The South Centre is pleased to announce the publication of Policy Brief No. 92 entitled “Expanding the production of COVID-19 vaccines to reach developing countries. Lift the barriers to fight the pandemic in the Global South” by Carlos M. Correa, Executive Director of the South Centre.
The unfolding of COVID-19 has shown that the international system has been unable to ensure equal access to the vaccines and other products necessary to fight the pandemic. While the need for a strong response remains obvious, proposals for scaling up the production of COVID-19 vaccines across the globe are still blocked in the World Trade Organization.
To access the policy brief directly, go to this webpage: https://www.southcentre.int/policy-brief-92-april-2021/
by Isabel Ortiz and Matthew Cummins
This paper warns of an emerging post-pandemic fiscal austerity shock—one that is far more
premature and severe than the one that followed the global financial crisis—and presents
alternative options to ensure that populations do not yet again have to suffer from austerity cuts. It
does so by: (i) examining IMF government expenditure projections until 2025; (ii) summarizing
the most common austerity measures to be avoided given their negative social impacts; and (iii)
calling on governments to urgently create fiscal space to finance an equitable socio-economic
recovery and progress toward human rights and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Analysis of expenditure projections shows that austerity cuts are expected in 154 countries in 2021,
and as many as 159 countries in 2022. The trend continues at least until 2025, with an average of
139 countries each year, according to IMF projections contained in the October 2020 World
Economic Outlook database. Austerity is projected to affect 5.6 billion persons in 2021 or about
75% of the global population, rising to 6.6 billion or 85% of the world population in 2022. By
2025, 6.3 billion people or 78% of the total population may still be living under austerity.
Read the article
The crisis caused by the coronavirus is an opportunity to think about the future. This article is about ‘the left‘ or ‘progressive forces’ in a very broad sense with implications for political parties and social movements. Will they be able to take this opportunity to propose their alternatives? Will it be lost once again, as happened in 1989 and 2008? And most of all, what is left of the left? Think of the very difficult discussions caused by the coup in Bolivia, ignored by parts of the radical left, or the electoral success of an indigenous candidate in Ecuador. Are there good reasons, then, to think there is no left or right anymore? What about Eurocentrism? Post-colonialism? Post-development? De-Growth? What should and can one do?
What I want to show in this article is how the justified criticism of neo-liberal policies and development practice has led to numerous ‘alternatives’ that in fact strengthen these policies or at least leave them untouched. In other words, I want to denounce the current dominant thinking of many progressive movements. For however understandable many reactions may be, throwing away the child of development with the bathwater of modernity is not what is needed. Moreover, these developments also show the emptiness of much current left-wing thinking. I will therefore end with some thoughts on the new progressive élan that we all dream of. Lees verder
While social protection is first and foremost a human right, the report also shows that social spending can yield significant economic returns. By applying a robust assessment of the impact of investing the equivalent of just 1% of GDP in each of eight countries, the research shows:
- positive returns on the economy overall, stimulating GDP growth;
- increased productivity and overall employment;
- increased tax revenues;
- more effective poverty alleviation; and
- reduced barriers to women entering or returning to work.
In addition, the report shows that increased investments in social protection can yield between 0.7 and 1.9 times their value in economic returns. This means that the economic benefits of social spending increases can partially or completely offset the costs.
Read this ITUC Report
Read Eurodad’s analysis of the World Bank and IMF Spring Meetings
by Walden Bello
A quarter-century ago, the multilateral system of global economic governance had reached its pinnacle. Today, the WTO, the IMF, and the World Bank are experiencing a deep crisis of legitimacy.
US Treasury Secretary Yellen made a remarkable speech asking for minimum taxes for all corporations. An important step to more fair taxes for all!
See and read:
Recording of Yellen’s speech: https://www.thechicagocouncil.org/events/secretary-janet-l-yellen-international-economic-policy
Yellen’s speech manuscript: https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/jy0101
Anis Chowdhury and Jomo Kwame Sundaram
COVID-19 has set back the uneven progress of recent decades, directly causing more than two million deaths. The slowdown, due to the pandemic and policy responses, has pushed hundreds of millions more into poverty, hunger and worse, also deepening many inequalities.
The outlook for developing countries is grim, with output losses of 5.7% in 2020. Compared to pre-pandemic trends, the expected 8.1% loss by end-2021 will be much worse than advanced countries dropping 4.7%.
COVID-19 has further set back progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As progress was largely ‘not on track’ even before the pandemic, developing countries will need much support to mitigate the new setbacks, let alone get back on track.
The extremely poor, defined by the World Bank as those with incomes under US$1.90/day, increased by 119–124 million in 2020, and are expected to rise by another 143-163 million in 2021.
Read the article
WEMOS: POSITION PAPER ON THE PROMOTION OF
PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS IN
PPPs are often far more expensive for governments than public
procurement, do not align with the most urgent medical needs and they seem to exacerbate
access for poor populations. Wemos therefore strongly recommends global actors such as the
World Bank and World Health Organization and country donors to stop promoting PPPs for
healthcare provision and financing in low- and middle-income countries. Instead, they should
focus on strengthening public healthcare provision and financing – in alignment with the
current trend in high-income countries.
Read the paper
On the anniversary of the Covid-19 pandemic, progressive forces around the world — including Noam Chomsky,
See the video made by Progressive International: https://twitter.com/ProgIntl/status/1369943772155510786?s=20
Do see, sign and distribute!