World Health Organization (WHO)

SC Statement to the WHO INB8, 19 February 2024

South Centre Statement to the WHO INB8

The pandemic instrument must increase equity, multilateral cooperation and accountability. See the South Centre’s statement to the 8th meeting of the World Health Organization’s Intergovernmental Negotiating Body:

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Documento de investigación 193, 2 de febrero de 2024

Desafíos actuales y posibles escenarios futuros de la salud mundial  

By Germán Velásquez

Hace cuatro décadas los principales actores en la salud global eran la Organización Mundial de la salud (OMS), el Fondo de las Naciones Unidas para la Infancia (UNICEF) y los Estados Unidos de América y los países de Europa del Norte (mediante cooperación bilateral). Hoy asistimos a la proliferación de actores en este campo si bien con diferentes roles , ámbito de acción y niveles de influencia: La OMS, UNICEF, el Programa Conjunto de las Naciones Unidas sobre el VIH/SIDA (ONUSIDA), UNITAID,  la Organización Mundial del Comercio (OMC), la Organización Mundial de la Propiedad Intelectual (OMPI), el Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el Desarrollo (PNUD),  la Organización de las Naciones Unidas para la Agricultura y la Alimentación (FAO), el Fondo Monetario Internacional (FMI), el Banco Mundial, el G7 y el G20, el G77+China, el Movimiento de No Alineados, los BRICS (Brasil, Rusia, India, China y Sudáfrica), el Fondo Global, GAVI,  COVAX, la industria farmacéutica, Bill & Melinda Gates y otras fundaciones y organizaciones no gubernamentales (ONGs) sin o con ánimo de lucro.

Este documento de investigación analiza el papel de los múltiples actores (públicos, privados y filantrópicos) en la salud global y, con base a ello, procura esbozar posibles escenarios futuros. En particular, examina el papel de la OMS bajo cuyos auspicios los países miembros están, desde hace dos años, negociando una reforma del Reglamento Sanitario Internacional (RSI) del 2005 y la posible adopción de un nuevo instrumento internacional para prevenir y dar una respuesta a futuras pandemias como la del COVID-19. La aplicación de estos instrumentos, si se adoptaran, estaría en manos de la OMS, uno de los principales actores de la salud mundial.

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Policy Brief 123, 14 December 2023

The WHO CA+ Discussions on Pathogen Access and Benefit Sharing: State of Play

 By Nirmalya Syam

This brief explores the scope of a World Health Organization (WHO) pathogen access and benefit-sharing (PABS) mechanism as a possible outcome of the negotiations ongoing in the WHO Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) for a WHO Convention, Agreement or other Instrument (WHO CA+) for pandemic prevention, preparedness, response and recovery (PPRR). After seven sessions of the INB, substantial differences remain between developed and developing countries on the PABS system. While the text contains specific obligations on rapid sharing of pathogen material and genetic sequence information reflective of the primary interest of developed countries to get such access outside the framework of the Nagoya Protocol to the Convention on Biological Diversity through a specialized WHO instrument such as the PABS system under the WHO CA+, the current text continues to be weak in terms of effectively operationalizing fair and equitable-benefit sharing. To that end, it is critical that detailed provisions on standard material transfer agreements, data access relating to their genomic sequence information and specific obligations on monetary and non-monetary benefit-sharing by recipients of pathogen material and sequence information are included in the provisions establishing the PABS system. Therefore, it is important that the proposals that have been made in this regard by developing countries are incorporated in the draft negotiating text.

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SouthViews No. 254, 10 November 2023

Digital Health Challenges in the South: Towards Better Integration of Digital Health Practices

By Dr. Azeema Fareed and Ms. Farhana Saleem (COMSATS)

Much like any innovation, diffusion of digital health technologies in different countries depends on their level of development, availability of infrastructure, socio-economic conditions and indigenous strengths and weaknesses, political will and stability, demographics as well as social norms. Naturally for developing countries, social, economic, and technological set-backs make digital health adoption, implementation and mainstreaming more challenging. Using WHO’s e-Health components, this article highlights key challenges impacting digital health adoption in developing countries in the light of COMSATS’ experience.

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Informe Sobre Políticas 120, 11 de julio de 2023

Hacia una Agencia Latinoamericana y del Caribe de Medicamentos (AMLAC)

Por Germán Velásquez

El 26 de abril de 2023 en Acapulco, México, las Autoridades Reguladoras de Medicamentos de Colombia (INVIMA), Cuba (CECMED) y México (COFEPRIS) firmaron la “Declaración de Acapulco” para la creación de la Agencia Latinoamericana y del Caribe de Regulación de Medicamentos y Dispositivos Médicos (AMLAC). Esta declaración fué confirmada en Bogotá, Colombia el 16 de junio de 2023 en una reunión titulada “Convergencia regulatoria” por los responsables de las agencias reguladoras de medicamentos de Argentina, Brasil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba y México que acordaron la creación progresiva de una Agencia Latinoamericana y del Caribe de Medicamentos -AMLAC-.

La AMLAC fué creada para contribuir a la integración regional a través de la armonización y convergencia en materia de regulación sanitaria, la creación de un mercado regional de medicamentos en busca del acceso a medicamentos y dispositivos médicos seguros, eficaces y de calidad.

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Policy Brief 121, 18 July 2023

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.

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Policy Brief 120, 11 July 2023

Towards A Latin American and Caribbean Medicines Agency (AMLAC)

By Germán Velásquez

On 26 April 2023 in Acapulco, Mexico, the Medicines Regulatory Authorities of Colombia (INVIMA), Cuba (CECMED) and Mexico (COFEPRIS) signed the “Declaration of Acapulco” for the creation of the Latin American and Caribbean Medicines and Medical Devices Regulatory Agency (AMLAC). This declaration was confirmed in Bogota, Colombia on 16 June 2023 in a meeting called “Regulatory convergence” by the heads of the medicines regulatory agencies of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba and Mexico who agreed on the progressive creation of a Latin American and Caribbean Medicines Agency (AMLAC).

AMLAC was created to contribute to regional integration through harmonisation and convergence in health regulation, the creation of a regional medicines market in pursuit of access to safe, effective and quality medicines and medical devices.

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SC Statement to Resumed INB5, 12 June 2023

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.

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SC Statement to WHA 76, 22 May 2023

Opening Statement of the South Centre to the Seventy-Sixth World Health Assembly

22 May 2023

The South Centre, the intergovernmental organization of developing countries, appreciates the opportunity to address this World Health Assembly (WHA).

This Assembly will take many important decisions.

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SC Intervention – UNGA Pandemic Multi-stakeholder Hearing, 9 May 2023

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.

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Research Paper 176, 29 March 2023

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.

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