Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

October 2017
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Monday, 23 October 2017
At the Summit, which ended yesterday, world leaders took up the challenge of making the UN more efficient, effective and relevant. The European Union (EU) believes that the Summit Outcome is a clear milestone along the road of reform. It is a clear mandate for change, addressing challenges that the world has long faced - and others that the world is facing for the first time.

Summit Outcome on Development
The Summit provided the foundation for strengthening the global partnership between developed and developing countries set out at Monterrey. Earlier this year, the EU set a timetable to reach new levels of Official Development Assistance. By 2010, this assistance will account for 0.56 per cent of the EU's collective Gross National Income - resulting in an annual additional 20 billion Euros. By 2015 this proportion will reach 0.7 per cent. And EU member states recently agreed to support the G8 agreement to write off debt. In addition, the Summit recognised the value of developing innovative sources of financing. Sub-Saharan Africa is not on target to reach many of the goals for over 100 years and on some goals - including hunger and sanitation - the situation is actually going backwards. At least 50 per cent of the agreed increase in EU aid resources, therefore, will go to Africa; in plain terms this means a doubling of EU aid to Africa over the next five years. More aid on its own will not be enough. The real engines for making poverty history will be developing countries themselves. The EU believes that, as important as increasing aid, is making sure that it is used better and more effectively, in order to drive up standards of governance and help the poorest people for whom it is intended. This means developing countries adopting ambitious national development strategies, creating and reinforcing good governance structures, fostering a positive environment for economic growth and helping the private sector flourish. The EU welcomes the strong and comprehensive commitments made in this regard by the African countries through the African Union, and its NEPAD initiative, and reflected in the Summit Outcome.

Some would say that not enough progress was made on trade at the Summit. The EU believes that, through the Doha Round, the international community must deliver real gains for poor countries by reducing market barriers, abolishing export subsidies and significantly reducing trade-distorting domestic support, so that these countries can trade their way to higher growth and more jobs.
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Sunday, 18 September 2005
A resolution calling on the EU to give neglected diseases in developing countries a higher priority in its research programme was passed last week by the European Parliament. John Bowis MEP, health spokesman for the Group of the European People's Party (EPP), gained solid support for his report, which was written in response to a new Commission programme aimed at tackling HIV/AIDS, malaria and TB. The report, adopted at a plenary session in Strasbourg on 8 September, highlights the lack of research that the EU carries out into lesser-known diseases such as sleeping sickness and dengue fever. So far, the pharmaceutical industry has been unable to meet the needs of people with neglected diseases, as often the potential returns for shareholders are unclear. Even if the industry continues to play a major part in the discovery and development of drugs, a much greater pluralism in both the funding and discovery of novel treatments is needed, according to the resolution.

'The European Union is right to be addressing HIV, TB and malaria in the developing world, but there are many other diseases that also merit attention,' says Mr Bowis. The report calls for urgent action to develop new drugs and to make them available to developing countries at affordable prices. It also draws attention to the rapidly increasing number of cases of mental illness in many developing countries. Cost-effective treatments exist for most of these disorders but appropriate mental health legislation, treatment and community care are not the priorities that they should be. Between 1975 and 1999 less than one per cent of new drugs placed on the market were developed for infectious tropical diseases. Patients suffering from parasitic infections such as trachoma or potentially fatal leishmaniasis are often given archaic drugs which can be highly toxic, ineffective or difficult to administer. The Parliament resolution, tabled by the development committee, calls on the Commission to increase the amount of funding available for biomedical research into poverty-related diseases such as malaria and TB, and for specific reference to be made in the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) on funding for research into these diseases. The European Parliament, which wants the umbrella term of neglected diseases to be widened beyond HIV/AIDS, malaria and TB, also calls on the Commission to strengthen the capacity of developing countries to conduct both clinical trials and operational and health systems research. The needs of women, children and disabled people must, it argues, be mainstreamed into health policies and related research.

Given the lack of obvious profitability for companies in this field, the report calls for the pharmaceutical industry to be obliged, or offered incentives, to reinvest a percentage of its profits into neglected disease R&D. The resolution recommends establishing a new global medical R&D treaty and incorporating technology transfer into development policies.
The resolution coincided with the publication of a new report by a team from the London School of Economics Health and Social Care research centre, led by Dr Mary Moran. It argues that a profound change in research into ten so-called 'neglected diseases', including malaria, tuberculosis (TB), leprosy and sleeping sickness, could result in at least eight new drugs being developed by 2010. Moreover, the report highlights that around three-quarters of these research projects are being conducted under the umbrella of public-private partnerships, demonstrating that PPPs have been a critical driver of this considerable increase in activity, and recommending that policy makers should support them when it comes to neglected disease research and development.
Saturday, 17 September 2005
public consultation on whether and how to create a European Institute of Technology (EIT) has been opened by the European Commission today. It will gather the views of stakeholders on how an ‘EIT’ could strengthen research, education and market innovation in Europe. The public consultation will run until mid-November, and will feed into a wider analysis by the European Commission services.
European Commission President Barroso made the following remarks at the occasion of a press meeting together with UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, musician Sir Bob Geldof and President of Nigeria Obasanjo (G 8 follow up panel) on 15 September in New York:

Firstly, I would like to recognize the drive and determination of those sitting alongside me. Prime Minister Tony Blair, Sir Bob Geldof and President Obasanjo have all, in different ways, contributed an enormous amount to putting Africa back on the political map of the developed world.
The task for us now is to keep it there. The G8 in Gleneagles was crucial, both as a process and as an event. As a process because it caught the popular imagination and became a fixed point which Europe could aim at. As an event because it meant that good will could be translated into commitments; on aid and debt especially.
But the key point is this: fighting extreme poverty and disease is not done by words alone. It is done by turning commitments into reality. It is a process, a mentality, not an event.
Europe has already done a great deal. We are the biggest aid donor in the world. We are the most open market in the world. Europe imports 85% of African agricultural exports. Europe is allowing in, without duty or tariffs, all goods except weapons from the world’s 50 poorest countries.
But we can, we must, do more. Gleneagles has shown us the way. 80% of the extra $ 50 billion of aid pledged there will come from Europe. Now the EU will produce its Africa strategy in the autumn, showing how we will spend these increased resources. And we will continue to lead the drive to reach a truly development friendly conclusion to the Doha trade round.
Europe can do a lot. But it can’t do all. We need others to match our efforts, which is why I welcome President Bush’s comments on trade in his speech yesterday. We need the new emerging economies to engage with us as well. And we need to work in partnership with African countries and organisations such as the African Union, of which President Obasanjo is the President.
We have the resources. What we need is organization and political will. Gleneagles was a crucial step in the fight against extreme poverty. Europe must, and will, work to turn the commitments made there into reality.
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Friday, 16 September 2005
Trade liberalisation is crucial to the fight against hunger and poverty but it is not enough on its own, Members of Euorpean Parliament were told by experts at a hearing of the International Trade Committee on 13 September. Domestic reforms, such as scrapping farm subsidies in the rich countries, are also needed.

MEPs broadly supported this view but added that the linkage between liberalisation and poverty was not always clear cut and that every country's circumstances were different. Agriculture was seen as a key area by most experts and MEPs, as it accounts for between 50% and 90% of employment in developing countries. There was a broad consensus that the benefits of trade liberalisation must be accompanied by domestic reforms in both developed and developing countries.
Patrick MESSERLIN, professor of economics at Sciences Po, Paris, argued that the main responsibility for fighting poverty in developing countries lay with the OECD countries, especially the EU. He said the elimination of export subsidies was certainly not enough: domestic subsidies and price support must be dismantled too. Apart from trade liberalisation, he added, there was a need for sound domestic governance using a wise mix of regulatory reform, domestic subsidies and taxes.
According to Veena JHA, Coordinator of the UNCTAD India Programme, trade liberalisation, in particular liberalisation of the agriculture, textile and clothing industries, generally had a positive impact on poverty reduction. However, she believed differentiated trade liberalisation would yield the best results.
Pierre DEFRAIGNE, director of EUR-IFRI, said the EU's contribution to eliminating poverty and hunger should go beyond trade because trade could only create opportunities, not deliver development.
Rashid KAUKAB, of the Trade and Development Programme, South Centre, Geneva, criticised the EU for not always adhering to its multilateral trading system commitments. "The EU has been quite good at selling some promises against down payments by developing countries", he said. He called on the EU to make a commitment at the highest level to turning its trade policy into a tool for achieving broad-based and widely shared development.
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