Did the WHO just invite corporates to set health policy? CSO Concerns

Information supplied by the Third World Network, Penang Malaysia.

The World Health Assembly is meeting in Geneva between May 16 and 26 2015.
The Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Dr. Margaret Chan has invited the private sector, civil society and academia among others, to join a dialogue on how non-state players can work with the global body to enhance public health work. A leading voice in this configuration is the United States-based Global Health Council (GHC) whose strong and spirited response to the invitation has set the cat among the pigeons in some countries (including reportedly with India) and certain sections of non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
In response Judith Richter suggests ‘We all may want to look at the Non-state-actors (NSA) Engagement WHO Policy & proposed resolution which came out just before the WHA.’
‘Will our governments adopt a document that not only does not prevent undue corporate influence, but actually opens the door even wider to it and is likely to decrease the influence of those actors who could act as countervailing powers to TNCs and rich funders?’

Voicing their concerns over corporate takeover of WHO, 33 civil society organisations and social movements called on delegates to defend the integrity, independence and democratic accountability of the WHO. In a joint statement, the groups called on WHO Member States to take such time as is necessary to achieve a robust framework for engagement with non-state actors in order to protect the organisation from improper influence.
They also called on Member States to support the WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan’s proposals to increase the assessed contributions to the organisation.
According to the groups, there is strong apprehension that the negotiations on the Framework for Engagement with Non-State Actors (FENSA) may fundamentally alter the engagement with the private sector and philanthropic foundations and NGOs sponsored by the private sector in a manner that would compromise the credibility of the WHO.

Read Dr Chan’s statement and the CSO responses in full here

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