The IMAXI Cooperative and a dozen friends and allies have been preparing a special research and development project on the participation in the decision making processes in global health governance of the people most affected by these decisions – those living with life-threatening diseases and disabilities, the marginalised, impoverished and vulnerable. We believe that the community of people around the world that have been ‘left behind’ and left out of discussions and decisions about their well-being should have not only a ‘voice’, but ‘seats at the tables’ of policy-makers.
This project is called “All Aboard”. We plan to first assess the current state of participation and then to publish the findings in a special edition of the leading peer-reviewed journal Global Health Governance. The following abstract has been accepted by its editors, Dr. Benjamin Mason Meier and Prof. Larry Gostin.
This train will leave no one behind: Meaningful participation and accountable representation of communities in global health governance
The study will report on an assessment of the current state of the implementation of the Right to Participation by the key institutions that govern global health. It identifies obstacles to, and opportunities for the advancement of the meaningful participation and the accountable representation of those most affected by the decisions and policies of these bodies. As the World Health Organization (WHO) is mandated by its Constitution “to act as the directing and co-ordinating authority on international health work”, the paper will place particular attention on WHO policies and practices, while providing a comparative study of other health-related UN agencies, as well as other multilateral institutions and major foundations with substantial influence on global health governance. The paper arose through a participatory research approach which brings together a range of academic disciplines as well as public health officials and community activists to inform a broad understanding and dialogue on the benefits, and best practices in the implementation of the right of participation in global health governance. Its methodology includes interviews with key ‘actors’ and document reviews covering the period of 2000 to the present. The paper provides a base line for annual ‘report cards’ on the progressive application of the meaningful participation and accountable representation of affected communities in global health governance—which the authors argue, is necessary to better assure that no one is left behind.
‘All Aboard’ is now ready to get underway on a fast track. Over the next one hundred days the distance between exclusion and inclusion will be covered by our research. We will then apply the research findings to drive a dynamic advocacy campaign — heading straight towards our destination: meaningful participation and accountable representation of the voiceless.
Come On Board! Everyone is invited and very welcome to help power this participatory project along its route.