Agenda packed 68th World Health Assembly comes to a close

Carolyn Kavita Tauro, CNS Correspondent
The 68th World Health Assembly (WHA) held over the past week, from 18th May to 26th May, at Geneva was declared closed last night by the Indian Minister of Health, Mr. Jagat Prakash Nadda, elected President of the Assembly this year. Mr. Nadda said:  “We need to think locally before we act globally. We must find out the strengths and weaknesses of each country; find out what gaps remain and then strategize accordingly.”

Nigeria needs to improve asthma control and management

Eranga Isaac, CNS Correspondent, Nigeria
The most recently revised estimates of asthma suggest that as many as 334 million people are living with asthma worldwide, and that the burden of disability is high. Asthma is a chronic long term lung condition that is genetic in origin and can be affected by a host of environmental factors.

Putting patients at the centre of asthma management

Babs Verblackt, CNS Correspondent, Belgium
For the past few years ‘You Can Control Your Asthma’ has been the recurrent theme of the annual World Asthma Day, celebrated annually on the 1st Tuesday of May. Though therapies are available, controlling their disease often remains a personal struggle for asthma patients worldwide. Their voices should be heard in any research and development of new ways to beat the chronic condition, feel international asthma organizations.

Is public financing of post-2015 development agenda possible?

Paul Quintos, IBON International
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Experts analyze that public financing of post-2015 development agenda is possible, and vested interests are propelling misconceptions that it is not feasible. Paul Quintos from IBON International debunked the myth that 'public finance is not enough'. "We need to examine how can we plug illegal financial flows. Sustainable development goals (SDGs) in Asia and the Pacific alone could cost well over US dollars 1 trillion per year. According to Asian Development Bank (ADB), infrastructure needs alone may require over US dollars 750 billion per year over 2010-2020."

Without real democracy, how will people hold governments to account?

One of the major failures of current times is how democratic systems are being made ineffective so that people with a 'power of one vote' are not able to hold elected representatives to account. How else can governments get away with making promises and not delivering? Rather often governments instead of delivering on pro-people promises, have harmed people's interests even more, thereby allowing corporations to siphon away profits and resources. With democracy failing the people to hold governments to account, it is no surprise that non-performing governments often get re-elected!

Through the people's lens: Modi's development model so far

Dr Rahul Pandey, Bobby Ramakant and Dr Sandeep Pandey
Story of Modi’s development model so far: Cutting health and education expenditure, forcing land acquisition, buying expensive jets and unsafe nuclear power, benefitting Big Business, diluting employment guarantee, fanning communal fires, exploiting Ganga, curbing dissent and shielding governance from public scrutiny.
If we separate Modi government’s actions from mere words and assess its priorities from the former, there is now enough evidence to form a clear picture. The picture that emerges is one of grossly skewed priorities.

"Nothing about us, without us"

Swapna Majumdar, CNS Special Correspondent
December 31, 2012, will always be a special day for Sheila Devi. It was the day the 21-year old played a pivotal role in the closure of a diagnostic centre suspected of misusing technology to eliminate girls. It was because of her participation in a decoy operation that the police was able to swoop down on the clinic located near her village in Bakshi Ka Talab block of Lucknow district in the most populous Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

Call to register: Webinar for media in lead up to World No Tobacco Day

[Video recording of the webinar] We welcome you to register for an exclusive media webinar in the lead up to this year's World No Tobacco Day, where noted tobacco control experts will present and respond to questions live!

Bodily autonomy and sexual rights are integral to development justice

Susmita Choudhary, IPPF
The dream of development justice cannot be realized unless governments also recognize bodily autonomy and sexual rights for every human being, especially for those who are marginalized and seldom heard or 'visible'. If we look closely at the data, it will become evident that women and girls are among those key populations whose rights get violated when it comes to bodily integrity and sexual and reproductive health, and rights. Susmita Choudhary from International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) said that "sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) are not only women's issues but also issues of other constituencies we work with, and different areas we work on, are also linked to SRHR. It is indeed a cross-cutting issue!"

"I could have been Mary Jane Veloso"

Erwiana Sulistyaningsih, Indonesia
(First published in The Jakarta Post, 20th May 2015) 
Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso was spared from execution at the last minute. She got a temporary reprieve but still faces execution. Veloso is a migrant Filipino domestic worker just like me. Like me, Veloso was forced to become a migrant domestic worker because of poverty, because of a commitment to support her family, because she had no other choice.

Asthma mortality rampant in developing countries

CNS image Library/2014
Clarity Sibanda, CNS Correspondent, Zimbabwe
The statistics on asthma are indeed worrying, as it is estimated that globally nearly 300 million are living with the illness and nearly 250,000 are said to die prematurely every year from the condition. It is disheartening to note that this public health issue affects high and low income countries equally, but the burden of mortality falls most heavily on the developing world where some 80% of asthma-related deaths occur. Third world countries like Zimbabwe are ineptly facing the asthma scourge.

Will HLPF push for accountability in post-2015 development agenda?

Kate Lappin, APWLD
Without robust accountability and monitoring mechanisms, how will people ensure that their governments deliver on the promises they make towards post-2015 sustainable development agenda? Past experience tells us that governments may make promises at the global level but seldom translate them into ground realities back home! Even worse is when at times the commitments made by governments in one treaty are contradictory to their obligations in another! Profit-driven corporations often have a major influence in policy making and thwart measures that may harm business interests.

Post-2015 development agenda cannot put 'some on the blind-spot'

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UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had said earlier, "our goal must be a world of dignity, opportunity and well-being, where no-one is left behind." But there are specific communities that feel they are slipping on the blind-spot as post-2015 sustainable development agenda-setting process is moving forward - indigenous peoples and people in the Pacific nations are among them. "Why is the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) working group document leaving us behind? That is why United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) has expressed specific concern over the way SDGs are again overlooking the rights of indigenous peoples" said Pranika Koyu from Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP).

Without redistributive justice, some will remain 'more equal than others'

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"Inequality has grown so high and so obscene that 85 people in the world hold as much wealth as 3.5 billion - half the world's population; within the year just 1 per cent of the world's population will hold more weath than the remaining 99 per cent" - this was one of the key messages in a powerful poster exhibit calling for development justice, at the ongoing Asia Pacific CSOs Forum on Sustainable Development in Thailand.