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Advocacy Update ~ April 17, 2017

By Danielle Heiberg, Senior Advocacy Manager, Global Health

Budget Update

Congress is in the middle of a two-week recess and when they return on Monday, April 24, they will face the expiration of the Continuing Resolution (CR) that is currently funding federal agencies and government programs for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017, and that is expiring on April 28.

A government shutdown seems unlikely, with members working through about 100 or so amendments, but wanting to avoid “poison pill” riders, such as paying for a wall at the border or defunding Planned Parenthood, on the final spending package. However, if negotiations breakdown, a short CR will be needed beyond April 28.

After FY2017 is finished, Congress will immediately turn to FY2018. President Trump’s full budget is expected to be released in mid-May.

Advocating for Foreign Assistance and Global Health Funding? GHC has developed topline messaging supporting global health and foreign assistance accounts, as well as a “leave behind” document for Congressional offices. We encourage you to use this messaging as you develop your own materials.

Defunding UNFPA

On March 30, the State Department issued a directive cutting off all U.S. contributions to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA). Citing UNFPA’s work in China, directive cited the requirements of the Kemp-Kasten amendment, which deems an organization ineligible for U.S. funding if it “supports or participates in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization,” to cut off funding.

Although UNFPA does partner with China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission on family planning, there is no evidence that UNFPA engages in involuntary sterilization or coercive abortion, which the State Department’s justification even noted.

In FY2016, the U.S. was the fourth largest donor overall to UNFPA, totaling approximately $69.7 million in contributions – around $30.7 million making up core voluntary contributions and the remainder used to address reproductive and maternal health needs in humanitarian crises. For FY2017, the expected loss to UNFPA is about $71 million.

For a more detailed analysis, read PAI’s Phoning It In: State Department Determination Withholds U.S. Contribution to UNFPA.

Reorganization of the Federal Government

In a follow-up to the Trump Administration’s Executive Order to federal agencies to develop plans for reform and streamlining programs, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) announced the “Comprehensive Plan for Reforming the Federal Government and Reducing the Federal Civilian Workforce.” The plan instructs agencies to reduce workforces; submit a plan to modernize and streamline operations; and identify areas that should be restructured, eliminated, or consolidated. Plans are to be submitted in June.

The administration created a website for the public to submit their ideas and comments on how to restructure the government.

GHC is monitoring these developments and working with the foreign assistance community to provide input.

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INTERACTION FORUM 2017: UNITED WE STAND

This guest post was provided by GHC-member InterAction.

Planning is well underway for Forum 2017, InterAction’s annual conference taking place June 20-22 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in D.C. The forum offers more than 40 breakout sessions designed for attendees at all stages of their careers including a CEO track, topical tracks for program and field staff, a Young Professionals Summit, and four powerful and compelling plenary sessions. A vibrant exhibit hall, abundant networking opportunities, and an Awards Banquet enhance the Forum experience.  United We Stand, the opening plenary on Tuesday, June 20, will be a celebration of our sector’s core values and an opportunity to hear how we can continue promoting dignity and action, particularly with closing space for civil society.  We are delighted to announce that Dr. Joyce Banda, former President of Malawi and Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights are confirmed as keynote speakers.

As we recognize World Refugee Day, our second plenary, The Changing Dynamics of Migration, will examine the reasons behind the increase in migrants, the challenges presented to governments and civil society by this mass movement of people, and the best practices for maintaining a culture of tolerance and acceptance.

On Wednesday, June 21, The Human Side of Technology will look at the opportunities and challenges of utilizing new technology to address community needs and respect human dignity and on Thursday, June 22, our closing plenary, Navigating the New Washington,  will examine how development and humanitarian actors can navigate rapid policy changes, assert their interests, and find common ground.

With the busy spring meeting schedule ahead, please remember to include this year’s Forum.


InterAction is the largest alliance if international NGOs and partners in the United States. Our members work around the world to eliminate extreme poverty and vulnerability, strengthen human rights and citizen participation, safeguard a sustainable planet, promote peace, and ensure dignity for all people. What unites us is a commitment to working with the world’s poor and vulnerable, and a belief that we can make the world a more peaceful, just and prosperous place – together.

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GHC Hosts First WHA Policy Scrum of 2017

Global Health Council (GHC) hosted a WHA Policy Scrum at InterAction’s headquarters in Washington, DC (and via webinar) on April 5, 2017. GHC’s WHA Policy Scrums are an annual series of meetings leading up to the World Health Assembly each year. They provide a space for the global health community to share priorities and concerns around WHA policy issues.

The 70th World Health Assembly will take place in Geneva, Switzerland from May 22 – 31, 2017.

Our first policy scrum attracted a total of 64 participants across 20 countries, including representatives from governments, private sector, nonprofits, and development partners. It was led by GHC President and Executive Director Loyce Pace. Useful links and major highlights from the meeting are listed below.

Useful Links:

Major Highlights:

WHA 2017 Agenda Topics

The main topics of interest brought up by participants included: non-communicable diseases, global health security, and global strategies. More in-depth conversations about these issues will be held in our upcoming webinars.

U.S. Leadership and Funding

There was a brief discussion on U.S. government priorities and budget cuts. The general feedback from government officials to the global health community is that cuts are a reality and will happen across several programs; including programs that the U.S. government considers priority areas, such as; epidemic preparedness, health research and development, and global health security. The current administration’s position is therefore to identify key priorities, and to fund them at a level which they believe is the U.S.’s appropriate share and responsibility to the global community.

Participants around the room commented that they had heard of heavy discussions around reworking assessed and voluntary contributions from the U.S. government. It was suggested that a good strategy in arguing for discretionary spending on particular programs is to capitalize on their economic benefits to the United States as a selling point, as this is the language that the current administration responds to.

How Should CSOs Respond to Imminent Budget Cuts?

The loss of funding will undermine progress in across several critical issue areas, and there are major concerns about how budget cuts will particularly impact WHO.

Loyce cited our need to work together as a global health community and develop a community advocacy message – something that we have already been working on. Loyce also highlighted the urgent need to broker more focused dialogue, on how to stay strong as a community. How do we prepare for the impact of severe budget cuts to our work and how can we move forward positively?

U.S. WHA 2017 Delegation

There were several questions in the room and online, about who would make up the U.S. delegation at WHA 2017. Some participants were able to confirm that Irene Koek from USAID; Price, Mitchell Wolfe, and Peter Mamacos from HHS; and Tracy Carson, U.S. Health Attache, would be a part of the U.S. contingent. There was a debate about whether there would be any representative from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as CDC currently does not have a main lead at this time.

Loyce gave a quick summary of some of the main issues that the U.S. delegation would take a keen interest in. These include the WHO Director-General Election, Global Health Security, Epidemic Preparedness, the debate around the High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines, and U.S. leadership at the multilateral level.

Events and Coordination

Several participants shared details about a number of WHA side-events that their organizations will be hosting in Geneva, Switzerland. Common themes of side events include non-communicable diseases, maternal and child health, global health security, research and development, and gender equality.

GHC is compiling a complete calendar of all public WHA side events on our website, and we will be updating it regularly as details are made available. A special events update will also be sent out to our subscriber list (sign-up: http://tinyurl.com/ghcnewsletter) a week before WHA to facilitate your planning. Please forward details of any events that you would like to have featured on our calendar and in our events update to us at events@globalhealth.org.

Resolutions and Statements

A Cancer Prevention Resolution is on the WHA 2017 Agenda. There will be more details on this and other possible resolutions in our upcoming webinars.

There will be a flexible timeline for submission of statements by GHC member organizations (see statement guidelines: http://globalhealth.org/what-we-do/member-engagement/wha70). 

GHC Delegates and Logistics

With over 70 participants, GHC will host ones of the largest delegations at WHA. WHA Delegate positions for GHC individual members are currently filled up, but there are still spots left for our organizational members. More information about our delegation can be found on GHC’s website: http://globalhealth.org/what-we-do/member-engagement/wha70. For inquiries regarding logistics for WHA 2017, please contact Liz Kohlway, GHC Communications and Member Engagement Manager at ekohlway@globalhealth.org.

Please save the date for our next WHA Policy Scrum Webinar on April 25, 2017. More details will be made available soon.

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Making the Case for U.S. Investments in Health Workforce
This guest post was provided by GHC member, Frontline Health Workers Coalition.
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In an early kick-off to World Health Worker Week (April 2-8), the Frontline Health Workers Coalition (FHWC), Abt Associates, and IntraHealth International sponsored a congressional briefing in coordination with Congresswoman Nita Lowey on March 29. At the briefing, field leaders highlighted the tremendous humanitarian, security, and economic return on U.S investments in U.S. government-supported programs to strengthen the frontline health workforce in Guinea, Afghanistan, Mali, Kenya, and elsewhere.
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Leaders from WHO and the International Labour Organization delivered a promising message of a unifying movement under the High-Level Commission on Health Employment & Economic Growth for country- and regional-led action plans for the investments needed to ensure a fit-for-purpose workforce to save lives, ensure security, address gender quality, and create millions of jobs.

In a powerful speech, community health worker Maria Valenzuela told her story of overcoming poverty and family troubles, which inspired her to work to educate and empower vulnerable communities on healthy practices in Arizona. Maria’s story underscored the universal power of frontline health workers around the world. The speakers then met with several prominent congressional offices to advocate for U.S. leadership in investment in global health and the frontline health workforce.

GHC’s Frontline Health Workers brief in the latest Global Health Briefing Book builds the case for investments in frontline health workers, and offers key recommendations for Congress and the new administration to sustain U.S.-led efforts to push forward Workforce 2030. View the brief and visit FHWC’s WHWW portal for more information on World Health Worker Week.

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Girl Strong: Promoting global access to water, sanitation and hygiene for women and girls everywhere

This year, WaterAid was #GirlStrong for #WorldWaterDay for the women and girls who spend 40 billion hours collecting water every, single year. Girl Strong highlights a renewed commitment to the incredible strength women and girls all over the world are forced to exhibit on a daily basis.

Girl Strong isn’t just a catchy slogan or convenient hashtag. It is an integrated campaign that seeks to ensure that every woman and girl has access to clean water, a safe toilet and proper hygiene services, through awareness raising with the public and advocacy across the country. Girl Strong is a call to action to promote sustainable solutions and help women and girls unlock their potential by ensuring they have these basic human rights.

Chan Srey Nuch, 31, with her daughters Thea Sreyneang, 6 (red and white top) and Thea Sreyno, 3, (red and blue top). Srey Nuch worries that her children may drown in the filthy flood water when she is out working. Chong kaosou (west) community, Siem Reap, Cambodia.

For World Water Day, WaterAid released its annual “State of the World’s Toilets” report, Wild Water, and featured women and girls whose lives have been dramatically affected by climate change. Srey worries so much about her children getting sick from walking through deep flood waters in rural Cambodia, that she has a neighbor watch them while she completes the 30-minute trek to get water from the one of only two wells in her community – a trek she takes up to six times a day.  The persistent drought in Julietta’s community in Mozambique means it is nearly impossible to farm crops and make a living to feed her four children.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Women and girls are disproportionately affected by lack of access to water and sanitation, and now is the time to ensure that we are working towards helping them recapture those 40 billion hours spent, risks of sexual assault while looking for a water or a loo, missed education just because they’re menstruating, and preventable infections caused by giving birth in places without WASH. We encourage everybody to join us and be #GirlStrong in support of these amazing women and girls.

 

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