What and Who is the WHO EB?

Earth Calling WHO EBAlthough the World Health Organization (WHO) develops policies and makes decisions that impact on our health and well-being, those most affected (people living with life threatening/altering diseases or disabilities) and their civil society organisations have no say in its governance. Unlike some other UN agencies, there is no meaningful participation at WHO of those most impacted by its decisions. For folks down on the ground in marginalised communities around the world, the WHO is as out of reach as the clouds above.

The WHO is governed by 194 governments, also known as Member States. The World Health Assembly is the supreme decision-making body for WHO. It meets in Geneva in May each year, and is attended by delegations from all 194 Member States. Its main function is to determine the policies of the World Health Organization.

The Executive Board (EB) is composed of 34 members technically qualified in the field of health. Members are elected for three-year terms. The main Board meeting, at which the agenda for the forthcoming Health Assembly is agreed upon and resolutions for forwarding to the Health Assembly are adopted, is held in January, with a second shorter meeting in May, immediately after the Health Assembly for more administrative matters. The main functions of the Board are to give effect to the decisions and policies of the World Health Assembly, to advise it and generally to facilitate its work.

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The Dignity of Protest

Stand Up, Speak Up, Speak Out: The Dignity of Protest
By Eric Friedman

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Show up, dive in, stay at it,” implored President Obama in his recent farewell address. In a different context, Congressman John Lewis (the civil rights leader best known for his courage in leading a peaceful 1965 march for voting rights, during which he was severely beaten by state troopers as the march got underway in Selma, Alabama), who serves as a moral compass for so many, including myself, also recently spoke of the need to “stand up, speak up, and speak out.”

I expect that over the next several years, in the United States, many people will be in the streets, standing up and speaking up, as the next administration takes charge amid widespread fear that it will seek to roll back a sweeping array of human right and social justice advances. Yet probably far more people who deeply oppose what appears to lie ahead will not join the marches, rallies, and other avenues of peaceful protest. One reason: quite understandably, they may feel – as many of those who decide to march or otherwise make their voices heard might feel as well – that those in power in Washington will pay them no heed. What good is protesting, they may wonder, if when they speak truth to power, no one listens?

Yet with good reason, such protests have long been at the core of social justice movements – and are at the heart of what we need to do when justice is on the line in the days and years ahead. I believe we need to speak out whenever we see injustice – even when there appears little chance that those who hold office will heed our call. Here are reasons why.

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