Trade Won, Health Did Not. A Sliver of a Waiver at the WTO.

There was jubilation and cheer after the landmark ministerial conference at the WTO which saw a raft of agreements between its 164 members, that some say, has set a new benchmark for success, a kind not witnessed in decades. The outcome also included a weak text clarifying the use of existing rules in the WTO TRIPS Agreement. For the 100-odd countries that supported the original TRIPS waiver proposal, and countless supporters globally, conference was a moment of resignation. It was the culmination of 20 months of a fight that saw sustained resistance from many developed countries that refused to waive intellectual property … Continue reading Trade Won, Health Did Not. A Sliver of a Waiver at the WTO.

So Close, Yet So Far: TRIPS Waiver at the WTO

Proposed Waiver Text in Ministers’ Hand, Key Differences Remain Less than 24 hours before the 12th Ministerial Conference gets underway in Geneva – the capital of global health, and the seat of pandemic policy-making – WTO members continue to disagree on key aspects of the organization’s response to the pandemic, including an agreement on a potential waiver of a provision of the TRIPS Agreement. The discussions on the TRIPS Waiver remain on tenterhooks, as ministers will now consider a bracketed text, the WTO reported last night. Key differences remain on how to adapt international trade rules meant to protect intellectual property rights in … Continue reading So Close, Yet So Far: TRIPS Waiver at the WTO

Is the delay the defeat of the TRIPS Waiver discussions at the WTO?

With barely 10 days left for the WTO ministerial conference, countries are increasingly under pressure to arrive at a consensus on the text proposed by DG Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. Members have met in small group discussions over the last few weeks, that have included participation of up to 30 members. Countries with smaller delegations have been spread thin across multiple, parallel negotiations at the WTO in the run up to the ministerial conference (12-15 June 2022) including for disciplines such as agriculture, fisheries among others. This analysis is based on the negotiations the version of the text dated May 30, seen … Continue reading Is the delay the defeat of the TRIPS Waiver discussions at the WTO?

Health Emergencies Engulf WHO & its Priorities: A Wrap of WHA 75

Seldom has WHO been forced to take such a decisive political stand, during its existence for three-quarters of a century. It may have now set a precedent that will be difficult to walk away from, in the future. This week will likely be seen as a watershed moment for WHO, when scores of member states pushed through a politically significant resolution, albeit, one that may be limited in practical terms, condemning “in the strongest terms Russian Federation’s military aggression against Ukraine, including attacks on health care facilities documented via the WHO’s Surveillance System for Attacks on Health Care (SSA)”. The … Continue reading Health Emergencies Engulf WHO & its Priorities: A Wrap of WHA 75

Health Emergencies Engulf WHO & its Priorities: A Wrap of WHA 75

Seldom has WHO been forced to take such a decisive political stand, during its existence for three-quarters of a century. It may have now set a precedent that will be difficult to walk away from, in the future. This week will likely be seen as a watershed moment for WHO, when scores of member states pushed through a politically significant resolution, albeit, one that may be limited in practical terms, condemning “in the strongest terms Russian Federation’s military aggression against Ukraine, including attacks on health care facilities documented via the WHO’s Surveillance System for Attacks on Health Care (SSA)”. The … Continue reading Health Emergencies Engulf WHO & its Priorities: A Wrap of WHA 75

Curtain-Raiser: WHA75

The US sets in motion process to amend the International Health Regulations; Developing countries try to restore balance in WGPR discussions Rules to govern health emergencies continue to dominate the policy discussions at WHO. As the 75th World Health Assembly gets underway in a few days, a crowded agenda awaits member states: from the re-election of the director-general, to the Ukrainian crisis, from formal efforts towards the amendments of International Health Regulations to increasing countries’ assessed contributions to boost sustainable financing of WHO. The first in-person meeting in two years will bring ministers, delegates and other attendees, to Geneva in … Continue reading Curtain-Raiser: WHA75

Curtain-Raiser: WHA75; Tough negotiations on the WTO’s IP response to the pandemic

he US sets in motion process to amend the International Health Regulations; Developing countries try to restore balance in WGPR discussions Rules to govern health emergencies continue to dominate the policy discussions at WHO. As the 75th World Health Assembly gets underway in a few days, a crowded agenda awaits member states: from the re-election of the director-general, to the Ukrainian crisis, from formal efforts towards the amendments of International Health Regulations to increasing countries’ assessed contributions to boost sustainable financing of WHO. The first in-person meeting in two years will bring ministers, delegates and other attendees, to Geneva in … Continue reading Curtain-Raiser: WHA75; Tough negotiations on the WTO’s IP response to the pandemic

The World Health Assembly: The What, The Why and The How

This primer on the World Health Assembly has been produced in association with Global Health Now, an influential newsletter from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. This article was first published by Global Health Now here on May 13, 2022. It has been reproduced here with permission. What is the World Health Assembly? Each May, representatives from the 194 member states of the WHO gather in Geneva to discuss, argue, haggle, and sign off on the agency’s priorities and policies.  It’s called the World Health Assembly, and it’s the premier decision-making body of the WHO.   Country reps consult and set new … Continue reading The World Health Assembly: The What, The Why and The How

China’s Spokes WTO Quad Waiver Text, Offers to Sidestep if Conditions Met

China, one of the biggest exporters of COVID-19 vaccines, told WTO members this week that it has concerns on an exports-based eligibility criterion that seeks to exclude developing countries that export more than 10% of the world’s vaccines – a condition that has been proposed as a part of the “Quad waiver text”, now being negotiated at the WTO. China said that “using the criterion of export share to define eligible members will send a wrong signal to the outside world and also have systemic implications to the future negotiations”. China also offered that if its concerns on such a … Continue reading China’s Spokes WTO Quad Waiver Text, Offers to Sidestep if Conditions Met

China’s Spokes WTO Quad Waiver Text, Offers to Sidestep if Conditions Met

China, one of the biggest exporters of COVID-19 vaccines, told WTO members this week that it has concerns on an exports-based eligibility criterion that seeks to exclude developing countries that export more than 10% of the world’s vaccines – a condition that has been proposed as a part of the “Quad waiver text”, now being negotiated at the WTO. China said that “using the criterion of export share to define eligible members will send a wrong signal to the outside world and also have systemic implications to the future negotiations”. China also offered that if its concerns on such a … Continue reading China’s Spokes WTO Quad Waiver Text, Offers to Sidestep if Conditions Met