The Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS) Takes the HIF One Step Further
As the global market for traditional medicine increases, several issues emerge regarding regulation and intellectual property protection. The Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS), a think tank with the Government of India’s Ministry of External Affairs, has released a volume of research covering the applicability of the Health Impact Fund for traditional medicine. The volume examines the status of IP rights, trade and, regulation for traditional medicine and looks to the HIF as way to incentivize innovation, research and development in the sector, while enhancing access and affordability.
Access the volume, here.
Pogge Presents Report on Illicit Financial Flows and Poverty at IBA Conference
Global Justice Program Director Thomas Pogge and other members of the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) Task Force on Illicit Financial Flows, Poverty and Human Rights presented a report on the links between tax abuse and human rights at the International Bar Association’s (IBA) annual conference on Wednesday, October 11 in Boston. The report concludes that state action that facilitates tax avoidance and evasion may amount to a violation of human rights.
According to the report, tax abuse—tax practices that go against the letter of intention of domestic or international tax law or policy—significantly contributes to human rights deprivations, particularly economic, social and cultural rights. The report provides a picture of tax abuse around the world and how it hinders the realization of human rights.
Using three case studies, the report distinguishes between legitimate tax planning and abusive tax practices. In an article posted on the IBA website, Thomas Pogge said “the fact that sophisticated tax planning strategies are technically legal is no longer a justification for their use. The impact of tax abuses, facilitated by secrecy jurisdictions, on global poverty is tremendous. The international community has not only a legal obligation but also a moral duty to ensure that states use the maximum resources available to fulfill the civil, political, economic and social rights of citizens.”
The report calls on stakeholders to take urgent action to curb tax abuse. While it calls upon states to implement higher standards for transparency in tax matters, it also asks businesses to assess the impact of their tax planning strategies upon the citizens in the countries where they are operating and lawyers to balance their commitment to serving their clients’ interest with the responsibility to uphold human rights.
The full report is now available on the IBA website.
To view a video of Thomas Pogge talking about the work of the IBAHRI Taskforce, click here.
By Mariana Ramírez Herrera and Rachel Payne
German Social Democrats endorse Health Impact Fund
The German Social Democrat Party has confirmed their support for the Health Impact Fund, as part of their strategy for global cooperation and development. One of the goals of their development platform is to ensure universal access to healthcare, starting with improving access to medical drugs and encouraging research into neglected and poverty-related diseases. The Health Impact Fund is brought up as an innovative solution to address these challenges by providing incentives for the pharmaceutical industry to provide new drugs for neglected diseases at low prices.
Pogge and the Health Impact Fund featured in Just Health
The Geman news portal, Gerechte Gesundheit or Just Health, featured the Health Impact Fund in its August 15 newsletter. Lead by a distinguished group of academics and clinicians, Just Health reports on the distributional politics of healthcare around the world.
Titled “The Health of Others”, the article describes a lecture given by Thomas Pogge at the Berlin Institute for Christian Ethics and Policy. During the talk, Pogge made the case for implementing his Health Impact Fund proposal. He justified the Fund by pointing out that numerous international rules and regulations have been built around the interests of affluent countries and global elites and undermine the interests of poor people. People living in affluent countries, as beneficiaries of these arrangements, have a duty to mitigate the harms inflicted upon the poor. The TRIPS Agreement, which requires WTO members to grant 20-year patent protection to new medicines and other innovations, inflicts serious harm. By blocking the manufacture of generic versions of new medicines, TRIPS makes these treatments too expensive for the majority of the world’s population.
The Health Impact Fund, Pogge said, could minimize the damage caused by the TRIPS Agreement, by offering pharmaceutical companies the opportunity to be rewarded for new medicines on the basis of health impact, rather than through high, patent-protected prices. By registering with the Health Impact Fund, these companies would commit themselves to distributing their new medicine at the cost of production globally, while receiving payment from a global fund, on the basis of the impact of the product on global health.
To learn more about the Health Impact Fund, visit healthimpactfund.com.
GJP conference on rights and justice in the post-MDG agenda set for October 18-20
Registration has opened for the fifth annual conference at Yale hosted by the Global Justice Program and Global Financial Integrity. The conference will focus on illicit financial flows, the Millennium Development Goals replacement process, and impact efforts by leading poverty research centers. The Friday-Sunday conference, Oct. 18-20, is titled “Human Rights and Economic Justice: Essential Elements of the Post-MDG Agenda?”
Friday panels will focus on the role of tax havens and illicit financial flows in perpetuating extreme poverty globally. Speakers on Saturday will share insight on the Millennium Development Goals replacement effort, responding in part to the expected early-October announcement from UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon on the final shape of the new efforts. Sunday will see the heads of global justice and poverty research centers from around the world share their ideas and best practices for promoting direct positive impact on poverty alleviation policy and practice.
Event sponsors include the Edward J. and Dorothy Clarke Kempf Memorial Fund and Academics Stand Against Poverty.
Registration is free but required for catering purposes. To register, please contact Rachel Payne, Global Justice Program, at email@example.com.
Pogge's proposal for MDG successors featured in Guardian
Global Justice Program Director Thomas Pogge has an original prescription for the post-MDG agenda, according to The Guardian.
Pogge argues that the post-2015 global development framework must be fundamentally different than the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) it is replacing. According to Mark Tran’s post on The Guardian’s development blog, Poverty Matters, Pogge sees two major failings in the MDGs: lack of ambition and lack of accountability for developed countries. With the MDGs, deeply unambitious poverty alleviation goals were masked by shifting methodology for poverty measurement. The framework also failed to put clear demands on developed countries to contribute to poverty alleviation. MDG 8, the only goal that applies to the developed world, is entirely devoid of measurable targets.
Pogge argues that the persistence of poverty can to a large extent be attributed to global practices, like trade protectionism, corporate tax dodging, and arms export, that can only be stopped by developing countries. In his view, a truly effective post-MDG agenda must target these practices through global reform goals, coupled with precise and consistent goals and indicators for poverty alleviation.
To read the full post on Poverty Matters, click here.
Scholars and policy makers examine poverty’s “structural roots” at Yale conference
The Structural Roots of Poverty: Theory Meets Practice, the fourth annual conference co-hosted by the Global Justice Program and Global Financial Integrity, took place February 14-16, 2013 in Yale’s Connecticut Hall.
The conference commenced on the morning of Thursday, February 14, with opening remarks from Thomas Pogge (Yale University) and a panel discussion on tax policy, which featured Reuven Avi-Yonah (University of Michigan) and Dan Reeves (formerly IRS) and was moderated by Anne Alstott (Yale University). Very regrettably, Stephen Cohen (Georgetown University) could not attend and participate in Thursday's tax panel. Unforeseen circumstances kept him in Washington, D.C. However, he graciously sent his remarks to be read for him by Professor Alstott. Following the panel, Leonard McCarthy (World Bank) gave an address. The afternoon session opened with a panel on financial transparency, which featured Monica Bhatia (OECD), Jack Blum (Tax Justice Network USA), and Corinna Gilfillan (Global Witness), and was moderated by Tom Cardamone (Global Financial Integrity). Daniel Kaufmann (Revenue Watch) gave an address, and Raymond Baker (Global Financial Integrity) gave closing remarks.
Friday, February 15, featured discussion of priorities for development after 2015, when the Millennium Development Goals expire. Gilad Tanay (Academics Stand Against Poverty) provided opening remarks and moderated the first panel, which focused on governance and global institutional reform and featured Thomas Pogge (Yale University), Ignacio Saiz (Center for Economic and Social Rights), Atul Singh (Fair Observer), and Sam Worthington (InterAction). James Fishkin gave a midday address, and the day concluded with a panel discussion on the relationship between the post-Millennium Development Goals and the Sustainable Development Goals. This panel featured Bernadette Fischler (CAFOD) and Maria Ivanova (University of Massachusetts Boston) and was moderated by Mitu Sengupta (Ryerson University). Unfortunately, Wael Hmaidan (Climate Action Network International) was not able to attend the conference and participate in this discussion.
Saturday, February 16, was broken into two sessions, one focusing on global health and the other on climate change. The health session featured freestanding presentations from Amrita Palriwala (Open Society Institute), Thomas Pogge (Yale University), John-Arne Røttingen, and Mel Spigelman (TB Alliance) and was moderated by Zorka Milin (Yale University). Jeffrey Sachs (Columbia University) gave the keynote address, which focused on the post-2015 development agenda. The afternoon session, devoted to climate justice, featured Michael Gerrard (Columbia University), Tony Huydecoper (formerly Supreme Court of the Netherlands) Sébastien Jodoin (One Justice Project), Paul Joffe (World Resources Institute), and Jaap Spier (Supreme Court of the Netherlands), and moderated by Michael Dorsey (Wesleyan University). Thomas Pogge gave closing remarks, which focused on the overarching theme of strengthening global governance to combat poverty.
Several projects supported by the Global Justice Program were discussed during the conference. Academics Stand Against Poverty’s campaign to influence the successors to the Millennium Development Goals was discussed on Friday, and challenges and opportunities for piloting the Health Impact Fund were discussed by panelists and audience members on Saturday during the global health session.
PowerPoint presentations and video footage from the conference will soon be available on this site and at www.academicsstand.org.
The event was made possible through the generous support of the Edward J. and Dorothy Clarke Kempf Memorial Fund, administered by the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale University, the MacMillan Center’s Global Justice Program, Global Financial Integrity, the Comparative Research Programme on Poverty at the University of Bergen, Academics Stand Against Poverty, Incentives for Global Health, and by the Orville H. Schell, Jr.
Center for International Human Rights Law at Yale Law School.
Yale GJP members to help establish global justice program in Delhi
Global Justice Program Director Thomas Pogge and Senior Fellow Ashok Acharya, along with Luis Cabrera of the University of Birmingham, were recently awarded a grant by the British Council’s UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI) to develop a global justice program at the University of Delhi.
The Nyaya Global Justice Programme will provide a unique intellectual center for the study of international normative questions that have strong resonance in the Indian context, and elsewhere in the Global South. These could include the role of India and other BRIC countries in the World Trade Organization, G20, and the UN Security Council; fairness in international trade; cooperation for poverty alleviation; and ethics in global security issues.
“I’m overwhelmed by the news,” said Acharya, who will serve as Director of the Nyaya programme. “Setting up a global justice program in India, and especially at the University of Delhi, has been a dream project that I have been nurturing for the past 10 years or so. I’m sure, once established, this will grow from strength to strength and bring together the best of the minds from across the world and apply them to resolve key global inequities.”
Nyaya – the term means ‘justice’ in Hindi -- will also serve as the center for an India-UK-US exchange program, connecting the University of Delhi, Birmingham University’s Centre for the Study of Global Ethics, and the Global Justice Program.
In 2013 and 2014, the Nyaya Programme will hold workshops at the University of Delhi and Birmingham, exchange programs that bring students from Delhi to Birmingham and Yale, and a global justice lecture series that will bring UK and US researchers to Delhi.
This program will provide new connections for global justice scholars around the world.
For more information, contact Dr. Ashok Acharya at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Structural Roots of Global Poverty: Theory Meets Practice.
The Yale MacMillan Center’s Global Justice Program and Global Financial Integrity proudly present "The Structural Roots of Global Poverty: Theory Meets Practice." This three-day conference, held at Yale University on February 14th, 15th, and 16th, will bring together academic, advocacy, and policy communities to address the structural roots of global poverty relating to illicit financial flows and tax policy, the post-2015 development agenda, climate change, and global health.
The conference will commence on the morning of Thursday, February 14th with a day-long exploration of the relationship between tax policy, illicit financial flows, and global poverty. Friday, February 15th will feature discussion of priorities for development after 2015, when the Millennium Development Goals expire. Speakers will be encouraged to focus on the themes of governance and global institutional reform, inclusive participatory consultation, and merging the environmental sustainability and poverty alleviation agendas. Saturday, February 16th will be broken into two sessions, one focusing on climate change and global poverty, and the other on international cooperation for innovation in global health. The conference will conclude Saturday evening.
A finalized conference schedule, including conference location, will be available shortly.
Registration is free but necessary. Please e-mail email@example.com to register.
This event is made possible through the generous support of the Edward J. and Dorothy Clarke Kempf Memorial Fund, the Comparative Research Program on Poverty, Global Financial Integrity, and Academics Stand Against Poverty.
Students and scholars gather to honor Rawls's work and life
The event that for the last few months we have been calling "Rawls Fest" took place last Friday, November 30, 2012, in the Faculty Room of Yale's Connecticut Hall. This one-day workshop was held in honor of the 10th anniversary of John Rawls' passing (November 24, 2002). more...
Krishen Mehta of GFI speaks to Global Justice Fellows
Krishen Mehta, Co-Chairman of the Advisory Board of Global Financial Integrity at the Center for International Policy in Washington, DC (http://www.gfintegrity.org/), and former partner with PwC recently shared his insights on the relationship between global taxation and social justice. In a fast-paced talk, Mehta outlined the problem of developing countries’ illicit capital outflows, which exceed by far inflows of foreign aid. He also drew on his long professional experience to explain the issues of tax havens, trade mispricing and tax evasion. Mehta then shared a multitude of reform proposals ranging from strategies to reign in tax havens, a global corporate minimum tax, improved banking and accounting regulations (e.g. country-by-country reporting) and a global financial transaction tax. These proposals were energetically discussed in the Q&A with seminar participants afterwards.
Health Impact Fund praised in NYTimes op-ed on drug resistance
The Health Impact Fund was mentioned in a New York Times op-ed as having the potential to limit the growth of drug resistance. Carl F. Nathan, the chairman of the department of microbiology and immunology at Weill Cornell Medical College and author of the opinion piece, writes that growing drug resistance and a dwindling supply of antibiotics pose a grave threat to the practice of medicine. According to Nathan, innovation in antibiotics is lagging because they much less profitable for pharmaceutical companies than are medicines to treat widespread chronic diseases. However, with the creation of an intergovernmental fund for drug innovation, like the Health Impact Fund, companies could make new antibiotics widely available at a low price and be rewarded on the basis of their health impact, rather than relying on patent protection and large markups to make a profit. Creating incentives for developing new antibiotics and making widely accessible is essential to managing bacterial disease, according to Nathan.
The entire op-ed is available here.