Opinions: Global poverty; Global Fund corruption; Tackling poverty, environmental issues

Published on January 28, 2011 at 1:37 AM · 1 Comment

At Davos, Ground Policy Debates In Reality On Global Poverty Numbers

Ahead of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Laurence Chandy and Geoffrey Gert, both of the Brookings Institution's Global Economy and Development program, reflect on "Poverty's Success Story," a Washington Post opinion piece. They note that the last time the World Bank issued global poverty statistics (the number of people in the world living on less than $1.25 each day) was 2005. "Between 2005 and 2010, nearly half a billion people escaped extreme hardship, as the total number of the world's poor fell to 878 million people," Chandy and Gert write, according to estimates based on updated $1.25-a-day figures. "The U.N. Millennium Development Goals established the target of halving the rate of global poverty between 1990 and 2015; this was probably achieved by 2008, some seven years ahead of schedule," they continue.

"We hear far more about the 64 million people held back in poverty because of the Great Recession than we do about the hundreds of millions who escaped impoverishment over the past six years," Chandy and Gert continue. "While there is good reason to focus public attention on the need to support those still stuck below the poverty line, there is also reason to celebrate successes and to ensure that policy debates are grounded in reality. ... When talk at Davos inevitably turns from the haves to the have-nots, participants should avoid falling back on their long-held views. It is time to break our collective cognitive dissonance, by which we exalt the remarkable growth of developing countries while simultaneously bemoaning the intractability of global poverty" (1/26).

Expand Role Of Global Fund Inspectors General To Weed Out Fraud

"Maybe the shocking reports that corruption eats huge chunks of the money flowing through the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria carry an important lesson for all of us: Just because famous people support a thing doesn't make it a sound enterprise," writes a Kansas City Star editorial that highlights several findings of misused funds uncovered by a Global Fund internal investigation.

"It wasn't long ago that Bono was urging support for the fund, and Bill and Melinda Gates have been donating $150 million a year. The fund was set up as a way to get around the bureaucracy of the United Nations, and there is no doubt it has also done much good," the editorial notes. "But the scope of these abuses serves as a good reminder that strict oversight is the best tool to curb waste and fraud. The role of inspectors general must be protected and expanded" (1/24).

Two Views: Helping The Planet Doesn't Have To Hurt The Poor

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  1. The Global Fund The Global Fund Switzerland says:

    The Global Fund would like to make the following statement about how it protects its grant money.
    Two articles published by the Associated Press in recent days and picked up by a large number of media outlets have seriously misrepresented the extent of fraud discovered in grants financed by the Global Fund.
    Media reports alleging that “billions of dollars have been misappropriated from the Global Fund” or that the extent of fraud uncovered is “massive” are irresponsible, false and misleading.
    To date, the Global Fund’s Office of the Inspector General has undertaken audits or investigations in 33 of the 145 countries where the Global Fund has grants.  As a result of this, the total amount of misappropriated or unsubstantiated funds that the Global Fund is demanding to be returned at present is $34 million. While all fraud is unacceptable and the Global Fund is taking strong and firm action to recover such losses, one should keep in mind that this amount represents 0.3 per cent of the total amount of $13 billion disbursed to countries by the Global Fund so far.
    [continues] http://www.theglobalfund.org/en/howprotect/  

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