In communities around the world there is an increasing awareness that economic and social inequalities are growing, so that more and more people are just barely surviving, minimized on the margins of their societies. In spite of the international recognition of Universal Human Rights, and the associated responsibilities of governments to uphold them, more than half of the world's population struggle every day for adequate food, water, sanitation, housing and health care — some of the fundamental rights that everyone, everywhere, should enjoy. Few in these marginalized communities have the time or resources to demand their rights. Even less know how or where to begin.
For the last few years, the influence of the private sector in the direction and decisions of the World Health Organization has been growing, silently spreading like a cancer. From watering-down or blocking draft resolutions concerning tobacco, food, social determinants of health (SDOH) and other areas of well-being, to directly buying into specific programs so that they are the leading actor, and beneficiary, in public health policies and practices. In short, it's wrong, corrupt and unacceptable. The current World Health Assembly (WHA') is discussing this within a debate on 'Non-State Actors'. We fully support the important Call below.
However, while defending the WHO against corporate takeover, we call for fundamental reform that will change the present non-accountable process of decision-making, and non existent process of meaningful participation of the people it aims to serve. See our recent post on We, Non-State Actors too for a view from those far below the Ivory Towers in Geneva. The struggle continues, but meanwhile...
Defend the World Health Organization from corporate takeover
At the forthcoming World Health Assembly (WHA), two key deliberations have the potential to fundamentally influence the future of the World Health Organization (WHO). The Assembly will consider the latest draft of the ‘framework for engagement with non-state actors’. It will also finalize proposals for the financing of WHO for the next two years. The latter includes a critical proposal by the Director General for a 5% increase in assessed (mandatory) contributions.
We, the undersigned civil society organizations and social movements urge the Member States of the WHO to intervene in these deliberations to strengthen WHO and protect its integrity and independence.