Eva Matos

  • Guest Blogger Victoria Stetsko from Oxfam GB in Russia reviews on Becky Perkins’ analysis of existing practices of expanding employment opportunities for especially stigmatized women in BRICS c […]

  • ThumbnailOxfam’s private sector adviser Erinch Sahan is thinking through the implications of inequality for the businesses he interacts with

    Mention inequality to a business audience and one of two things happens. They […]

  • For Richer or Poorer
    In the rapidly emerging economies, inequality remains the biggest challenge
    International attention this week has yet again focused on increasing economic inequality at a global level. It is scandalous that in 2015, just 62 individuals had the same wealth as 3.6 billion people.[1] A new report, ‘For Richer or Poorer: The Capture of Growth and Politics in Emerging Economies’, commissioned by civil society networks in the Global South, has found that this dramatic trend of increasing economic inequality is also occurring within many of the world´s emerging economies, countries which have come to be seen as models for growth and prosperity.

    The emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, Mexico, Indonesia and Turkey – which we´ll call the BRICSAMIT countries here – have in recent years embarked on a steep economic growth path and have managed to reduce extreme poverty. Even so, today, all eight BRICSAMIT countries are some of the most unequal countries in the world, with small elites increasingly capturing the majority of economic growth. Figures for South Africa, for instance, show that the income share of those at the very top has been increasing significantly, granting the richest 1% almost 17% of total income in 2011, up from around 8% in the early 1980s.

    The high costs of inequality

    The growing pie is not been shared out evenly, and for those people living in poverty in the BRICSAMIT countries, growth and development largely continue to pass them by. The price these countries pay for this is high. Excessive inequality hampers development prospects and threatens the much lauded poverty reduction efforts some BRICSAMIT countries have made. As a result, there are now two completely different development paths within each of these countries.

    For example, the report highlights differences in life expectancy according to income level. In Indonesia, whilst the richest 20% of the population can expect to live almost 71 years, the life expectancy of somebody in the poorest 20% is only 53 years, a difference of nearly 18 years. This gap is even higher in South Africa, where the difference in life expectancy between the poorest 20% and richest 20% amounted to 19 years; in India, 21; and in Brazil, almost 26 years. A life of working in the informal sector, with patchy public healthcare coverage, precarious and sometimes dangerous working and living conditions, as well as increased exposure to violence are some of the factors the reports finds as contributing to such a wide gap.

    The gains of economic growth in the BRICSAMIT have been captured by the very richest

    The report finds that inequality on average rose across the BRICSAMIT countries in recent years. With the exception of Turkey and Brazil, all of the countries have higher Gini rates now than two decades ago. However, even more shocking is what is happening at the very top. The income share of the richest 5% of the population in Brazil and Turkey still corresponds to more than double the income share of the poorest 40%. In China, Russia, South Africa and Indonesia, the income share of the richest 5% is actually increasing. In Russia, China, Indonesia and India the richest 10% account for about a third of total income.

    The report also examines wealth inequality. Since 2000, overall wealth has tripled in Brazil, India, South Africa and Turkey, increased four-fold in Indonesia and by a startling eight times in Russia. However this growth in wealth is not distributed evenly. In Mexico and China the richest 10% now hold more than 60% of total wealth; in Brazil, India, Indonesia, South Africa and Turkey this proportion rises to above 70%; and in the most extreme case of wealth inequality in the world, Russia, the richest 10% hold 85% of total household wealth. Alarmingly, even in those countries where income inequality seems to have fallen over recent decades – namely Brazil and Turkey – wealth inequality is actually on a fast rise.

    Examining the top 1%, the wealth inequality is even starker. In all eight BRICSAMIT countries, the share of total wealth held by the richest 1% has increased in the period 2000-2014, and a particularly significant increase has been seen since the global financial crisis in 2008. In Turkey, the richest 1% accounted for over 50% of the country´s total wealth in 2014. In Mexico, the richest man owns wealth equivalent to almost 6% of the GDP of the entire country with its 122 million people. This is more than the Mexican government currently spends on the entire public healthcare system.

    How did the rich make their fortunes? A vicious cycle of wealth and influence

    Fortunes have been made in the BRICSAMIT countries by large corporations engaged primarily in the extractives, agribusiness, infrastructure, media and telecommunications sectors. As income and wealth becomes concentrated in the hands of the few, so too does the level of influence in political decision-making. The capture of power by economic elites drives inequality by ensuring that rules remain rigged in their own favour, or in favour of the companies they own. Measures to tackle extreme inequality are not high on the political agenda in most emerging economies; or are effectively blocked by an alliance of the economic and political elites who have little interest in changing the status quo.

    This concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the few is clearly at the expense of the many. It excludes millions of people from an equitable share in prosperity. Despite the massive economic growth in these countries, more than 2.3 billion people in the BRICSAMIT are still living on less than $5 a day.

    Time for change

    Civil society organisations have long understood that inequality is a barrier to development. This is at last becoming more widely recognized, as the long-held theory of the ‘trickle down’ of wealth as countries grow richer fails to become a reality. This report aims to shed light on the conditions that enabled the rise of the super-rich and how political capture by these elites is undermining democracy and thwarting attempts to reduce inequality. As such, we aim to build a movement of citizens across our countries, calling on our governments to tackle the structural causes of inequality.

    We urge our governments and leaders to recognize that reducing inequality is a deeply political undertaking by which the vested interests of the existing elites will need to be challenged. If developmental goals – such as equal rights for all and an end to poverty and gender discrimination – are to be achieved, the debate must shift away from growth at all costs to focus instead on achieving greater equality.

    To download the full report, please click here: ForRicherOrPoorer

    [1] Oxfam (2016), Oxfam Briefing Paper ‘An Economy for the 1%’, accessed online on 18 January 2016 at http://policy-practice.oxfam.org.uk/our-work/inequality/an-economy-for-the-one-percent

  • Towards an autonomous civil society space in BRICS and the G20: critical reflections from our Post-BRICS & Pre-G20 Dialogue Workshop with SANI members & partner stakeholders
    Johannesburg | 30 September 2015
    Blog by the South African Network Inequality (SANI)

    ‘Comrades, there is one thing that we must remain cognisant of and that is that the BRICS is here. BRICS is here and it is in South Africa. The regional African Development Bank is in Johannesburg South Africa. What is important is to ensure that there is maximum accountability in terms of the foreign policy that our government employs in the Africa region and the globe.’

    This is how Sibulele Poswayo, Project Manager in the South African National Inequality Network (SANI), chose to explain to delegates why civil society must engage with BRICS, the G20 and other multilateral structures.   Of course, there were opposing views that differed sharply from the perspective offered here, but a generous and open spirit characterised the proceedings of this workshop convened by the Economic Justice Network’s (EJN) SANI on 30 September in Johannesburg, South Africa. The workshop was used to share civil society organisations’ (CSO) experiences of the recently held BRICS meetings in Russia and to look forward to the upcoming G20 meeting. Underlying all the deliberations was an attempt to unpack the issue of an autonomous civil society contribution to the BRICS agenda, how best to use that space within BRICS, and to position activist Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) as the premier interface between government and civil society on BRICS-related matters.

    The deliberations at the workshop were framed around a number of key issues, which were spelled out in the opening address to the workshop by the Executive Director of EJN, Malcolm Damon. He elaborated on seven key issues that reflected both existing experiences of CSOs within BRICS as well as philosophical and practical challenges that CSOs face in their dealings with the formal BRICS structures.  Reflecting on CSO experiences, he argued that the effectiveness of CSOs in promoting their development agendas ultimately depends on the specific Presidency of the BRICS or G20 formations. In a recently held G20 meeting in Turkey, the statement from the civil society formations in the G20 (known as the C20) was officially accepted by the Deputy Prime Minster of that country and an undertaking was given that it will be discussed within the structures of the G20. However, there is no guarantee or accepted mechanism that would ensure that the views of civil society would be treated with the same degree of respect as was evident in the Turkey G20 meeting in future Presidencies of the multilateral structures.

    He further argued that governments have side-lined CSOs by treating formal business, their networks and think-tanks as the true representatives of civil society. This often meant that these organisations functioned as gate-keepers by filtering out views that would be challenging to the status quo. In terms of tactical guidance in how best to play in the BRICS space, he made a number of pertinent suggestions. One, CSO formations must discuss how to challenge the dominance of formal business in the G20 and BRICS structures. Two, CSOs must broaden their understanding of ownership of development issues and avoid simply supporting and acquiescing in national-led or country-specific agendas. This was vital as issues discussed at BRICS have implications beyond the countries represented at the BRICS meetings. Three, there is a need for a critical discussion about whether CSO formations work within the agenda determined by Presidencies or whether energy should be devoted to crafting additional and independent agendas. He mentioned the case of food security, which was not present in the original Turkey agenda, but after thoughtful reflection by a United Nations Agency-with the support of CSOs-this issue became part of the formal agenda. This scenario betrays the risk of operating as an insider. Four, there are tremendous challenges that need to be navigated around civil society’s insider status and the limiting conditions in some BRICS countries that make it hard to pursue outside strategies. There is need for both strategies and such a view should promote common ground among CSOs that fundamentally differ in their approach to BRICS and the G20. Finally, BRICS and the G20 offer multiple advocacy opportunities, precisely because these structures are driven by consensus-forming.  This allows CSOs access to government representatives and present us with the opportunities to influence national government positions.

    Although the two ensuing panel discussions were not intended to provide a response to the opening address, it is more interesting to report and reflect on the discussions in the two panels against this backdrop. Both panels grappled with understanding and promoting autonomous spaces in BRICS and G20 for Southern CSO formations. The first panel, which dealt with CSOs in BRICS, was more split about the strategic value of engaging with BRICS. Some panellists and members of the audience questioned whether BRICS represents a departure from the status quo and pointed out that there is little evidence of any advocacy or policy gains as a result of this engagement. For Fatima Shabodien from Actionaid South Africa, accepting to participate in BRICS structures robs CSOs of the opportunity to define alternative social and economic justice models.

    On the other hand, Corlette Letlojane from HURISA felt that the decisions made within BRICS have consequences that cannot be ignored or left alone to government players alone. Furthermore, because BRICS is a cross-country forum, existing national, regional and international legal instruments provide an immediate and useful engagement angle.

    In terms of how to engage with BRICS, Sibulele Poswayo urged delegates to focus on four key issues pertaining to inequality. These include wealth, social, income & gender equality, clarifying the relevance of the NGO agendas, claiming ownership of the development agenda (especially in relation to the new Development Bank) and regionalising the importance of the New Development Bank’s sensitivity to environmental and social safeguards in its development finance strategies. The latter point drew further comment in that some panellists and members of the audience felt that South Africa and its CSOs are growing further apart from their African counterparts, thus risking alienating the country and the BRICS project. Finally, an important contribution of the panel was to recognise that the legitimacy of the multilateral structures lies in the ability of countries to embed projects at the local government level. Yared Tsegay from the Africa Monitor argued that an excessive focus on the global and regional dimension of the work of BRICS is unlikely to endear the structure and its projects to local constituencies.

    Members of the second panel dealt with diverse issues that included reflections on climate-smart agriculture (Gray Maguire from Project 90X30), gender equality (Sakina Mohammed from POWA), and the capturing of high-value chains by the more developed countries (Ayabonga Cawa from Rethink Africa). The panel was united in its reflection on actual practices and how these could help define a clearer role for CSOs in multilateral structures. All panellists mentioned the importance of South Africa’s National Development Plan (NDP) for their respective sectors, but stopped short of saying that the NDP has already changed practices in their sectors.   In fact, Sakina Mohammed was clear that the NDP did not necessarily herald more resources for the work her organisation does in promoting gender equality, but it has forced them to think about strategic partnerships with others that engage in the business of promoting women’s and children’s rights.

    The second panel echoed the conclusions of the first panel that cross-country development and advocacy work could be rooted in regional and international instruments and thatcountry-specific laws and practices can be singled out for good or bad practice models. For example, the climate–smart presentation by Gray Maguire suggested the adoption of an existing instrument (the Human Development Index) and expanding it by including a measure of our ecological footprint. These positions will not only make sense in a South Africa context, but could be usefully shared with CSOs in China, India, Brazil and Russia.

    A very important issue that emerged from the second panel was the notion of ‘a global division of labour.’ Ayabonga Cawa argued persuasively that a potentially energising issue across the BRICS countries could be clarifying how these national economies position themselves to take up higher value chain activities in the global economy. So instead of South Africa focusing solely on extracting platinum reserves, we should think of value addition in the form of beneficiation etc. However, because of the prevalence of poverty in many BRICS economies, caution was advocated in adopting models that would exacerbate exclusion of the poor.

    Given all the reflections, what is the way forward for SANI in promoting autonomous spaces for civil society in BRICS and the G20? Sibulele Poswayo, Project Manager in SANI, in closing the meeting, summarised possible trajectories

    It is vital that network members of SANI assert themselves and dictate to the SANI secretariat the key priorities that EJN needs to take into the BRICS and G20 meetings towards addressing inequality in both spaces;
    There is a clear need to dig deeper into the notion of inequality and we owe it to ourselves to understand inequality at a deeper level as SANI members to ensure that we can articulate our SANI position to other South African, African & BRICS civil societies;
    We need to explore the commonality among organisations that choose to employ the insider or outsider advocacy strategy of BRICS/G20 to enhance cohesion instead of promoting further fragmentation of civil society;
    In spite of the profile of our agriculture work, SANI must continue to focus on other prominent inequality issues, especially its work on social security and tax justice.
    SANI needs to align itself firmly with elements of the broader African civil society and we must guard against isolationist tendencies; and
    THERE IS A NEED TO CONVENE A SPACE FOR SANI TO PROVIDE MORE SPACES FOR SOUTH AFRICAN, AFRICAN & BRICS CIVIL SOCIETIES ENGAGE TOWARDS THE CREATION OF AN AUTONOMOUS SPACE IN BRICS, SIMILAR TO BUSINESS BRICS & THE BRICS THINK TANKS, TOWARD TRACK 3 IN BRICS – SANI/EJN SHOULD FIND FUNDS TO HOST THIS SPACE

    So what is the key lesson that emerged from these reflections? Put simply, given that the engagement with BRICS structures is still new, CSOs need to remain tactically astute in crafting and consolidating a role within these formations. This is best put in a remark made by Sibulele Poswayo in her presentation on the first panel.

    ‘We need to remain within the core group. We need to remain within the core group of the leaders, the business and academics and not to make the same mistake that labour has made. Labour has been moving on its own for the past couple of years and as a matter of fact, it is not within the core groups.’

    This approach of borrowing strength from other structures in BRICS should ultimately lead to a wide acceptance of the unique and indispensable role of civil society in orienting BRICS and the G20 away from the powerful and towards the needs of the poor and vulnerable in our societies.

  • For Richer For Poorer cover

    The emerging economies Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, South Africa and Turkey – in short, the BRICSAMIT – have come to be considered the economic powerhouses of recent decades, fostering a narrative of the growth of the South. Not only have these countries managed to reduce poverty; most have embarked on a steep economic growth path and play an increasingly influential role on the global scene. But an emphasis on growth masks another, worrying trend. Today, all eight BRICSAMIT countries occupy the top ranks as some of the most unequal countries in the world. The price these countries – and millions of their citizens – pay for this is high.

    Excessive inequality hampers development prospects: negatively impacting growth potential, threatening poverty reduction, leading to mass migration flows and ‘brain drain’, and reducing opportunities for young people. Inequality affects all aspects of a person’s life and life chances, from health and education to living environment and prospects for old age. Extreme inequality perpetuates high levels of violence and crime, fuels mistrust and undermines social cohesion.

    It is now clear that the gains of economic growth in the BRICSAMIT have been captured by the very richest. Fortunes have been made by large corporations engaged primarily in the extractives, agribusiness, infrastructure, media and telecommunications sectors. The capture of power by economic elites, including companies, drives inequality by ensuring the rules remain rigged in favour of the rich, who grow increasingly
    influential.

    This concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the few is clearly at the expense of the many. It reinforces existing social structures, perpetuating inequality and excluding millions of people from an equitable share in prosperity. Despite the growth in these next-generation economic miracles, more than 2.3 billion people in the BRICSAMIT are still living on less than $5 a day. Civil society organizations have long understood that inequality is a barrier to development. This is at last becoming more widely recognized, as the long-held theory of the ‘trickle down’ of wealth as countries grow richer fails to become a reality. Yet measures to tackle extreme inequality are not high on the political
    agenda in most emerging economies; or are effectively blocked by an alliance of the economic and political elites who have little interest in changing the status quo.

    This summary paper – which draws from a forthcoming research report commissioned by civil society networks across the BRICSAMIT countries – aims to increase the urgency to tackle the structural causes of inequality, by shedding light on the nature and scope of the issue in the BRICSAMIT, and the economic, political and social consequences these countries are now facing as a result. It looks at the conditions that enabled the rise of the super-rich and how political and media capture by this elite is undermining democracy and undermining most attempts to reduce inequality. The paper concludes with recommendations of ways in which growth and development could be used to make our societies more equal.

    Whilst we welcome the sustainable development goal related to reducing inequality, we urge governments and leaders to recognize that reducing inequality is a deeply political undertaking by which the vested interests of the existing elites will need to be challenged. If developmental goals – such as equal rights for all and an end to poverty and gender discrimination – are to be achieved, the debate must shift away from growth at all costs to focus on achieving greater equality.

    For the full summary paper, please download: ForRicherOrPoorerFINALdigital

  • ThumbnailGuest Blog Spot by Nikmah (INFID)

     

    Background

    The 3rd United Nations (UN) Conference on Financing for Development held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, has finished and produced a document called “Addis […]

    • Hi Nikmah. Thanks for your lucid analysis.

      2 years, 1 month ago
  • With the 1st Civil BRICS being hosted in Russia, Oxfam GB in Moscow took the opportunity to raise awareness on gender inequality in Russia and other BRICS countries. The infographic below gives you a snapshot of the wide (and in some cases widening) gender gap in emerging economies.

     

    01_gender_eng

  • postrelease-5
    An interactive workshop on the role of civil society in BRICS countries took place May 19th in Moscow. The conference was organised by the heads of the department of public policy from the national research university “Higher School of Economics’” (HSE) Faculty of Social Sciences, as well as the international organization OXFAM. The project was realized with the support of “Interlegal,” an international public foundation supporting science, education and awareness.
    The conference, which the organisers prefer to call a seminar-dialogue, welcomed more than one hundred representatives and civil society researchers from all of the BRICS countries. They discussed techniques, the best practices and possible solutions to social problems that have been tested and are successfully used by civil organizations in Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Another task of the conference was to share experiences and see, how “Brazilian” practices could be applied to the RSA, or what could be useful to Russia from Chinese experiences, taking into account the known limitations.
    The conference  consisted of three parts: a plenary session, a group work session, and final debates.

    The conference began with opening remarks from Dmitry Medlev (Country Director of the Russian office of the international organization Oxfam) and Nina Belyaeva (head of the Department of Public Policy at the HSE). Leading experts on civil society of each BRICS country spoke at the plenary session: Srinivas Krishnaswamy (CEO of the civil organization Vasudha Foundation, expert on India), Adhemar Mineiro (director of REBRIP, a network of Brazilian social movements and NGOs, expert on Brazil), Alexandra Arhangelskaya (Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, expert on South Africa), Mikhail Karpov (associate professor at the HSE, School of Asian Studies, expert on China), and Denis Volkov (Levada-Center, expert on Russia). Each expert presenting “positioning” reports on the status and problems of civil society in the respective BRICS countries.
    Group work was divided based on the five BRICS countries. Conference participants chose one working group (by BRICS countries). Students, recognized experts on each country and civil activists were invited to participate in the groups. For each of the working groups, students from the Master’s program “Political analysis and public policy” individually prepared the CIVICUS methodology, well-known and recognized by civil society experts world-wide, a brief report on the status of civil society in the country. The students had been preparing the reports since February 2015 as part of a research seminar, under the supervision of the leading professors of the faculty. In addition to the general analysis of the status of civil society in BRICS countries, each report included case studies on the effective impact of civil society on the governments of BRICS countries, with the goal of solving social problems in these societies. On the day of the conference, the reports were presented to a jury of experts and civil activists of BRICS countries. The opinions of the experts and activists were taken into account for the final presentations of the reports that took place at the conference.
    Discussions continued throughout the entire day and concluded with final debates on the efficiency of a dual approach that is used by civil societies all over the world. The first approach is the implementation of participation by advisory citizens from ministries and departments through specially created committees and commissions (for example, The Presidential Council on Civil Society and Human Rights). The second approach is the application of mechanisms of public influence on the system of state bodies from the outside (forming public opinion, signing petitions, holding meetings, and other statutory methods of direct civil engagement).
    A collection of articles is planned as a result of the conference, including contribution from experts, as well as the best country reports, prepared by experts and young researchers. The publication of this collection of articles is expected for the end of the summer, and its electronic version will be openly accessible on the Oxfam website.
    For more information, please access:  http://neravenstvo.com/?p=1207&lang=en

  • Check out Felipe de Carvalho’s report on his peer to peer travel to Russia, his impressions of the country and his views on HIV patents, drugs and treatment.

    *By Felipe de Carvalho – GTPI communication coordinator

    A week in Russia is sufficient only to begin to glimpse the many paradoxes of this Asian giant, with no clue as to how to decipher them.On behalf of Rebrip I was able to visit two of its main cities, Moscow and St. Petersburg, and see the contradictions of  a country that has opened to globalization without relinquishing an anti-Western attitude, a global power which often watches its own people more than its borders, a developed country that frequently works to undermine its democracy.

    With a rich past that saw tyrannical tsars and the revolutionaries who overthrew them, Russia today still seems to be uncertain about the benefits of its own historical process.

    My visit received great support from the Oxfam Russia staff who welcomed me with open arms.The staff gave me a good overview of the local political situation, with an emphasis on the health field. Through meetings organized by the Oxfam office itself, I was able to obtain more information on GCAP, an informal coalition of 40 Russian NGOs that work in various areas.With regard to health, the GCAP focus has been on access to and quality of services.

    HIV Hospital - Pharmacy

    HIV Hospital – Pharmacy


    There is currently a great challenge in the country due to tension between the public and the private sector in health.The funding that supports the public system comes from mandatory contributions of the working population, but only 42% currently contribute, while close to 35% of the population is not officially employed.Supposedly as a reaction to this situation of insufficient financing, the government has promoted Public-Private partnerships to manage health services.But this strategy has only benefitted those able to pay for the expensive health plans.The main hospital in Moscow, for example, is targeted for a PPP and after completion of the reforms, only 20% of the beds will be reserved for those who do not have a health plan.In addition, the new hospital structure will eliminate what was the largest center for palliative care in the country and replace it with a plastic surgery unit.The PPP policy is above all a major focus of corruption.
    In 2015, the policy initiative that has received most attention is the process called civil BRICS, a platform for participation created by the Russian government to involve NGOs in discussions on themes that will be central in the next summit meeting of BRICS presidents to be held in July, in Ufa, Russia.This discussion platform was an initiative of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and is intended to become a precedent for civil society participation in the BRICS decision-making process.It is still early to evaluate how much autonomy will be given to BRICS NGOs that get involved in the process, but at least for the Russians, this is an important framework, if only for the greater clarity it provides on issues for which the Russian government is seeking greater dialogue with NGOs.

    After two days in Moscow, I packed my bags and left by train for St. Petersburg.My memories of Moscow included the coldest weather I have ever felt in my life (12 degrees below zero), a rich culinary experience of flavors of neighboring countries and the experience of being stuck in the hotel elevator for almost an hour without understanding a bit of what was happening since all those involved spoke only Russian.

    St. Petersburg is vibrant at any time of day and exudes culture.Just as vibrant as the city are the NGOs that operate in the field of AIDS, especially focused on trying to remove the virus of social exclusion from the most hidden parts of the city.

    I had a chance to get to know the work of four of these NGOs: Humanitarian Action, EVA, Candle and ITPCru.Humanitarian Action is one of the oldest in operation in St. Petersburg.The organization’s work focus is on information and prevention for drug users and sex workers who, due to the great stigma they suffer, do not reach the health services and end up starting HIV/AIDS treatment too late.Humanitarian Action has three buses that conduct testing and provide counseling to these populations.I had a chance to accompany the bus focused on drug users.I met the multidisciplinary team (a doctor, a social assistant and a psychologist) and I followed the routine of the bus, which was parked in a neighborhood on the outskirts of the city, a place frequented by intravenous drug users.The buses have been in operation since 2001.

    Inside testing bus

    Inside testing bus

    Candle is a community-based organization that acts in various ways to expand access to health services and reduce the stigma against people living with HIV/AIDS.EVA is a women’s network that advocates for access to HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and hepatitis services.  One of this organization’s great achievements was to convince the government to reverse a prohibition on offering artificial insemination to people living with HIV/AIDS.

    My last meetings were with ITPCru, which engages in very organized work to monitor the purchase of AIDS drugs.This is difficult work in light of the fact that this purchase is decentralized in Russia and there are close to 3,500 tenders per year, with wide ranges in prices between the regions.ITPC also engages in pioneering work in monitoring shortages, allowing patients themselves to complain to the authorities.Like my organization (ABIA), ITPC also pursues strategies to reduce the prices of drugs, including by means of overcoming barriers resulting from pharmaceutical patents.

    I also had a chance to visit an HIV/AIDs center of excellence, where numerous services are offered in an integrated manner, from X-rays with immediate results to dental treatment.According to the hospital director, 50% of those taking HIV tests do not return and of the 50% who return, 20% test positive.The hospital attends close to 500 patients per day.

    All these visits contributed significantly to my understanding of the advances and setback in the response to AIDS in Russia.The lack of sustainable investment in specialized centers, the stigma suffered by the most vulnerable populations and the difficulty of dialogue between civil society and the government are points shared by the Brazilian context.

    The trip was without doubt very worthwhile and, to a certain extent, motivating, since it provided more evidence of an unending truth:regardless of the difficulty of conditions imposed by governments or economic circumstances, those defending basic rights will always find ways to maintain the hope of building a fairer world.

  • Ai Li and Profile picture of Eva MatosEva Matos are now friends 2 years, 4 months ago

  • ThumbnailGuest Blog Post by: Viktor Sokolov

    Master of Public Policy, associate researcher, Russian Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA)

    The problem of income inequality is being discussed […]

  • What is it? Who attended? What is the main challenge? Learn about Rebrip’s position, details about the event and the full document that will be the basis for the global agreement to be adopted in Paris.

     

    By Janine Salles de Carvalho | REBRIP

    A space for climate change discussions and negotiations within the scope of the UN, the Conference of the Parties (COP) is the highest decision-making level related to efforts to control the emission of greenhouse gases and each country’s commitment to policies for mitigation, adaptation and funding of a green fund.

    The People’s Summit, which takes place concurrently with the COP, discusses new sustainable development models, the impacts of the extractive industry on women, rational use of natural resources, food sovereignty, and energy reform, among other topics. Apart from being a discussion forum, the Summit is also a place for criticism, not only of the current development model, but also of everything that is being negotiated by governments at the COP.

    COP: Attended by delegations from the 196 signatory countries of the UN Climate Convention.Some countries, like Brazil, include members of civil society in their delegation.However, most countries do not.

    Advocacy, indigenous, and women organizations, as well as the union movement attend the Summit.

     What is at stake?

    Preparation of a zero draft, a global agreement that will make it mandatory for countries to adopt measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.This text should be approved by the end of 2015, during the Paris COP, to be effective as of 2020.

    COP 20 Highlights

    Launching the document that will be the basis for the global agreement to be adopted in Paris was a major highlight of the Summit.

    There were differences and the process to reach this version of the draft was turbulent.The countries disagreed on crucial points.The most important difference concerned the principle of equal, shared responsibilities.In this respect, Brazil presented a concentric responsibility proposal, which proposes creation of a third country group:emerging countries.The proposal is to be assessed during COP 21.

    The March Against Climate Change was the high point of the People’s Summit. Several movements, advocacy and women organizations, union movements and indigenous communities were represented.The march was the great moment of resistance at the summit and ended with representatives of these diverse groups presenting their agendas on the stage.

    The People’s Summit delegation presented the conference president and Peruvian Minister of the Environment, Manuel Pulgar Vidal, with a copy of the final document.

    Considerations

    The text adopted in this COP is ambitious and vague. It focuses especially on intentions to the detriment of obligations. The emissions reduction target was defined, but how it will be conducted remains unclear.Also unclear is what will be done regarding mitigation, adaptation, funding and the loss and damage mechanism.The methodology of the national target plan to reduce emissions is still weak. One of the good points is the fact that the principle of equal, shared responsibilities was maintained in the final text (there was a major risk that it would be left out.)

    Rebrip’s Position and Participation

    Rebrip’s role is to combine regional efforts to prevent the COP 21 process from being predominantly European. Apart from regional integration and articulation in this and other multilateral forums, Rebrip has always advocated multilateralism and cannot allow its parts to weaken or favor the dominant logic. It would be strategic to strengthen spaces and topics to prioritize our principles.

    Joint actions to put pressure on governments to work for a high-level agreement in Paris – ensuring isonomy among countries, and the way in which this will be included in the global agreement – are also noteworthy.The year 2015 will be crucial. There will be a total of four meetings (the first will take place in Geneva and the last will be COP 21 itself.)

     

  • nothing is found.If you did not have great expectations for the G20 meeting in Brisbane, Australia, you were right.

    By Adhemar S. Mineiro

    Journalist and humorist Apparício Torelly, from the state of Rio […]

  • Guest post by Oleg Kucheryavenko | Coordinator for Health Policy & Advocacy | GCAP Russia

    Originally posted here.
    This is the first of two posts  on access to health service in BRICS countries
    Jim O’Neill of […]

  • By Guest Blogger: Martina Borghi

    The Peoples Summit on Climate Change is an alternative meeting inspired by the World Peoples Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth hosted by the government […]

  • By Malini Aisola, Access to Medicine Coordinator, Oxfam India
    Originally posted at: http://www.globalhealthcheck.org/?p=1736
    Cancer, a global cause of death and suffering is on the rise. WHO estimates that cancers accounted for 8.2 million deaths in 2012 which is projected to increase to 11.5 million deaths by 2030. The majority of cancer mortality and morbidity (70% of deaths and 60% of new cases in 2012) is in developing countries. Weak access to prevention and to early diagnosis exacerbates illness in these countries. Moreover, the high cost of treatment pushes people deeper into poverty, resulting in a rising inequality.
    report on the pricing of medicines for cancer treatment by Ellen‘t Hoen discusses the unsustainability of the high prices of newer medicines. The report also provides evidence of a problem that is looming large not only in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) but also in wealthy countries.
    The report points out that while numbers of cancer deaths are reducing in wealthy countries because of access to early diagnosis and treatment, the incidence and prevalence is increasing in developing countries. In India it is projected that the number of patients with cancer will reach 1.1 million by 2020. When cancer medicines are priced out of the reach of most people living in developing countries, it compounds the challenges of accessing treatment, exacerbating illness and contributing to preventable suffering.
    Even in rich countries the prices of newer cancer medicines are being questioned against a backdrop of escalating health care costs. For example, the recent decision to delist 16 medicines from the UK’s Cancer Drug Fund has elicited furious debate about the high price tag of treatments that deliver limited clinical benefits and equity in providing access to all patients under the NHS.
    Access to anticancer medicines is aggravated the world over by intellectual property rights held by pharmaceutical companies and by companies’ pricing strategies. Multinational pharmaceutical companies holding the intellectual rights to new medicines justify high and often exorbitant prices as a necessary means to recover research and development (R&D) costs. However, this explanation is not possible to verify since transparency about costs is lacking. In addition, public funding contributes significantly to the development of new cancer medicines. The report contrasts the best estimates of Novartis’ R&D expenditure on imatinib (Glivec), $38-96 million, with the sales of the drug in 2012 which came to $4.7 billion. Pricing to maximise profits has proven to be very lucrative for pharmaceutical companies. The industry’s global oncology sales were worth $61.45 billion in 2012 and are expected to increase to $81.3 billion by 2018.
    There is now a global consensus that the current R&D model that maintains monopolies and leads to high prices of medicines is broken. New ways of financing biomedical innovation that de-link the cost of R&D from the price of the product are being debated and piloted at the WHO.
    Yet there is intense pressure on governments that are taking measures to increase affordability and access to medicines from the pharmaceutical industry and the governments protecting its interests. The current pressures on India are a prime example.
    The US government, on behalf of the commercial interests of its pharmaceutical companies, is engaged in an intense effort to undermine India’s use of public health safeguards enshrined in India’s intellectual property regime. The industry seeks to force the introduction of TRIPS-plus provisions (such as data exclusivity and patent linkage) that will prolong monopolies on medicines and delay generic entry into the market. India has now been stopped from advancing a compulsory license for an anti-leukaemia medicine, dasatinib.
    Experiences from the global fight for HIV treatment over the last decade have taught us that generic competition is the most robust and effective way of bringing down the price of medicines. If the US government is successful in imposing its demands on India, the generic supply of life saving medicines and the health of people living in India and other developing countries will be seriously threatened.
    The Access to Cancer Treatment report presents evidence of the scale of the problem of access to cancer medicines and recommends how it may be tackled. What is clear is that we are at a tipping point where high prices for cancer medicines and the resulting lack of access to treatment are neither justified nor acceptable. The stage is set for the governments to act in favour of patients and to find workable solutions to what has become one the greatest challenges to equity and access to medicines in our time. Will we act?

  •  

    By Nikmah, Program Officer Poverty and Inequality INFID

    Background

    More recently the Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia Jusuf Kalla proposed working hours of women to be reduced about two hours […]

  • ThumbnailBy Guest Blogger Sibulele Poswayo | South African Network on Inequality

     

    As I end off the year that was, I am reminded of the highlights of 2014 and give thanks. It has been four months since I […]

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