Public Hearings on a Pandemic Agreement Open Floodgates of Interest; WTO DG To Take Compromise Text on TRIPS Waiver to the Wider Membership

Public Hearings on a Pandemic Agreement Open Floodgates of InterestAn impressive range of stakeholders made their interests and concerns known at the public hearings this week conducted by the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body set up to establish a new pandemic agreement. From feisty civil society activists to hard-as-knuckles lobbyists; from social justice champions to focused medical products manufacturers; from professors at American universities to healthcare workers; from representatives of the families of the deceased to wildlife experts; from anesthesiologists to anthropologists; from human rights scholars to teachers’ unions. These disparate group made forceful, incisive statements on what the pandemic meant to … Continue reading Public Hearings on a Pandemic Agreement Open Floodgates of Interest; WTO DG To Take Compromise Text on TRIPS Waiver to the Wider Membership

Countries Find Chaos in Parallel Tracks on Drawing Up New Rules for Health Emergencies, Many Unprepared

It was never going to be easy. As countries get deeper into the processes for defining new rules for future health emergencies, many delegations in Geneva and in the capitals, are finding it difficult to keep up with multiple consultations, formal, informal and across different forums. “It is chaotic and disorganized”, one Geneva-based health diplomat told us this week. While this is just the beginning of long drawn negotiations, churn and disagreements are to be expected. But it is clear that the processes that guide these negotiations, will undoubtedly determine outcomes. Most immediately, that there are two competing priorities. One … Continue reading Countries Find Chaos in Parallel Tracks on Drawing Up New Rules for Health Emergencies, Many Unprepared

Curb Private Sector Participation In The Treaty-Making Process: Some Member States At WHO

[Update from the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body] In a significant move, some member states at WHO have expressed caution and have sought to limit the participation of the private sector in the negotiations for new rules on pandemic preparedness and response. Last week, the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) met at the resumed session of its first meeting on March 14-15. The INB was set up earlier this year, to work towards a WHO convention, agreement or other international instrument on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response, following the Special Session of the World Health Assembly in November 2021. These efforts to limit … Continue reading Curb Private Sector Participation In The Treaty-Making Process: Some Member States At WHO

The Lowest Common Denominator: The Quad Text on the TRIPS Waiver

A developing country ambassador told us a few months ago that the best outcome on the waiver proposal would be to persuade the Americans and Europeans to have a solution that would include all kinds of medical products not just vaccines, and waiving all kinds of IP  protections not just patents, underlining the positions of these key WTO members respectively. Now, as a potential for a compromise is beginning to emerge, it seems that the proponents of the waiver might have lost out on both accounts. While scholars and access to medicine advocates have already panned the compromise text, these … Continue reading The Lowest Common Denominator: The Quad Text on the TRIPS Waiver

A compromise on the horizon? TRIPS Waiver talks in the ‘Quad’ at the WTO

While the Russian invasion of Ukraine has upended trade diplomacy at the WTO in recent days, the TRIPS waiver discussions have proceeded among a small group of members and is likely nearing a compromise, although differences persist. Sources familiar with the process told us that technical deliberations among the quad that includes the US, the EU, India and South Africa, are now nearing completion. These discussions are soon expected to follow at the level of the ministers of these four WTO members. “If the current text is acceptable by high-level decision-makers, it will then be taken up by the wider … Continue reading A compromise on the horizon? TRIPS Waiver talks in the ‘Quad’ at the WTO

Game on at WHO: International Health Regulations Vs The Pandemic Treaty

We are pleased to bring you the first edition of Treaty Talks, a new series that will track negotiations around a potential pandemic treaty in the coming months (and years). This edition is a comprehensive analysis of the first meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body that took place last week. The launch of the negotiations for a new instrument to govern health emergencies marks a significant milestone for global health power brokers. Yet no sooner than these discussions kicked off last week (now a world away), the geopolitical and humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, was lit by Russia. Inevitably, the flames from … Continue reading Game on at WHO: International Health Regulations Vs The Pandemic Treaty

Sticky post

EXCLUSIVE: Efforts to limit the implementation of the TRIPS Waiver, proposals to exclude India & China

A small group of WTO members deliberating on the TRIPS Waiver, are discussing suggestions to limit the geographical scope of the implementation of the waiver – plans that seek to exclude India and China, sources familiar with the process say. These discussions among the US, the EU, South Africa and India, are still fluid and are likely subject to other diplomatic considerations outside of the waiver. India has been a lead co-sponsor of the TRIPS waiver proposal along with South Africa since October 2020. While it appears that India will likely not accept such a proposal, and yet, it is … Continue reading EXCLUSIVE: Efforts to limit the implementation of the TRIPS Waiver, proposals to exclude India & China

Sticky post

Guest Editorial: WHO under DG Tedros – The Last Five Years

At this point, global health policy-making needs predictability. When the WHO Executive Board nominated DG Tedros for a second term, last week, it should have assuaged anxious politicians, the scientific establishment, and the world’s people. The continuity of leadership at WHO, is helpful, given that WHO remains at the eye of the storm. Sources told us that of the 34 members of the EB, 31 members endorsed the nomination of Tedros (the rest were reportedly absent). Recall that Tedros was voted into office with a historic and an overwhelming majority in 2017. His mandate was absolute and powerful. Some would … Continue reading Guest Editorial: WHO under DG Tedros – The Last Five Years

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

Sticky post

A Profound Shift is Underway: A Curtain Raiser Ahead of the WHO 150th Executive Board

A profound shift is underway. While the last two years were spent fire-fighting the pandemic, this year will see definitive lines being redrawn in the governance of global health. There are essentially three key changes brewing on governance, financing and health emergencies that will shape outcomes on the more operational aspects in global health policy-making. The contours of some of these changes are already taking shape. We will see this most immediately at the WHO Executive Board which meets next week. Diplomats are already referring to the inevitable changes in the global health architecture, not all of which will stem … Continue reading A Profound Shift is Underway: A Curtain Raiser Ahead of the WHO 150th Executive Board