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

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

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

Divergences Continue on the Approaches to Reform the Governance of Health Emergencies 

If the WGPR meeting was any indication, the coming year will witness a decisive fight between competing interests on safeguarding equity in global health. This week countries tried to agree on a work plan for the next few months that will see the building blocks for new rules on governing health emergencies put into place. Therefore much is at stake on how to design this process and the resulting negotiations across different forums on a range of issues including incorporating meaningful equity considerations, the strengthening of the International Health Regulations, among others. This in essence is what was discussed at … Continue reading Divergences Continue on the Approaches to Reform the Governance of Health Emergencies 

Member states could consider paying more to support WHO, some remain unwilling

In a rare but crucial opportunity, WHO member states are now poised to seize the moment and finally decide to pay more to support the organization which they see as a leading authority to protect and shape health outcomes for people globally. Or, nationalistic considerations may win and they may let this moment pass, sealing the fate of WHO. This would further marginalize and weaken WHO’s role in global health governance precisely when a health crisis has struck a blow at the heart of how the world functions. WHO’s Sustainable Financing Working Group will meet next week to discuss recommendations … Continue reading Member states could consider paying more to support WHO, some remain unwilling

TRIPS Waiver fights to stay front and center at WTO; What lies ahead for countries post-WHASS

Days after the postponement of WTO’s ministerial conference at the cusp of its convening, the proponents of the TRIPS Waiver are fighting to keep it front and center even as the emergence of a new variant has cast a spotlight on the WTO to resolve the waiver discussions to meet new challenges in the on-going pandemic. Depending on who one speaks to, it seems that the new variant gives urgency to both the opponents and the supporters of the waiver. One trade diplomat from an opposing group told us that the variant has underscored even more the role of the intellectual property … Continue reading TRIPS Waiver fights to stay front and center at WTO; What lies ahead for countries post-WHASS