olds in America are reported to be unfit to serve in the military, with being overweight and obese as the leading disqualifier. An increasingly sedentary lifestyle and growing reliance on unhealthy processed food has spread to low and middle-income countries around the world. Many of these countries are experiencing a “double burden” of malnutrition, in which people who are overweight or have obesity coexist with those experiencing undernutrition, threatening the growth and vitality of their societies. So far, policy responses from national governments have been slow and inadequate. The costs of the epidemic have not yet been viewed as urgent enough to generate the public demand or political will to act. The view of obesity as a global “syndemic,” along with undernutrition and climate change, has the potential to help rally attention to the challenge. The paper calls for local, national, and global efforts to recognize obesity as the economic, moral, and security crisis that it is and to summon the political will to end the epidemic.
  • Topic: Security, Health, Economy, Non-Traditional Threats
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Mariya Aleksandrova
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: This discussion paper aims to further awareness of opportunities to address loss and damage caused by climate change-related slow onset events (SOEs) through social protection. The analysis is based on a review of interdisciplinary theoretical and empirical literature. The findings suggest that designing comprehensive, climate-responsive social protection strategies can strongly support proactive measures to avoid, minimise and address the complex, long-term impacts of SOEs on human health, livelihoods, poverty and inequality. This entails improving the effectiveness and extending the coverage of existing social protection systems; mainstreaming climate concerns, including risks associated with SOEs, into national social protection frameworks; integrating social protection with broader climate and development policies and strategies; and developing innovative and transformational approaches to social protection. To this end, several issues for research and policy are discussed. Overall, the paper attempts to set the groundwork for an advanced research and policy agenda on social protection and climate change as well as emphasise the need for wider consideration of social protection in global climate change debates. In addition, the study aims to inform the future work of the Executive Committee of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage associated with Climate Change Impacts in the working areas of SOEs and comprehensive risk management approaches.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Health, Poverty, Inequality, Social Services
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ng Ser Song
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Brown Journal of World Affairs
  • Abstract: Illicit drug use exacts a high cost on abusers, their families, and ultimately society as a whole. Livelihoods are lost, relationships are destroyed, children suffer, and the wider community pays a hefty price through a resulting worsened crime situation. Singapore has hence adopted a harm-prevention approach to drugs, incorporating educational, legal, and rehabilitative measures. While we acknowledge that there is a variety of approaches to drug policy globally, our approach has worked well for our local context and enabled people here to live to their fullest potentials.
  • Topic: Crime, Health, Law, Criminal Justice, Drugs
  • Political Geography: Singapore, Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Global Commission On Drug Policy
  • Abstract: In Classification of Drugs: when science was left behind, the Global Commission on Drug Policy explains how the biased historical classification of psychoactive substances has contributed to the "world drug problem". It is the first-ever comprehensive report providing a political reading of the current evaluation and classification, or "scheduling" of drugs according to their harms. Psychoactive substances should be classified with regard to their potential for dependence and other harms. This is not the case today, where some substances are legally available because they are considered beneficial (medicines) or culturally important (alcohol), while others are seen as destructive, and are strictly prohibited. The classification of drugs is at the core of the international drug control system. As such, governments must ensure that such a classification is pragmatic and based on science and evidence, makes clear the benefits and harms of drugs, and allows for responsible legal regulatory models to control drugs.
  • Topic: Health, War on Drugs, Drugs, Alcohol, Public Health, Medicine
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Michael Woolcock
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: In rich and poor countries alike, a core challenge is building the state’s capability for policy implementation. Delivering high-quality public health and health care – affordably, reliably, at scale, for all – exemplifies this challenge, since doing so requires deftly integrating refined technical skills (surgery), broad logistics management (supply chains, facilities maintenance), adaptive problem solving (curative care) and resolving ideological differences (who pays? who provides?), even as the prevailing health problems themselves only become more diverse, complex and expensive as countries become more prosperous. The current state of state capability in developing countries, however, is demonstrably alarming, with the strains and demands only likely to intensify in the coming decades. Prevailing ‘best practice’ strategies for building implementation capability – copying and scaling putative successes from abroad – are too often part of the problem, while individual training (‘capacity building’) and technological upgrades (e.g., new management information systems) remain necessary but deeply insufficient. An alternative approach is outlined, one centered on building implementation capability by working iteratively to solve problems nominated and prioritized by local actors.
  • Topic: Health, Developing World, State, Public Policy, Policy Implementation
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Lorcan Clarke, Kalipso Chalkidou, Cassandra Nemzoff
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: As of December 2018, seven development impact bonds (DIBs) have been launched across seven countries with nearly US$55million in cumulative outcome funding. DIBs fund public services through contracts where private investors provide upfront flexible funding to service providers and outcome funders repay these investors based on the outcomes achieved by people receiving services. Three DIBs specifically target health outcomes: the Humanitarian Impact Bond, the Utkrisht Impact Bond, and the Cameroon Cataract Bond. The three “health DIBs” involve US$26.5 million in upfront investment, US$38.1 million in outcome funding and aim to impact the health of at least 31,600 people. Using publicly available information, we describe all seven DIBs, and evaluate the three “health DIBs” in more detail, comparing their stakeholders, implementation, and outcome structures. Building on a scoping review of relevant literature, we outline health DIBs in the pipeline and note that the potential of DIBs as a funding structure is hindered by the lack of publicly available information on their estimated impact and value for money. We offer three recommendations to improve evaluation and inform development of DIBs in the future: (1) publish plans and evaluations, (2) create and use consistent reporting guidelines, and (3) allocate funding to evaluate impact and value for money.
  • Topic: Development, Health, Humanitarian Intervention
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Marjorie Pajaron
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), which are disorders of the heart and blood vessels, are the world’s leading cause of death (WHO, 2016). The transition from infectious diseases to non-communicable diseases (NCDs), primarily CVDs, as the primary cause of mortality and morbidity worldwide— combined with the economic burden associated with heart-related diseases—prompted the World Health Organization (WHO) and its regional offices to identify CVDs’ risk factors (WHO, 2016). This paper examines these risk factors with a focus on the fetal environment and its interaction with adult body mass index (BMI), using longitudinal data from the Cebu Longitudinal Health and Nutrition Survey (CLHNS). Using a Cox proportional hazards model to estimate hazard ratios adjusted for age and risk factors in adulthood, such as cigarette smoking, the results suggest that there is a positive association between birth weight and heart disease. In addition, when birth weight is interacted with BMI, raised blood pressure is found to be higher among those who were bigger infants at birth and grew to be lighter adults, suggesting centile crossing. Probit models are also used for sensitivity analysis, and the results are consistent with those of the hazards model. Other factors such as adult obesity and a smoking habit are also positively associated with hypertension and CVD.
  • Topic: Health, Medicine , Risk Factors, Birthing
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Anthony McMichael, Easwaran Narassimhan
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Projecting the precise outcomes of climate change on the health and economic well-being of humans is integral to conceiving a coherent climate policy, yet forecasts are often associated with uncertainty. Given the complex nature of the problem: as Anthony McMichael points out in his book – Climate Change and the Health of Nations – famines, fevers, and the fate of populations “the Earth system’s behavior is less amenable to exact description and measurement, and behavior under future unfamiliar conditions cannot be confidently estimated.” As countries work hard to meet their commitments under the Paris Agreement, this unpredictability has become a reason for a dead- lock among nations who are finding it challenging to negotiate the finer, disputable aspects of the Agreement. The issue of “loss and damage” compensation to the more vulnerable regions of the world in particular, has become a bone of contention. It is in this context that McMichael’s book is unique. Instead of being focused on the clichéd discussions surrounding the science and politics of climate change, it provides an account of how humans have evolved, survived, and struggled in an ever changing global climate. In doing so, he views climate change through a historical lens. The book begins by exploring how the ever-so-restless global climate has played a pivotal role in shaping many historical events and the fate of various life forms on the planet. McMichael explains how extreme climate conditions have been responsible for most of the natural extinctions and catastrophic transitions since the Cambrian explosion of new life forms around 540 million years ago. In separate chapters, he throws light on how changing climate conditions have coincided with the rise and fall of human civilizations: from the European Bronze Age to the fall of Rome, the Mayans, and the Anasazi to the little Ice-Age that gripped Europe and China. Throughout the book, McMichael emphasizes how temperature anomalies have proven to be a bane for food supply, human health, and economic well-be- ing, and how they have resulted in the evolution of various infectious agents and vectors. The intriguing nature of changing temperature becomes evident as one is exposed to the many natural extinctions that have been followed by either a rapid cooling or a rapid warming period. McMichael also attempts to associate such naturally occurring warming and cooling with the evolution of some human species and de-evolution of others over time. He quotes John Hooker in saying that “every modification of climate, every disturbance of soil, every interference with the existing vegetation of an area, favors some species at the expense of others.”...
  • Topic: Climate Change, Demographics, Health, History
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Mark Lutter, Karlijn L. A Roex, Daria Tisch
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: Anomie and imitation have been prominent mechanisms explaining the Werther effect, i.e., the effect of celebrity suicides on a general population’s suicide rate. This study presents a new approach to empirically disentangle both mechanisms. Imitation theory suggests that celebrities act as role models, and that the Werther effect is triggered by the status of the celebrity in question. Anomie theory, on the other hand, suggests that the Werther effect is triggered by the unexpectedness of the event. To this end, we empirically compare the effects of celebrity suicides with the effects of celebrities who died unexpectedly from causes other than suicide (accidents, illnesses, alcohol abuse). Based on language and page-link data from 3,855 Wikipedia pages of 495 celebrities who committed suicide between 1960 and 2014, we measure the status a celebrity has in a particular country and calculate the potential country-specific imitation effect of their suicide. In the same manner, we measure status effects of celebrities who died unexpectedly from accidents, illnesses, or alcohol abuse to reflect anomie-related effects. We use these measures in a time-series cross-sectional dataset for 34 OECD countries to assess their effects on a country’s overall annual suicide rate. Fixed-effects analyses reveal that country-specific status effects of celebrity suicides lead to significant increases in overall suicide rates, while anomie-related, unexpected celebrity deaths show no effects. The findings remain robust across a number of alternative specifications, such as controlling for further anomic factors at the macro level (divorce or unemployment rate, for instance). We conclude that the results support the imitation mechanism as an essential social explanation for the Werther effect.
  • Topic: International Relations, Health
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Alice Debarre
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: In the past decade, counterterrorism measures have had an increasingly adverse impact on the provision of medical care and the conduct of principled humanitarian action in armed conflict settings. Whether inadvertently or not, they have impeded, and at times prevented, the provision of essential and lifesaving aid, often in violation of international humanitarian law (IHL). This paper aims to assist the Security Council, relevant UN organs, UN member states, and other stakeholders in upholding their obligations under IHL. It maps the UN counterterrorism framework and looks into the extent to which it guides states in complying with these obligations. In doing so, it offers several recommendations for the way forward: All UN resolutions and other UN and national policies that pertain to counterterrorism should contain an exemption for humanitarian activities. Every relevant UN counterterrorism measure should continue to reiterate that counterterrorism efforts need to comply with international law. Humanitarian actors should engage with UN counterterrorism structures more actively, strategically, and systematically. UN bodies that engage in counterterrorism should systematically include humanitarian actors in relevant conversations. The UN Counter-Terrorism Committee’s Executive Directorate and Office of Counter-Terrorism should better integrate IHL considerations into their work. Member states, UN entities, humanitarian actors, counterterrorism and sanctions experts, and other stakeholders should step up efforts to start a wide political discussion on tensions between counterterrorism and humanitarian action.
  • Topic: Health, Humanitarian Aid, United Nations, Violent Extremism, Counter-terrorism
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Alice Debarre
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: Armed conflict is a global health issue. Long-lasting and protracted conflicts in particular have consequences not only for the war-wounded but also for the health of entire communities. Over the years, global health actors and humanitarian health actors have developed health policies, guidelines, frameworks, and structures to improve delivery of health services in emergencies or humanitarian crises. Despite these advancements, however, the international health response in conflict-affected settings still faces gaps and challenges. Some policies and frameworks need to be rethought or redesigned, while others need to be better implemented. This paper explores challenges to healthcare provision in conflict-affected settings. These challenges are broadly broken down into three categories: constraints related to the health system and damaged health infrastructure, difficulty for health workers to access populations in need, and restrictions to healthcare provision intentionally or accidentally placed by donors or states engaged on humanitarian and health issues (e.g., through the securitization of healthcare). Tackling these challenges will have a direct impact on the lives of people in conflict-affected settings. However, doing so requires a radical shift in mindsets and the incentives that guide the actions of international health actors. Even so, more incremental changes can also be beneficial. To that end, this report puts forth the following recommendations: Improve coordination between and among humanitarian, development, and global health actors; Respond to context-specific needs; Hold health actors accountable to affected populations for their performance, and; Make responses sustainable. This work is based on a combination of desk research, interviews with more than seventy key informants, and an expert meeting bringing together key stakeholders and experts on global and humanitarian health.
  • Topic: Health, Humanitarian Aid, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Global Commission On Drug Policy
  • Abstract: This new report provides a practical roadmap that tackles the real implications and recognizes the difficulties of transitioning from illegal to legally regulated drug markets. It offers concrete answers regarding the organizational capacity of state institutions to regulate and control a legal market of potentially dangerous products. It highlights the challenges facing impoverished populations that constitute the “working class” of the illegal drug markets. It offers possible ways forward to deal with the risks inherent to the resilience of organized crime. Finally, this report calls for a reform of the prohibition-based international drug control system, which is compromising a universal and holistic approach to the “drug problem.”
  • Topic: Crime, Health, War on Drugs, Drugs, Public Health
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Sara R. Collins, Shanoor Seervai, Roosa Tikkanen, Munira Z. Gunja
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Commonwealth Fund
  • Abstract: Women in the United States have long lagged behind their counterparts in other high-income countries in terms of access to health care and health status. This brief compares U.S. women’s health status, affordability of health plans, and ability to access and utilize care with women in 10 other high-income countries by using international data.
  • Topic: Health, Health Care Policy, Women, Reproductive Health
  • Political Geography: United States, Global Focus
  • Author: Nahid Bhadelia
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: China is currently experiencing its fifth epidemic of “bird flu,” or avian influenza H7N9, since 2013 when it was first noted to cause human infections. The virus, which is mainly transmitted from poultry to humans, is also prone to limited human-to-human transmission. To date, there have been 1,258 human cases, with one-third of those cases (460) occurring during this year’s epidemic alone.[1] There are many “subtypes” of avian influenza circulating in birds around the world and most of these viruses cause limited or no human infections. However, two avian influenzas subtypes causing high human mortality have jumped from birds to humans in the last decade, H5N1 and then H7N9. The significant potential of this class of viruses to cause a human pandemic is a global public health concern, particularly because the conditions leading to the rise of these infections are becoming more favorable — for the viruses.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Health, Infectious Diseases
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Global Focus
  • Author: Jelena Allen
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Water, sanitation and hygiene interventions (WASH) are commonly implemented as part of emergency response activities (i.e. in response to disease outbreaks) in low and middle-income countries. But what does the existing evidence tell us about what works? How does the use of WASH interventions reduce disease outbreaks? What are the programme design and implementation characteristics associated with more effective programmes? What is the cost effectiveness of WASH interventions in emergency outbreak situations? What are the barriers and facilitators to WASH interventions in outbreaks? This evidence synthesis identifies, synthesizes and evaluates the available evidence in order to find a response. It is accompanied by a stand-alone executive summary and evidence brief. It forms part of a series of humanitarian evidence syntheses and systematic reviews commissioned by the Humanitarian Evidence Programme.
  • Topic: Health, Sanitation, Public Health, Humanitarian Crisis
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Anna Chiumento, Kelly Dickson, Lambert Felix, Bangpan Mukdarut
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: This systematic review, commissioned by the Humanitarian Evidence Programme and carried out by a team from the EPPI-Centre, University College London (UCL), draws together primary research on mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) programmes for people affected by humanitarian crises in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). It investigates both the process of implementing MHPSS programmes and their receipt by affected populations, as well as assessing their intended and unintended effects. What are the barriers to, and facilitators of, implementing and receiving MHPSS interventions delivered to populations affected by humanitarian emergencies? What are the effects of MHPSS interventions delivered to populations affected by humanitarian emergencies? What are the key features of effective MHPSS interventions and how can they be successfully developed and implemented? What are the gaps in research evidence for supporting delivery and achieving the intended outcomes of MHPSS interventions? The systematic review, together with corresponding executive summary and evidence brief, forms part of a series of humanitarian evidence syntheses and systematic reviews commissioned by the Humanitarian Evidence Programme. Other reports in the series review the evidence on interventions or approaches to mental health, child protection, market support and household food security, acute malnutrition, pastoralist livelihoods, shelter self-recovery and urban response.
  • Topic: Health, Children, Mental Health, Humanitarian Crisis
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: On 14 September 14 2016, the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines publicly released its final report entitled ‘Promoting innovation and access to health technologies’. One year after the release of the landmark report and building upon Oxfam’s September 2016 assessment, this paper provides an update on where the HLP report and its recommendations stand. It assesses the level of implementation by countries and institutions – especially the UN and the World Health Organization – and recommends ways to use the report to improve both innovation and access to medicines.
  • Topic: Health, International Cooperation, United Nations, World Health Organization, Inequality, Innovation, Humanitarian Crisis, Medicine
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Tedros Adhanom, Lee C. Bollinger, Jeffrey D. Sachs, Elizabeth Cameron, Gavin Schmidt, Wilmot James
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Columbia University World Leaders Forum
  • Abstract: A discussion featuring an address by Dr. Tedros Adhanom, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO). The world today is trying to manage health risks associated with population growth, climate change, deforestation, institutional collapse, state failure, accidents, human error, war and terrorism. The full range of risks include infectious disease outbreaks, biological, chemical, radiological and nuclear spill-overs or attacks, multiple hazards, food insecurity, state fragility and cyber security failure or attacks. This is a breath-taking range of risks and no single institution can tackle it alone. It truly is humanity's common concern. As the UN agency responsible for global health, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is the organizational expression for humanity's common concern and we are honored to have the recently elected Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom address us on the priorities for his leadership. To discuss and debate with Dr. Tedros, we are delighted to have world leading experts in development, disease control and prevention and climate change and health dissect the opportunities and challenges in managing the health risks the world faces today. Welcoming remarks by Lee C. Bollinger, introduction by Jeffrey D. Sachs. Participants: Jeffrey D. Sachs, Elizabeth Cameron, and Gavin Schmidt. Moderator: Wilmot James
  • Topic: Climate Change, Health, War, World Health Organization, Nuclear Power, Food Security
  • Political Geography: New York, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Global Commission On Drug Policy
  • Abstract: Drug policy reforms have been difficult to design, legislate or implement because current policies and responses are often based on perceptions and passionate beliefs, and what should be factual discussions leading to effective policies are frequently treated as moral debates. The present report aims to analyze the most common perceptions and fears, contrast them with available evidence on drugs and the people who use them, and provides recommendations on changes that must be enacted to support reforms toward more effective drug policies.
  • Topic: Crime, Health, War on Drugs, Drugs, Public Health, Criminology
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Shawn Bishop, David Squires, Dana O. Sarnak
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Commonwealth Fund
  • Abstract: arious factors contribute to high per capita drug spending in the U.S. While drug utilization appears to be similar in the U.S. and the nine other countries considered, the prices at which drugs are sold in the U.S. are substantially higher. These price differences appear to at least partly explain current and historical disparities in spending on pharmaceutical drugs. U.S. consumers face particularly high out-of-pocket costs, both because the U.S. has a large uninsured population and because cost-sharing requirements for those with coverage are more burdensome than in other countries. Most Americans support reducing pharmaceutical costs. International experience demonstrates that policies like universal health coverage, insurance benefit design that restricts out-of-pocket spending, and certain price control strategies, like centralized price negotiations, can be effective.
  • Topic: Health, Health Care Policy, Drugs
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Commonwealth Fund
  • Abstract: Health care costs are heavily concentrated among people with multiple health problems. Often, these are older adults living with frailty, advanced illness, or other complex conditions. In 2014, the New York–based Commonwealth Fund, a private, independent foundation, established the International Experts Working Group on Patients with Complex Needs through a grant to the London School of Economics and Political Science. The group’s purpose was to outline the prerequisites of a high-performing health care system for “high-need, high-cost” patients and to identify promising international innovations in health care delivery for meeting needs of these patients. Drawing on international experience, quantitative and qualitative evidence, and its members’ collective expertise in policy and program design, implementation, and evaluation, the international working group sought to articulate the principles that underpin high performance for this complex population in health systems around the world.
  • Topic: Health, Health Care Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Global Focus
  • Author: Michelle M. Doty, Arnav Shah, David Squires, Dana O. Sarnak, Eric C. Schneider
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Commonwealth Fund
  • Abstract: The U.S. ranked last on performance overall, and ranked last or near last on the Access, Administrative Efficiency, Equity, and Health Care Outcomes domains. The top-ranked countries overall were the U.K., Australia, and the Netherlands. Based on a broad range of indicators, the U.S. health system is an outlier, spending far more but falling short of the performance achieved by other high-income countries. The results suggest the U.S. health care system should look at other countries’ approaches if it wants to achieve an affordable high-performing health care system that serves all Americans.
  • Topic: Health, Health Care Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Global Focus
  • Author: Elias Mossialos, Ana Djordjevic, Robin Osborn, Dana O. Sarnak
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Commonwealth Fund
  • Abstract: This publication presents overviews of the health care systems of Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, England, France, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, and the United States. Each overview covers health insurance, public and private financing, health system organization and governance, health care quality and coordination, disparities, efficiency and integration, use of information technology and evidence-based practice, cost containment, and recent reforms and innovations. In addition, summary tables provide data on a number of key health system characteristics and performance indicators, including overall health care spending, hospital spending and utilization, health care access, patient safety, care coordination, chronic care management, disease prevention, capacity for quality improvement, and public views.
  • Topic: Health, Health Care Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Global Focus
  • Author: Gregor Walter-Drop, John Wiesel, Melissa Lee
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Collaborative Research Center (SFB) 700
  • Abstract: State building is seen as the central tenet of many present-day development efforts. This rests on a global normative script that emphasizes the modern state’s role in providing governance services from security to education to health. However, the relationship between statehood and governance outcomes is not well understood. We use a macro-quantitative approach to analyze state performance in various governance dimensions including security, health, education, economic subsistence, infrastructure, and the environment. We test for the power of statehood in explaining the variation in governance outcomes while controlling for various other factors prominent in the respective debates in political science, economics, and development studies. The analysis yields three interesting results. First, statehood does not have a consistent significant relationship with governance outcomes. It matters more for some outcomes than for others. Second, we find that statehood sometimes performs better at predicting subjective (survey-based) evaluations than at predicting objective measures of governance outcomes (which confirms the ubiquity of the normative script). Finally, we find that the degree of domestic female empowerment performs consistently strong at explaining the variation in governance outcomes. This result is consistent with the policy community’s emphasis on women’s roles in development.
  • Topic: Security, Education, Health, Infrastructure, Governance, State Building
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Karen Nakamura
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues
  • Abstract: Grassroots disability movements such as mad pride and crip pride have pushed themselves to the forefront of conversations across the world about diversity and inclusion, but there has also been considerable setbacks in recent years. Karen Nakamura discusses disability rights social movements and how they have fundamentally changed the social contract and fabric in various countries.
  • Topic: Health, Human Rights, Social Movement, Health Care Policy, Social Justice, Disability, Mental Health
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia, North America, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 07-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Global Commission On Drug Policy
  • Abstract: Building on current partial decriminalization models that have helped to achieve more effective drug policies and positive outcomes, with a greater emphasis on justice, dignity and human rights, this report advocates ending all penalties – both civil and criminal – on people who use drugs. Detailing the destructive and harmful consequences of punitive drug policies and the need to reconsider them, the report calls for the implementation of alternatives to punishment for all low-level, non-violent actors in the drug trade, and to consider market regulation as the next logical step.
  • Topic: Health, War on Drugs, Drugs, Public Health, Criminology
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Dana O. Sarnak, Jamie Ryan
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Commonwealth Fund
  • Abstract: U.S. health care costs are disproportionately concentrated among older adults with multiple chronic conditions or functional limitations—a population often referred to as “high-need” patients. This analysis uses data from the Commonwealth Fund 2014 International Health Policy Survey of Older Adults to investigate health care use, quality, and experiences among high-need patients in nine countries compared with other older adults. High-need patients use a greater amount of health care services and also experience more coordination problems and financial barriers to care compared with other older adults. Disparities are particularly pronounced in the United States. The comparative success of other countries, particularly in reducing financial barriers to care, may be a product of policies that specifically target high-need patients. Similarly focusing on these populations in the U.S. and effectively managing their care may improve their health status while reducing overall costs.
  • Topic: Health, Health Care Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Global Focus
  • Author: Haluk Alkan
  • Publication Date: 06-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Istanbul Journal of Economics
  • Institution: Istanbul University Faculty of Economics
  • Abstract: Istanbul Journal of Economics-İstanbul İktisat Dergisi is an open access, peer-reviewed, scholarly journal published two times a year in June and December. It has been an official publication of Istanbul University Faculty of Economics since 1939. The manuscripts submitted for publication in the journal must be scientific and original work in Turkish or English. Being one of the earliest peer-reviewed academic journals in Turkey in the area of economics, Istanbul Journal of Economics-İstanbul İktisat Dergisi aims to provide a forum for exploring issues in basicly economics and publish both disciplinary and multidisciplinary articles. Economics is the main scope of the journal. However, multidisciplinary and comparative approaches are encouraged as well and articles from various social science areas such as sociology of economics, history, social policy, international relations, financial studies are welcomed in this regard. The target group of the journal consists of academicians, researchers, professionals, students, related professional and academic bodies and institutions.
  • Topic: Economics, Environment, Health, International Political Economy, Political Science, Air Pollution
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Global Focus
  • Author: Jameson Boex, Benjamin Edwards
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: As we approach this year’s deadline for achieving the UN’s Millennium Development Goals, the global development community is trying to decide how to make the new targets for 2030 more responsive and appropriate to local needs. An important piece of this debate concerns the role of local governments, and how local spending on public services such as health care and education could promote human welfare. A growing body of research explores this relationship, but so far the focus of most studies has been limited to spending by elected local governments, with the assumption that this type of local spending is the only type that matters. Yet many local entities responsible for service delivery in the developing world are not elected. Excluding resources provided directly by central government ministries or their local administrative arms ignores a rich and complicated story of how different levels of government interact to provide basic services.
  • Topic: Development, Education, Government, Health
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Global Commission On Drug Policy
  • Abstract: Ninety-two percent of the world’s supply of morphine is consumed by just 17 percent of the global population, with consumption primarily concentrated in the global north and 75 percent of the world’s population does not have access to any pain relieving drugs. The reasons for this have little to do with issues of cost or scarcity of supplies- and everything to do with with the prohibition and repressive stand the world has taken on drugs. This Global Commission report explores the current crisis related to the lack of access to controlled medicines and makes concrete policy recommendations to Member States and UN agencies on ways to improve these conditions. This report is available in English, Spanish, Russian, French and Arabic.
  • Topic: Health, War on Drugs, Drugs, Public Health, Medicine
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Miles A. Pomper, Egle Murauskaite, Tom Coppen
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies
  • Abstract: There is growing global awareness of the need to secure radiological sources in order to prevent terrorists from using such materials in a radiological weapon, such as a “dirty bomb.” A new CNS report calls for a move towards permanently reducing this threat by substituting non-isotopic alternatives for these sources in civil uses. As an initial step, the authors propose a move towards gradual phase-out of cesium chloride use in pre-transfusion blood irradiation on a global scale – a domain where non-isotopic alternatives are considered to be the most viable in the short-term. They urge United States to launch an international initiative involving the phase out of cesium-chloride and other high-risk radiological sources as a “gift basket” for the upcoming 2014 Nuclear Security Summit. Cesium chloride is one of the most commonly used radiological materials, despite being an IAEA Category 1 “extremely dangerous” source. Because cesium chloride is easily dispersible, water soluble, and relatively easy to handle, it is particularly suitable for terrorist purposes. The blood irradiators that use it as a source are located in many large hospitals and blood banks (inherently publicly accessible spaces), and the source is usually transported through regular civilian infrastructure at the beginning and the end of its lifecycle, giving more cause for concern. Cesium chloride based irradiators are used to treat blood and blood products prior to transfusion in order to prevent a rare but fatal Graft Versus Host Disease (GVHD). A growing number of non-isotopic alternatives are becoming available for that purpose, but there is a serious lack of awareness about the range of options and how they compare to current practices, both among the medical professionals and national regulators.
  • Topic: Health, Biological Weapons , Radiological Weapons, Medicine
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 05-2013
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Global Commission On Drug Policy
  • Abstract: The hepatitis C epidemic fueled by the “war on drugs” is sweeping amongst injecting drug users around the world, yet continues to be largely ignored. Access to preventive services is far too low and diagnosis and treatment are too expensive and inaccessible for most people in need. The report provides an overview of the hepatitis C virus, while exploring how the ‘war on drugs’ and repressive drug policies are failing to drive transmission down. Hepatitis C is one of the harms caused by repressive drug policies, yet it s both preventable and curable when public health is the focus.
  • Topic: Health, War on Drugs, Infectious Diseases, Drugs, Public Health
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 02-2013
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Open Society Foundations
  • Abstract: Trans people across the world face substantial barriers to adequate health and health care. They are targets of discrimination and violence, are at greater risk of contracting HIV, and experience a higher incidence of mental health problems like depression. They face discrimination from health care providers, a lack of doctors trained to address their needs, and the refusal of many national health systems and insurance providers to cover their care. Yet trans communities are building alliances to promote trans health and to fight for policies that respect gender diversity and human rights. This report profiles projects from 16 organizations in twelve countries that address these barriers. These projects offered general health services as well as those related to gender transition, trained health care providers to respond to the needs and concerns of trans patients, conducted public education campaigns about discrimination against trans people, advocated for legal and medical policy changes, and organized trans communities to empower themselves. Collecting insights from these projects, Transforming Health makes recommendations to governments, rights advocates, health professionals and public health organizations, and health and rights donors.
  • Topic: HIV/AIDS, Gender Issues, Health, Discrimination, LGBT+, Public Health, Sexual Health, Transgender
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Global Commission On Drug Policy
  • Abstract: The global “war on drugs” is driving the HIV/AIDS pandemic among people who use drugs, although research has shown that repressive law enforcement forces users away from public health services and into hidden environments where HIV risk becomes markedly elevated. An assessments of the impacts concluded that many nations and international organizations tasked with reducing the drug problem have actually contributed to a worsening of community health and safety. The time for leadership is now.
  • Topic: HIV/AIDS, Health, War on Drugs, Drugs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jonathan Cohen, Tamar Ezer
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Open Society Foundations
  • Abstract: Health care settings should be places where human rights are realized. Yet, across the world, health systems often serve as venues of punishment, coercion, and violations of basic human rights, sometimes amounting to torture or cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. This abuse is especially prevalent in the care of socially marginalized groups—people living with HIV, ethnic minorities, sexual and gender minorities, people who use drugs, and people with intellectual disabilities or mental health problems. There are many national, regional, and international mechanisms designed to promote government accountability and prevent torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment, yet these mechanisms are rarely applied to health facilities. This manual describes 20 anti-torture mechanisms from the United Nations and African, European, and Inter-American human rights systems and provides illustrative examples on how to use these mechanisms to fight torture in health settings. For each mechanism, the manual explores mandate, procedure, possibilities for engagement, and prior work on torture in health care. The manual also includes a glossary of basic human rights terms. This manual is designed as a resource for organizations that advocate against abuse in health care—including international, regional, and national human rights organizations; groups focused on particular health care abuses; anti-torture groups; and the treaty bodies themselves.
  • Topic: HIV/AIDS, Health, Torture, United Nations, Minorities, Health Care Policy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Open Society Foundations
  • Abstract: The absolute prohibition under human rights law of all forms of torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment is commonly applied to prisons and pretrial detention centers. However this prohibition also applies to places such as schools, hospitals, orphanages, and social care institutions—places where coercion, power dynamics, and practices occurring outside the purview of law or justice systems can contribute to the infliction of unjustified and severe pain and suffering on marginalized people. This briefing paper focuses on torture and ill-treatment in health settings, including hospitals, clinics, hospices, people’s homes, or anywhere health care is delivered. It focuses on government accountability for placing health providers and patients in unacceptable situations whereby torture and ill-treatment is neither documented, prevented, punished, nor redressed. People who are perceived as “deviant” by authorities, who pose a “nuisance” to health providers, who lack the power to complain or assert their rights, or who are associated with stigmatized or criminalized behaviors may be especially at risk of torture in health care.
  • Topic: Health, Human Rights, International Law, Torture, Law, Health Care Policy, Marginalization
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Open Society Foundations
  • Abstract: People identified as drug users in many countries are confined to abusive locked detention centers for months or even years. Such detention centers are supposedly mandated to treat and "rehabilitate" drug users, but the "treatment" they receive in some cases amounts to torture or other cruel, inhuman, and degrading punishment. In Treatment or Torture? Applying International Human Rights Standards to Drug Detention Centers, legal experts review common forms of abuse in drug detention centers and show how these practices in many cases are in violation of basic human rights treaties widely ratified by most nations worldwide. International health and drug-control agencies—including the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, UNAIDS, and the World Health Organization—all endorse comprehensive, evidence-based drug dependence treatment services. Yet drug detention centers rarely provide treatment that meets these standards. Depending on the country, so-called rehabilitation consists of a regime of military drills, forced labor, psychological and moral re-education, and shackling, caning, and beating. Treatment or Torture? comes in advance of the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking and the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture—both on June 26, 2011. The report was published by the Campaign to Stop Torture in Health Care, a coalition led by the Open Society Foundations, and featured legal analysis by Human Rights Watch, Harm Reduction International, and the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network.
  • Topic: Health, Human Rights, International Law, War on Drugs, Health Care Policy, Criminal Justice, Drugs, Public Health
  • Political Geography: Global Focus