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IMF conditionality: still undermining healthcare?

Jesse Griffiths, Gino Brunswijck

12 Apr 2018 16:16:07

The article was initially published in the Global Health Check. Last year, the IMF tried to counter long-running accusations that its programmes damage health outcomes in developing countries, but the independent evidence points in the opposite direction. The question is whether the IMF will use this year’s reviews of its lending to switch approach and start helping Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) three to “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.” The IMF claims to protect health expenditure An IMF blog from March last year claimed that: “A number of studies have found that IMF support for countries’ reforms, on average, either preserve or increase public health spending.” However, the evidence provided was weak. Of the six studies referenced, ...

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Financing for Development: Time for the UN to Take Centre Stage Again

Jesse Griffiths

23 Jan 2018 15:58:56

This article was originally published in Triple Crisis.Little progress has been made since the last conference of the United Nations Financing for Development (FfD) process, held in Addis Ababa in July 2015, which agreed the Addis Ababa Agenda for Action (AAAA) – the framework for how the world would finance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Since Addis, however, there has been little headway and last year’s UN FfD Forum was disappointing, with few concrete outcomes achieved. As the FfD Forum outcome document highlighted, that current policies are not delivering the economic step-change needed to achieve the SDGs. Given the slow rate of reform since Addis, it is clear that global leaders need to work towards a major new set of concrete actions on financing ...

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Concern Over Using Aid To Promote Rich Countries' Commercial Interests

Jesse Griffiths

23 Jan 2018 15:26:17

This article was originally published in In Depth News. BUSSELS (IDN) – At first glance, the latest figures on Official Development Assistance (ODA) – or aid – make encouraging reading. According to the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC), which compiles the data and sets the rules on what counts as aid, global ODA increased by more than ten percent to $145 billion in 2016. But dig behind the headline figure and the picture is less rosy, with only six of the DAC’s 30 member countries meeting the UN target of 0.7 per cent of gross national income. The average is less than half that. Meanwhile, the DAC’s measure of aid that does actually reach developing countries shows a dramatic decline from $117 billion to $103 billion in 2015 (latest available figures). ...

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The Sustainable Development Goals won’t happen without a radical economic rethink

Jesse Griffiths

01 Nov 2017 12:36:39

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are ambitious objectives: business as usual will not deliver them. Speaking on the recent International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, UN Secretary General António Guterres acknowledged the need for new thinking: “The pledge to leave no one behind will require innovative approaches, partnerships and solutions,” he said. But this new model will only come about if we radically reshape the national, regional and global economies which lie behind many of the obstacles to achieving the SDGs. We must rethink the way we govern and manage the global financial and economic system. In part, that means rethinking the current trend to treat private finance as the default option for development. Private finance is being heavily touted by the World Bank, ...

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Hamburg summit: the end of the G20’s days as a “premier forum for international economic cooperation”?

Jesse Griffiths

11 Jul 2017 16:59:06

The strangest aspect of the G20 communiqué, and the part that has dominated media coverage, is the section on the Paris climate agreement.  The strangeness arises not because of the topic – the G20 has always played second fiddle to the UN on climate issues – but because, for the first time, a whole paragraph is devoted solely to one member, the USA, explaining why it doesn’t agree with the others, followed by a paragraph by the others explaining why they will go ahead without the USA anyway, including through agreeing a “G19” action plan on energy and climate for growth.   The climate change issue is a jarring symbol of the G20’s difficulty in reaching agreement. However, the Trump administration’s ‘America first’ stance and resulting lack ...
While media reports largely focussed on trade policy – an area the G20 has never made important decisions on – the real impact of the new US administration has been to severely limit the scope of new initiatives planned by the G20 this year, highlighting ...

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Three changes the OECD needs to make to guard the poorest in new aid rules

Jeroen Kwakkenbos, Jesse Griffiths

20 Feb 2017 12:56:01

Originally published by Devex It has been a busy couple of years for the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee, the body in charge of determining what can and cannot be counted as “aid” to poor countries, or official development assistance. Major changes to aid have already been made during a year-long process of modernization of the ODA rules, but the biggest change in decades is yet to come. This March, the DAC will decide on how to include what are known as private sector instruments in aid. This could mean a dramatic increase in the use of aid to invest in or give loans to private companies, or to agree to bail out failed private sector projects through guarantees. Without strong safeguards and transparency standards there is a real risk that aid could be used as a backdoor subsidy ...

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Money has been flowing out of developing countries for over a decade: UN report

Jesse Griffiths

09 Feb 2017 11:26:34

Here is the dramatic graph from the United Nation’s annual stocktake of the world economy – the World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) report. After crunching all the numbers, the UN’s top finance experts calculate that, in net terms (finance inflows minus finance outflows), developing countries as a whole have been exporting money to the developed world at least since 2004. Of course, as the graph above shows, there are variations among countries, and regions – notably East and South East Asia, but this is a pretty dramatic conclusion – though not out of line with Eurodad’s own number crunching a couple of years ago.  How do they make this calculation? The first important point is that they are only counting what they call ‘financial flows’, which excludes ODA ...