Trade, foreign policy, diplomacy and health

5. Genomics Knowledge

Halla Thorsteinsdottir, Abdallah S Daar, Richard D Smith, Peter A Singer

4. Financing genomics production and dissemination

  • International bodies will need to organise, advocate and regulate input of national governments
  • Elements of international financial markets may be capitalised on
  • Options for using market mechanisms in more innovative ways
  • Options to build ‘ethical investment funds’ to provide capital to initiate genomics research and utilisation

National governments will still be expected to develop and/or enforce legislation or structures developed to finance global public goods. The challenge is how this may be fostered and co-ordinated. From the global perspective, the role of international bodies in the organisation, advocation and regulation of mechanisms at local, national and regional level is fundamental.

There is increased awareness that the globalisation of financial markets and the growth of transnational corporations has caused a misallocation of resources between private and public goods. This has created an uneven playing field for developing countries. However, it has been proposed that the elements of the international financial markets themselves may be used to level this field. For example, resources could be increased and better distributed by using the International Monetary Fund's Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) to meet needs of developing countries.

There are also options for using market mechanisms in more innovative ways. For example, one possible market based funding system has been developed by Globalegacy, a UK based organisation with the vision, in essence, to build a business model around a social purpose. One might also build upon the various 'ethical investment funds' that currently flourish to provide capital to initiate genomics research and utilisation in developing countries to ensure that genomics is a global public good offering global health benefits.