Following on from a series of
discussions, including a series of three
Shifting Power dialogues convened with
Wilton Park and Development Reimagined, our
team at the United Nations University
International Institute for Global Health
(UNU-IIGH) is working on the following initiatives.
DECOLONISING THE GLOBAL RANKING OF UNIVERSITIES
Universities and academic public health departments play a major role in Global Health. They produce knowledge and evidence; educate and train health practitioners; influence Global Health policy, and shape public narratives about Global Health. However, universities from the Global North are better resourced and better able to dominate the role of academia within the Global Health system. We are working on a briefing note about how systems and methods used rank universities and public health departments across the world reinforce power asymmetries and inequalities. We hope to convene further discussions on how universities from the Global South should respond to the coloniality of these influential ranking systems. Watch this space for more. Or, see here and here to whet your appetite.
DECOLONISING WRITING AND PUBLISHING IN HEALTH JOURNALS
Several studies have highlighted the fact that research and non-research papers about global health and about health in LMICs are dominated by authors from institutions based in HICs. Efforts are being made by journals and research funders to shift this colonial pattern. But how much progress is being made? We are working on a rapid study of patterns of authorship in key journals to see if there is any change since these papers were published here and here. Watch this space.
DECOLONISING THE GLOBAL RANKING OF THINK TANKS
Think tanks – like universities – also play an important role in Global Health by producing knowledge and evidence; influencing policy makers and shaping public narratives about Global Health. We are working on a briefing note discussing their role in Global Health and describing how think tanks are ranked globally. As with the ranking of universities, we will be highlighting how the methods used to evaluate think tank performance are biased in favour of institutions from the Global North. Watch this space for more. Or see here and here and here to whet your appetite.
DECOLONISING PRIVATE PHILANTHROPY AND AID
Private philanthropic funders have always been major powers in Global Health, beginning with the role of the Rockefeller Foundation in the establishment of the League of Nations Health Organisation and the WHO, and ending currently with the huge influence of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF). We are working on a new analysis of the funding patterns of the BMGF to catalyse a conversation about the impact of private foundations on Global Health governance, and coloniality within Global Health, and hope to also examine the pros and cons of different models of private philanthropy from across the world. We also hope to catalyse discussion about the relatively new development partnerships emerging between developing countries and countries like China. Watch this space. Or see here and here to whet your appetite.
REVERSING THE DOUBLE BURDEN OF MALDISTRIBUTION
So-called industrial epidemics and the commercial determinants of health are now growing topics of concern for Global Health practitioners, researchers and policy makers. The active marketing and supply of tobacco, alcohol, sugar-sweetened beverages and ultra-processed foods are partly responsible for driving the global epidemic in NCDs – but they are also responsible for growing health inequalities due to the manner in which they extract profits from poorer populations and LMICs. We will be convening discussions to examine and discuss this important phenomenon to raise questions about the marketing of harmful commodities but also the economic and financial regulation of the industries promoting these harmful commodities. See here to find out more.