The 2013 Human Development Report – "The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World" – examines the profound shift in global dynamics driven by the fast-rising new powers of the developing world and its long-term implications for human development.
China has already overtaken Japan as the worlds second biggest economy while lifting hundreds of millions of its people out of poverty. India is reshaping its future with new entrepreneurial creativity and social policy innovation. Brazil is lifting its living standards through expanding international relationships and antipoverty programs that are emulated worldwide.
Five key emerging market economies, commonly termed the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), have been lauded for their stellar economic growth and resilience through the 2008/09 financial crisis. They are becoming models of development for development practitioners, researchers and other emerging economies. Scratch beneath the surface, however, and you will notice that not all people in these countries have benefited equally from growth. Some countries have seen enormous increases in income inequality – specifically China, India and South Africa; Brazil has enjoyed a reduction. What can be learnt, in terms of the challenges and successes of reconciling growth and equity, from the BRICS’ recent growth?
Prevention and treatment of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections for sex workers in low- and middle- income countries
The World Health Organization (WHO) in partnership with UNFPA, UNAIDS, and the Global Network of Sex Work Projects, have developed new guidelines to better protect sex workers from HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Sex workers in many places are highly vulnerable to HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) due to multiple factors, including large numbers of sex partners, unsafe working conditions and barriers to the negotiation of consistent condom use. Moreover, sex workers often have little control over these factors because of social marginalization and criminalized work environments. Alcohol, drug use and violence in some settings may further exacerbate their vulnerability and risk.
Countdown launched its 2012 Report on June 14, 2012, at the Child Survival Call to Action, a two-day high-level meeting in Washington, D.C. This conference, convened by the governments of the U.S., Ethiopia, and India in collaboration with UNICEF, charted a course toward the end of preventable child deaths around the world.
Health donors, policymakers, and practitioners continuously make life-and-death decisions about which type of patients receive what interventions, when, and at what cost. These decisions—as consequential as they are—often result from ad hoc, nontransparent processes driven more by inertia and interest groups than by science, ethics, and the public interest. The result is perverse priorities, wasted money, and needless death and illness. Examples abound: In India, only 44 percent of children 1 to 2 years old are fully vaccinated, yet open-heart surgery is subsidized in national public hospitals.
The field of global health is witnessing a shift in focus from disease-driven initiatives to projects aimed at increasing the sustainability and strengthening of health systems. A crucial component to this is universal health coverage (UHC), which seeks to address financing schemes for health, separate from efforts to provide both adequate numbers of health workers and structures for health-care delivery. UHC may be provided by government or through a combination of private insurance schemes, public-sector planning, and employer-based programs. Countries across the world, from China and India to Rwanda and Mexico, are beginning to implement different universal health coverage schemes, marking a rise in interest and political will for universal health coverage.
How did we become so many? How large a number can our Earth sustain? These are important questions, but perhaps not the right ones for our times. When we look only at the big number, we risk being overwhelmed and losing sight of new opportunities to make life better for everyone in the future. So instead of asking questions like, “Are we too many?” we should instead be asking, “What can I do to make our world better?” or, “What can we do to transform our growing cities into forces for sustainability?” We should also ask ourselves what each of us can do to empower the elderly so they can play a more active role in their communities. What can we do to unleash the creativity and potential of the largest youth cohort humanity has ever seen?