Monday, June 05, 2006

Public-private default

In today's post about WHO we mention public-private partnerships, one of the ways WHO was accommodating to a world stage that had more than national states participating in international health activities. One of the more pertinent examples is in the news today, the alleged effort of countries, NGOs and intergovernmental organizations to battle bird flu using $1.9 billion pledged by the parties in January. That was then. This is now.
Just $286 million has been spent to fight bird flu out of nearly $1.9 billion pledged last January by nations and organizations that said they wanted to make a "massive effort" against the virus, according to a World Bank report.

Only Japan, Switzerland and the Czech Republic have fully spent the money promised at a meeting of big donors in Beijing last January, according to the report, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters.
Africa in particular needs more money, the report said.

"Japan has fully committed its pledge in Beijing of $158 million to a range of countries and organizations at the regional and global level," the report reads. Switzerland pledged and has spent $4.7 million while the Czech Republic promised and has spent $200,000.

The report, prepared for a meeting of senior officials in Vienna on June 7, also singles out the United States, which pledged and committed $334 million, but which has spent $70.95 million. Of $500 million in loans promised by the World Bank, just $113 million has been committed and only $1.97 million sent out. (Leslie Wroughton and Maggie Fox, Reuters)
The money was meant to improve animal health systems and surveillance, poultry vaccination and rapid response measures, all critical to slowing the spread of avian influenza. The money is slated for projects in Vietnam, Indonesia, Nigeria, Turkey and Cambodia, all bird flu hot spots.

So it's just Japan, Switzerland, the Czech Republic (and an AP story adds Finland to the list) that have met their obligations. The European Community has disbursed nothing and the US only a small fraction of its pledge.

Pretty pathetic.