The Inevitable Fragmentation of Global Health: The Signs from WHO EB 150

Health emergencies appear to have upstaged all other aspects of global health policy-making. At least that’s what it seems like, observing the proceedings of WHO’s 150th Executive Board. The governance of health emergencies could well turn out to be a decisive lever to reorient the entire workings, financing and priorities of WHO significantly.

Hinging on a much-wanted effective response to future emergencies are a whole host of proposals to reform not only WHO, but the wider governance of global health.

Therefore a meeting such as the EB, becomes a spectre to see how such a system can be molded. Underlying the numerous statements by countries, across more than 50 agenda items, were expressions of commitment, caution and even opportunism.    

WHO member states are in the midst of a significant meeting of the Executive Board, from discussing efforts to streamline the working of the secretariat by way of a standing committee at the EB on pandemic preparedness and response to taking a significant decision on the way forward to discuss targeted amendments to the IHRs; from extending the mandate of the working group on sustainable financing to nominating its top boss for a second term. The meeting also saw a proposal for a new framework for access and benefits sharing for sharing human pathogens with pandemic potential.

This briefing looks at some of these decisions and how they are connected to each other.

Photo by Guillaume Meurice from Pexels

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