HAI/KEI intervention at the WHA69 on the Framework of Engagement with Non-State Actors

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The following is the intervention on behalf of Stichting Health Action International (HAI) at 69th World Health Assembly, Agenda Item 11.3 - Framework of engagement with non-State actors.

KEI worked with HAI on the statement, and the statement was delivered by Thiru Balasubramaniam


It is our hope that the procedures for accreditation of groups in “Official relations” with the WHO will be made easier and faster for nongovernmental organizations working on global health issues.

We endorse the prohibition of secondments to the WHO from private sector entities.

We support the proposal, contained in A69/6 to “develop a comprehensive conflict of interest policy to guide the effective implementation of this framework.” This policy should require that interest declarations are transparent and that they be published on the WHO web page. It is regrettable that this provision did not make the final cut.

We favour the approach of differentiating non-state actors into the four groups:

1. Public Interest Non-governmental organisations,

2. Private sector entities, including business associations representing commercial enterprises

3. Philanthropic foundations, and

4. Academic institutions

The distinction between NGOs that have public interest goals and private sector entities with commercial objectives is appropriate, particularly since the WHO is expected to provide norm-setting and guidelines that are intended to regulate commercial entities when in conflict with health priorities.

The approach to philanthropic foundations deserves more attention, because the WHO has become extraordinarily dependent upon and influenced by perhaps two very large philanthropic Foundations. Both inside and outside the WHO, the largest global philanthropic donor is now perceived to wield extraordinary influence over the institution, with inadequate transparency and oversight of this relationship.