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Useful Abbreviations




Bretton Woods Institutions. Includes the IMF and the WB and loosely the WTO. See Bretton Woods Project; see also Debt Relief Now.


Development Assistance Committee (of the OECD); regular private meetings of donors


Disability-Adjusted Life Years. More about DALYs. A new tool introduced in the WB's 1993 Investing in Health report which seeks to measure population ‘disease burden' (or population health improvement measured as disease burden averted) in one metric. Incorporates years of life lost as a consequence of conditions starting in each year plus years lived with disability as a consequence of those conditions.


General Agreement on Trade in Services. One of a suite of agreements administered by the WTO and coming into force in 1995 (later for MICs and LICs). GATS is an ‘opt-in' agreement but while committing particular sectors to GATS regulation is easy it is very hard to with draw. WTO GATS page; see also Public Citizen: Stop the GATS attack


General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade; established with the IMF and the WB as a consequence of the 1944 Bretton Woods conference; main focus was trade in manufactured goods and did not include investment, IP, or agriculture


Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation.


Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria. Brings together WB, WHO, Gates, and other donors. Characterised by an unusual approach to prioritisation and disbursement.


Introduced by UNICEF in 1983 as the basis for a more focused approach to maternal and child health: Growth monitoring, Oral rehydration, Breast feeding, Immunisation, Family planning, Female education and Food supplementation (see Wiki entry)


Highly Indebted Poor Countries. WB page on the Enhanced HIPC Initiative; see also Wiki page


International Financial Institutions. Usually refers to the IMF, WB and perhaps WTO; see Wiki page


International Monetary Fund. The IMF was created through the 1944 Bretton Woods Conference. Its principal function initially was to prevent currency fluctuations associated with imbalances in international trade payments. This function was taken over by the commercial banks within a short time but the IMF found a new role as global bailiff with springing of the debt trap in the early 1980s. See Wiki page


Low Income Countries.


Millenium Development Goals. Adopted by the UN in 2000.


Middle Income Countries.


Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development; ‘rich countries club'; brings together the finance ministers and treasury officials of 30 richest countries; collects data, undertakes policy analysis and development (from the rich world perspective) and provides training for senior policy officials from OECD and beyond


Pan American Health Organisation. Regional body of the WHO in the Americas but actually antedated the establishment of the WHO.


Primary health care. Principles of PHC articulated in the Alma-Ata Declaration of 1978


Public private partnerships. A large number of global PPPs have emerged since the mid 1990s of which the biggest is the GFATM. These variously include WHO, WB, pharmaceutical companies, NGOs and large private donors such as the Gates Foundation. The increased channelling of donor funds to PPPs such as the GF reflects in part a distrust on the part of some of the large donors and big pharma of the WHO and a deliberate strategy of sidelining the WHO. Wiki page


Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers; developed by the WB and IMF to replace SAPs; while SAPs were imposed by the IMF, PRSPs are supposed to be developed by the recipient country and submitted to, negotiated with, the IMF and the WB; actually the conditions ultimately imposed are still quite similar to those of SAPs; note that debt relief to HIPCs also comes through the PRSP path. See WHO database on health in PRSPs


Sanitary and Phyto Sanitary Agreement. Agreement to constrain the use of health arguments (health of humans, animals or crops) for trade protection purposes.


Agreement on Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights. Adopted as one of a suite of agreements administered by the WTO which came into force for foundation signatories in 1995 or 2005 for MICs and 2015 for LICs. See CPTech for a critical resource regarding IPRs


United Nations Childrens' Emergency Fund


World Bank; created through the 1944 Bretton Woods conference; actually comprises several separate corporations including the IBRD (development lending), IDA (concessional lending, limited to LICs) and IFC (lending to the private sector); WB was initially established to mobilise funds for large capital developments including in rebuilding postwar Europe but as the commercial banks took on more of this role the WB turned increasingly to program lending for ‘developing' countries; not necessarily for large capital projects. See Wiki page on WB Group


World Health Organisation. Founded in 1948.


World Trade Organisation; established by the 1994 Treaty of Marakesh and commenced in 1995; the WTO was mooted at the Bretton Woods conference of 1944 but at that stage the US was reluctant to submit to the discplines implied and the more limited GATT was established