Think Tank Dialogue explores the future AIDS and global health architecture in a fast-changing world
10 December 2013
The need for the future AIDS and global health architecture to be responsive to the needs of people across the world was the main outcome of the Think Tank Dialogue that took place on 2 December as part of the UNAIDS and Lancet Commission consultations. Participants also encourage the Commission to identify the incentives and levers available to transform the health architecture in a world where geo-political power is shifting.
Hosted by the Institute of Global Governance and the Institute for Global Health at University College London (UCL), the Dialogue was organized around three roundtable thematic sessions. Deliberations were informed by the ongoing work of the UNAIDS and Lancet Commission’s third Working Group on the AIDS and health architecture. The topics of the sessions were:
- Taking stock: Opportunities and lessons learnt from the AIDS response for global health governance
- Modernising the global heath and AIDS architecture: law, institutions, and public-private authority
- Pathways to enhancing coherence of the global health architecture
The dialogue was attended by officials from the Rockefeller Foundation, WHO, the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health, DFID andThe Lancet, as well as leading academics, practitioners and civil society representatives in the field of global health. Presentations were given by Dr Kent Buse (UNAIDS), Dr Simon Rushton (University of Sheffield), Dr Helena Legido-Quigley (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine), and Dr Sarah Hawkes (UCL).
- Participants called for new approaches to address the emerging health burdens (including Non-Communicable Diseases) and the drivers of ill health—including the unhealthy lifestyles industries, as well as private health care providers.
- Concerted efforts should be made to ensure that the human right to health is realized and health inequality tackled.
- The global health architecture would benefit from the establishment of new independent accountability mechanisms which can undertake monitoring, review, and remedial activities
- The Commission was encouraged to identify the incentives and levers available to transform the architecture in a world where geo-political power is shifting, where Official Development Assistance (ODA) flows no longer exert a decisive influence, and where ideas play a more prominent role.
The outcome of the dialogue will inform the ongoing work of the UNAIDS and Lancet Commission’s third Working Group and a response document has been relayed to its Chair, Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator.
Mapping out a way towards ending AIDS and, more broadly, universal health provision will require the kinds of rigorous diagnostics on display at this multi-stakeholder meeting. I am pleased that UCL has been able to enter into partnership with the UNAIDS and the Lancet Commission on these issues.
Poverty, inequality and the other major drivers of the emerging burdens of ill-health are global phenomena and we need a global health architecture that is equipped to deal with the determinants of ill-health as well as the provision of equitable and accessible health care.
It is crucial that priority is given to establishing an independent accountability arrangement within the global health architecture. The presence of an independent multi-sectoral body in the global health sector able and willing to hold stakeholders to account for their performance is long overdue.
The debate on future global health architecture exposes a range of perspectives, from denialists to defeatists, from pluralist to utopians…I think we need more pragmatists who can identify concrete, politically feasible, incremental steps to bring greater coherence, participation and independent accountability.