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Weekly Roundup: Global Fund Takes a Hit And Occupy Protests Face Serious Challenges

   /   Nov 28th, 2011Weekly Roundup

Every week, we roundup the conversation surrounding the news in the world of social innovation.

Global Fund Takes a Hit

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS,  Tuberculosis, and Malaria will not be funding grants till 2014 due to limited resources.  The Guardian reports the Global Fund has been looking at a “black hole” for some time, not having been able to procure the right amount of funding last year in New York where it requested $20 billion from donors but got about $12 billion.

Responses from the global health community reflect frustration and worry about the treatment of those who rely on the Global Fund for access to medicines in developing nations:

“The dramatic resource shortfall comes at a time when the latest HIV science shows that HIV treatment itself not only saves lives, but is also a critical form of preventing the spread of the virus, and governments are making overtures that there could be an end to the AIDS epidemic. - MSF

Donors are “betraying” poor people and pushing the Global Fund “to the edge of a cliff.”  – Health Global Access Project

Simon Reid-Henry writes in the New Statesmen that the “precarity of the global 99%” is on the line, comparing the remaining money needed by the Global Fund to meet its budget (an approximate of $10 billion) to the bonuses that banks are shelling out this year for their staff.

“Ten billion dollars sounds like peanuts in comparison to the bank bailouts we have gotten used to in recent years — it’s about the same amount that Goldman Sachs has cheerfully set aside in bonuses again this year.”

This news has also raised questions about the disparity of funding between countries.  While the US has been one of the largest contributors and is considering reducing its commitments during a period of austerity, others such as Denmark and Holland haven’t contributed to the Fund. So, the question is: how do we get everyone on board to take a fair share of the pie? Furthermore, questions have been raised about the distribution of the funds, whether they actually reached the beneficiaries or were extracted by officials in the process.

Occupy Protests Face Serious Challenges

“Arrest one of us; two more appear. You can’t arrest an idea!” said the sign held by a man in a Guy Fawkes mask in reoccupied Zuccotti Park on Thursday. — Rebecca Solnit

The LATimes features an OpEd, arguing that the basic fundamentals of the Occupy movement are very much real.  The inequality between the rich and the poor is certainly become more and more evident.  And it’s on display in California where more than one-third of income gains in the last 23 years have gone to the top 1% in California.  Today, more than 6 million Californians are in poverty, and the NYTimes states that almost 100 million Americans are in poverty or dangling close to it nationwide.

Yet, Occupy movements continue to face challenges as they persist through the holiday season with the campaign.  This week, city officials presented LA Occupiers with a concession that would get them off the streets and public parks and into free work spaces and free gardens.   Protesters haven’t agreed to the proposal but it’s another attempt at ending the movement, what some have referred to as a buy out.”

In Northern California, the situation was far more tense as a police officer was caught using pepper spray on students in protests at UC Davis.   Former LA Police Chief William Bratton will be now heading the investigation on the Davis incident.  One explanation for this use of force in deterring protests – in Oakland, Davis, New York, and more, connects the brutality to safety concerns in a post 9/11 world.

Bob Ostertag, a professor at UCDavis, wrote a provocative piece in the HuffPost, outlining how university officials, including Chancellor Katehi, could have turned the protest into a teach-in or showed support to students who were protesting respectfully.   In fact, he went on to note that most of the students who were attacked with pepper spray were not only some of his top performing students but were sitting passively at the time of the incident.

Random Weekend Readings Pieces with a bit more heft to help you ease back into the work week…

An OpEd in the Boston Globe argues for Boston-area nurses who ought to be able to travel overseas in medical missions, just as doctors do.

NYTimeseditorial reports on high rates of poverty in America, “a chilling reality,” that estimates one out of three Americans are poor or “perilously” close to being so.

New deal with Walmart brings more stores into DC, where access to fresh foods and produce has been scarce in certain neighborhoods.  One WashPost editorial highlights the benefits of this new partnership.

Know where your turkey comes from? If you’re buying Butterball, it’s probably from Ozark.

Fair Trade USA angers many as it branches off from its international partners and waters down regulations, making it easier to sell products from large farms with a smaller percentage of fair-trade products in each package.

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