From The New York Times:
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/17/wo...ions.html?_r=0The United Nations trust fund for Ebola has received barely one percent of the $1 billion that the world body says it needs to tackle the outbreak ó and that too from only one country, Colombia, United Nations officials said Thursday.
It has received pledges of about $20 million from various governments, but only $100,000 in actual cash deposits.
On September 24, 2014, President Obama urged members of the UN General Assembly to make an effort to combat Ebola. The President told the General Assembly:
As we speak, America is deploying our doctors and scientists -- supported by our military -- to help contain the outbreak of Ebola and pursue new treatments. But we need a broader effort to stop a disease that could kill hundreds of thousands, inflict horrific suffering, destabilize economies, and move rapidly across borders. Itís easy to see this as a distant problem -- until it is not. And that is why we will continue to mobilize other countries to join us in making concrete commitments, significant commitments to fight this outbreak, and enhance our system of global health security for the long term.
Remarks by President Obama in Address to the United Nations General Assembly | The White House
The fund raising outcome was, to say the least, dismal. That the U.S. didn't contribute even a modest amount is disappointing, especially as the President called on countries to make "concrete commitments" to fight Ebola. Even a modest contribution could have set a powerful example. Clearly, the U.S. is involved in other ways, but an opportunity to provide an example was lost.
In contrast, the Gaza reconstruction donors conference raised $5.4 billion in pledges.
What these outcomes illustrate is the reality that nations make commitments when they believe they have direct interests at stake. At present, it appears that the prevailing sentiment among the General Assembly's members is that Ebola is a localized problem (even as the epidemic is the worst on record) that doesn't concern their interests.
In fact, the matter of epidemics is an example where interests are global in nature, as disease can readily spread across borders. Yet, even in the kind of matters in which it should, in theory, be most effective, the UN fund raising effort was almost completely inconsequential.