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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: Colin O'Leary
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Synthetic biology (sometimes referred to as “SynBio”) is broadly defined as the application of engineering principles to biology, and in practice, refers to emerging technology that allows living organisms to be modified to serve user-defined purposes. While traditional biotechnology involves the transfer of smaller amounts of genetic material from one biological species to another, synthetic biology will permit the inten- tional construction of an entire organism.1 It has the potential to allow scientists to design living organisms distinct from any found in nature and to redesign existing organisms to have novel or enhanced qualities.2 The use cases of synthetic biology range from developing new therapeutics and vaccines for infectious disease to manufacturing novel biomaterials, biosensors, and biofuels. As scientists better understand biological systems, the potential applications of SynBio are anticipated to expand in scale and scope. The continued growth of the bioeconomy—defined as the “production, utilization and conservation of biological resources, including related knowledge, science, technology, and innovation, to provide information, products, processes and services across all economic sectors”—is giving space for synthetic biology technology to become a more significant part of the overall economic landscape.3 As with any technology that has a high potential for impact, SynBio presents a variety of pronounced opportunities, as well as risks. As the technology continues to mature and the number of market-ready applications grows, it is important for policymakers to consider how to promote the large number of opportunities the technology presents in the space of health and medicine, energy production, environmental recovery, food production, and more, while simultaneously protecting the public from foreseeable negative impli- cations and risks, such as weaponization, consumer safety, and ecological stability. Since synthetic biology bears significant similarities to previous biotechnology research on genetical- ly-modified organisms and recombinant DNA, existing regulations in the United States place the majority of synthetic biology products into the current biotechnology regulatory framework. As SynBio becomes more prominent though, it will be important for regulatory schemes to uniquely target the technology and its implications beyond those captured through biotechnology frameworks. Policymakers must continue to engage in the progression of the technology, understanding how regulation and governance must evolve to ensure the public can realize the opportunities, while being protected from the risks.
  • Topic: Health, Science and Technology, Biology
  • 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
  • Author: Sylvia Mishra
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Women of Color Advancing Peace, Security and Conflict Transformation (WCAPS)
  • Abstract: It is my pleasure to bring you another publication from Women of Color Advancing Peace, Security, and Conflict Transformation (WCAPS), highlighting some of the expertise that exists within the WCAPS membership. This edition features articles from members in two of the WCAPS working groups: Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Security Policy; and Global Health Security.
  • Topic: Security, Gender Issues, Health, Women, Peace, WPS, Women of Color, Global Health
  • 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