Trump Says, He Will Leave White House If….

Donald Trump has said he will leave the White House if Joe Biden is formally confirmed as the next US president.  Answering reporters’ questions for the first time since losing the 3 November vote, Trump insisted, however, that “this race is far from over”. He has refused to concede, citing unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud. Individual states are currently certifying their results, after Joe Biden was projected as the winner with an unassailable lead.

The Democrat leads Trump 306 votes to 232 under the electoral college system that is used to pick US presidents.  The tally is far more than the 270 needed to win, and Mr Biden also leads the popular vote by more than six million. Electors will meet to formalize the result on 14 December, with Mr Biden due to be sworn in as president on 20 January.

The president and his supporters have lodged a number of legal challenges over the election, but most have been dismissed. Earlier this week, Mr Trump finally agreed to allow the formal transition to President-elect Biden’s team to begin, following several weeks of uncertainty. The decision means Mr Biden is able to receive top security briefings and access key government officials and millions of dollars in funds as he prepares to take over.

Why is Trump refusing to admit defeat?

Following a video call with military personnel on the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday, Mr Trump faced questions from reporters at the White House. He was asked whether he would agree to leave the White House if he lost the electoral college vote. “Certainly I will, certainly I will and you know that,” he said.

However, the president went on to say that “if they do [elect Joe Biden], they made a mistake”, and suggested he may never accept defeat. “It’s going to be a very hard thing to concede because we know there was massive fraud,” he said, an allegation he has stood by without offering proof.

It is not a requirement for Mr Trump to concede in order for Mr Biden to be sworn in as the 46th US president. Trump did not say whether he would run for president again in 2024, or whether he would attend Mr Biden’s inauguration.

The normally routine process of transitioning from one president to another and confirming the result has been derailed by President Trump’s refusal to concede.  Under the US electoral system, voters do not directly choose the next president. Instead, they vote for 538 officials, who are allocated to American states based on their population size.

Explaining the Electoral College and which voters will decide who wins

The electors almost always vote for the candidate who won the most votes in their states, and although it is possible for some to disregard the voters’ pick, no result has ever been changed this way.

Trump also said that he was planning to hold a rally in Georgia on Saturday in support of two Republicans in key runoff elections that will decide which party controls the Senate. The elections in Georgia are due to be held on 5 January.

What’s the latest from Biden?

The president-elect celebrated a quiet Thanksgiving on Thursday, as coronavirus cases in the US continue to rise. “This year, our turkey will be smaller and the clatter of cooking a little quieter,” Mr Biden and his wife Jill said in an op-ed published by CNN. “Like millions of Americans, we are temporarily letting go of the traditions we can’t do safely.

“It is not a small sacrifice. These moments with our loved ones – time that’s lost – can’t be returned. Yet, we know it’s the price of protecting each other and one we don’t pay alone.”

“We’re at war with a virus, not with one another”: President-elect Biden calls on Americans to unite against Covid-19

Earlier this week, Mr Biden urged Americans to hold smaller celebrations, saying: “I know that we can and will beat this virus.” He has said that tackling the pandemic will be his main priority when he takes office.

Biden has already nominated a number of top officials for when he takes over and said that co-operation from the White House over the transition had been “sincere”.

Speaking in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, on Wednesday, he said that the US “won’t stand” for any attempt to derail the election. Americans “have full and fair and free elections, and then we honor the results,” he said.

President Trump said on Thursday that he would leave the White House if the Electoral College formalized Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s election as president, even as he reiterated baseless claims of fraud that he said would make it “very hard” to concede.

Taking questions from reporters for the first time since Election Day, Mr. Trump also threw himself into the battle for Senate control, saying he would soon travel to Georgia to support Republican candidates in two runoff elections scheduled there on Jan. 5. When asked whether he would leave office in January after the Electoral College cast its votes for Mr. Biden on Dec. 14 as expected, Mr. Trump replied: “Certainly I will. Certainly I will.”

A day later, Mr. Trump appeared to backtrack somewhat, falsely asserting on Twitter that Mr. Biden “can only enter the White House as President if he can prove that his ridiculous ‘80,000,000 votes’ were not fraudulently or illegally obtained.” Mr. Trump added that Mr. Biden has got “a big unsolvable problem!” But as courts shoot down Mr. Trump’s legal challenges, that statement would seem to more aptly describe his own plight.

Speaking in the Diplomatic Room of the White House after a Thanksgiving video conference with members of the American military, the president insisted that “shocking” new evidence about voting problems would surface before Inauguration Day. “It’s going to be a very hard thing to concede,” he said, “because we know that there was massive fraud.”

But even as he continued to deny the reality of his defeat, Mr. Trump also seemed to acknowledge that his days as president were numbered. “Time is not on our side,” he said, in a rare admission of weakness. He also complained that what he referred to, prematurely, as “the Biden administration” had declared its intention to scrap his “America First” foreign policy vision.

Asked whether he would attend Mr. Biden’s inauguration, as is customary for a departing president, Mr. Trump was coy. “I don’t want to say that yet,” the president said, adding, “I know the answer, but I just don’t want to say.”

Neera Tanden To Be Nominated to Head Powerful Office of Management and Budget

President-elect Joe Biden’s pick to lead the powerful White House budget office generated early controversy Monday, with Neera Tanden emerging as an immediate target for conservatives and Republican lawmakers.

Tanden, 50, has regularly clashed with the GOP in a manner that Republicans say will complicate her Senate confirmation process. Several GOP senators said Monday that she could run into trouble during confirmation hearings, warning that her “partisan” background could make it hard for her to win Republican support.

The two Senate Republicans poised to lead committees that would hold Tanden‘s confirmation hearings declined to commit to doing so. One of them – Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, who is in line to chair the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee – also said he hopes that Biden will decide not to formally nominate Tanden.

“The concern I have is both judgment, based on the tweets that I’ve been shown, just in the last 24 hours . . . and it’s the partisan nature,” said Portman, a former Office of Management and Budget director himself. “Of all the jobs, that’s one where I think you would need to be careful not to have someone who’s overtly partisan.”

The other potential committee chairman who would oversee Tanden‘s hearings, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., chuckled when asked about Tanden on Monday, noting that she in the past has had a lot to say about him. He also declined to commit to hearings for her, saying only that senators will “cross that bridge when we get there.”

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D. told reporters, “I’m not disqualifying anybody, but I do think it gets a lot harder obviously if they send someone from their progressive left that [is] kind of out of the mainstream.” Mick Mulvaney, President Donald Trump’s first budget director, told Fox News that Tanden had very little chance of being confirmed.

Tanden would not be the first recent OMB nominee to face a contested Senate confirmation. Mulvaney was narrowly approved; 51 senators voted to confirm him for the post. Democrats broadly opposed Mulvaney because of his past efforts to slash the budget and his role in a previous government shutdown. Mulvaney even received a “no” vote from Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. But Republicans controlled the Senate during Mulvaney’s confirmation, making his passage a bit easier.

A loyal Democrat with decades of senior policy-making experience, Tanden has been tapped by Biden to lead the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which plays a crucial role in setting the president’s economic agenda and approving agency policies. She would be the first woman of color to lead the budget office.

She was a close ally of former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and served as a senior adviser to President Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services, where she helped draft the Affordable Care Act. She most recently served as president of the Center for American Progress (CAP), a left-leaning think tank with deep ties to Democratic policy-makers. The OMB plays a pivotal role in the White House because of its role in setting the federal budget and clearing new regulations.

“She’ll be well situated to play hard,” said Dean Baker, a liberal economist. “Tanden is obviously an inside player, but she has been around Washington and will be smart on pushing stuff in ways that get through.”

If confirmed to lead the OMB, Tanden would be one of the central economic voices in the Biden administration, along with Janet Yellen, the former Federal Reserve chairwoman chosen to lead the Treasury Department; Cecilia Rouse, a Princeton University economist chosen to lead the White House Council of Economic Advisers; and Brian Deese, a BlackRock executive named to lead the White House National Economic Council. All but Deese would require Senate confirmation.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, a member of the Senate GOP leadership, said he did not see any reason why he would oppose Yellen, but he called Tanden Biden’s “worst nominee so far.”

“I think, in light of her combative and insulting comments about many members of the Senate, mainly on our side of the aisle, that it creates certainly a problematic path,” he said Monday.

Tanden would be required to go through two Senate confirmation hearings – one through the Budget Committee and the other through the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. The OMB is a rare Cabinet position in which nominees have to file their tax returns to the committees for review.

The daughter of Indian immigrants, Tanden was raised by a single mother who relied on government assistance programs before attending the University of California at Los Angeles and Yale University’s law school.

“After my parents were divorced when I was young, my mother relied on public food and housing programs to get by,” Tanden tweeted Monday. “Now, I’m being nominated to help ensure those programs are secure, and ensure families like mine can live with dignity. I am beyond honored.”

Tanden held prominent policy positions in the administrations of Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, and her resume played a role in her selection to lead the OMB. She has denied playing a role in Clinton’s welfare policy, which many Democrats now view as a mistake. At the Center for American Progress, Tanden also helped push the party left on budget and spending issues, though she initially expressed openness to cutting Social Security and Medicare along with many other Washington liberals at the time.

And if Tanden gets the job, she will have to work with Congress to get the budget through. She was one of the vehement critics of Trump and has said his “actions and words are tearing the country apart, and it falls upon every government official of both parties and every citizen to reject his call.”

A Yale law graduate, Tanden had earlier worked for former President Bill Clinton’s campaign and went on to work at the White House as an associate director for domestic policy and as an adviser to Hillary Clinton. When Hillary Clinton ran successfully for senator, Tanden was her deputy campaign manager and became her legislative director after her election.

Meanwhile, a loyalist to President Donald Trump who was connected to efforts to spread conspiracy theories about President-elect Joe Biden has been put in charge of the Pentagon transition effort and will oversee coordination with the incoming Biden-Kamala Harris administration.

CNN reports that Kash Patel, a former aide to Republican Rep. Devin Nunes who currently serves as chief of staff to Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller, will lead the transition in the Pentagon.

While it is not unusual for someone in that job to take a leading role in the transition effort, two defense officials told CNN that Patel will likely come under scrutiny from many inside the Pentagon who are watching to see how cooperative he may be with the Biden team, the report notes.

IOC USA Revamps And Inducts New Faces TO BOOST THE ORGANIZATION

In a bold move to boost the Indian Overseas Congress, USA, six new Secretaries and a new Chapter President were appointed to strengthen the organization.   IOC, USA has been continuously taking various steps to re enforce and augment the organization to meet its obligations and responsibilities, particularly to its membership and the Indo-American community in the USA.

Even during the lockdown brought about the Covid 19 pandemic, with the advent and popularity of the Zoom platform, IOC, USA has had numerous meetings with its membership and with invited dignitaries from India who not only spearheaded the meetings as guest speakers but also gave valuable insight and advice of the developments at the AICC.   IOC, USA

has sprung ahead significantly under the dynamic leadership of Dr. Sam Pitroda. The six Secretaries who received letters of appointment were: Mr. Nikhil Thagadur, Mr. Rajan Padavathil, Mr. Hirenkumar M. Patel, Mr. Rajdeep Singh Sandhu, Mr. Gurinderpal Singh, and Mr. Anurag Gawande. Mr. Amey Duduskar was appointed new Chapter President of Maharashtra Chapter.

Each of the appointees had demonstrated their keen interest in serving IOC, USA, and had individually recruited dozens of new members to augment the organization’s strength. Their prior experience and involvement with the party’s policies and goals make these appointees valuable members whose support and contribution could provide significant strength and impetus further to invigorate the forward thrust of the organizational initiatives.

Congratulating the appointees, the Chairman of the Indian Overseas Congress Department of AICC, Dr. Sam Pitroda, wished them success in their new undertakings and advised them tovisualize and seek solutions to problems and obstacles in using modern technology while bearing in mind the new needs of the post Covid 19 world.   Secretary-in-charge, Indian Overseas Congress of AICC, Mr. Himanshu Vyas wished the appointees well and was very encouraged by their interest to serve IOC, USA. He believed that the new team possessed a great deal of potential and expected to receive strong support from them. The vice-Chairman, Mr. George Abraham, felicitated the appointees and emphasized the importance of their IT knowledge and experience and impressed upon them to use it to its maximum. President Mr. Mohinder Singh Gilzian, who was delighted at the prospects of the appointees’ added strength, said that he was very hopeful of the value of the contribution that they are capable of making and looked forward to working with them closely.   Secretary-General, Mr. Harbachan Singh, who played an important role in the appointment process, was encouraged by their enthusiasm. He congratulated the appointees and advised them to work in unison as part of the team.

Felicitations and expressions of good wishes poured in from various senior officials of IOC, USA. They included Senior Vice President, Mr. Phuman Singh Ibrahimpur, Senior Vice President Mr. Ravi Chopra, General Secretary, Mr. Rajendar Dichpally, General Secretary R. Jayachandran , General Secretary Narinder Singh Mundar, General Secretary Sophia Sharma, Vice President Ms. Malini Shah, Vice President Pradeep Samala, Vice-President Jose George, Vice President Harpal Singh Tanda, Vice-President Paul Karukappally and various Chapter Presidents and Committee Chairs.

(By Harbachan Singh, Secretary-General, IOCUSA 917-749-8769)

Trump’s Attorney General Barr Denies Voter Fraud In Us 2020 Election

Attorney General William Barr said Tuesday the Justice Department has not uncovered evidence of widespread voter fraud that would change the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.

His comments come despite President Donald Trump’s repeated claims that the election was stolen, and his refusal to concede his loss to President-Elect Joe Biden.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Barr said U.S. attorneys and FBI agents have been working to follow up specific complaints and information they’ve received, but they’ve uncovered no evidence that would change the outcome of the election. “To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election,” Barr told the AP.

The comments are especially direct coming from Barr, who has been one of the president’s most ardent allies. Before the election, he had repeatedly raised the notion that mail-in voter fraud could be especially vulnerable to fraud during the coronavirus pandemic as Americans feared going to polls and instead chose to vote by mail.

Last month, Barr issued a directive to U.S. attorneys across the country allowing them to pursue any “substantial allegations” of voting irregularities, if they existed, before the 2020 presidential election was certified, despite no evidence at that time of widespread fraud. That memorandum gave prosecutors the ability to go around longstanding Justice Department policy that normally would prohibit such overt actions before the election was certified. Soon after it was issued, the department’s top elections crime official announced he would step aside from that position because of the memo.

The Trump campaign team led by Rudy Giuliani has been alleging a widespread conspiracy by Democrats to dump millions of illegal votes into the system with no evidence. They have filed multiple lawsuits in battleground states alleging that partisan poll watchers didn’t have a clear enough view at polling sites in some locations and therefore something illegal must have happened. The claims have been repeatedly dismissed including by Republican judges who have ruled the suits lacked evidence. Local Republicans in some battleground states have followed Trump in making similar unsupported claims.

Trump has railed against the election in tweets and in interviews though his own administration has said the 2020 election was the most secure ever. Trump recently allowed his administration to begin the transition over to Biden, but has still refused to admit he lost.

The issues Trump’s campaign and its allies have pointed to are typical in every election: Problems with signatures, secrecy envelopes and postal marks on mail-in ballots, as well as the potential for a small number of ballots miscast or lost.

But they’ve also requested federal probes into the claims. Attorney Sidney Powell has spun fictional tales of election systems flipping votes, German servers storing U.S. voting information and election software created in Venezuela “at the direction of Hugo Chavez,” – the late Venezuelan president who died in 2013. Powell has since been removed from the legal team after an interview she gave where she threatened to “blow up” Georgia with a “biblical” court filing.

Barr didn’t name Powell specifically but said: “There’s been one assertion that would be systemic fraud and that would be the claim that machines were programmed essentially to skew the election results. And the DHS and DOJ have looked into that, and so far, we haven’t seen anything to substantiate that,” Barr said.

He said people were confusing the use of the federal criminal justice system with allegations that should be made in civil lawsuits. He said such a remedy for those complaints would be a top-down audit conducted by state or local officials, not the U.S. Justice Department.

“There’s a growing tendency to use the criminal justice system as sort of a default fix-all, and people don’t like something they want the Department of Justice to come in and ‘investigate,’” Barr said. He said first of all there must be a basis to believe there is a crime to investigate.

“Most claims of fraud are very particularized to a particular set of circumstances or actors or conduct. They are not systemic allegations and. And those have been run down; they are being run down,” Barr said. “Some have been broad and potentially cover a few thousand votes. They have been followed up on.”

Under Biden, The United States Should Be There For Its Neighbors In The Western Hemisphere

The Biden administration should pay particular attention to the Western Hemisphere in setting its foreign policy priorities for the next four years. Central and South America, and Caribbean nations, have long been comparatively sleepy in U.S. foreign policy circles. And while the Trump administration, at times, directed its focus to the region — to Venezuela and Cuba, in particular — there remains significant potential to advance important U.S. strategic interests with but a few relatively low-cost, discreet, tailored actions, that would seemingly align with President-Elect Biden’s foreign policy world view.

Here, I do not purport to present a comprehensive policy for the hemisphere, which must address things like transnational criminal organizations, counter-narcotics policy, and energy and environmental issues. Leaving aside that important discussion for now, there are key signals that the Biden administration can send right out of the gate on democracy issues, economic development and immigration policy, trade, and more.

A premium on democracy

As a first step, the Biden administration should try to bring countries in Central and South America, and the Caribbean, into the aspirational coalition of democracies initiative. Doing so would signal renewed American attention on the institution of democracy with our regional neighbors, many of whom are suffering from a marked decline in democratic norms and ideals. The region’s mixed response to the COVID-19 pandemic has likely exacerbated this decline.

Establishing and jealously protecting relationships between the United States and Latin American democracies would alert the more authoritarian leaders in the region — like in Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba, and increasingly Brazil — that this administration will place a premium on its relationship with democratic partners. This should help shape the whole of future regional interactions and transactions.

Improving U.S. policies on economic development and immigration

Next, the administration should pursue new ways, beyond the Alliance for Prosperity and América Crece, for the United States to help enhance economic development in the region.

Improving economic conditions will help check the seemingly constant challenge posed by irregular out-migration, especially as the effects of global climate change continue to exacerbate the risk of such migration. Moreover, economic development could serve as an important counter-balance to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and its growing aspirations throughout the region.

While admittedly a bit axiomatic, improving economic conditions — especially in Central and South America, though also in the Caribbean — would address a significant “push” factor for migrants fleeing their respective countries, usually for the United States. This is particularly true of the so-called “Northern Triangle countries” of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Irregular migration from these countries — and others in the region, including increasingly Mexico — to the United States appears to indeed be a persistent issue, despite a near singular focus on it from the outgoing Trump administration.

A new Biden administration might see similar numbers of irregular migrants arriving at the U.S. land border as the Trump administration saw in its initial months (and really, throughout its tenure). As a result, it could very well find itself with an all-consuming foreign policy challenge that prevents it from addressing other important issues.

In such a situation, a Biden team would likely face strong pressure from its political left flank to immediately and aggressively unwind — or at a minimum, not apply — Trump-era immigration policies. These policies, not counting the public health measures at the border in response to COVID-19, include of course the wall construction, the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), the third-country asylum rule, and the network of Asylum Cooperative Agreements, all of which the outgoing Trump administration used to great effect to deny entry, execute removals, and facilitate the transportation of arriving migrants to other countries. This issue is complicated by U.S. public opinion: A large portion of Americans apparently continue to support at least the ends achieved by such policies, especially during the pandemic, thus creating the condition where rapidly fielding a feasible solution to a fresh surge of migrants at the border may well prove both operationally and politically untenable.

So, as they say, the best defense is a good offense, which makes it critical for a new Biden administration to take the initiative to improve the economic conditions of our regional neighbors. It should do so rapidly, especially as a Biden presidency in and of itself likely creates its own not insignificant immigration “pull” factor. While this initiative may not stop all of the inevitable flow to the U.S. southwest border, clearly articulating this goal may help mitigate the numbers involved.

(By Michael Sinclair at Brookings)

UN Special Session on COVID-19 To Begin This Week

The UN General Assembly is holding a Special Session on the Covid-19 pandemic at the level of Heads of State and Government on 3 and 4 December.. It took more than a year of discussions to overcome the opposition of certain states, notably the United States and President Donald Trump.

BRUSSELS, Nov 30 2020 (IPS) – The holding of this Special Session (the 37th in the history of the UN) is of considerable importance. It is a unique opportunity to define and implement joint actions at the global level to fight the pandemic in order to ensure the right to life and health for all the inhabitants of the Earth. As the President of the UN General Assembly wrote in his letter of convocation: “Let us not forget that none of us are safe until we are all safe”.

This is a historic moment. The future of the UN is at stake, and above all the capacity of our societies to give life a universal value free from any subordination to market, economic and power “reasons”.

Health, life, is not a question of business, profits, national power, domination or survival of the strongest. The right to health for all is not only a question of access to care (medicines, vaccines….).

This special session is also very important because it represents a great opportunity for us citizens. It encourages us to express our priorities and wishes, to put pressure on our elected leaders so that their decisions comply with the constitutional principles of our States and with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Declaration of the Rights of Peoples.

As the Agora of the Inhabitants of the Earth, we have already intervened in September with the UN Secretary General in defense of a health policy without private patents for profit and free of charge (under collective financial responsibility.

On 23 October, at the WTO (World Trade Organisation) level, the “rich” countries of the “North” (United States, European Union, Norway, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Australia, Japan…) rejected the request made by South Africa and India, supported by the WHO (World Health Organisation) and other countries of the South, to temporarily suspend the application of patent rules in the fight against Covid-19.

The suspension was intended to allow people in impoverished countries fair and effective access to coronavirus treatment. We deeply deplore it. With this rejection, the aforementioned countries have flouted the political and legal primacy of the right to health according to the rules and objectives set at the international level by WHO over the “logics” and market interests promoted by WTO. This is unacceptable.

Is humanity at the beginning of the end of any global common health policy inspired by justice, responsibility and solidarity?

Inequalities in the right to health have worsened as part of a general increase in impoverishment. According to the biennial Poverty and Shared Prosperity Report of the World Bank the COVID-19 pandemic is estimated to push an additional 88 million to 115 million people into extreme poverty this year, with the total rising to as many as 150 million by 2021.1

The vaccine market is valued at about $29.64 billion in 2018 and is expected to grow to $43.79 billion at a CAGR of 10.3% through 2020. The sector is marked by a high degree of concentration: four major pharmaceutical groups dominated in 2019 in terms of turnover generated by the marketing of vaccines.

Leading the way is the British company GlaxoSmithKline, followed by the American Merck and Pfizer, with 7.3 and 5.9 billion euros respectively, and then the French company Sanofi with over 5.8 billion euros last year.

The concentration of vaccine production is also impressive. Europe currently accounts for three-quarters of global vaccine production. The rest of the production is divided mainly between North America (13%) and Asia (8%). In Europe, there are pharmaceutical giants such as Roche, Novartis and Bayer.

The resulting social fractures from above-mentioned trends make it more difficult to implement measures and actions in line with common, shared objectives, in the interest of all, especially the weakest who are at risk.

The spirit of survival and nationalist, racist and class divisions have been reinforced. With a few exceptions, the commodification and privatisation of health systems have contributed to the transfer of decision-making powers to private global industrial, commercial and financial subjects.

National political powers, which are responsible for the processes of commodification and privatisation, are less and less able to design and impose a global and public health policy in the interest of the world’s population.

Mainstream narratives, values, choices and regulation practices must change

The world situation is dramatic. This does not mean that it’s impossible to reverse to-day’s trends. Here below we mention the solutions that Agora of the Inhabitants has submitted to the attention of the president of the UN General Assembly in view of the Special Session on Covid-19.

Our proposals were the subject of a consultation with associations, groups, movements and citizen networks during the month of November. We have received 1,285 signed personal emails of support from 53 countries.

First, the Special Session must strongly reaffirm the principle that the health of all the inhabitants of the Earth is the greatest wealth we possess. Health matters, health is a universal right. It should not belong only to those who have the power to purchase the goods and services necessary and indispensable for life. Our States must stop spending almost 2 trillion dollars a year on armaments and wars.

The health of 8 billion human beings and other living species is more important than the power of conquest and extermination. To this end, it is necessary to change the priorities of global finance by investing in the economy of global public goods (health, water, knowledge/education.

The Special Session should: – propose the creation of a public cooperative financial fund for health, as an integral part of a Global Deposits and Consignments Fund for Global Public Goods; – commission UNIDIR or a commission of independent experts to submit a study report on immediate reductions in military expenditure and the reconversion of its allocation to the development, production and distribution of public goods and services in the health and related fields of water, agro-food and knowledge.

Second, universal rights to life imply that the goods and services indispensable for life should no longer be subject to private appropriation nor to exclusive collective appropriation. Therefore it is necessary to build the common future of all the inhabitants of the Earth by promoting and safeguarding the common public goods and services indispensable for life.

Water, health, seeds, housing and knowledge and education, are the most obvious common public goods. They cannot be dissociated from universal rights. Patents on life (and artificial intelligence) are a strong example of the dissociation between goods that are indispensable for life, such as medical care goods (infrastructure, medicines, and so on) and the right to life.

Hence, we propose:

  • to recognise that health (goods and services) is a global common public good that must be safeguarded, protected and valued by the community, under the responsibility of democratically elected public authority institutions, at the different levels of societal organisation of human communities, from the local to the global community of life on Earth;
    • approve the abandonment for the period 2021-2023 of application of the rules concerning patents on living organisms, in particular on all the tools for combating the Covid-19 pandemic (diagnostics, treatment, vaccines). The monopolies left to patent holders have no relevant social, ethical, economic and political value. To this end, the Member States of the United Nations and its specialised agencies, representatives of all the peoples and citizens of the Earth, commit themselves, for want of anything better, to use as of now existing instruments of international law such as compulsory licensing;
    • decide to set up a global Task Force, under the aegis of the UN, to revise the legal-institutional regime of intellectual property in the Anthropocene, the aim of which would be to abandon the principle of the patentability of living organisms for private and profit-making purposes and to define a new global regime on intellectual property in the light also of the experience accumulated in recent years in the field of artificial intelligence.

Third, it is of fundamental importance to abandon submission to the dictates of “In the name of money”. “You are not profitable? You are not indispensable. In any case, your life is not a priority”. It is not because a person is not profitable for the capital invested that he or she is no longer indispensable. Being without purchasing power does not mean becoming without rights. Life is not money. Living beings are not commodities, resources for profit.

To this end, the Special Session should:

  • highlight the need for the re-publicization of scientific research (basic and applied) and technological development. The pooling of knowledge and health protocols, medicines and vaccines must be part of the immediate measures to be taken. In this perspective;
    • propose the approval of a Global Compact on Science for Life and Security for all the inhabitants of the Earth;
    • to convey in 2022 a UN world conference on the global common public goods and services. The current mystifying use of the concept of ‘global public goods’ in relation to Covid-19 vaccines underlines the urgency and importance of the proposal.

Fourth, a global health policy requires a global political architecture capable, above all, of outlawing predatory finance. The “global security” of the global public goods in the interests of life for all the inhabitants of the Earth can be achieved by creating global institutions with corresponding competences and powers.

The Earth inhabitants do not need new winners, new global conquerors. They need world leaders and citizens who are convinced that the future of life on Earth requires a new and urgent Global Social Pact for Life. In 25 years’ time, the UN will celebrate the centenary of its founding.

The Special Session must make it clear that there can no longer be a debate on small adjustments to the global regulatory model known as “multilateralism”.

The Special Session should:

  • recognise Humanity as an institutional subject and key actor in the global politics of life. The opening of a Global Common House of Knowledge, based on the existing pooling of knowledge, experiences, technical tools (case of Costa Rica concerning health…) will be a significant concrete step forward;
    • propose the urgent creation of a Global Public Goods and Services Security Council, starting with health, water and knowledge.

It is time for governments and citizens to get or regain common control of health policy. The Special Session must set the record straight. The right to health for all is not only a question of (economic) access to care (medicines, vaccines…) but, more, a question of building the human, social, economic (such as employment…), environmental and political conditions that shape an individual and collective healthy state.

(By Riccardo Petrella from IPS, an Italian national living in Belgium is Emeritus Professor, Catholic University of Louvain (Belgium), with Honorary Degrees (Honoris Causa) from eight universities in Sweden, Denmark, France, Canada, Argentina and Belgium. His research and teaching fields have been regional development, poverty, science and technology policy and globalization.)