14. HEALTH, HUMAN RIGHTS AND DONORS

  1. Focusing on sustainable poverty alleviation is inseparable from bringing about greater respect of Human Rights and greater equity.
  2. Current development thinking is at a cross-road.
  3. We need to influence overall development strategies and particularly the professional ‘lords of poverty’ to move a step closer to putting Human Rights issues at the center of poverty eradication.
  4. We cannot leave it up to (undefined) ‘others’ to undertake the needed steps to bring Human Rights center stage.
  5. This sense of urgency must be heightened for all of us, including donors. They have to understand that technical actions will not bring about significant improvements in the condition of the poor.
  6. The myth of the Chinese proverb of ‘give me a fish and you’ll have fed me for a day, and give me a net and you’ll feed me for life’ has to be debunked. This fallacy is repeated over and over again. The real question is who owns the pond/lake/river/ocean and what the RIGHTS of the poor are to fish there…
  7. Access to the Commons (or means of production, for that purpose) is not to be taken for granted!
  8. Donors have to join together to fund Human Rights violations surveys in the recipient countries and these data are to be published annually in a publication of the type of UNICEF’s ‘The Progress of Nations” or UNDP’s annual report where countries are ranked according to their respective Human Rights performance.
  9. Subsequently using these data to tackle identified Human Rights violations at national and sub-national level will then become the main challenge for committed donors to get involved in helping revert them.
  10. As is true for NGOs, donor agencies will thus also have to more forcefully pursue Human Rights-promoting, bottom-centered, empowering interventions.
  11. They will have to bring recipient governments to the table to negotiate binding commitments (with signed memoranda of understanding) to move in the direction of poverty eradication via the Human Rights approach (with specific poverty-redressing and rights-upholding objectives), including the close monitoring of progress.
  12. Funds can then be released in tranches based on the achievement of negotiated verifiable Human Rights indicators along the implementation line of funded projects.
  13. A donor-NGO/civil society link and funding window should be developed concomitantly along the same lines (…for remissioned NGOs).
  14. In case of non-responsiveness or non-performing government projects, donor funding should be progressively reallocated to the NGO/civil society sector.
  15. Non-performing NGOs should be dropped under the same guise.
  16. All this may only add up to a start –and from the top at that… But it is a start in the right direction.
  17. Next, we will have to let most inputs for future actions come from the more directly affected themselves.
  18. Perhaps most of our energies will need to be spent on the latter. The road ahead will, for sure, require our greatest boldness ever.

Human Rights and International Financial Institutions (IFIs)

  1. In an apparent recent rediscovery of ‘the social’, the Bretton Woods IFIs are now also turning to Human Rights.
  2. But this ‘revalidation’ of ‘the social’ and of Human Rights is happening mainly at the micro level in these institutions. At the macro level, IFIs’ attention to social questions is, in all honesty, still very much an afterthought!
  3. In reality, (purportedly) ‘sound’ macroeconomic policies continue today to be designed mainly based on cold economic considerations.
  4. Then, [luke-(warm)] social ‘band-aids’ are applied in order to achieve acceptable outcomes –outcomes IFIs feel they cannot be blamed for by the rest of the international community.
  5. IFI prescriptions for the privatization of basic social services (i.e. the privatization of health) is antithetical to Human Rights, antithetical to the basic tenets of wealth redistribution, antithetical to poverty eradication strategies, and, therefore, antithetical to equity.
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