South Centre Statement to the High Level Meeting on Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response
20 September 2023
The UN HLMs on health have helped drive the highest level of political commitment to key global health issues. The HLD on PPR today underplays the seriousness of the crisis the world experienced with the Covid-19 pandemic and fails to provide the level of political support and guidance to the critical negotiations taking place in Geneva for an international instrument and amendments to the International Health Regulations (2005).
The South Centre will continue to support developing countries in these processes and seek to promote constructive dialogue with other UN members and stakeholders.
Assessing the State of Play in the WHO Pandemic Instrument Negotiations
By Viviana Muñoz Tellez
This Policy Brief discusses the state of play of the negotiations of the pandemic instrument at the World Health Organization. The Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) is increasing its meetings as the target deadline for completion in the first half of 2024 draws closer. To advance, the political will needs to be scaled up in the next months. The expectations should not be lowered to focus on the lowest common denominator. Real progress needs to be made in priority areas of concern for developing countries to keep momentum.
Health, Intellectual Property and Biodiversity Programme, South Centre
The following matrix provides a factual overview and analysis of the standing and non-standing agenda items of the regular session of the WTO TRIPS Council. The matrix also discusses the TRIPS Implementation issues as part of the WTO Doha Development Round of negotiations.
South Centre Statement to the Resumed session of the fifth meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) to draft and negotiate a WHO convention, agreement or other international instrument on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response
12 June 2023
The South Centre appreciates the opportunity to address this INB. We remain available, here in Geneva or online, to present our views on specific draft provisions.
We recognise the work advanced so far.
In the Bureau text, not all options are yet on the table. All Member State proposals, existing and new ones as they come, should receive proportionate consideration, inclusion and discussion.
The consolidated text of February should remain complementary to the Bureau text.
There must be balance in providing options under various articles and in the approach for legal language under them. The Bureau text as it stands now would not deliver on equity.
The INB is moving towards consensus on principles of equity, solidarity, common but differentiated responsibilities, transparency and respect for human rights. We also support the proposal for a principle on global public goods. The INB needs now to better translate these principles into concrete legal provisions in the text.
The drafting group during this session of the INB could focus discussion on Articles 9 to 13 of the Bureau text, also drawing from the consolidated text.
Summary of the intervention by Carlos Correa, Executive Director of the South Centre,at the UN General Assembly – Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response Multi-Stakeholder Hearing, New York, May 9th, 2023
The response to COVID-19 revealed serious shortcomings in the multilateral system. Despite solemn declarations, it was unable to ensure equity in addressing its health, economic and social impacts. See a summary of the South Centre’s intervention at the UN General Assembly – Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response Multi-Stakeholder Hearing below.
Where Does Global Health Funding Come From and Where Does It Go?
By Germán Velásquez
In theory, the World Health Organization (WHO) is the coordinating agency for global health. Influential private and public actors have claimed the relevance and central role of this United Nations (UN) agency. In practice, paradoxically, the money budgeted for health goes largely to other institutions and not to the WHO. New institutions and mechanisms have been created to which funds are channeled (GAVI, The Global Fund, Act-A, CEPI, COVAX, etc.). These institutions or mechanisms are, in most cases, public-private partnerships where the pharmaceutical industry is usually present. Official Development Assistance is important but represents only 1 per cent of what developing countries’ expenditure on health. How much is spent to promote global health and where this money goes is the subject of this paper. After the experience with COVID-19, a fundamental question that must be addressed is how the global public interest can be preserved by creating common public goods and protecting human rights in the prevention, preparedness, and response to present and future pandemics.
De dónde viene y a dónde va el financiamiento para la salud mundial
Por Germán Velásquez
En teoría la OMS es la agencia coordinadora de la salud mundial, y los grandes actores, privados y públicos, revindican la relevancia y el rol central de esta agencia de Naciones Unidas. En la práctica, paradójicamente, los dineros para la salud van en gran parte a otras instituciones y no a la OMS o incluso se crean nuevas instituciones o mecanismos donde se canalizan los nuevos fondos (GAVI, Fondo Mundial, Act-A, CEPI, COVAX etc.) Estas instituciones o mecanismos son, en la mayoría de los casos, partenariados público-privados donde está presente la industria farmacéutica. La Ayuda Oficial para el Desarrollo es importante pero sólo representa el 1% de lo que invierten los países en desarrollo en salud. En qué se gasta para promover la salud global y a dónde va este dinero es el objeto de este documento. Una de las preguntas que debemos hacernos tras la experiencia con COVID-19 es cómo vamos a preservar el interés público global mediante la creación de bienes públicos comunes y la protección de los derechos humanos en las actividades de prevención, preparación y respuesta a las pandemias presentes y futuras.
Submission by the South Centre to the USITC hearing on Covid-19 diagnostics and therapeutics
India, South Africa and co-sponsors made a proposal for a waiver to certain provisions of the provisions of the WTO Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) in March 2020. In June 2022, the WTO Ministerial Decision on the TRIPS Agreement provided a partial waiver to obligations in Article 31, namely an exception to the 31.f export restrictions, in relation to patents for Covid-19 vaccines. No decision has yet been made with respect to diagnostics and therapeutics for Covid-19.
In this context, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) requested the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) to prepare a report on Covid-19 diagnostics and therapeutics.
Read below the submission by the South Centre to the USITC investigation: COVID-19 Diagnostics and Therapeutics: Supply, Demand, and TRIPS Agreement Flexibilities (Inv. No. 332-596).
The world was unprepared prior to the Covid-19 crisis and remains so for new ones. The Covid-19 response was faulty. Covid-19 recovery has been slow and painful, in particular for developing countries. Read the South Centre opening statement at the WHO, WIPO & WTO Trilateral Symposium 2022: Lessons from Covid-19.