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Switzerland

The Price For Private Funding Of The World Health Organization

A shrinking budget, and ever increasing influence of private actors could spell the end of the UN agency as we know it.

WHO Director General Margaret Chan and Bill Gates at the recent World Health Assembly
WHO Director General Margaret Chan and Bill Gates at the recent World Health Assembly
Stéphane Bussard

In Bill Gates' speech this past week in front of nearly 60 government ministers and 1,800 delegates at the 64th Assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, the Microsoft cofounder urged countries to invest in vaccines and "save ten million lives' by 2020. The timing of the billionaire's appearance was highly symbolic, as the United Nations agency is about to "embark on the most extensive financial accountability reforms in its 63-year history", according to WHO director-general Margaret Chan.

Dr Chan's assessment is dire. She says that, having fought on too many fronts and taken on too many commitments over the last decade, the WHO now finds itself in need of reform. It needs to be more selective and strategic in setting priorities. Chan says that even if the institution has already been living on an austerity budget, it will have to go through deeper structural reform if it is to cope with the health challenges of the 21st century, such as the rise of chronic, non-communicable diseases. She said the recent financial crisis had opened a "new and enduring era of economic austerity."

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Geopolitics

AMLO Power Grab: Mexico's Electoral Reform Would Make Machiavelli Proud

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, aka AMLO, says his plans to reform the electoral system are a way to save taxpayer money. A closer look tells a different story.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of Mexico votes

Luis Rubio

OpEd-

MEXICO CITY — For supporters of Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) the goal is clear: to keep power beyond the 2024 general election, at any price. Finally, the engineers of the much-touted Fourth Transformation, ALMO's 2018 campaign promise to do away with the privileged abuses that have plagued Mexican politics for decades, are showing their colors.

Current electoral laws date back to the 1990s, when unending electoral disputes were a constant of every voting round and impeded effective governance in numerous states and districts. The National Electoral Institute (INE) and its predecessor, the IFE, were created to solve once and for all those endemic disputes.

Their promoters hoped Mexico could expect a more honest future, with the electoral question resolved. The 2006 presidential elections, which included AMLO as a recalcitrant loser, showed this was hoping for too much. That election is also, remotely, at the source of the president's new electoral initiative.

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