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The Developing Nations are NOT Happy
The developing nations want equity, along with actionable and legally-binding commitments implemented as Common But Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR), but the "Bureau" has ignored their demands.
Here is a friendly challenge for everyone who reads this article:
Can you identify (and clearly state) the flawed assumption that seems to be blinding everyone who is participating in these “negotiations”?
The seventh meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body began on Monday, November 6, 2023.
You can watch the full recordings HERE.
The soap opera nature of these “negotiations” never ceases to amaze me!
PLEASE WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW which contains important excerpts from the seventh meeting of the INB.
The 47 member states of the African Region
Even though there are some positive developments, African member states are concerned that the text, as it stands, falls short of addressing the key elements for the operationalization of equity.
Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.
As such, we propose that the key elements that are missing in the negotiating text are incorporated into the current draft before textual negotiations can commence.
As a region, we are fully committed to ensuring that equity remains central to this instrument and are prepared to strengthen this text for the realization of this goal.
-Ethiopia speaking on behalf of the 47 member states of the African Region
The Group for Equity
Argentina, Bangladesh, Botswana, Brazil, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Fiji, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Namibia, Pakistan, Palestine, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, South Africa, Tanzania, Thailand, Uruguay.
The Group issued their first joint statement which was delivered by the Philippines on 12 June 2023 at the 5th Meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body.
The Group notes that the document falls short of, and lacks some important elements that are key to making equity a reality.
The Group believes, in particular, that that the principle of Common But Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities, which was removed without having full discussion in the INB and enjoys the support of a large number of countries should be retained.
Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.
The Group of Equity has prepared textual proposals that should be included in the draft negotiating text that will lead to the realization of equity as the central mandate for consideration of the bureau.
The Group believes that lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in millions of deaths, unprecedented economic loss, disruption to mobility and inequitable distribution of medical products including vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics should guide the negotiations.
-South Africa speaking on behalf of the “Group for Equity”
PRESS RELEASE: https://twn.my/title2/health.info/2023/hi231105.htm
The Group for Equity noted that legally-binding commitments are necessary in order to realize the aspirations that led to the conception of the “Pandemic Agreement.” The Group remains steadfast in its commitment to strengthen the negotiating text with respect to the core equity provisions of the proposed treaty, including equity and the principle of Common But Differentiated Responsibilities and the following;
Health and Care Workforce (Article 7)
Research and Development (Article 9)
Sustainable Production (Article 10)
Technology Transfer (Article 11)
Access and Benefit Sharing (Article 12)
Supply chain and Logistics (Article 13)
Implementation capacities and support (Article 19)
Financing (Article 20)
Letter from Civil Society Organizations
In a letter that was addressed to the Co-Chairs of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) and sent on November 3, 2023, nearly 70 civil society organizations demanded a fair negotiating process to ensure a balanced negotiating text to strengthen pandemic prevention, preparedness and response.
We strongly call upon the Bureau to ensure a fair process, whereby WHO Member States can include their textual suggestions to the draft negotiating text prior to the starting of negotiations.
The text proposes to create binding obligations on surveillance, One Health and information sharing, poised to primarily accrue benefits to the Global North, especially their corporations, thus exacerbating the prevailing disparities between countries. Yet, it does not propose corresponding legally binding commitments on operationalising the crucial principle of equity, especially concerning equitable access to pandemic-related medical products.
The Pandemic Instrument must contain provisions which ensure a sustainable, prompt, predictable and affordable supply of pandemic-related health products to all countries irrespective of their financial or technological capabilities.
Yet, the provisions tabled by developing countries to bridge the inequity gap around publicly funded research, access and benefit sharing, equity, and common but differentiated responsibilities, have either been scrapped, diluted or have had conditionalities added that excuse inaction on the part of Global North countries.
Article 3.3 of the draft negotiating Pandemic Instrument text mentions equity as a principle and approach to the pandemic instrument, which reads: “... Equity includes the unhindered, fair, equitable and timely access to safe, effective, quality and affordable pandemic-related products and services, information, pandemic-related technologies and social protection”.
However, there is nothing in the draft negotiating text to translate this statement into reality by creating a legal obligation to facilitate sustainable, prompt, predictable and affordable access to pandemic-related products.
Please read the article that I published on January 16, 2023
Here is some updated information from the WHO website (if you choose to believe their data):
Globally, as of 12:00pm CET, 2 November 2023, there have been 771,679,618 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 6,977,023 deaths, reported to WHO. As of 24 October 2023, a total of 13,534,457,273 vaccine doses have been administered.
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The old system is crumbling, and we must build its replacement quickly.
If you are fed up with the government, hospital, medical, pharmaceutical, media, industrial complex and would like to help build a holistic alternative to the WHO, then feel free to contact me directly anytime.
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