Perhaps the most significant global social policy development in 2012 was approval of the International Labour Organization (ILO) recommendation on creation of social protection floors. Approved in June, the recommendation calls on the ILO’s 185 members to ensure that everyone in need has access to essential health care and basic income security.
ADB is currently reviewing its role in the health sector. Strategy 2020 proposes 80% investment in core sectors, and 20% in other sectors including agriculture, and health and social protection as non-core sectors. But investments in health have been declining in the past few years, and based on new Country Partnership Strategies, will decline further in coming years. ADB has now reached a point where it struggles to sustain a critical staff capacity in the health sector.
The ADB Health Community of Practice had an opportunity to contribute to the regional post-2015 social development agenda last week. Susann Roth, a Senior Social Development Specialist colleague in the Regional Sustainable Development Department, presented the initial outcomes from the ADB-UNDP-UNESCAP-sponsored Asia and the Pacific consultations.
For many years it was thought that sanitation problems could be tackled by simply building toilets, sewers and treatment plants. The need for behavior change among end-users was rarely, if ever, considered, and at best saw health campaigns hastily tacked on to, what were essentially, hardware projects.
The United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) program was a big success. It kept social development alive amidst a rush for infrastructure and growth. The United Nations is now spearheading a massive movement to define new goals up to 2040, with equity and sustainability as the central themes.
Global food prices remain high and volatile since the peak during the global food crisis of 2008, exacerbating hunger and malnutrition around the world. High and increasing food prices can be an immediate threat to household food security, undermining population health, retarding human development, and lowering labor productivity for the economy in the long term.
The health status of the population of Papua New Guinea (PNG) has deteriorated since the 1980s due to neglect of the health system, especially in rural areas, where 87% of the population live. An estimated 40% of rural health facilities have closed or are not fully functioning.
Incremental achievements in reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are possible before they “expire” in 2015 if linkages among strategies to achieve various goals are made. MDG 5 demands an improvement in maternal health. MDG 4 calls for an improvement in child health.
In the last weeks a new strain of a bird flu virus was observed for the first time in humans in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The virus, which has been traced to a reassortment of genes from wild birds in East Asia and chickens in East PRC, poses many urgent questions and raises global public health concerns about an expanding outbreak.
Recently, the New York Supreme Court overturned the city’s proposal to ban oversized soda drinks, terming it “arbitrary and capricious.” This was seen as an unwarranted infringement on people’s choices and lifestyle.